Notable physical characteristic is the ridge across its back, which is created by hair growing in the reverse direction. While Ridgebacks are calm and friendly with their owners, they can be aloof with strangers.
1. Choose a Rhodesian Ridgeback if you're looking for a large, loyal, even-tempered dog that will watch faithfully over your house. Best With: Strong willed confident owners who will set boundaries and enforce them. People who are familiar with guarding instinct. Households that don't have a high volume of strange visitors. Obedience training and socialization cannot be over emphasized for this breed. They are very good at most dog sports, such as agility and lure coursing, and tracking. They are house dogs, and must be in the house with their family to be happy. Though moderately active, regular exercise is necessary, as ridgebacks enjoy the chance to run in a safe environment. Prey drive and fast getaways usually require a securely fenced yard, especially for young dogs. Reconsider getting a Ridgeback if you live in an apartment or will be keeping your dog indoors or confined to any small area for long periods. Not for: Timid, easily frightened people. Ridgebacks are a dominant breed and will run the house if allowed. They are also independent and not always willing to please. They can be stubborn and sulky.
2. Pros: Intelligent, independent, fast learners. Physically able to do almost anything. Fast and athletic. Elegant and handsome. Short coat makes maintenance a snap. Affectionate with their inner circle without being demanding. Natural guard dogs. Naturally clean and quiet in the house, but love to go when and where you do. Cons: Can be stubborn. Can be aggressive if not socialized and properly handled. Prey drive and surprising bursts of speed can be disastrous. Dominant dogs can be a handful. Pack order must be strictly maintained with dominant dogs. Cannot tolerate cold for very long. Notorious for "counter surfing" and can be greedy about food. Easily bored with repetition.
3. Consider a Ridgeback's features. His overall appearance should be strong, athletic and tall. He should have a long face and a flat skull. His eyes should be round and lively, and his face should be free from wrinkles when in a relaxed pose. His coat, which can vary from light to dark wheat in color or a red wheaten color, and should be short and glossy. The ridge along his back should be well-defined. Shedding/Grooming: Minimal. Short hard coat is kept neat with an occasional brushing with a hound glove. Bathing every 6 to 8 weeks is sufficient. Nails are thick, strong and hard, and must be trimmed at least once a week, as they grow fast.
4. Health: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia,degenerative myelopathy (DM), hyper/hypo thyroid, entropion , and deafness occur in the breed, but are not rampant. Dermoid sinus (DS) is a condition peculiar to the breed: It is a tubular structure that is usually open at the skin surface and can extend as deep as the spinal chord. It occurs most often on the back, but has been found on the necks and tails of dogs also. It can be infected and filled with pus; in the worst cases, a deep DS can become gangrenous and infect the spinal chord, resulting in a systemic infection in the dog. Affected dogs are born with the dermoid, and newborn puppies should be checked right away, and continue to be checked as they develop. Many dermoids can be successfully removed surgically. Check that the breeder you are talking to does OFA certifications on their dogs, showing the dam and sire are free of these conditions.
5. Look at potential breeders very carefully. Ask if they are members of breed, specialty or obedience clubs. You can check references through a club to make sure that the breeder does not run a puppy mill (a place where puppies are constantly bred for financial gain, without consideration of the integrity or health of the breed).
6. Understand that you will pay between $800 and $3000 for a purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback from a reputable breeder.
7. Expect a male Ridgeback to reach 25 to 27 inches and to weigh between 75 and 85 lbs. Females will reach 24 to 26 inches and will weigh between 65 and 75 lbs.
8. Be prepared to enjoy a fruitful 10 to 12 years with your Rhodesian Ridgeback, as this is the breed's average life expectancy.
Other animals: Will do ok if raised with other animals, especially other house pets but might be defensive with animals he doesn’t know. But they are sighthounds and anything that runs away will be chased, including livestock, and they are fast enough and strong enough to kill some animals. When playing with other ridgebacks, the dogs are very noisy and rough, with a lot of body slamming and running.
This breed can take a lot of pushing and pulling from children, but needs to be watched with toddlers. Because of the dog's size, he might have a tendency to knock over very small children.
As with any dog breed, it is important to train and socialize your Ridgeback early to ensure that he grows up to be an obedient, well-mannered and non-aggressive dog.