Are Rhodesian Ridgeback intelligent? I would never chose another breed again. - The Pets and Love

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks are well known for their intelligence and fast learning. They might stand out for their size and the interesting hallmark on their back, but it is their mind which makes them truly a perfect companion.

Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback an intelligent dog and how does it affect their personality and behavior?

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks are well known for their intelligence and fast learning. They might stand out for their size and the interesting hallmark on their back, but it is their mind which makes them truly a perfect companion.

If you are interested to know about how smart the Rhodesian Ridgebacks are and what does it really mean to own one, then keep on reading and learn all there is to know about the wonderful qualities of this breed.

What makes the Rhodesian Ridgeback so intelligent?

There is something about the Rhodesian Ridgebacks which makes them stand out from all the other breeds, perhaps it is the pride in their posture or the thoughtful expression in their eyes. It could be the rich history of the Rhodesians that makes them such an interesting creature in the first place.

This breed was originally developed in the Southern Africa region, its ancestors can be traced to semi-domesticated, hunting dogs of a local indigenous tribe, bearing the same trademark ridge. These hunting dogs were crossed with Bullmastiffs, the Great Dane and many other famous European breeds by the early colonists, resulting in the birth of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, originally called the African lion hound.

This crossbreeding created the perfect hound and with the help of the Rhodesian’s intelligence and strength it was used by lion hunting parties to track, corner, and hold lions. Even now the Rhodesian Ridgebacks are still used for hunting by some owners, but they have come to be more of a family companion than anything else. Because of their strong prey drive they tend to be independent in nature but that also makes them loyal, protective and natural watchdogs.

Their sharp wits, however, can make them a difficult dog to own for someone who is a first-time dog owner. The Ridgeback’s hunting background means it was bred to think for itself making it a willful and a stubborn dog to own. Being as intelligent as they are, they will test everyone in the family to see what they can get away with and where they stand on the leadership ladder. Confident, independent, and intelligent, the Rhodesian Ridgeback needs a confident owner who can train it appropriately while understanding that despite it’s unyielding character it is sensitive enough to wilt at the first sign of disapproval.

The Rhodesian puppies are known for their energetic and active personality, but with proper exercise and training they can grow into quiet, dignified house dogs. It can take a lot of time and energy to properly train this breed, but for the experienced owners and the ones who are committed to an active lifestyle, the Rhodesian Ridgeback can be an ideal dog companion.

The unique Rhodesian Ridgeback personality and behavior

The Rhodesian Ridgeback may give the impression of a big, lazy hound, but because of its size and built it can have a threatening presence. This dog was bred to hunt and be a family protector, but it also possesses a quiet and gentle side which makes it a fast learner. Because of their innate abilities as guardians, Rhodesians should not be trained as protection dogs, but instead, it is advised that they are subjected to elementary obedience training for control.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are calm and easy going with their own family members, they love to cuddle and often think they are a lapdog but by virtue of their protective nature they can be wary of strangers. It is important that you socialize your dog to avoid any aggressive behavior when meeting new people and other dogs. Teaching your Ridgeback early on that guests are welcome will help with their territorial protectiveness and can make your dog the center of positive attention.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks and the importance of training

Training a Rhodesian Ridgeback can be a challenge. They are a very independent and stubborn breed who can also have a tendency for a dominant behavior. They need to be trained with firmness to establish leadership, but you should never use violent and abusive means of teaching. Strong discipline will cause a Ridgeback to shut down and ignore you completely making it hard to restore your relationship.

You must be consistent in your training and always fair as the Ridgebacks will constantly test boundaries, especially as young pups, and if you bend the rules just once you will give them an open invitation to rule the house. For instance, they love hopping onto the bed and other furniture and making themselves comfortable, if you don’t welcome such behavior teach your dog at an early age to sleep in its own bed or blanket.

It is important to know that the Rhodesian Ridgebacks love spending time with their owner and family and won’t put up with living outside in the yard, so it is better to keep your dog indoors. They can be strong willed and sometimes domineering and must be guided with a firm but patient hand from early puppyhood as well as early socialization and puppy training classes using positive reinforcement can help to ensure that the dog grows into a well behaved calm and well mannered companion.

The key to a Ridgeback’s happiness is exercise

These dogs are one of the most intelligent breeds, but this virtue is coupled with a highly stubborn nature. Although they can be calm, affectionate companions, these two defining traits can make ownership a challenge but the key to a Rhodesian’s obedience and well being is exercise.

These dogs have great endurance and they demand a lot of time for walks, jogs and play. The Rhodesians love long walks and running around is their favorite type of exercise so if you let your Rhodesian get bored, it can become destructive and might start displaying a wide array of behavioral problems.

Ridgebacks are prone to destructive chewing and it is often an indication that they are bored and not getting enough exercise. If you see your Ridgeback chewing your favorite shoe or furniture, there are a few things you can do, like stepping up its daily routine and making sure that your dog has plenty of toys and bones to chew on while you are away.

Hunters still use Rhodesian Ridgebacks in the field. But if you are someone who would love to have a Ridgeback as a companion but have no interest in hunting then you can enroll your dog in special puppy schools that have organized activities like agility or lure coursing. This dog will make an excellent hiking and camping companion since it is happy to engage in outdoor fun and it will make sure that you are always safe.

Living with a Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks are very intelligent and independent thinkers, so they do best with well experienced dog owners who are consistent and practice positive training techniques. They are perfect for owners that enjoy outdoor activities, jogging and cycling. You don’t have to be a famous athlete like Carl Lewis known to be the owner of a Ridgeback, but you should be prepared for spending time on long and brisk walks.

Ridgebacks are moderately social animals and they often enjoy the company of other dogs, but you should be cautious about having several male dogs in one household because this can lead to dominance struggles. This breed can also get along well with cats if brought up with them, but they tend to chase a stray cat if they see one.

These dogs are good with children, but both child and dog must learn to behave around one another. Because of their size, younger and more excitable ridgebacks may knock over small children by accident. Ridgebacks are protective of children and other household members and they will do whatever it takes to keep you safe. These are excellent natural watchdogs and family protectors, but they do need to know that the caregiver is in charge.

Some interesting facts about Rhodesian Ridgebacks

  • Ridgebacks are a quiet breed and they rarely bark, they are natural watchdogs, so they will be alert at all times to anything unusual and will voice their concerns.
  • Not natural diggers, they may, however, create holes in your backyard if left unsupervised, especially to keep themselves cool during summer.
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks are extremely clean dogs with little odor and minimal shedding.
  • They can be termed an “easy keeper” when it comes to food, but you may have to monitor caloric intake to keep them from overeating and becoming obese.

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks are one of the most versatile breeds, they can hunt, guard, watch over their loved ones and give them all their affection. Their strength and size can appeal to owners that want an athletic and tough looking dog and at the same time they are gentle and caring enough to make them the perfect companion for a family with children. The Rhodesian is a loving, brave and smart breed but it can be just as rigid as that ridge on its back.

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