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Rhodesian Ridgeback. A Brief History of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Tracing back the early history of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, it originated from what was known as the African Lion Dog or African Lion Hound.

These names were due to their ability to harass a lion while awaiting their owner to come and make the kill.

They can be traced back to the pioneers of the Cape Colony of Southern Africa. Their dogs were crossed with the semi domesticated ridged hunting dogs who belonged to the Khoisan people.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback was originally placed in the GunDog group by the South African Kennel Union for the first 20+ years of its existence as a standardized breed. The Union later changed its classification to the Hound group, and the breed is now classified as a Hound by registries the world over.

This type of hound was bred by the German and Dutch settlers who crossed semi wild hunting dogs of the Koisan people with Great Danes, Mastiffs and Bloodhounds. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a very good sense of smell with a very keen eyesight and are highly alert.

"Rhodesian Ridgebacks were very courageous hunting dogs who have great endurance and are highly athletic".

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Due to their high intelligence and independent nature, they were sometimes much harder to control than most other dogs.

One of the main characteristics of the Khoikhoi dog was the way the hair running down the middle of the back grew the reverse way, giving this particular dog the appearance of a ridge growing through the center of the back, ending with their unusual cork screw tails.

Because early settlers admired the skills of these dogs, they crossbred them with their own hunting dogs. This crossing of breeds produced a dog that was not only loyal to its owner and also a great companion, but also a great family dog.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a very strong, muscular and active animal and very well balanced.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The mature Ridgeback is a very handsome dog who seems to stand with a high regard of importance that says "hey! look at me." They have great endurance ability with a great amount of speed. They are known for having a dignified temperament and are devoted to their owners and are great family pets. However, when it comes to strangers, they can become very reserved.

The Height and weight of a mature Ridgeback differs between the Dog and the Bitch. They should be symmetrical in outline, and tend to look slightly longer than tall but well balanced.

  •  Males can grow from 25 to 27 inches in height, weighing around 85 pounds.
  •  Females slightly smaller 24 to 26 inches in height, weighing around 70 pounds.

When looking at the head of a Rhodesian Ridgeback, the skull looks flat and broad between the ears, free from any wrinkles. Eyes are well apart, bright and sparkling with a intelligent and alert expression while the ears are set rather high, of medium size, wide at the base tapering to a point.

The ears should be carried close to the head. They have a close fitting jaw and, depending of the color of dog you choose, a black nose should have dark eyes, a liver or brown nose with amber eyes.

Colors of the Ridgeback are red wheaten and light wheaten, a little white on the chest and toes will pass, excessive white above the toes or on the belly is undesirable. The coat is short and dense and looks glossy, sleek and smooth.

A Rhodesian Ridgeback is a beautiful animal and can make a great family pet.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian ridgeback needs positive, reward-based training, with good socialization and consistency, and is oftentimes not the most adept selection for inexperienced dog owners. Ridgebacks are highly intelligent and strong. If you are thinking of choosing this breed, it would be wise to understand how best to train this breed of dog.

Ridgebacks are strong-willed and many seem to have a taste for mischief, although lovingly. It is important to remember they are pack animals and should be with their human families inside to be part of the social group. They should not be left alone of left outside away from the family.

You have to be strict and loving and possibly the best way is to join a dog training group of get more intense professional advice who can help you with all the do's and dont's, so that you have an obedient dog and great friend.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are better suited to experienced dog owners.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks require a good companion willing to share a full life. They need good obedience training. Once you understand how best to care for a ridgeback, you will have one of the best loyal friends and protector for you and your family. They make ideal family pets when given love, open space and time to share.

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