Breed Profile, Uncategorized

Ridgebacks – Strong, Shy, Sensitive Types

ridgebacks strong shy sensitive types

The photo to the right is a male Ridgeback named Remy. As his posture suggests, he is a gentle and inquisitive fellow.  Males like Remy can weigh as much as 85 pounds in their first year of growth. Tall and lean, the Ridgebacks get their name from a distinct ridge seen on the back. The ridge is actually hair growing in the opposite direction from the rest of the coat. At times, that ridge (along with their imposing stature) has been interpreted as aggressive by humans. Please note that this breed is rarely aggressive when well-trained.

Remy, sweet Remy

Ridgebacks are always the color of wheat. Sometimes they have a little white in their coat which is an acceptable standard for the breed.

Most Ridgebacks display a quiet and gentle temperament. They rarely bark and are affectionate with people they trust. Highly intelligent with a sensitive nature and friendly when they feel that the human or humans they come in contact with are trustworthy, they make great companions, especially for the athletic pet parent or older children. They can also be good with cats if brought up with them.

Ridgebacks are naturally curious yet shy until they get to know other people and pets. Socialization is a must to keep Ridgebacks from appearing to be timid. They make excellent watchdogs and are alert to unusual sounds or movements.

Care Tips for Ridgebacks:

  • Ridgebacks make great indoor pets, especially since they are extremely clean dogs with little odor and minimal shedding.
  • A generally healthy breed, on average they live 10 – 12 years. However, they may be prone to minor issues such as elbow dysplasia, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and hypothyroidism. Deafness and dermoid sinus are also occasionally seen.
  • Ridgebacks tend to be enthusiastic eaters when kept on a daily routine. However, monitoring food consumption is necessary to keep them from overeating. Bloating could become a problem if they eat too much or too quickly.
  • This breed can be stubborn when not properly trained. In training, they will respond best to a calm voice and demeanor. Consistency is key. Training as puppies is a must to encourage best behaviors.
  • Ridgebacks need daily exercise to ensure good behaviors. An hour of vigorous exercise is suggested daily. Since they are generally friendly with other dogs, an off-leash dog park for the trained Ridgeback may be the perfect ticket if the pet parent is not an athletic type. This breed is known as a favorite of athletes. These dogs loves nothing more than to interact with their guardians at exercise time.
  • Ridgebacks are not natural diggers like some breeds. However they may create cool summer spots in the backyard if left unsupervised.

Immune to insect bites… and several other unique facts

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are often referred to as the African Lion Hound. Courageous, tall and intimidating, they were bred to flush out lions. However, they were never natural born killers. The breed’s history dates back to the 16th century when the first Europeans explored the interior on the Cape of Good Hope. The early explorers discovered the Hottentot tribes living with semi-domesticated dogs. These canines had hair along their spine growing backward, hence the name Ridgebacks.

Ridgebacks were then bred by European farmers in the region to meet their needs for a hunting dog in the wilds of Africa. They required dogs that could flush out game, and valiantly guard their farms against prowlers and wild animals at night. The farmers also needed a dog that could withstand drastic changes in temperature, from the heat of the day to freezing nights. Their short hair helped them avoid ticks in the brush, and Ridgebacks could go 24 hours without water while hunting.

In 1922 a group of breeders in Zimbabwe established a standard for Rhodesian Ridgebacks that has been virtually unchanged to this day. The Zimbabwe Rhodesian Ridgeback is actually a mix of the original African dogs and other breeds. These dogs were bred for the specifics listed above. Several outstanding specimens were brought to the United States in the early 1950s. By 1955, Rhodesian Ridgebacks were the 112th breed admitted into the American Kennel Club.