Rhodesian Ridgeback descended from native African dogs, notably the Khoi cattle dogs, crossed with European breeds brought in by settlers. Those breeds included English Greyhounds, mastiffs, and pointers, as well as Irish Wolfhounds. African farm dogs were also a part of the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed’s development. The big game hunter Cornelius Van Rooyen of Southern Rhodesia is credited with the development of the breed, known today as a fearless, versatile hunter and a protective guardian.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs stand 24 to 27 inches tall and weigh between 70 and 85 pounds. The head is broad and flat, the muzzle is long and powerful, the eyes are round, and the ears are dropped. The body is slightly longer than tall, and the tail is tapered and long. The coat is short and wheaten in color. The ridge on the back is characteristic of the breed, starting behind the shoulders and continuing to the hips. It is created by hairs growing in whorls (curled or spiral shapes) and in opposite directions of the coat. The coat is easy to care for and needs only a weekly brushing.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback enjoys being lazy and is great at finding comfortable spots for sunbathing or sleeping. However, this watchful dog breed can come alert in a second and is never lacking in energy when it’s needed. Dogs of the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed enjoy daily walks, a run alongside a bicycle, or a chance to hunt for small critters in the woodpile.
Basic obedience training is a must, or the Rhodesian Ridgeback will not be the pleasurable companion you seek. Training must be fair and consistent, and owners should understand that it takes many big dogs quite a while to mature. Most Rhodesian Ridgeback breed experts agree this is not the breed for first-time dog owners, primarily because the breed is very intelligent and can be a threatening watchdog. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is great with children and good with other dogs but should be supervised with smaller pets. Health concerns include problems with the dermoid sinus and hip dysplasia.