How Much Does A Rhodesian Ridgeback Cost?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is also known as the African Lion Hound due to its historical use in lion hunting expeditions. Contrary to popular beliefs, this large beast of a dog cannot actually kill a lion. However, they are pretty formidable opponents that helped track and corner the wild cats. Today, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is kept mainly as a companion dog and is truly one of the best additions to any home if you are willing to pay the price.

Getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback from a reputable breeder will cost you between $2,000 to $2,500 or even more. This is due to a number of factors that contribute to the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s demand, ranging from its rarity to the niche size and aesthetic.

If you are considering getting one of these doggies, there is a lot you need to know about the real cost of owning one of them. But before we get into that, let’s see why they are so expensive to begin with.

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Expensive?

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Rhodesian Ridgebacks are quite expensive with their $2,000 to $2,500 price range.

If you are diligent, patient, and incredibly lucky, you could get a Rhodesian Ridgeback for as low as $700 from adoption shelters or direct sales through online forums. Unfortunately, this is a relatively rare breed so getting one through these channels may not be an option.

So why are Rhodesian dogs so expensive? Here are some of the main reasons why.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks Are Rare

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is quite rare averaging only about 2,000 registrations every year according to the American Kennel Club. This is not always enough to meet the demand which is why they are often priced so steeply.

Shipping Fees

More often than not, you will have to ship your Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy either from another state or from another country entirely. This contributes greatly to the initial purchase cost for the dog.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks Are Expensive To Breed

Another reason why these doggies are so expensive is the fact that they are also expensive to breed. From the stud fees to taking care of the large, pregnant females, it is no surprise that breeders charge so much for a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks Are Great Companion Pets

One of the main reasons why you should consider getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback is the fact that they are incredible pets. They are quite gentle with children and are awesome for family settings. They are also worth considering as a first timer but may be a bit of a handful so adequate preparation is crucial.

How Long Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Live For?

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Rhodesian Ridgebacks live for 11 to 13 years.

This is actually quite impressive for a breed this large as Rhodesian Ridgebacks grow to weight ranges of 80 to 110 lbs and heights of up to 24 to 31 inches. Their long lifespans considering their size is largely due to the fact that most of the health issues that affect them are not life-threatening. Here are some of these health problems that Rhodesian Ridgebacks have.

Dermoid Sinus

This is a rare, genetic condition that results in the formation of a mass of random tissues along the dog’s back. This mass could contain tissues like hair follicles and sweat glands. It is recommended that the sinus be taken out as early as possible to avoid the risk of nerve compression and other similar complications down the line.

Hip Dysplasia

This is common with large dogs and the Rhodesian Ridgeback is unfortunately not spared. If steps to manage the issue are not taken promptly, it often results in arthritis and chronic discomfort for the dog.

Degenerative Myelopathy

This is a condition marked by the breakdown of spinal cord tissues. It results in progressive loss of sensation and muscle power with multiple signs including dragging feet and weakness when standing. As with most other conditions affecting the breed, this may not directly kill the dog but it will definitely make life unbearable for them.

Gastric Volvulus

If you notice your pooch isn’t taking number 2 potty breaks as usual or they have a swollen tummy, this should be your first suspicion. The condition causes either the stomach, the intestines, or both to twist on themselves causing a lot of discomfort for your furry best friend as well as blocking the tract.

How To Take Care Of Rhodesian Ridgebacks?

Image from Instagram:@enzo_the_rhodesian_ridgeback

It is important that you understand how to take care of a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy before you bring one home with you. As earlier mentioned, they can be quite a handful and the last thing you want is to learn on the job as it affects how they settle into the home. To help you get started off on the right foot, here are a few general care tips you need to know.

Ensure They Get Enough Sleep

Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be a little too energetic and will not go to sleep without a firm command to do so. However, sleep is essential to their growth and wellbeing. Your job is to invest in a comfortable dog bed and doggy blanket and to establish a routine where the Rhodesian Ridgeback gets at least 12 hours of sleep every night.

Invest In Outdoor Time And Exercise

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a lot of energy that they need to burn off in which case exercise is the healthiest and least destructive way to do it. Rhodesian Ridgebacks need about 1 to 2 hours of exercise every day.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are quite versatile and will adapt to indoor living in apartment settings if they have to. However, they much prefer the outdoors so set aside this time for things like walks or swimming where the pooch gets to enjoy themselves properly.

Get Your Rhodesian Ridgeback On A Healthy Diet

Rhodesian Ridgebacks need high protein and high carb diets to help build muscles and sustain their energy demands respectively. They also need gut-friendly foods including vegetables and other fiber rich foods to help ease constipation which they are prone to.

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Include Multivitamin Supplements To Their Diet

In addition to the healthy and balanced diet, you should invest in micronutrient supplements including vitamins, minerals, as well as bone-friendly compounds like glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM. These help top up what may be missing from the dog’s main diet for an all-rounded approach to nutrition, and guard them against common diseases, like hip dysplasia as mentioned, from ruining their twilight years.

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Can Ridgebacks Be Left Alone? Temperament Of Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are pretty high maintenance when it comes to their personalities as they need a lot of attention and hands-on care. However, their endearing traits more than make up for the extra work you have to put in to keep them happy. Here are a few of these traits that you have to look forward to.


Rhodesian Ridgebacks are affectionate, gentle giants and really love to cuddle. They have very little respect for personal space and will do whatever it takes to be close to you for that sneaky snuggle.


Rhodesian Ridgebacks are also quite smart and therefore easy to train. Depending on where you take them for training, how old they are, and what type of training you want, you can expect to pay between $200 to $600 per week for professional training.

One way to really cut back on these costs is by doing it yourself. Brain Training for Dogs is a tool that will come in very handy in this case with its unique approach to the training.

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Contrary to popular belief, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are actually not dangerous. If anything, the even-tempered doggies are quite patient and tolerant even of a little rough handling by kids. This is one of the traits that makes them such awesome family pets.

Sensitive And Attention Seeking

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are very social and sensitive to the absence of those they value the most. They do not like to be left alone and will often whine a lot as a result of separation anxiety. If you can, take them with you on your errands or at least leave them with company, whether it is a sitter or another pet.

Do Ridgebacks Shed A Lot? Grooming Tips For Rhodesian Ridgebacks

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While Ridgebacks are notoriously high maintenance when it comes to emotional support, they are quite easy and cheap to take care of when it comes to grooming. This is because they shed minimally and are typically very clean dogs.

Professional grooming may cost you about $75 depending on the services. However, you can save this and actually take care of the dog yourself in which case here are their main grooming needs.

Brush Their Coats Once Or Twice A Week

Due to the limited shedding, you can get away with brushing your Rhodesian Ridgeback’s fur once every week or twice at most. Invest in a high quality brush with short bristles or even a grooming mitt as these are the best suited for the short and dense coat.

Wash The Dog Once Every 6 To 8 Weeks

Due to how clean they are and the fact that they rarely smell, you could also get away with long bath intervals of up to 2 months. When you do give them a bath, make sure to use shampoos and conditioners with natural ingredients that restore the coat and skin in case of any damage or irritation.

Clean Their Ears Regularly

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have floppy ears that often hide dirt and germs. These could lead to ear infections which is why it is important to clean them at least once every 2 weeks. When you do this, you must also dry them properly to avoid causing the infections you are working so hard to avoid.

Related Questions

Should I Get A Male Or Female Rhodesian Ridgeback? Male Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the best to go with especially if you are a first time owner. They are often more loyal and obedient and therefore easier to handle. However, they are quite needy and will need more time and attention than the smarter and more independent female Rhodesian Ridgeback.

How High Can A Rhodesian Ridgeback Jump? A Rhodesian Ridgeback can jump 4 to 6 feet with a good running start. This is important to know mainly if you are considering putting up a perimeter fence to keep your pooch from wandering off. This is also information that will come in handy if you are considering agility and sports training for your dog.

Can A Rhodesian Ridgeback Kill A Lion? Contrary to popular beliefs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks cannot actually kill a lion. They were often used in Africa to hunt lions where their job was primarily to track the lion and run them into traps and ambushes set up by their human companions. They actually do not directly engage the lions in fights.

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