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Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

An impressive physical specimen….

That’s the Rhodesian Ridgeback. He is one heck of a good looking beast and he knows it. Large, powerful, supremely athletic, blessed with incredible stamina.  This is a Lord among Dogs.

What’s more…

…The Rhodesian Ridgeback is not only big and strong, he is intelligent too. He is a very smart dog who is very good at identifying friend from foe.

He is great with his human family. His loyalty to his owners cannot be questioned. He will follow you absolutely anywhere.


He is strong, courageous and fearless under fire. He will go to any extent to protect his human family. This makes him a perfect dog for those who live in crime infested areas. You can trust the big guy to protect you and your family members when under attack.

Here’s why he is so good…

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is not one of those excitable little dogs. He doesn’t jump on people. He is calm and composed and has tremendous patience. A thorough gentleman (or lady) too.  He is almost like a U.S. Marine.

He is after all…

…From Africa. He was bred to be a farm dog. These days he is more of a family dog or companion dog and is quite popular in the United States.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is often compared to the German Shepherd. He has the same temperament and personality as the German Shepherd; the same intelligence, patience and courage, but he is much bigger in size.


Is a Rhodesian Ridgeback going to be the “right” do breed for you?  That’s the real question and one that we hope this article will help you answer for yourself.  Because the last thing that we would like to see happen is for one of these awesome dogs end up with the “wrong” owner.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Rhodesian Ridgeback Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Zimbabwe

original Purpose:  Hunting large game (including lions!)

Height: 24 to 27 inches

Weight: 75 to 80 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Hound group

 Life Span: 10 to 12 years

Origin of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Breed

The Ridgeback is from Zimbabwe, the African country formerly known as Rhodesia. Hence the name “Rhodesian Ridgeback”.

It was there that…

He was originally developed by the European settlers who moved to Africa in the 18th century in search of land and gold. The Europeans encountered the proud and brave Khoikhoi people as they made their way through to the south of the continent.

The European settlers

…Were fascinated by the Khoikhoi people, and more so by a special type of dog that ran around in their villages. This dog was big and powerful and had a ridge of hair running along its spine.

They wanted to…

Make more out of this dog, transform him into a perfect farm dog that could guard the livestock from prey, hunt for game, protect its human family from an attack, and brave the harsh climatic conditions of Africa.


They decided to breed the native dogs of the Khoikhoi people with other dogs such as the Bloodhounds, Greyhounds, Mastiffs and Great Danes. The result of their efforts was a powerful dog that was capable of taking on man or beast, with fearsome hunting skills and smart enough to avoid snakes and crocodiles.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback was brought to the United States in the early 20th century. He was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1955.  He remains a popular breed of dog in the United States.

Physical Characteristics

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a tall and powerful beast – he stand 27 inches tall and is 80 pounds of pure muscle. He is a large, powerfully built hound with a distinctive Mohawk – a strip of raised ridge of hair that runs down the center of his back.

What else

He is a supremely athletic dog with an incredible physique.  He has a long head, flat skull, long and deep muzzle. He has shiny round eyes that look straight at you. His eyes are usually of the color black or amber. He has erect ears, longish tail that curves upwards slightly.


The Ridgeback has a short, shiny coat of the color light to dark wheaten, sometimes sable or brindle. His coat is very smooth and does not require much maintenance. He is not the sort of dog that sheds much.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament

The Ridgeback is great with kids. He can be a very good playmate for slightly older children. He is patient around them and surprisingly docile. He has a strong protective instinct and you can trust him to watch over the kids.

But if you have a toddler at home, it’s best to wait for a few years before bringing the Ridgeback home. This is just to prevent any accidents, given that the Ridgeback weighs 100 pounds or more.

He is not…

….The sort to bark all the time. He barks only when he has to. When he barks, you have to pay attention. It’s probably because he has noticed a threat somewhere.

His barking can be scary

He has a way of snarling at people he doesn’t like, such as your friendly neighborhood burglar. It’s really a good thing that he is on your side!

Early socialization and training are a must for the Ridgeback puppy.

Males can be quite aggressive if they are not neutered. When bored, a Ridgeback can be destructive. That is why you must make sure he gets to go on long walks regularly.

 Rhodesian Ridgeback Health Problems

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are big, powerful and healthy dogs. They have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, which is not bad for large dogs. But even they are known to suffer from certain health conditions. These include…

The good news is…

…None of these conditions are life threatening.


The treatment can be expensive, especially if they become a recurring health issue.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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