Dog Breed

Rhodesian Ridgeback

RareSpeedsterGuard Dog
Primary image of Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed
Full Name
Rhodesian Ridgeback
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Life Span
10 - 12 years
75 - 80 pounds

An ancient breed from South Africa, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has a rich history... they were bred for hunting, and protection. However, because of their origin in South Africa, much of the hunting and protection came in the form of big game- they were even expected to protect from Lions!

Despite their large and athletic stance, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is actually very sensitive. They almost have a sixth sense when it comes to feeling emotions of their owners, or perceiving when other people are arriving to their property.

They truly are a special dog- but they demand a lot from their owner. They are not the best when left alone for long periods of time, and they need an owner who is strong willed, and ready to challenge them both physically and mentally. They can make excellent guard dogs, but need to be socialized with other dogs and people as puppies. s

South Africa
Bred For
Big game hunting, guarding
Family Considerations
Child Friendly

Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback good with children? Nearly all dogs enjoy playing with small children, but some can play too rough, or be a bit careless. In some cases dogs can get jealous of small children, or try and "herd" them due to their natural instincts.

Stranger Friendly

Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback friendly with strangers? Getting a dog that is friendly with people really depends on what your lifestyle is. Dogs who are more cautious with strangers oftentimes make good guard dogs, which can be a great fit for some owners. If you are social, live in the city, or frequently have guests over, you may want to consider getting a stranger friendly dog.

Dog Friendly

Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback friendly with other dogs? Of course this is particularly important if you already have another dog at home. However, it's an important factor to consider as well if you plan on frequently going to the dog park. Otherwise, even a dog who is not automatically friendly with other dogs can be an excellent fit, as they can still be affectionate with their human family.

Likes to Cuddle

Does the Rhodesian Ridgeback like to cuddle? All dogs want love, but they have different boundaries when it comes to physical affection. If you plan on frequently having a dog on your lap or pushed up against you, then you should consider whether this breed enjoys that.


Does the Rhodesian Ridgeback like to play? All puppies are playful, but as adults certain dogs are more playful. If you have children, or otherwise want to keep your dog active with plenty of play, there are plenty of options of breeds who will be happy to play all day.

Service Dog Ability

Does the Rhodesian Ridgeback make a good service dog? When looking to train a service dog it's important to consider how they were historically bred, and if their personality makes a good fit. A service dog must be smart, patient, and obsessed with pleasing their owner. Working dogs are a good fits since service dog 'work' gives them a feeling of accomplishment from doing a job.

Overall Ease of Breed
Ease for Novice

Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback good for first time owners? Dogs that are good for first time owners are ones who are easy to train, and are eager to please their owner. Very large dogs, or dogs with very high energy may also not be the best for first time owners since it adds a layer of complexity.

Training Potential

How well can the Rhodesian Ridgeback be trained? This rating is about the training potential of the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Dogs with high training potential oftentimes are good service dogs, police dogs, and dog show competition dogs. This does not necessarily mean they are the easiest to train, since many will be very intelligent and demanding.

Amount of Shedding

Does the Rhodesian Ridgeback shed a lot?

Ease of Grooming

Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback easy to groom?

Exercise Need

Does the Rhodesian Ridgeback need a lot of exercise?


How smart is the Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Amount of Barking

How much does the Rhodesian Ridgeback bark? Does the Rhodesian Ridgeback bark too much? It depends on your lifestyle, and where you live. Dogs use barking to communicate, keep guard, and alert. A strong bark can be a good characteristic for guard dogs, or flock guardian dogs who need to be vocal.In apartment living you should consider getting a dog who is less vocal.

Guard Dog Ability

Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback a good guard dog?

Tolerates Being Alone

Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback good at staying alone? Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback independent?

Home and Environment Considerations
Good for Apartment Living

Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback a good apartment dog? Can the Rhodesian Ridgeback live in an apartment without becoming frustrated or destructive? Typically people immediately consider the size of the dog, but energy level and historical habitat are also factors.


How big is the Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Tolerates Heat

How much does the Rhodesian Ridgeback tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Tolerates Cold

How much does the Rhodesian Ridgeback tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Potential to Run Away

Does the Rhodesian Ridgeback try to run away? Some dogs have natural wanderlust and are escape artists... they will do everything to get out and explore.

Physical Characteristics
General Health

Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback a healthy dog? The general health of a Rhodesian Ridgeback should be measured not just by how many years they live, but how often they have health issues during their lives. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.

Energy Level

How energetic is the Rhodesian Ridgeback? Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback too energetic for your lifestyle?

Amount of Drooling

How much does the Rhodesian Ridgeback drool?

Prey Drive

Does the Rhodesian Ridgeback have a large prey drive? Does the Rhodesian Ridgeback like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals? Prey drive can be bothersome at the park, but really an issue at home if you have small animals, since this comes as a natural instinct for dogs with high prey drive, to chase cats, birds, etc.


Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback atheltic? Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback fast and strong?

  • Hound
  • Scenthound
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a purebred dog that belongs to the Scenthound sub group, which falls under the larger Hound dog breed group.
Hound group: The hound has traditionally been used alongside hunters to track or chase prey. Unlike retrievers who are bred primarily to retrieve and bring back the prey, hounds were typically bred to have excellent vision, scent, or speed to pursue the prey. Because of the Hound's excellent vision, scent, and focus, they are a common police and secret services dog. Hounds are typically categorized into either "scent hounds" or "sight hounds". Both exercise and mental stimulation is important for hounds because of their history. They want to feel they have a "job" and want to go to bed feeling they have done their day's duty.
Scenthound sub-group: The scenthounds were the original hunting dogs. Many go back thousands of years, and their exceptional scent is something that has been passed down through the generations. Typically people think about dogs using their amazing smell for hunting, but it is also used for drug detection, and even finding people lost in the woods. Certain scenthounds have such amazing scent, that they can distinguish an injured person or animal from a non-injured one. Scenthounds can be trained very well, but may need a firm leader. They are used to working a job outside, so are not the ideal apartment dog.

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