Rhodesian Ridgeback | Dog Breed Guide

Rhodesian Ridgeback | Dog Breed Guide

by ScritchSpot

These fast and powerful hound dogs once helped big game hunters in Africa, and are steadfast family companions today.

Weight – Female: 70 pounds; Male: 85 pounds

Height – Female: 24-26 inches; Male: 25-27 inches

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Group: Hound group

Temperament: powerful, devoted

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

The wheaten-colored Rhodesian Ridgeback was developed by Dutch colonists in South Africa as a cross of native Khoikhoi dogs with European breeds like Greyhounds, terriers and other breeds. They have been used to accompany big game hunters; Ridgebacks excelled at fending off dangerous animals and confronting lions. Today they are known for their loyalty and affection towards their family. 

These brave dogs were once known as African Lion Hounds, and their red-gold appearance allowed them to evade the biggest cats of them all, the African Lion. This pedigree is substantial, but other than a strong chase instinct, the breed is very family friendly today and is tolerant of children.

Prey drive means smaller animals are best kept in other homes, and fenced-in quarters are essential. Their short, smooth coat has a signature ridge of hair along the spine that grows in the opposite direction. Another easily identifiable trait is a wide white marking on the chest. Their floppy hound ears help sounds and smells get exactly where they need to go for excellent tracking skills. 

If you love summertime, this is a hardy breed to consider as they tend to be resistant to bug bites and high temperatures. They can live in cities or the country provided they get enough of a workout. Try to go past the basic walk with this dog, it's smart enough for games and smart enough to get bored.


With a short coat, Rhodesian Ridgebacks don’t need much more than the occasional brushing to remove loose hair. Be sure to keep the nails trimmed and bathe as needed. Don’t forget to clean their ears and teeth regularly as well.

Energy Level

When you own a tracking dog, they need daily exercise. Take your devoted pal on a nice long stroll each day and engage in play regularly. This breed also enjoys exercising their mind and body with canine sports like tracking and agility. 

Health Concerns

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Thyroid problems 
  • Dermoid sinus

Breeders must check their stock for hip dysplasia and dermoid sinus. Be sure to take your pet to the vet regularly for checkups. Pet insurance can help offset the costs from unexpected accidents or illnesses so that Rhodesians can get the veterinary care they need.