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Rhodesian Ridgeback


  • Origin: Zimbabwe
  • Alternate names: African Lion Dog, African Lion Hound
  • Size: Large
  • Life Span: 10-12 years
  • Popularity: Ranked #41 in 2017
  • Availability in India: Rare
  • Avg Puppy Price in India: ₹50,000 and above
  • Dog Breed Group: Hound Group
  • Guide Dog: No

Is Rhodesian Ridgeback Good for Indians?

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not that common to be found in the Indian households because of their subpar availability in the country. This breed is mostly present at a high-end breeder’s place only and is not easily obtainable especially in the smaller cities. And, their expensive price tag also contributes towards their average demand in India. But, as these dogs have the ability to comfortably thrive in a hot and humid place because of their very good tolerance to high temperatures, they can be a really good fit for a country like India where temperatures can go fairly high (in the summers). Also, this breed is very sturdy and robust and thus their general health remains fine for most of their lifetime, hence they can be a decent choice for anyone who is looking for a big, strong and loyal companion.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Official Breed Standards

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large-sized African breed which is quite muscular, powerful and has a burly appearance. These dogs possess a fair amount of stamina and speed and are immensely strong-willed in nature. The official standards of a Rhodesian Ridgeback are as follows:

  • Rhodesian Ridgeback Height and Weight

The average weight and height of these well-proportioned dogs is around 29-41 kg and 24-27 inches (at the shoulders), respectively. The male Ridgebacks are slightly bigger in size than the females.





36-41 kg

25-27 inch


29-34 kg

24-26 inch

  • Coat

They have a smooth, glossy and dense coat which is quite short in terms of length. And, they may possess a closely compacted coat but it is neither silky nor woolly in appearance.

  • Body

The Ridgebacks have a very strong and durable body with a fairly long neck which is in balance with the rest of the body. Their chest is capacious and the ribs are well-sprung. The back region is well-built and firm and the tail is strongly rooted and slightly tapering in nature. And, the forelegs and hind legs are quite muscular and sturdy.

  • Head

The head is broad and flat but is of fair length. Their eyes are round and are set reasonably well apart from each other. And, the ears are wide at the base, set fairly high on the head and are of medium size.

  • Jaws

Their jaws are strong and leveled and possess well-developed teeth. The mouth closes in a scissors bite and the overall muzzle is decently deep, long and powerful.

  • Temperament

Apart from the superior strength and powerful body, their high level of intelligence and great loyalty are the most well-known aspects of the Rhodesian Ridgebacks. These dogs are extremely smart and under a firm but patient owner/trainer, they can learn a lot of different things and can readily understand new commands. They are also very affectionate, loving and caring for their family members and are known to stick by their sides under all circumstances. These dogs are a little reserved with the strangers but they never unnecessarily bark or howl at someone new for no reason. They also have an athletic and playful side and they love to get involved in some kind of fun activity with their close ones. General character traits of a Rhodesian Ridgeback are listed below:

  • Loyal
  • Intelligent
  • Dignified
  • Strong-willed
  • Mischievous
  • Sensitive

Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Overview

Who would have thought that in the past, a dog was primarily used to hunt the King of the Jungle? But that is exactly the case with the Rhodesian Ridgebacks. This confident, muscular and powerful dog was a loyal companion to the African hunters who used this canine to track and hunt large animals like Lions and Bears.

Now their ferocious past doesn’t mean that these dogs are generally very aggressive or domineering, in fact, they are extremely well-behaved and sensitive dogs. They are very gentle with all their loved ones and are even quite careful with small kids present in the house. They are fond of spending time with their family members and are immensely protective of them a well. And, that is why these dogs are considered to be a very good option for a house pet and a close companion. Their minimal maintenance and grooming requirements are just a little add-on bonus for their potential owners.

Popular Rhodesian Ridgeback Types and Colors

There are three types of Ridgeback dogs that are officially divided on the basis of their different sizes and places of origin. These types are as follows:

  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog
  • Thai Ridgeback

But, coming to the Rhodesian Ridgebacks, this breed can only be divided into different types on the basis of the various colors that their coats can have. Some of these colors are listed below:

  • Red
  • Red Wheaten
  • Light Wheaton

Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Breed Characteristics



Sensitivity Level


Affection Level


Potential for mouthiness




Drooling Potential


Barking Tendencies


Energy Level


Friendly towards dogs


Health Issues


Friendly towards other animals




Child Friendly




Exercise Needs


Shedding Level


Grooming Needs


Social Needs


Good for novice owners


Stranger Friendly




Watchdog Ability


Tolerates Heat


Tolerates Cold


Rhodesian Ridgeback Maintenance and Care

  • Feeding

This strong and muscular breed do well on a nutritious and high-quality diet. Their weight should be regularly checked and if there are any signs of obesity or unwanted weight gain, then consulting a veterinarian will be a good option for the owner. Their feeding material can be either home-cooked or purchased from a store as long as it is suitable for their overall health.

  • Exercise

Moderate exercise on a regular basis is mandatory for this athletic breed. They love to spend time outside the house and expend their energy on some physical activity or task. Daily walks or running sessions with the owner are good for their body and it will keep them happy as well.

  • Training

These dogs are not recommended to novice owners very much and it is mainly due to the fact that they can be sometimes a little independent and strong-willed. They require the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable owner/trainer who can make them learn new things efficiently. And, if trained properly, these dogs can understand a lot of different commands and can learn various new tricks and can also be excellent guard dogs.

  • Grooming and Shedding

The Ridgebacks do shed a fair amount but only during the shedding season. During this period, they need to be brushed more frequently. But, apart from that, their grooming needs are very less. Weekly brushing, occasional bathing, and trimming of nails are more than enough to keep them neat and at their best.

  • Health Issues

This breed generally does not suffer from any serious health problems. But, still, they are prone to some minor issues like:

  • Eye Anomalies
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Dermoid Sinus
  • Visits to the Vet

As they normally remain quite healthy and fit for most of their life-span, these dogs are not required to be taken to a vet’s clinic on a frequent basis.

Rhodesian Ridgeback History and Background

The Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred in Rhodesia which was an unrecognized state in Africa and today is a part of modern Zimbabwe. These dogs have quite a peculiar feature and that is the ridge that runs down their spine. The hair on the spine region runs in the opposite direction when compared to the rest of their coat and it appears to be a ridge present on their back. And, this was the inspiration behind their distinct name.

These dogs were the loyal companions of the hunters of Africa who used them to hunt large games like Lions and Bears. Hence, they were popularly called as African Lion dogs or African Lion Hounds. They also used to guard and protect their owners from wild animals as well.

This breed came into existence because of the cross-breeding, between the Great Danes, the Mastiffs, the Bloodhounds, the Greyhounds and the Hot and Tod dog, which was carried out by the Boer farmers of Africa.

These dogs had many talents like agility, tracking ability, great endurance and even greater loyalty and all these positive traits are still to this day, intact and can be seen in these canines. They are very popular all around the world and are appreciated by most people for their immense toughness and hardiness.