Rhodesian Ridgeback Dogs

Rhodesian Ridgeback Articles

An introduction to Ridgebacks


A loyal strong hound, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a symbol of strength whit a history dating back as far as the 17th century, capable of great endurance with a fair amount of speed.

Rhodesian Ridgeback’s were born from the need for a serviceable hunting dog, tough, resistant to disease, intelligent enough to avoid crocodiles and snakes, with tick repellent smooth coat, tight paw pads to protect against thorns and rough terrain, brave enough to face a lion or any other big game, but fast enough to stay out of harm's way of horns, claws and teeth.

Average lifespan is from 9-11 years, but they have been known to live to nearly 16 years though this is very rare.

There is some debate whether the Rhodesian ridgeback is a sight hound or scent hound. Positions in this discussion usually mirror geography , with Americans on the sight hound side of the debate and Europeans and Africans on the scent hound side. This incredibly versatile breed does not fit easily in either category. In general Ridgebacks pursue prey by sight, and if the prey is not in sight, Ridgebacks track by scent.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback
By Michael Russell

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed that no one seems to know how to classify. In some countries this breed is considered a member of the Working Group. In other countries he has been placed in the Hound category. In still others he is a classified as a Gun Dog. Historically, the breed performed all of these duties in its native land. The original country of origin of this dog is Africa. The Ridgeback in Africa was used by the natives to harass the lions on a hunt, being quick and agile and making feints at the lion, distracting him while the natives came in for the kill.

The name "Ridgeback" is because of the very distinct line which is created down the center of the back where the hairs lie in opposite direction from the "lay" of the coat, creating a ridge which is obvious and unique to the breed. Only one other breed, the Thai Ridgeback, carries this "trademark". The ridge should have two swirls of hair at the top of the ridge, creating the appearance of a crown.

The Ridgeback does not enjoy great popularity as a pet. It is strongly independent. This dog happily fulfils the roles of both a guard dog and a hunting dog, but it will do exactly what it wants to do if the owner is not the "leader of the pack". They are not overly affectionate and do not make friends with strangers. They should not show aggression, but will not fawn over people nor be overly affectionate except to their own household.

The color of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is always a deep red or fawn. White markings, if any, should be small, on the toes or the chest. Males should be 25-27 inches and females 24-25 inches. The "ridge" is of course the identifying characteristic of the breed and must be present and quite obvious. The Ridgeback should move with a long stride and should have good angulation in the rear, he should be agile and able to make quick turns, being of good length of leg for the feinting and quick strikes necessary when on the hunt. The dog's overall appearance should be that of a well muscled and athletic dog.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback will thrive on country living and makes a protective and fearless guardian of the property. It should never show aggression towards people and this is not part of its nature. This is a dog that should show protective instincts of its territory and should ward off marauding animals. It is fine to have in an urban household if given plenty of exercise. In either case, the Rhodesian Ridgeback needs to have good obedience training as a puppy. they are an energetic and inquisitive breed and can get into a lot of trouble if not kept in a safe fenced in area.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dogs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_Russell

Title: The Rhodesian Ridgeback - A Hound Among Hounds
Author: Charles Kassotis

Article: The most prominent feature of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is also the one this dog is known for - a line of hair that grows in the opposite direction from the rest of his coat. This "ridge" lies along the backbone of the dog, but isn't a protrusion from the dog's body. It's merely a line of hair that grows toward the dog's head, rather than in the natural direction of the coat. Because the coat of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is short, the line of hair is very noticeable.

This ridge of hair comes from the ancestors of the Rhodesian Ridgeback. The Khoikhoi is a dog that was kept by native South African tribes and that dog has the same distinctive ridge of hair. A combination of the Khoikhoi, Mastiff and some other breeds that probably included the Deerhound resulted in the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

In South Africa, the dogs of the tribes were given many tasks. Sometimes, these animals were trusted to "run herd" on the children of the tribe. Children were allowed to play outdoors under the strict eye of the dogs of the tribe. These dogs were fiercely protective and parents could go on with their work knowing that the dogs would alert the adults if a child tried to wander off or encountered danger. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks were sometimes given this task. That's not to say they were playmates to the children, but that they had a job to do. Today's Rhodesian Ridgebacks have retained that protective instinct. They don't tend to make the best playmates for children who want to scuffle and play rough, but are protective of anyone they've bonded with - including children. This trait makes them a good watchdog. The protective nature must be handled well from an early age or they can be fierce and aggressive when protecting their territory and those they feel responsible for.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks as a breed are some tone of brown, called "wheat" by most breeders. White markings are completely acceptable and usually fall on the animal's chest or feet. If the coat is light brown, the nose tends to be dark brown. If the coat is darker brown, the nose may be black. This breed is fairly large with healthy adult males weighing upward of 100 pounds and standing well over two feet tall.

As a rule, these are extremely hearty dogs. If you remember their ancestry, it's no wonder that able keep normal routines even when the weather is very hot. But these animals can also withstand cold weather as well. The do well as outdoor dogs, though many also willingly make the change to indoors.

These dogs were bred primarily for hunting and they continue to be extremely able in that arena. They also have great stamina so they make good companion dogs for people with plenty of acreage to roam. (Remember that hunting instinct and be wary of allowing them free reign with other animals.) They'll lope along beside a four-wheeler or become an excellent running partner.

About the author: For more information on Rhodesian Ridgebacks and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Hound Dog Directory

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Views expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Danntrig Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

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