What makes the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog a good addition to a family household? Can a breed, famous for its hunting skills, become a loyal and caring member of a family? Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks a good choice for a family?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a great choice for a family, no matter how big or small. Renowned for being protective, loyal and kind-hearted, these are a few of the traits that make a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog such a great companion.

If you want to know more about what its like having a Rhodesian Ridgeback in your family then read on to find out if it is the right dog for you.

What is so special about the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed?

Once a famous African lion hound, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, has long since retired from that particular endeavor and is now favored by many families across the world. It has a beautiful short, brown coat with a unique hallmark, the ridge of hair that grows backwards on its back.

A Rhodesian Ridgeback is a tall and muscular dog, males grow to around 25 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs around 80 pounds while the female is 1 or 2 inches shorter and weighs around 70 pounds.  

It is an extremely intelligent breed and very energetic. They begin their life as energy driven puppies in search of adventure and though, they may grow into calmer adults, they never stop being active, making them a perfect fit for a family that loves outdoor activities.

Why do you need a Rhodesian Ridgeback in your family?

If you are thinking of welcoming a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog into your family the number one question that should come to mind is: “are they the best choice?”. The short answer is yes, but the next question should be why?

No family is the same and despite its adaptability this breed is not perfect for all families. The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed is very special, and its history plays a major role in determining how well you will get along.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback was a famous African hound and it was used for hunting, (not killing) lions. Their sleek and athletic body and supreme intelligence made them perfect for this kind of a job. Why is this so important? Well, in order to hunt, the Rhodesian Ridgeback had to be strong, resilient and very energetic. That makes these dogs the perfect companion for a family that is equally energetic. If you are an outgoing family which loves doing outdoor activities like hiking, jogging and enjoying, you have the perfect dog.  

Are Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs suitable for children?

Every dog is different but for the most part, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a very friendly dog and can get along great with children of all ages. Of course, their size should be taken into consideration when interacting with toddlers, even an innocent push from an excited puppy or a pulling of its tail by a curious child might lead to an unhappy accident.

As with any dog, children must be taught how to approach your Rhodesian Ridgeback and the early interactions should always be in the presence of an adult family member. Because of their protective nature they will try to defend your children and make sure they are safe. It is very important to teach a Rhodesian Ridgeback that other children are not a threat to your own.

They turn into fierce protective guardians and reveal their gentle and loving side only to the family they belong to and especially to children.

Rhodesian Ridgeback and other pets?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a great choice for a family with children, but they might be somewhat difficult with other pets. It is much easier for a Rhodesian Ridgeback to get along with a pet when it is introduced to it at an early age. A Rhodesian will need more time and training to accept a dog or a cat after it has grown up. Patience, good observation and training will help the Rhodesian Ridgeback to make room for another fluffy member of the household as its hunting instincts may be triggered by the new arrival.  

It is important to note that as well as they might get along with your house cat, they will show signs of aggression when seeing a stray cat. Male Rhodesians tend to get more aggressive with other males especially if not neutered. But exposing them to creatures outside of their home from puppyhood can help to reduce this behavior.

What does it take to own a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a great dog to own for many reasons. It is a family dog, good with children and tolerant of other pets but what more should a family know before taking it in?

  • Food: When getting a dog, no matter the breed it is important that it eats nutritious food that will keep it healthy. The Rhodesian Ridgeback, due to its size needs a lot of it. A good vet will help you choose the right brand and the right feeding schedule to keep your dog happy and healthy.
  • Cleaning: As for grooming thanks to its short coat, shedding is minimal, and you can keep the Rhodesian clean and shiny with a weekly brushing. Regular nail trims and teeth cleaning are necessary for your dog’s health. Visiting the vet for vaccines and annual check-ups are very important for the health of your dog but our family’s also.
  • Housing: Adaptability is another wonderful quality of the breed. If properly exercised these dogs can happily live in an apartment. More than one daily walk will be enough to give your dog the space to explore and spend its energy. It must be said that the ideal home for the Rhodesian Ridgeback would be a home with a yard, preferably with a high fence. The high fence is important because it will keep the dog from escaping and roaming.
  • Exercise: This breed needs a lot of exercise to maintain health, happiness and an even temperament. It requires several walks a day and plenty of time to run outdoors and leaving it for hours in the yard won’t do. It’s an athletic dog and it is a perfect match for someone who loves jogging, or it can accompany cyclists. The older they get, the less running they require, but they will always need daily activity. Without proper exercise, this breed will become bored and anxious, something that can lead to destructive behaviors
  • Training: Training is very important for this breed. They need positive, reward-based training, good socialization and above all, consistency so they are maybe not the best choice for owners that have no experience with dogs and training. Because of their size, intelligence, and power, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are recommended for experienced dog owners. These dogs can be difficult if the training doesn’t start at a very young age. Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be stubborn, but if you’re consistent, firm, and fair, you can train your Ridgeback to a high level.This breed is very loyal, and it will show its affection in every possible way to all family members big or small. They have a friendly character, but it is important to properly socialize them with people so that their natural wariness doesn’t turn into aggressive behavior towards strangers.Despite their active and playful character most of these dogs rarely bark or howl unless they spot something unusual in which case they will inform you, so it is highly likely you can skip this part of the training.
  • Solvable difficulties: Keeping the Rhodesian Ridgebacks occupied with walks, exercise and toys is essential. If left alone for too long their destructive tendencies will take over. One of these destructive tendencies is digging. They aren’t serious diggers, but they can, and they will dig large holes if bored. Ridgebacks are also prone to destructive chewing. This is almost always an indication that they are bored and not getting enough exercise. If your Ridgeback starts chewing shoes or furniture, you will want to step up his daily exercise routine, and make sure when you leave the house, that he has plenty of his own toys to chew on. Despite its difficulties this breed has a solution for most of its problematic behaviors and that is exercise. Young Rhodesian Ridgebacks are energetic and active, but with the right training, they generally become calm and quiet. So at least a half hour of daily exercise will keep them in a happy and contented place.

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks are faithful companions, protective of their loved ones and very affectionate with those whom they trust.

It can take a big commitment to own a Rhodesian Ridgeback, so only serious owners should undertake looking after one of this breed. Once it is properly trained, the Rhodesian Ridgeback will become a true member of your pack. As well as a hunter, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a fiercely protective guardian of its family and it will make sure to keep everyone in it safe.