The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large dog and a member of the hound group of breeds. The breed originates from South Africa where they were also known as lion hounds. He is the only known breed to have a ridge of hair growing in the opposite direction to the rest of his coat, down the back. The ridge of hair starts at the shoulder with a swirl and then travels down the back to the rump where it ends, again with a swirl.
The rest of the coat is a deep red or ginger, he has hazel eyes outlined with black hair, a brown or black nose and black hair on the muzzle and ears. The coat hair is short and needs very little maintenance, shedding an average amount throughout the year.
He stands up to 65cm at the shoulder and can weigh up to 40kg. His tail is long and straight, dropping down at the hock. He has floppy, triangular ears and a long muzzle. Ridgebacks are extremely brave dogs and were bred in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to assist their owners with hunting quarry, which included lions.
He is still used today in South Africa, as a guard dog. Ridgebacks are very loyal and nobel dogs, affectionate with their families, but can be suspicious of strangers. As characters they are quite dignified beings and may sometimes appear aloof or reserved with people they don’t know.
Training needs to be firm and consistent and the Ridgeback’s tendency to guard its owner should be taken into account to avoid any aggressive behaviors developing towards other dogs or people. Ridgebacks have a lot of stamina, they can enjoy jogging on a lead with their owners as they need daily exercise of up to two hours a day. They are relatively healthy dogs and have a life span of between 10 and 14 years.