What You Need To Know Before Getting A Rhodesian Ridgeback
Getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback might seem like an easy choice. They are cute, cuddly and always well behaved right? Anyone who has owned one will tell you its not all sunshine and rainbows. Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be demanding, destructive, energetic and mischievous! Rhodesian Ridgeback are often compared to young children because they require as much attention (if not more)!
African Lion Hound
It is commonly thought Rhodesian Ridgebacks were originally bred to hunt lions. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are fast, agile and very good at jumping! They can easily keep up with their favorite playmate – your running shoes. Rhodesian Ridgebacks will run until they drop which means you will be just as exhausted as them! The African Lion Hound originally came from the hinterlands of South Africa where it developed its outstanding hunting abilities. This dog breed need a lot of exercise and will work hard for their rewards!
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not for everyone. Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be protective of their owners and wary of strangers. Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed will not hesitate to bark at the mailman or your neighbor which can get annoying or scary if you do not know where they came from! Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy often get a bad name because many people buy them too young without knowing what goes into owning one! Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy take a lot of time, patience and money! If you are thinking about getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed make sure you do extensive research on these dogs before making any decisions.
Rhodesian Ridgeback health issues
There are Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders that are working to make Rhodesian’s healthier by testing for diseases common in Rhodesians. It is important to only get Rhodesians from breeders who test this dog breed for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, dermoid sinus, thyroid problems, von Willebrands disease (a blood disorder) and cancer.
There are several other diseases which Rhodesians can contract including cataracts, entropion (eyelids roll in), distichiasis (hair grows in the eye), PRA (eye disease that causes blindness) and hemolytic anemia. Fortunately there are Rhodesian Ridgeback specific health databases that you may be able to access that will tell you what diseases your Rhodesian has or has not been tested for. Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders who are serious about the Rhodesian’s health care will have their dogs tested for these diseases before breeding them.
If you are interested in adopting or rescuing a Rhodesian, please research the above diseases to ensure that your Rhodesian won’t have any problems with these issues. If you can’t find information on Rhodesian specific websites, you may be able to google ‘dog X disease Rhodesian’ and find information on Rhodesians with this specific illness/condition.
So to help you make an informed decision about the breed here is what you need to know before getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback.
First things first…. Are Rhodesian’s right for me?
Rhodesian Ridgebacks is a large type breed and were bred by Boer farmers in South Africa to protect their families and work stock against dangerous predators like lions/tigers etc.
Rhodesian’s are working dog breeds,, bred to be protective and alert. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a natural instinct to protect their family against danger. Unfortunately this means that Rhodesians will often burst out in fear biting confrontational situations with other people or animals. This is not Rhodesian specific behavior but rather the result of poor training by many owners who do not know how to raise a Rhodesian correctly!
If you are looking for a cuddly adult dog that loves every person it meets, the Rhodesian might not be right for you.
Rhodesians need to be around adults only at first until they are properly socialized (generally no children under 6). If you already have children Rhodesian’s can get along well with kids old enough to treat Rhodesian’s with respect. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are often at their best around other animals if they have been properly socialized. However Rhodesians can be aggressive towards smaller or weaker animals because of their protective instincts.
For the right person Rhodesians make great companions however for the wrong person it can be a recipe for disaster! If you think Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not for you I encourage you to check out my other articles on 20 Best Dog Breeds.
According to the American Kennel Club, “the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an all-purpose ‘Renaissance hound’ whose hallmark is the ridge, or stripe of backward-growing dog hair, on his back.”
I’m sold. Where do I go to get one?
1- Reputable breeder neer you!
Find a Rhodesian Ridgeback reputable breeder near you and make an appointment to go and see the litter. Reputable breeders interview potential buyers and will require detailed information about you and your family. Make sure to bring this info with you when making an appointment (or include it in your email). Good Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders do not just sell Rhodesians on a whim! They have high standards for their breeding dogs which means they likely will not let their best Rhodesian’s be sold as pets or guarding dogs.
In my experience good Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders are very knowledgeable about the breed, can answer most of your questions off the top of their head without having to refer to any books/papers. They have been around Rhodesians for a long time and it will be obvious upon meeting them! They will also have Rhodesian Ridgebacks of different ages on site so you can see what Rhodesians look like at all stages of life. Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders care about the Rhodesian as a breed and want to know that their dog went to someone who is going to take good care of them and love them for the rest of their lives.
Rhodesian’s require a lot of attention which means that unless you plan on spending most your free time with your Rhodesian, its important to make sure they go somewhere where they are going to get plenty of attention (for example if you work full time). If you go through a reputable Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder they will have a contract that guarantees you Rhodesian support for the life of your Rhodesian.
Reputable Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders are much more likely to be willing to take back your Rhodesian if at any point you can no longer keep it. This means that when its time for you to get a Rhodesian, go through a breeder so they can provide guidance and support throughout your dogs life! Look through my list of Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders in North America and Europe and find one near you.
2- Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue or adoption near you.
If you don’t feel like dealing with a Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder and want to give a Rhodesian a new home you can consider rescuing or adopting through an animal shelter. Many Rhodesians end up in dog shelters and rescues due to the lack of socialization by their owners (remember they need time and attention).
If this is what interests you make sure that you have your questions ready when speaking to Rhodesian rescue or Rhodesian shelter volunteer as they may have been bombarded by many people who are not prepared for the work involved. Make sure to bring as much info as possible about yourself as as well as why you’re interested in the Rhodesian so they know you’re serious about taking on the challenge.
Also please keep in mind Rhodesians need a lot of exercise (mainly running), mental stimulation (training) and socialization (with people and other dogs). Rhodesian Ridgebacks are very smart but can also be stubborn so training is important. I’d recommend doing your research before bringing home Rhodesian as they require different care than many other breeds.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue America is an organization that helps Rhodesians find new homes. They have volunteers throughout the US, Canada, UK and Australia that work with animal shelters/rescues to help Rhodesians find new owners! If you want to save a Rhodesian’s life please consider contacting one of them about adopting or rescuing a Rhodesian. Otherwise if you’re interested in owning a dog with similar qualities consider checking out the Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders list.
Rhodesian’s do not come properly trained like most other breeds. Rhodesians are a very stubborn breed that need strong leadership from their owners or they will take advantage of you. Rhodesian Ridgebacks were bred as hunting dog and as such they have the instincts to hunt, which means lots of running as well as mental stimulation is required by Rhodesians.
Dog sports are a great way to provide both mental and physical stimulation for Rhodesians. Rhodesian Ridgeback owners need to be strong leaders, show Rhodesians rules are not up for debate and stick with it!
Remember they need time and attention so if you don’t have enough time for your Rhodesian, consider going through a rescue or adoption program instead of buying a Rhodesian.
I hope you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy reading: E-Collar For Dogs Training.