Also known as the African Lion Dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed developed in Southern Africa. European immigrants to Southern Africa brought with them a variety of breeds including Danes, Mastiffs, Greyhounds, Bloodhounds, Terriers and other breeds. These were crossbred together with the semi-domesticated ridged hunting dogs of the Hottentots, a native race living close by the early settlers. This interbreeding and cross breeding resulted in the foundation stock of Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
It's name is derived from the distinctive ridge of hair that grows contrary to the direction of the coat. This ridge extends as a tapering line along the middle of its back and is normally about 2 inches (5 cm) in width at its widest point. It is classifed as a hound breed and like hounds the Rhodesian Ridgeback has an extremely keen sense of smell and is very quick.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks were popular amongst hunters for their ability to keep a lion at bay while awaiting its master to make the kill. Not only used in hunting, Ridgebacks were also developed as protection dogs for the family.
It should be noted each dog is unique in temperament. However, as the Ridgeback is considered the most aggressive of the hound group, it is generally not considered to be good around children, other dogs and strangers. Although not recommended as a family dog or for inexperienced owners, the Rhodesian Ridgeback would make a great companion for the owner looking for a dog that is attentive, courageous, independent, and loyal.
Height. 24-27 in (61-69 cm)
Weight. 70-100 lb (32-45 kg)
Ridgebacks are muscular and have a hard short coat that is either golden or reddish tan. White is acceptable on the chest and toes. Occasionally Ridgebacks have a dark mask. The dogs nose should be black or brown (liver) in keeping with the color of the dog. Golden tan dogs have amber eyes and brown noses. Reddish tan dogs have dark eyes and black noses. The tail and ears hang down.
Professional training is recommended for this breed.