Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Breed
Aliases: Ridgeback, Lion Dog, and the African Lion Hound
|Life Span:||9-15 years of age, with an average of 12 years.|
|Litter Size:||7 to 8 puppies|
|Group:||The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed of dog belongs to the hound group (Group 2), and is placed in position 56 of the AKC breed listing. The family it is best known for are the Sighthound, Scenthound, and Southern (sight).|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NZKC|
|Color:||solid colors of blue, black, red/fawn, or beige for show. also brindle and white for non-show.|
|Male Height:||25 to 27 inches in height at the withers|
|Male Weight:||about 85 pounds but it is known that some males reach up to 160 pounds,|
|Female Height:||24 to 26 inches in height|
|Female Weight:||70 pounds|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
The coat of the Rhodesian Ridgeback has an appearance that is short and dense, sleek and glossy--neither wooliness nor silkiness is accepted. An easy to groom and low maintenance dog, the breed has been developed for hunting in the African brush.
The colors of the Ridgebacks are solid colors of blue, black, red/fawn, or beige for show or exhibiting dogs. But additional colors of brindle and white are also found in this breed. Ridge patterns vary--needle, feather, arrow, lute, violin, bowling pin, leaf, and saddleback. The patterns may be slightly lighter or darker in color than the body, but are acceptable as long as they are clearly defined and symmetrical. The broader the ridge, the higher the value of the dog.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback was developed as a special breed from Southern Africa in Rhodesia, or modern day Zimbabwe, to harass a lion or keep it at bay for the master or hunter to make the kill. The breed was first written with standards in 1922, with its parent breed company formed by Francis R. Barnes in Bulawayo. But its history goes back even further, with records showing that the Ridgeback went back as far as the Hottentots of Southern Africa in the 1400s.
A native of South Africa, the breed\'s history begins when the first Dutch Settlers entered the area of Cape of Good Hope and Namibia in Southern Africa, and discovered the Hottentot tribes. The Dutch word "hottentot" refers to the stammering or stuttering, which could have been given to the Hottentot tribes because of the unusual clicking sounds the tribesmen made when they spoke. But it was also found in the writings of Eighteenth Century Europeans, and was considered a standard of the most savage and lowest of human beings, with the word Hottentot describing the actual Khoikhoi tribes. They were considered to be the lowest rung of "The Great Chain of Being" which meant they were on the level of animals, if not below. In actuality, the term Khoikhoi was referred to by the tribe itself as "men of men" or "a pure race."
But what they did have of value was a domesticated dog with a ridge of hair on its back turned backward, which eventually becoming the Rhodesian Ridgeback, with the European immigration bringing in their own dogs until 1707, when the imports were closed to Europe. Good hunting dogs became hard to find in this area, especially one that would flush partridge, pull down a wounded stag, or guard a farm home. A hardy breed was need that could withstand the rigors of the African bush weather and go without water for 24 hours if necessary. And one that would be a companion dog with the settler and his family. Over the years, a dog was developed from the Hottentot tribe\'s half-wild ridged dogs that was cross-bred with the European\'s finest imported dogs--Danes, Mastiffs, Greyhounds, Salukis, Bloodhounds, and other breeds--before the immigration was shut down.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is known as an extremely protective guard dog, in addition to being a keen and versatile hunter. Gentle enough to play with young children it is quite protective of its family, this elegant dog is tough and strong enough to hunt lions while guarding homes and settlements. It is a breed tough enough to withstand cold or heat, explore with the hunter, and hunt in the brushes. Keen eyesight is an excellent feature of the breed, as it accompanies the hunter with silent tracking and determination, able to work in diverse terrains while working together with a pack of hounds.
Strong-willed and powerful, the Rhodesian Ridgeback can become very domineering and strong minded if not trained properly as a young puppy. Otherwise, it is very active and fun-loving, independent in nature yet intelligent enough for most people to work with. When fully grown, the Ridgeback enjoys the company of other animals, such as dogs and cats, protecting what it considers his property against unwelcome strangers, danger, or unwanted intruders.
Even the Ridgeback that is quite mature is enjoyable in its later years. Romping in the back yard or going to the park with its owners, taking naps on the couch, or even training in lure-coursing and agility is still a feat that the Ridgeback is capable of enjoying. As an intelligent breed, this dog is best when its desire to please is recognized and praised through the spirit of adventure, instead of through boring and repetitive dog training exercises that come out of mass-produced books and classes.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is not like a Maltese or a Cocker Spaniel. This breed requires a very strong willed owner, as the Ridgeback\'s will and personality are extremely difficult to deal with. The owner needs to be committed entirely to the breed, the required obedience training, and to provide the dog with stimulation enough for the mind and body.
Thyroid Disease - High Risk
The Rhodesian Ridgeback ranks #15 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. There is a high risk of obtaining a dog that will develop thyroid disease. For this reason you should make sure you, or your breeder, are testing all dogs before breeding. It may even be a good idea to test dogs that you don't plan on breeding so that any instance of disease can be traced back to breeding pairs and eliminated.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
Puppies who have this disease are usually put to sleep, or if surgery is performed before they go to their new homes, they will be sold as pet stock only, not allowed to be sold as breeding material. The Dermoid sinuses are not similar in their makeup, which sometimes makes them impossible to find and remove, or see how far into the spine area they may go. Puppies who are not able to be fixed with surgery, need to be put to sleep.