Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

27 July 2023

Let’s talk about… Rhodesian Ridgebacks: what are they?

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks, also known as African Lion Hounds, are a remarkable dog breed with a rich history.
  • Originating from southern Africa, they were originally bred by the indigenous Khoikhoi and San tribes.
  • They were later developed by European settlers in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia) to be versatile hunting dogs capable of tracking and guarding.
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks were originally bred to track and hold lions until the hunters arrived.
  • One of their distinctive features is the ridge of hair along their back that grows in the opposite direction to the rest of their coat, hence their name.
  • Ridgebacks are strong and muscular, making them well-suited for various tasks.
  • They stand at an average height of 63-69 cm for males and 61-66 cm for females, with weights ranging from 29 to 41 kg.
  • They can live for approximately 10 to 12 years.
Rhodesian Ridgeback  Exercise Needs 5/5 Grooming Ease 4/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Rhodesian Ridgebacks like?

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks possess a calm and confident temperament.
  • They are known for their loyalty and affection towards their families.
  • While they can be reserved with strangers, they are generally not aggressive.
  • Early socialisation is crucial to help them develop proper behaviour and be more comfortable around new people and animals.
  • Ridgebacks have a strong protective instinct, making them excellent watchdogs.
  • They are good with children, but supervision is necessary, especially when interacting with younger kids due to their size and strength.
Mabel, the Rhodesian Ridgeback

How much exercise do Rhodesian Ridgebacks need?

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks are an active breed that requires regular exercise to stay physically and mentally stimulated.
  • They thrive in an environment where they can engage in daily activities.
  • On average, they need at least 2 hours of exercise per day.
  • This can include brisk walks, jogging, playing fetch, or participating in dog sports such as agility or tracking.
  • Adequate exercise helps prevent boredom-related behaviours and promotes their overall well-being.
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies have specific exercise requirements that need to be carefully managed.
  • Until they reach around 18 to 24 months of age, their growing bodies are more susceptible to injuries.
  • Puppies should engage in shorter and controlled play sessions to avoid overexertion.
  • Always consult with your veterinarian for personalised advice based on your puppy's specific needs.
Chilli, the Rhodesdian Ridgeback

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks need a lot of grooming?

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a short and dense coat that requires minimal grooming.
  • Their coat is easy to maintain and naturally repels dirt.
  • Regular brushing once or twice a week is usually sufficient to keep their coat in good condition and remove loose hair.
  • During shedding seasons, more frequent brushing can help manage the amount of hair around your home.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Nala, the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks easy to train?

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks are intelligent and independent thinkers, which can make training a bit challenging.
  • However, with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques, they can be successfully trained.
  • Start training and socialisation early, as this breed tends to be more stubborn and dominant if not properly guided from a young age.
  • Obedience training, basic commands, and early exposure to various environments are essential.
  • Keep training sessions interesting and fun to maintain their focus and motivation.
  • Remember, positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise, and play, works best with this breed.
Reggie, the Rhodesian Ridgeback

What do Rhodesian Ridgebacks eat?

  • A balanced and nutritious diet is important for the health and well-being of Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
  • Feed them high-quality large breed dog food suitable for their age, size, and activity level.
  • Puppies require a specially formulated large breed puppy food that supports their growth and development.
  • Most puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day until 6 months old when this can be reduced to twice daily.
  • Follow the feeding guidelines provided by the food manufacturer and consult with your vet for specific dietary recommendations.
  • Avoid overfeeding, as Ridgebacks have a tendency to gain weight if their calorie intake exceeds their energy expenditure.

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks healthy?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are generally a healthy breed, but like any other, they may be prone to certain health conditions. Being aware of these conditions can help you detect any potential problems and seek timely veterinary care. Some health concerns that can affect Rhodesian Ridgebacks include:

Bones and Joints

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis


  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!


  • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone


  • Dermoid Sinus - a congenital condition where a tubular defect develops along the spine, potentially causing infections or neurological problems
  • Epilepsy - A condition of the brain that causes dogs to have fits

This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have any concerns about the health of your dog or want to discuss further if a Rhodesian Ridgeback is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Rhodesian Ridgebacks

BorrowMyDoggy has 1061 Rhodesian Ridgebacks members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog's health, contact your local vet.

Large Working Dog Breeds

Anatolian Shepherd

Bernese Mountain Dog


Cane Corso


Dogue de Bordeaux

Great Dane

Great Pyrenees



Rhodesian Ridgeback


St Bernard

Hey there!

Want to hear about a different kind of dog care that both you and your dog will love?

Or perhaps you’re a dog lover who can’t have one of your own right now?

We have the pawfect solution, BorrowMyDoggy!

How it works
Dog speaking