Rhodesian Ridgeback: Description, Temperament, & Facts

Country of origin: South Africa
Shoulder height: 61 – 69 cm
Weight: 32 – 37 kg
Age: 10 -14 years
Color: light wheaten to dark red
Use: hunting dog, companion dog, guard dog

The Rhodesian Ridgeback comes from southern Africa and belongs to the group of “hounds, scent hounds, and related breeds”. The ridge – a crest of hair on the dog’s back – gives the dog its name and is a special breed characteristic. Ridgebacks are not easy, even for dog connoisseurs. They need consistent, patient upbringing from early puppyhood and clear leadership.

Origin and history

The watch ancestors of the Rhodesian Ridgeback are African crested (“ridge”) hounds that were crossed with hounds, guard dogs, and sighthounds of white settlers. It was used specifically for hunting lions and big game, which is why the Ridgeback is often also called the lion dog. Two or more dogs tracked down the lion and stopped him until the hunter came. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is still widely used today as a hunting dog, but also as a guard dog or companion dog. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is the only recognized breed of dog that originated in southern Africa.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a muscular, stately but elegant dog, males are up to 69 cm (withers) tall. Its neck is rather long, and its fur is short, dense, and smooth, ranging in color from a light wheat to dark red. The most striking feature of the breed is the ” ridge “, an approximately 5 cm wide strip of fur in the middle of the dog’s back, on which the hair grows in the opposite direction to the growth of the rest of the fur and forms a crest. This trait is well known in two breeds of dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Thai Ridgeback. From a medical point of view, this ridge is due to a mild form of spina bifida – a malformation of the vertebrae.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is intelligent, dignified, quick, and spirited. It is very territorial and often intolerant of strange dogs. The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a strong bond with its human, is extremely alert, and also willing to defend itself.

Even for dog connoisseurs, this dog breed is not easy. Ridgeback puppies in particular are real temperament bolts and therefore a “full-time job”. It is a late-maturing dog that is grown up at the age of 2-3 years.

Ridgebacks need consistent upbringing and clear leadership, lots of work, exercise, and enough living space. They are only suitable for more active people who spend a lot of time with their dogs and can keep them busy.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *