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

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a good-looking beast, and he knows it. Large, powerful, supremely athletic, blessed with incredible stamina.  This is a Lord among Dogs.  But what’s even more impressive is that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is not only big and strong but also intelligent. He is a brilliant dog who is very good at identifying friends from foes.  That and he is excellent with his human family. His loyalty to his owners cannot be questioned. He will follow you anywhere.


Did we mention he’s 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. When attacked, you can trust the big guy to protect you and your family.

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.


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 more prominent in size.


Is a Rhodesian Ridgeback the “right” breed for you?  That’s the real question we hope this article will help you answer.  Because the last thing that we would like to see happen is for one of these incredible dogs to 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.”  He was initially developed by 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 traveled to the continent’s south.

The European settler…

They were fascinated by the Khoikhoi people and more so by a particular type of dog that ran around in their villages. This dog was big and powerful, with 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 Bloodhounds, Greyhounds, Mastiffs, and Great Danes. Their efforts resulted in a powerful dog capable of taking on man or beast, with fearsome hunting skills and intelligence enough to avoid snakes and crocodiles.

Eventually, 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 stands 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.

He is also 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 and a longish tail that curves upwards slightly.


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

Personality and Temperment

The Ridgeback is excellent with kids. He can be a perfect playmate for slightly older children. He is patient around them and surprisingly docile. He has a solid protective instinct; you can trust him to watch over the kids.

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

That said…

His barking can be scary at times.  He has a way of snarling at people he doesn’t like, such as your friendly neighborhood burglar. It’s a good thing that he is on your side!  This is also why early socialization and training are necessary for the Ridgeback puppy.  Additionally, males can be pretty 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.

 Potential Health Concerns

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are big, powerful, and healthy dogs. They have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, which is okay for large dogs. But even they are known to suffer from certain health conditions. These include…

The good news is that one of these conditions is life-threatening, but 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 suitable 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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