Physical characteristicsThe Rhodesian Ridgeback, also known as the African Lion Hound, is a large elegant dog with a distinctive ridge of hair running along its back. Actually, the hair there grows in the opposite direction. The head is relatively broad with very strong jaws and a long muzzle. The eyes are round and either dark or amber; the nose is either black or brown depending on the coat colour. The ears are pendent. The front legs are very well-boned, powerful and straight. The long tapering tail curves slightly.
The height of Ridgebacks is 24 to 27 inches, and they weigh 65 to 75 pounds. Females tend to be smaller.
TemperamentDue to their historical background, Ridgebacks are very brave dogs excellent in hunting and guarding. Highly intelligent. A Ridgeback can become a wonderful companion provided that it has been properly socialized as a puppy and trained well. If you spare enough time to those activities, you will have a gentle, good-natured, and calm dog. Otherwise, the Ridgeback can become too dominant, aggressive, combative with other dogs, or over-protective. Well-raised Ridgebacs are fond of children; this streak is in their blood.
Coat and groomingRidgebacks have a very sleek short coat that comes in light to dark wheat colour, sometimes with small white markings on the chest and feet. It is a low shedding and low maintenance dog and only requires regular brushing with a bristle brush and a hound glove.
HealthDermoid sinus, hip dysplasia and cysts are relatively common in this breed. Also, do not overfeed Ridgebacks as they tend to gain weight fast.
The lifespan is 10 to 12 years.
Photo by gd1cker
The Ridgeback's most distinctive feature - a ridge of hair growing in the opposite direction.
Other interesting factsThe Rhodesian Ridgeback traces its origins to crossbreeding between the Hottentot tribal hunting dogs of South Africa and various European breeds such as the Mastiff, Bloodhound, Pointer and Greyhound. During the 18th century, Boer farmers needed a hardy guardian dog that was capable of serving in a myriad of tasks, all while braving the wilds of Africa. Selective breeding of well domesticated European breeds with the somewhat more wild Hottentot dogs produced just such a breed, and by the 19th century the Rhodesian Ridgeback had become a fixture in South Africa. During the 1870s, a contingent of these dogs was brought to Rhodesia to hunt lions, and their great success in this task earned them the name African Lion Hound and caused them to forever be associated with Rhodesia.
Nowadays the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a popular family dog and was ranked 54th out of 154 dog breeds in 2005 AKC registrations.
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