Rhodesian Ridgeback - You Asked for It and Now You Have It

Rhodesian Ridgeback: -

You Asked for and now you have it.

BACKGROUND

Centuries ago, when the first white people arrived in South Africa, they found that the Hottentots at the Cape were using dogs of the Ridgeback type for hunting purposes. The peculiar ridge of hair, running parallel to the spine and in reverse to the rest of the coat, at once distinguished it from other breeds. During the 19th Century big game hunting flourished in Southern Africa, particularly in the area north of the Limpopo River, later to become known as Rhodesia (after its founder Cecil John Rhodes).

Hunters were quick to realize the value and importance of good hunting dogs. In choosing dogs to fill this role, it was natural that they turned to a native breed - the Ridgeback - a dog that had, for generations, proved such a boon to the African Hottentot with his primitive weapons of the chase. The origin of the breed is not definitely known, but the most generally accepted view seems to be that it is the result of crossing the Cuban Bloodhound with the Hottentot hunting dog, the latter supplying the characteristic ridge.

From such a breeding one would expect just such characteristics as the Ridgeback so markedly shows - speed, power, courage, fidelity, and in addition, a remarkable skill in tackling wild animals. Unfortunately for the breed, the name Lion Dog became popular because several big game hunters found them by far the best for lion hunting, and this led many to assume that the dogs were the actual killers of lions, although no dog would have stood a chance in a fight with a lion. Ridgebacks would harass the lion by constant feint attacks until it was held in sheer bewilderment, giving the hunter a shot at close range. With the advent of long range rifles, hunters dispensed with the use of dogs so the Ridgeback has had to turn to its other vocation, that of guard dog.

AVERAGE LIFESPAN

Rhodesian Ridgebacks live from between 10 to 12 years of age.

AVERAGE SIZE & WEIGHT

61cm to 69cm

32kg to 36.5kg

BREED PERSONALITY, CHARACTERISTICS & TEMPERAMENT

The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a delightful nature, being a faithful one-man or family dog. It is very affectionate and likes to lean on you, lie at your feet or sit on your lap if permitted. It is extremely loyal to those it loves. Although not an aggressive dog, the Ridgeback is distinctly reserved with strangers and usually objects to people making the first advances to it. It is placid and easy going, putting up with endless torment from children, as well as being highly intelligent and quick to learn. Happy to participate fully in family activities, the Ridgeback is equally content to laze around all day if there is nothing better to do. An excellent guard dog, it has a deep bark to warn intruders to keep away. Friendship, once given, is for life.

COMPATIBILITY WITH OTHER PETS

It is compatible with other domestic animals, but needs training regarding livestock.

CARE REQUIREMENTS

This is a fast growing dog that should not be overfed or over exercised as a puppy, as this puts too much stress on developing bones.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE

Remember that this breed is part of the hound fraternity and likes to chase. Secure fencing and gates are needed.

IDEAL OWNER/S

No single breed of dog ideally suits everyone and there are aspects of the Ridgeback character that may not appeal to some people. The Ridgeback is independent and stubborn and if you give it an order when it would prefer to be doing something else you will probably not get instant results. Servility plays no part in the temperament of this breed, but if you want the rewarding companionship of a dog that has spirit and considers it your equal rather than your slave, you need look no further. The Ridgeback is extremely tolerant of children, however is not so well suited to older folk, who may have trouble handling a boisterous puppy.

IN CONCLUSION

If you have decided that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the dog for you and you realize that this dog can be stubborn and so needs firm but fair discipline

DECISION TIME

Before making a decision on getting a puppy, here are some articles you might find helpful:

  • What do we need to consider if we are thinking of buying a puppy?
  • How do I determine which breeder to use?
  • What should you ask the breeder?
  • How do you check if the breeder is reputable?
  • What to ask your vet prior to buying a puppy

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog breed indigenous to Southern Africa. Its European forebears can be traced to the early pioneers of the Cape Colony of southern Africa, who crossed their dogs with the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the Khoisan people (referred to by the colonists as "Hottentots").

In the earlier parts of its history, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has also been known as Van Rooyen's Lion Dogs, the African Lion Hound or African Lion Dog—Simba Inja in Ndebele, Shumba Imbwa in Shona—because of their ability to harass a lion and keep it at bay while awaiting their master to make the kill.

The original breed standard was drafted by F.R. Barnes, in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (modern day Zimbabwe), in 1922. It was based on that of the Dalmatian and was approved by the South African Kennel Union in 1926.

The Ridgeback's distinguishing feature is the ridge of hair along its back running in the opposite direction to the rest of its coat. It consists of a fan-like area formed by two whorls of hair (called "crowns") and tapers from immediately behind the shoulders, down to the level of the hips. Some Ridgebacks are born without ridges, and until recently, most ridgeless puppies were culled, at birth. Today, many breeders opt instead to spay and neuter these offspring to ensure they will not be bred.

Male Ridgebacks: - Should be 25-27 inches (63-69 cm) at the withers and weigh approximately 85 lb (36.5 kg FCI Standard), females 24-26 inches (61-66 cm) and approximately 70 lb (32 kg). Ridgebacks are typically muscular and have a light wheaten to red wheaten coat, which should be short, dense, sleek and glossy in appearance and neither woolly nor silky. Ridgebacks have a strong, smooth tail, which is usually carried in a gentle curve backwards. The eyes should be round and should reflect the dog's color—skin pigment, not coat color: dark eyes with a black nose (regardless of coat color), amber eyes with a liver nose. The liver nose is a recessive gene so therefore is not as common as a black nose; some breeders believe the inclusion of livernoses in a breeding program is necessary for maintaining the vibrancy of the coat.

Other breeds with a ridge of fur along the spine include:

Temperament

Ridgebacks are loyal and intelligent. They are, however, aloof to strangers, and can be territorial and aggressive without proper handling. This breed requires training and dedication and is only for the experienced dog owner. They are strong-willed, intelligent, and many seem to have a penchant for mischief though lovingly. They do not make a good first dog, though the same traits that make them difficult often appeal to the more experienced owners. Although they can withstand wide temperature variations due to their African heritage, they are sensitive and prefer to be with their human families inside. They were traditionally hunters, guardians and companions.

Despite their athletic, sometimes imposing exterior, the Ridgeback has a sensitive side. Excessively harsh training methods that might be tolerated by a sporting or working dog will likely backfire on a Ridgeback. The Ridgeback accepts correction as long as it is fair and justified, and as long as it comes from someone he knows and trusts.

This does sound like a lot of human beings

I know, and a few Hubbers as well. Incidently this is by a guy who thought he knew alittleabout marmalade. Maybe overnight he might be known as Ridgeback Man

Francis R. Barnes, who wrote the first standard in 1922, acknowledged that "rough treatment ... should never be administered to these dogs, especially when they are young. They go to pieces with handling of that kind”

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Comments 32 comments

MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney Author

Here is the Dog yo wanted it as a PET


omdelhi profile image

omdelhi 8 years ago from New Delhi

Again a good hub from your side. thanx for sharing.


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney Author

It was a pleasure to be able to deliver


aman 8 years ago

I like pets.Thanks a lot for sharing with us.


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney Author

As I see this great more I like it more and more

Thank you


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

Very good hub full of good information.  This dog is a little litlte bit too big for me.  Well done.  Merry Xmas

Ho! Ho! Ho!


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Very interesting hub..I am learning so much here at hubpages about so many things, so thanks for sharing:)


manoharv2001 profile image

manoharv2001 8 years ago from Bangalore - 560097, Karnataka, India

I love pets.Thanks a lot for sharing with us.


Michele Engholm profile image

Michele Engholm 8 years ago from Hutchinson

Great Job here Mr. Marmalade! Once again you have hit it out of the park!


Abhinaya 8 years ago

Last time you had so many breeds together.Now try explaining one by one.That is my way of learning.

Loved it.Thanks:)


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney Author

Okay When I have nothing to say, I will do another dog.

How's that

Thank you


gabriella05 profile image

gabriella05 8 years ago from Oldham

Thank you MrMarmalade I am defiantly getting one for my little girl

Great hub by the way


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney Author

I hope you will teach her to look after this beautiful dog

Rhodesian Ridgeback?

87% of Rhodesian Ridgebacks die too early. Free report reveals why! This was an add featured by Google when I opened the above hub. Please check it out. so you do not create an issue for you latter on. Have a great new Year


Caregiver-007 profile image

Caregiver-007 8 years ago from Florida

This intelligent, willful breed can be really adorable, playful, and loving. A doctor friend has one. But the dog needs to be run on a bike a minimum of twice daily (prefers 3-4 times)... for MILES each time... As with most working breeds, it MUST have a focused "job" and lots of exercise, or all that pent-up energy will cause problems. When you can't do it, get someone else to. My doctor friend gets Rena Murray (his neighbor) to run the dog, and to care for it when he's away.

Dogs aren't concerned with "servitude" and it's not that at all. Working breeds aren't happy unless they have a "job" (like running on a leash with you, pulling a cart, etc.) about which to be proud and which keeps them from getting bored out of their skulls. They were born to work, and they aren't happy if they can't do that for which they were bred. And their inborn nature seeks the dog pack structure and psychology, so they WANT a strong leader - which is what true "dog whispering" is all about - leadership and natural dog communication systems. Then they don't feel that they have to fill that leadership position themselves (feeling they need to is stressful for them actually, but they WILL fill the void - and you might not like how they choose to do it!)

You are so right - the Rhodesian Ridgeback is NOT a dog for an inexperienced dog owner! If someone gets one and wants another dog behaviorist's view, they might want to contact Rena, too, through her website - http://www.PawPersuasion.com . Thanks for teaching people about this dog breed. It's a great Hub, and a great sevice.

You write good Hubs. Why not let us know more about you on your profile?


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney Author

Firstly thank you for your very comprehensive knowledge

on that beautiful yet willful dog. Your knowledge is obviously

more comprehensive, than my scamped little piece.

Secondly I thought I could serve my apprenticeship with some

hubs, before I had my 21st.

I guess seeing you asked, I will endeavour to do some time this week

Thanks for your support and request.


Chris Miller 8 years ago

Iam new to your blog.You have a great hub.Nice article.Good work.Thanks for this informative article.


Chris Miller 8 years ago

Iam new to your blog.You have a great hub.Nice article.Good work.Thanks for this informative article.


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney Author

Chris than you for visiting I hope to enterain you in 2008


jboland profile image

jboland 8 years ago from Chico, CA

I grew up with a Rhodesian, she was the sweetest dog. She was stubborn, but with her family (us) she was loyal and a total sweetheart. Thanks for the great hub. Jesse


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney Author

I love these big dogs.

Although I was bitten by a dog once as a small boy, I have never been frightened of dogs.

I believe they smell fear and react agressively

Thanks for your comment


Deirdre 8 years ago

Hello, thanks what a nice hub. I m searching for a good puppie - so hard to know whether you've got one that has a good family background: parents with nice behavior, and whether its breeders have treated and enriched the puppie well during the first 7 weeks. Also, another question is whether there are any inbreeading problems known with Ridgebacks? Thank you for any expert advise!


Deirdre 8 years ago

Hello, thanks what a nice hub. I m searching for a good puppie - so hard to know whether you've got one that has a good family background: parents with nice behavior, and whether its breeders have treated and enriched the puppie well during the first 7 weeks. Also, another question is whether there are any inbreeading problems known with Ridgebacks? Thank you for any expert advise!


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney Author

Deirdre,

You are stretching my knowledge area considerably, I will endeavour to find out for you.

thank you for your question.


Annette Rozen profile image

Annette Rozen 8 years ago

well researched and well written. Although i know you didn't choose the topic, i happen to love your topics, as i would never think to research them myself, however when i find myself reading what you wrote, im rather intrigued. Keep 'em coming!!


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney Author

Annette,

After such a wonderful eulogy how can I not do what you have commanded,

I am doing a Hub on Passion. I hope you will have a time to read it.

I have to get it through the hierarchy yet.

Thank you


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas

We've owned and raised two Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Our first lived for 15 years. Our second is now 7 years old. The temperament of the two is quite different. Our first one loved to run and my husband would ride the bike with the dog running with him. This second dog prefers to lazy around. Both have been excellent guard dogs. They are very loyal and territorial.


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 7 years ago from Sydney Author

I have some books on the above and for what I have read, I would have to agree with you.

I have never owned one.

We had a a great dog called Rex and he was our doberman. He always shook hands with the burglars and when i was away traveling Val never locked the back door. Rex use to sit inside against that door.

Now he is not going to shake your hand, if you come around when he is endeavouring to sleep.

He is asleep permanently now.

Thank you

 


Sandra 7 years ago

I have Violet, who we rescued nine years ago. She is not full rhodesian Ridgeback but you would not know it to look at her. She has been a joy in our lives as we are a moderately large family of five and she loves everyone of us. You are right about the stubbornness but I hope your wrong about the life span. If you want a dog who has a wonderful personality this is definitely the one.


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 7 years ago from Sydney Author

Seeing you love your Rhodeswian so much, I sincerely hope you will achieve many more years with Man's best friend


kevin 7 years ago

BESS IS OUR SECOND RIDGEBACK,WITHOUT DOUBT THE BEST COMPANION YOU COULD WISH FOR.OUR ADVICE IS TO CRATE TRAIN.DONE PROPERLY THEY ADJUST REALLY QUICK.


kevin 7 years ago

BESS IS OUR SECOND RIDGEBACK,WITHOUT DOUBT THE BEST COMPANION YOU COULD WISH FOR.OUR ADVICE IS TO CRATE TRAIN.DONE PROPERLY THEY ADJUST REALLY QUICK.


Roman ridgeback 4 years ago

Thanks for ur hub very interest ing i got my first dog a year ago he is a male ridgeback he is so loyal and amazing with my kids they are hard but if u put the work in and gain trust you have an amazing loyal companion

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