According to the official breed standards for the Rhodesian Ridgeback it should be strong and muscular, athletic and active, and symmetrically balanced. These dogs are very beautiful they are also very capable when it comes to endurance and speed. The most identifiable feature of the Ridgeback is the one that gave it its name, the ridge on its back that begins at the shoulders and ends in a point between the hipbones. This ridge runs opposite to the growth of hair in the rest of the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s coat.
The head is another breed feature that sets this dog apart as it is wrinkle free when the dog is resting. This particular breed is a hunting dog that also happens to take on the role of family protector and watchdog. They are very gentle with children and fiercely loyal. It is absolutely necessary to keep them on a leash in a city or in close proximity to others in order to avoid potential problems when they become a little over protective. They are normally very gentle and quiet dogs though they can become a little zealous when they feel they are protecting their family.
The coat of the gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback is short and sleek. They are very easy to groom and a relatively low maintenance breed that is designed for hunting on African terrain. There are many colors that are common to the Rhodesian Ridgebacks traditional solid colors include: black, red, beige, and blue though some have found white or brindle coats on these beautiful creatures.
This breed was created in order to keep a lion distracted long enough for a hunter to make the kill. The Ridgeback was created by breeding a tribal dog known for its ridged back with various dogs that were brought over from Europe when settlers started making their homes in Africa. The result was a dog that could go long periods without water (as many as 24 hours, could withstand the extreme temperatures of the African bush, could hunt a variety of animals, and would be suitable for exposing to the family. In other words, the Rhodesian Ridgeback was the result.
In addition to being a very keen and noteworthy hunter, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is also widely known as a fiercely protective guardian of its family. They are gentle enough to trust with your children despite the fierce protective qualities that make it an attractive watchdog. These dogs hunt lions so their strength should be without question. They are able to tolerate cold and hot conditions and have very keen eyesight, which allows them to identify prey in the African landscape.
If you do not work hard with your Ridgeback to train it at a young age it may engage in a lifelong battle of wills. This is not an animal that is intended for families that are not assertive. Once a pecking order has been established and the Ridgeback realizes that its place is at the bottom it is a very loving and affectionate addition to the family. This dog works well with other animals when it feels they are dedicated to the protection of its family.
This dog is a commitment and you must be prepared to establish your dominance, engage in training, and provide the exercise and mental stimulation your Ridgeback needs to remain happy, healthy, and secure in its position in the family.
The biggest health concern by far for the Rhodesian Ridgeback is one that is present at birth. It is called Dermoid Sinus and is very closely related to the human condition of Spina Bifida. This condition is not only painful for the puppy but can be fatal. Most puppies that suffer from this condition are put to sleep and all those that are not successfully repaired by surgery should be put to sleep as a simple act of humanity. Those that are sold are not considered to be breeding stock even if they were repaired by surgery.
The real beauty for many potential pet owners of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the fact that they are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They are should receive full grooming at the rate of about once every 12 weeks or so and regular grooming at home about twice a month. Something as simple as petting your Ridgeback while wearing one of the brushing mitts can be beneficial in removing hair and dead skin cells while also creating some bonding time between you and your pet.
Because the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog that was designed for very physical activities it makes sense that these dogs will need to be exercised in order to release pent up energy. These dogs are built to run and make excellent companions for joggers and runners. Playing with them is another great way to exercise them when time and/or space is limited. Make sure to devote some time each and every day to allowing these dogs to take in a bit of exercise in order to keep them healthy and happy.
Training the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an activity that needs to be done with a consistent and firm but loving hand. This breed can be quite stubborn and have a tendency to become bored and distracted from training quite easily. In spite of this they are one of the most intelligent dog breeds known. While they love people and being around people it is a serious commitment to own one of these dogs because of the constant power plays. The most dedicated owners are often the best owners for these dogs. They are so much more than a family pet when properly trained and when they know their place in the family order.