Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Group: Hound

Origin: South Africa

Height: 25 to 27 inches (64-69 cm)

Weight: 75 lbs (34 kg)

Also Known As: African Lion Hound

Rhodesian Ridgeback
Image by boumapetrovice from Pixabay

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Breed Profile

The Rhodesian Ridgeback, sometimes referred to as the African Lion Hound, is the only recognized breed originating in South Africa. Unique in having a ridge of hair in the shape of a dagger on his back, he is said to have descended from native ridged dogs known in South Africa since the 16th century.

When the breed was imported to Rhodesia, big game hunters found the Ridgebacks to be excellent hunters and used them to hunt lions. In North America, the Ridgebacks’ hunting talent of being able to corner their prey has been used to hunt bobcat, mountain lion, bear, coyote, deer, wild boar and raccoon.

The Ridgeback is a dignified and even-tempered dog, extremely tolerant and an excellent companion for children. Generally reserved with strangers, he is a strong protector of the home. He is muscular and active, capable of great endurance and a fair amount of speed.

In the United States, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is classified as a Sighthound and is eligible to compete in Lure Coursing Trials. He is also seen participating in Field Trials, Herding, Tracking, Agility, Obedience and Conformation.

This breed has a strong prey drive and is known to chase, and even kill, small animals — including the neighbourhood cat. Therefore, care should always be taken to ensure that he is kept leashed and/or in an enclosed area.

His coat is short, dense, sleek and glossy. Accepted colours include light wheaten to red wheaten and a small amount of white on the chest and toes is also sometimes found.

Health Issues

The Rhodesian Ridgeback, as will all breeds, is susceptible to certain genetic problems, including:

If you are considering the adoption of a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Testing for the Rhodesian Ridgeback should include hips, elbows and thyroid as well as testing to ensure that eyes are normal. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:

Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is known as an intelligent breed and a fast learner. However, he can be stubborn and independent with a typical hound dog temperament. Training should be consistent and fair. In addition, because of his strong protective instinct, early socialization and training is a must for this breed.

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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