Ridgeback, Lion Dog, and the African Lion Hound  Articles
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Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Aliases: Ridgeback, Lion Dog, and the African Lion Hound

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Rhodesian Ridgeback Articles

What Makes the Ridgeback a Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is the type of breed that stands out not only because of its conspicuous hair ridge trait but also because it is one of the few breeds of dog of African origin. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is thought to be a cross between native South African dogs and dogs of settlers, such as Great Danes, Mastiffs and Greyhounds. Like many other dog breeds, the Ridgeback was born to guard and hunt but they were meant to do so in the much tougher veldts of Africa where lions roamed freely. The requirements needed in a dog for this type of environment require a certain combination of sturdy physical characteristics and a keen intelligence. [...]

Mating and Pregnancy of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

As the seasoned breeder has come to find, the mating and pregnancy of the Rhodesian Ridgeback must consist of carefully selected males and females. While the characteristic ridge is of utmost importance, it is also imperative that specimens be a non carrier of genetic maladies common in the breed. Because of the many strains of dog in their background, mixed breed dogs such as the Rhodesian Ridgeback are more likely to be carriers of genetic maladies. This is not to say the breed is unhealthy; only that there is a knowledge for breeding Ridgebacks that amateurs and backyard breeders are not likely to understand or recognize. [...]

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Sight or Scent Hound Debate

While scent hounds use their nose to find their quarry, sight hounds use their eyes and their tremendous speed. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed that seems to exhibit both tendencies. When first officially recognized, the Ridgeback was grouped in with gundogs. However, after twenty years and much discussion they were reassigned to the hound category. The debate as to whether they were sight hounds or scent hounds began almost immediately. Not only does the discussion span the boundaries of the globe, how one classifies the Rhodesian Ridgeback seems to be based breed characteristics, cultural differences and the humble opinion of thousands of Ridgeback enthusiasts. [...]

Creating a Happy Space for the Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a paradox of characteristics. Though they are a hearty breed, able to take on the likes of lions and other large and dangerous quarry, they are at the same time a sensitive animal that will crumble with harsh treatment. Many assume their aloof attitude towards strangers and aggressive stance when it comes to other dogs makes them one of the unbreakable breeds. In truth, handling the Ridgeback poorly or keeping it caged in isolation is the easiest way to break its spirit. The lively but sensitive breed requires just the right type of owner that can create a healthy balance of discipline and freedom. [...]

What Not to Expect from a Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a one of a kind breed that requires a special type of owner. They are not an overly difficult breed to raise; however, their unique quirks that stem from their days as the African Lion Hound still make their appearance from time to time. What the first time or inexperienced dog owner may see as stubbornness is actually the breed's intelligence and good judgment weighing in on a situation. While obedient enough, they are not the type of dog that lives to perform tricks or repeat the same feat over and over again. The independent Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog for those who want a canine companion but can respect their need to do their own thing. [...]

Establishing Pack Order with the Rhodesian Ridgeback

With the independent and self reliant Rhodesian Ridgeback, it is fairly easy for owners who have not established themselves as the Alpha Leader to experience power struggles within the household. Hunting breeds are accustomed to not only working with other dogs but establishing the crucial aspect of pack order. Without each dog knowing its place in the group, the pack will not be able to function in an efficient manner. This trait cannot be ignored or trained out in any way. The majority of owners who eventually give up on owning a Ridgeback are those who fail to consistently establish themselves as pack leader. Going back and forth over issues of control and territory can make for a miserable existence for both the dog and the owner. [...]

The Rhodesian Ridgeback that Doesn't Hunt

While the hunting instinct is strong in the Rhodesian Ridgeback, their double ability of sight and scent have proven extremely beneficial in a number of search and rescue programs. The Ridgeback can be found worldwide in drug sniffing dog programs but they are used more often in rescue efforts and for tracking down lost persons and sometimes even escapees. Their ability to sniff out quarry plus chase it down comes from their days of hunting in the African bush. Being developed to hunt the African savannahs has also given the Ridgeback a strong self confidence, allowing it to go anywhere in any situation with little fear. More than anything, search and rescue trainers say it is the attitude of the dog itself and not the breed that matters most. However, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has become a favorite because when out in the field, the breed is all business. They do not often give up or give in unless and until they have accomplished their task. [...]

Feeding the Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is known for having quite a hearty appetite. This is due in part to their beginnings as a hunting dog in the African bush. For wild dogs, gulping down food has always been a necessary survival instinct. Since there is no way to tell when food will come again, the only way to ensure one is fed is to devour a meal in large chunks; thus comes the term of wolfing something down. After hundreds of years of domestication, the Rhodesian Ridgeback still posesses this trait. Upon wolfing down their meals, the Ridgeback often looks up expecting more. This often tempts owners to feed them more than they should. The key to helping a Ridgeback feel full is not in the quantity of food but in the quality. [...]

Rhodesian Ridgebacks and the Water Factor

When it comes to the Rhodesian Ridgeback and water, owners often separate themselves into two camps. While one side reports that their Ridgeback loves the water and they cannot keep them out of pools or even puddles, others insist that the Ridgeback detests getting wet and that giving a simple bath can be a colossal feat. All in all, it seems to be a matter of training, environment and personality. Other African dogs, such as the Basenji, are also noted for their dislike of water. Predators known to lurk in Africa's lakes and streams may give the breed an inherent trait to avoid water altogether. In addition, since African hunting dogs have no odor when they are dry, many believe soggy fur may smell offensive to the Ridgeback's own nose giving them a distaste for getting wet. [...]

Rhodesian Ridgeback Weird Facts/Did You Know?

With other dogs, petting or stroking the fur means moving the hand in a motion that leads toward the dog's haunches. With the Rhodesian Ridgeback, the swath of hair along the spine grows in a hip to shoulder direction. This makes the breed the only dog that a person gets to pet backwards. This has been a great conversation starter for many Ridgeback owners. The out of the ordinary trait also gives the dog a special appeal when working in therapeutic settings. Many patients find it easier to relax and focus when petting the unique dog in such a unique matter. [...]

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