Breed of the Week: Rhodesian Ridgeback
Ridgebacks stand at 24-27 inches in height and weigh approximately 70-85lbs. The most distinctive physical feature of this breed is the ridge of hair that grows in the opposite direction down their back, giving them the name “Ridgeback.” While a percentage of purebred Ridgebacks aren’t born with ridges at all, this is still the clearly defining look of the breed. They generally have a short, dense coat ranging from a light wheat to a dark red with little or no white markings and a darker muzzle. They require very minimal grooming, though they do shed.
The Ridgeback is an older sight hound breed, so they remain fairly dignified and can be aloof with strangers. One of their original tasks was to assist with lion hunting so they are not likely to back down easily and need motivational and positive training methods. Overall the breed is considered to get along well with children and need plenty of exercise and socialization.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is known for potential Dermoid Sinus problems where an opening, or sinus, can be seen in puppies close to the spine. Dermoid Sinus is associated with Ridge breeds and requires prompt surgery to repair. Dysplasia is also a concern in the breed.
• The breed was created by native Hottentots in South Arica by mixing their semi-feral hunting breed with the dogs brought by early Dutch and German settlers.
• Though denser than other traditional sight hounds, like Greyhounds, Ridgebacks excel at hunting sports such as lure coursing.
• Ridgebacks were used in groups to hunt lions along with hunters on horseback. They were not bred to attack but rather to harry the lions.