Rhodesian Ridgeback

...a magnificent animal

The Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred to hunt lions in Africa! They are named “Ridgeback” because they have a channel of hair along their spine that runs in the opposite direction, creating the appearance of a ridge.

These medium sized, short haired dogs can weigh up to 39kg and are very strong and agile. They rarely bark, but are excellent watchdogs and guard dogs.

Training and socialisation are the keys to successful Ridgeback ownership. These dogs can be very stubborn and require patient owners who will be consistent and spend a lot of time in training. They respond well to rewards but will tremble with fear if they are shouted at or physically punished. They need to know right from puppyhood that you are the boss, but that you are a kind and fair boss. Novice dog owners may find this breed difficult to handle.

The assumption that because they are hunters makes them aggressive is false. These are gentle souls, more likely to ignore an intruder than attack. They are naturally aloof with strangers but like other dogs and will fit in well to a household with more than one dog. Cats are another matter! Ridgebacks' prey drive kicks in around cats and other small animals and you are unlikely to stop this.

Ridgebacks love children and like enthusiastic play sessions. Small children might find themselves knocked over. Their tails move fast and hard with excitement, so these can also whack toddlers accidentally and send them flying. Supervision is the answer, particularly with young Ridgebacks.

Mature Ridgeback are much more laid back. They love to be wherever you are and when you sit, they will want to sit on your knee. They will be totally devoted to you.

Don't let them get bored, however! They can destroy things easily and can turn your house into a war zone. Keep them busy. Good quality toys, lots of attention and an hour's daily exercise should keep them out of mischief. When exercising them it must ALWAYS be on lead and the lead needs to be sturdy as they may suddenly decide to take off after a moving target - even if its rubbish blowing in the street. You will always need a firm grip on these dogs because if they get away, you'll never catch them and their road sense is ZERO.

Grooming is easy. A quick brush with a rubber mitt will make their coat shine. These dogs shed very little, so you won't have a lot of dog hair to pick up.

Finally, buy your puppy from a reputable breeder. Your puppy should be screened for Demoid sinus, and also hip dysplasia. Healthy Ridgebacks will live up to 12 years.

<ul> <li> Medium, short haired dog.</li> <li>Difficult to train - experienced owner needed.</li> <li>Very good with children.</li> <li>Daily exercise for an hour.</li> <li>Good watch / guard dog</li> <li>Not safe with cats.</li> <li>Pups need screening for inherited health issues.</li> </ul>