Hopefully you have done your homework and understand more than the average Joe about our amazing breed. But if our site is part of your learning then let's begin with the basics.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback was developed in South Africa as a hunting dog who would also serve as a companion and family pet. The need for a dog who was independent enough to do the job while still wanting to belong to a family made for a unique challenge.
The original homesteaders and farmers brought their European Breeds with them but found they were unable to fully function in the Bush. Watching the native dogs work with the Tribesmen in a hunt proved their value easily. They were fearless but not fool hardy. Able to pack and push animals for the hunters after tracking, made them far more valuable then the prized hunting dogs brought from Europe. These Native dogs, the Khoi Khoi, ( also known as the Hottentot dog),were a scruffy looking dog with a ridge of hair that grew back wards down it's spine. Over a period of time the Native dogs were interbred with the European dogs to increase size and change their dispositions, producing the animal we now know as the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Can you guess some of the breeds used in the blending of our modern day dog?
You may be surprised to learn there is Mastiff , Great Dane, Pointer , Airedale , Greyhound and Bloodhound in their genetic back ground. And if you know anything about these breeds you will better understand the nature of the Ridgeback. While an independent thinker the breed is intensely loyal. Powerful , fearless, tenacious and fast. They hunt by both sight and scent making them an unusual hound indeed. Intelligence is another hallmark. They can plot, plan and out wit most common dog owners. This breed has a wicked sense of humor and the stories most RR owners can tell are amazing!
"Sox " Making an escape to see what is going on in another room! Below you see Baby Caine digging to China... sigh our back yard often looks like a war zone between the kids and the dogs we will never have to worry about winning an award for landscaping!
Jasmine the love of our lives, adored by 4 generations of the two leggers she cared for. Jazz with Tristan, you know what they say about the eyes being the window to the soul....?
In 1956 the Rhodesian Ridgeback made it's debut in the United States. Recognized by the AKC, American Kennel Club they first were shown as gun dogs. Later they made the move into the Hound Group. In both appearance and manner they are a true hound. Hunting by sight and scent they are both prey driven and self motivated. The different hound breeds tend to stay locked into predictable Hunting patterns. Some breeds have to be part of a hunting pack, working as a unit to drive or move prey. Taking turns in who leads , who swings to the side to flank. And other breeds hunt independently. They set off and woe be the hunter who can't keep up. With one thought , and one thought only ....they pursue. Once locked on, either they have prey in sight, or They are on the scent they are committed. No other thought. Ridgebacks are truly unique in their ability to hunt both ways.
Unlike some hound breeds, the Rhodesian Ridgeback thrives on being close to and part of the family. They were not meant to live outside and apart. To enjoy the personality to the fullest you should limit the number of Ridgebacks you own to allow you to spend time with each one daily. They both want , and need you to be a strong leader. Ridgebacks should go through a puppy kindergarten followed by a basic obedience training. Early and continued socialization are necessary to keep your dog a happy and enjoyable companion. Make a note here, an unhappy ridgeback is a destructive dog. And you have never seen canine destruction until you have shared a home with an disgruntled Ridgeback!! They need a moderate level
of exercise on a daily basis with the opportunity to run full out from time to time. This is not a dog who will play fetch with you endlessly. It is an amusing thought , but the reality is throw the ball once , they may happily go get it... throw it again ... they may go and get it , slower and with some attitude, throw it that third time they will get it dump it behind a bush and ignore you for a while... Seriously why should they keep getting the ball if you don't really want it? After all you keep throwing it away!
We have experienced the best this breed has to offer. They have been strong companions, self appointed guardians and incredible therapy dogs. Stepping in and becoming heating pads for aching muscles, heart monitors for a tiny preemie, seizure alert dog for medical issues and unfailing companions for family members young and old.