All About the Breed Rhodesian Ridgeback

Have you suddenly fallen for the Rhodesian Ridgeback? Get to know everything about the breed, including: breed history, personality traits, train-ability, benefits and disadvantages of the breed, and common health concerns.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are gorgeous, muscular, and energetic dogs.

But how do you know whether you're ready to purchase a puppy and if the breed is right for you?

This information is absolutely necessary in deciding whether this is the right pet for you and your family.


A native of South Africa, the history of Rhodesian Ridgebacks dates back to the 1600's when European settlers domesticated and began breeding the dogs. The breed was originally intended to make a superior hunting dog, as Ridgebacks are known for high energy levels and the ability to adapt to most any environment.

Today, most Rhodesian Ridgebacks are bred as either show dogs or family pets.

Personality Traits

The Rhodesian Ridgeback belongs to the hound family and possesses many typical hound traits, such as being very sweet and a fun goofball at play. Adult Ridgebacks are typically very calm, relaxed, and loving when in their home and comfortable environments.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the most territorial of the hound group and when properly trained, make excellent guard dogs.


Because the Ridgeback belongs to the hound family and has a history as a hunting dog, the need to chase is very strong in this breed. Due to this instinct, Ridgebacks may ignore your calls and commands and be difficult to maintain while training. Young Ridgebacks can be overly energetic and difficult to pick up on simple commands and housebreaking.

Benefits and Disadvantages of the Breed

The benefits to owning a Rhodesian Ridgeback are many. These are medium-sized, agile, and energetic dogs that love to play and be near their masters. Adult Ridgebacks are typically calm, relaxed, and confident dogs with a short, easy to care for coat.

Unfortunately, there are disadvantages to this breed. Due to their territorial nature and chasing instincts, untrained Rhodesian Ridgebacks may become overly aggressive and injure and even kill other pets, neighborhood pets, and small creatures such as squirrels and chipmunks.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks need daily exercise to maintain their impressive physique, so anyone wishing to purchase a puppy without adequate time and space is strongly advised against owning this breed. Ridgebacks not receiving enough exercise can become quite the nuisance, destroying property and disobeying commands.

While Ridgebacks are popular among the show crowds, breeders can be difficult to locate and puppies often rather expensive.

Common Health Concerns

Like all hounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are extremely sensitive when it comes to anesthesia. Owners are advised to have a thorough discussion with their veterinarian before committing to any surgical procedure for a Ridgeback.

Elbow and hip disease and deformity is a common concern for this breed. Most breeders have puppies screened for these issues before being sold.

For reasons unknown, hypothyroidism affects this breed.

So now that you know all about the breed, do you think you're ready to own a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Remember, purchasing a puppy is an important decision that your entire family should discuss seriously.

For more information on Rhodesian Ridgebacks, visit The American Kennel Club.