Rhodesian Ridgeback

Ranked 41st out of over 280 dog breeds on the 2021 popularity list of the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Rhodesian Ridgeback is one breed that never fails to stun the audience and is tough to forget. So, what dog breed is it exactly?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a distinguished, solid, and muscular variety of the Hound and originates from the Southern Africa region. In your first encounter with this doggie, you’ll instantly notice a ridge on the back.

Several other factors define this buddy. These are intelligence and athleticism. The characteristics make it resourceful in tracking, hunting, and dog sports. Again, this canine is your favorite companion in hiking and jogging.

Some aspects are vital for the Rhodesian Ridgeback. For example, mental stimulation. This dog resents boredom. When the Rhodesian Ridgeback is bored, it’s usually destructive. In addition, exercise is another necessity for the Rhodesians. In a day, subject your pup to vigorous activities, with each session not exceeding 40 minutes.

It’s worth noting that this pup isn’t for everyone due to its level of intelligence and agility. Nonetheless, if you need a confident, independent, stubborn, and protective dog, this buddy is your ideal choice.

How Big Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Get?

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The size of a Rhodesian Ridgeback depends on gender. A male dog has a height of approximately 26 to 28 inches and weighs almost 86 lbs. On the other hand, the female one has a height of 24.5 to 26.7 inches and is about 70.5 lbs. What about its appearance?

Coat Colors And Patterns

A Rhodesian Ridgeback is typically in a solid color that is chiefly brown. The color of this buddy can vary from wheat-colored to deep mahogany. Some Rhodesian Ridgebacks have dots on their paws and chests.

Its head is typically elongated. The ears are wide and rounded, and they hang close to their head. Their necks are powerful and don’t have any loose skin. They have a well-stretched abdomen and a long, deep chest.

How Can You Tell A Rhodesian Ridgeback?

There are several ways to identify this puppy. The first one is the texture of the coating. It’s usually short-haired, sleek, and glossy. Again, the coat color is another feature. Rhodesian Ridgebacks range from red wheaten to light wheaten. Some dogs will have whitish dots on their toes and chest.

The other way to tell this canine is by studying their ridge features. The dogs, as their name indicates, are defined by a back ridge. The ridge begins behind their shoulders and continues to a noticeable point at their hips.

Do you wonder what causes the ridge? The ridge results from hair that grows in the opposite direction of Rhodesian Ridgeback’s back, unlike the other coating on the rest of their body.

In addition, other aspects in terms of its temperament can assist you in identifying this dog breed. These dogs are highly territorial, intelligent, and independent.

How Rare Is A Rhodesian Ridgeback?

These buddies are considerably rare. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot get one, as this dog breed is not extinct. Their price tag of $3,000 is another indication of their rarity.

How Long Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Live?

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A Rhodesian Ridgeback is said to have a lifespan of 12 to 13 years.

Nonetheless, for your dog to have a happy, healthy life, you’ll need to ensure it’s free from the following common health issues:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a heritable health condition that prevents the thigh bone from fitting in the hip joint. Some signs that your Rhodesian Ridgeback may portray when suffering from this disease include lameness of the rear leg and pain. Still, some dogs, even when infected, don’t exhibit any of these signs.

Elbow Dysplasia

The disease is heritable and associated with large canine breeds. It usually arises when there is a disparity in the bones’ growth rate that constitutes the elbow. Consequently, it leads to joint laxity and lameness, both of which can be rather painful to the Rhodesian Ridgeback while walking.

Dermoid Sinus

A dermoid sinus is a skin disorder that arises when there’s a narrow structure along the dog’s spine. The puppies that suffer from this disease are euthanized. On the other hand, large dogs, like Rhodesian Ridgebacks, may have to undergo surgery to remedy the health issues.

Dental Diseases

Dental diseases usually begin when tartar builds up in your Rhodesian Ridgeback’s teeth. With time, the teeth, gums, and roots are infected too. When not treated in time, your doggie loses teeth, making them prone to a damaged liver, kidneys, joints, and heart.


Obesity is a health risk that a Rhodesian Ridgeback may suffer from due to its large appetite. It’s characterized by heart disease, back pain, joint problems, and metabolic and digestive disorders.

How To Take Care Of Your Rhodesian Ridgeback?

There are various aspects to note when it comes to caring for a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Feeding it a high-quality diet, regular exercise, and taking care of its dental health and grooming needs, are fine examples of these aspects.

As the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s hair coat is usually short, smooth, and shed moderately, it will require less sophisticated grooming care as regular brushing will suffice. You’ll need to clean their ears frequently so that they don’t succumb to ear infections. Another thing you’ll need to do is trim their nails and brush their teeth often.


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These dogs feed on different amounts of food, depending on their age, size, activity level, metabolism, and build. Nevertheless, experts recommend that you provide them with a daily dose that doesn’t exceed 4.5 cups. The food should always be of a high-quality diet.

This dog feeds on dried dog food blended with broth, canned food, and water. It also loves vegetables, fruits, cottage cheese, and boiled eggs. Any meal you present to these buddies should be of high quality.

When it comes to eating, dental health is one aspect that is often neglected. To protect your dog’s dental health and further simplify the process, it is strongly recommended to use dental water additives. Just add a few drops into the drinking water such that your canine buddy can cleanse its mouth of harmful bacteria while drinking.

Physical Exercise Requirements

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a very active dog, which makes physical and mental exercise their primary need. On a daily basis, you’ll have to subject your canine buddy to an exercise routine of 30 to 40 minutes. Again, you’ll need to keep its behavior in check as this dog chases anything in motion.

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Smart? Temperaments Of Rhodesian Ridgebacks

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an independent, strong-willed dog breed of mediocre intelligence. According to Stanley Cohen’s book, The Intelligence of Dogs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks belong to the category of average obedience intelligence. Still, this dog breed is capable of learning a handful of commands with ease.

With regular training and repetitions, it is capable of learning more complex commands, such as fetching the mail and doing the army crawl. The Rhodesian Ridgeback can be a good family dog once properly trained and socialized.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are friendly, quiet, and calm. If you have children, this dog breed shall be their excellent partner. Still, they will need your guidance and patience continuously.


If you are looking for a home guardian, look no further. This puppy will get you sorted, as its calm temperament and guarding instincts are adequate to safeguard your home. In addition, when it identifies strangers, it becomes aloof and reserved.


A Rhodesian Ridgeback loves the company of other dogs. However, this only happens if you raise your canine buddy with other dogs to promote socialization at an early age. Males will always be aggressive to each other when not neutered.

Therefore, it is strongly advisable not to have several male Rhodesian Ridgebacks living within the premise. Train your buddy to be friendly and expose it to different creatures right from puppyhood to prevent this.

High Prey Drive

It is highly recommended not to keep any other small pet or animal within reach of a Rhodesian Ridgeback. When your canine buddy hasn’t been trained to be friendly, it will prey on these small creatures.


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These dogs don’t bark aimlessly. They do it when it’s worthwhile. For instance, when bored or after spotting something strange.


During the teething period, especially when the dog is almost 4.5 months, they are detrimental. However, this occurs when you don’t avail them of chewing things. These things include bones and fun toys. You can also manage their adolescent stages through crate training.


When you subject a Rhodesian Ridgeback to loneliness, it’s going to start roaming out of boredom. The sad news is that it may get knocked over by automobiles. This over-emphasizes why you need a good fence if you’re keeping these buddies.

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Shed? Grooming Tips For Rhodesian Ridgebacks

The Rhodesian Ridgeback usually is short-haired, and it sheds off its hair on a moderate basis in a year. It sheds more in spring when it gets warmer. It’s actually easy to maintain this dog. To control the shedding, you’ll need to brush it once weekly using a short-haired pet brush. Note that you can’t stop the shedding, as it is a natural behavior of a healthy dog.

Brushing And Grooming Routine

When we dive deeper into the technical aspect of the shedding behavior in Rhodesian Ridgebacks, there are two things you can do to retain a glossy red wheaten coat. The first thing is to choose the most appropriate brush for short-haired dogs to help with the removal of excess loose hair that may otherwise trap dirt and dust. You can rely on the FURminator Undercoat Tool to help you with the brushing.

The second thing is to set a routine of when to groom the Rhodesian Ridgeback. As quoted earlier, grooming should be done once every week. Setting up a weekly reminder on your smartphone is the way to go. It’s good to note that the health of this canine determines how much it sheds. When you realize that its shedding levels become abnormal, there are two things up for consideration.

The first thing is a poor diet due to a lack of multivitamins. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in maintaining coat health. On the other hand, you may think it’s a good idea to feed your buddy with leftover food. However, it is not a good idea for the sake of your dog’s coat health, as leftovers can deteriorate in quality over time.

The next thing is stress. The stress levels in your dog can have a significant impact on its shedding, as mental health affects canines on a physiological level. If you notice your dog shivering, having its tail tucked between its rear legs, or hiding in dark corners of the house, try calming it with a weighted blanket and eliminate any possible triggers within the vicinity.

Bathing The Rhodesian Ridgeback

Bathing is suitable for these canines, but you should only do it when it’s necessary. When you plan to bathe it, use Paws & Pals 6-In-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo. Bathing should be after a walk during mucky days. Continuous bathing subjects the dog to skin irritation, as essential oils to protect the skin are removed with each bath.

How Much Does A Rhodesian Ridgeback Cost? The price of a Rhodesian Ridgeback ranges between $1,750 to $2,550. However, the price may be higher depending on warranties, bloodline, health test, and pedigree status. The cost of this African dog breed may also depend on the length of breeding and training from the breeder.

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Like Swimming? Many Rhodesian Ridgebacks dislike water. However, this doesn’t indicate that these dogs can’t swim. When the puppy receives excellent training from professionals, it can become an outstanding swimmer through patience and regular practice. Therefore, if you don’t want to share the pool with your canine, this dog breed is a perfect choice.

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Fast? The Rhodesian Ridgeback is capable of running up to a top speed of 30 miles per hour. If you love engaging in athletic activities with your pet, you will have fun with the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Many canine breeds can’t match the pace of this puppy. It’s worth noting that if it’s not well taken care of, the dog may not maintain this pace.

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Pete Decker