The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a copper-coated breed whose roots begin in Africa. First developed in Rhodesia (an area now known as Zimbabwe), these athletic and tenacious dogs quickly became the trustworthy companion for hunters in South Africa. Though this breed is a celebrated guard dog, find out why Rhodesians are also the ideal family pet.
Reasons Why Rhodesian Ridgebacks Make Excellent Pets
– They are fantastic hunting companions. No game is too large or too intimidating for this breed. Often called “lion killers” the Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred to track down big-game animals like lions, boars, bears, etc. Patient and fearless, Ridgies are the ideal tag-along for people who enjoy long treks through the wild, and those who like to hunt.
– They are great with children. Though the playful energy might be too much for small kids, these upbeat pups can keep up with any game or adventure children can throw at them. They have inexhaustible stamina and if you are too winded to charge up that hill with the kids, your Ridgie will! NOTE: They can be rambunctious off-leash, so make sure you give them sufficient training so they don’t overpower other pets or people.
– They are suspicious of strangers. While this might seem like a nuisance when you have unfamiliar guests over for dinner (your pup will need to be acquainted with them, and allowed to smell them and “check them out” a bit before they are completely comfortable), it can be a good thing. Their protective instincts and aloofness means that nothing fishy can happen while your Rhodesian is on the premises.
– They are protective guard dogs. Rhodesians not only are suspicious of people they don’t know, but they have an intense protective sense over their families. A Ridgie owner in South Africa’s crime-laden city of Johannesburg once wrote “I won’t let my kids play in the front yard unless our Rhodesian is with them; then I don’t even worry about it.”
– They are not “barkers.” Rhodesians are not skittish dogs who yap at the drop of the hat. Even when the phone or doorbell rings, or the postman drops of the mail, they generally won’t make a sound. Only if there is a serious cause for concern, will these pups pipe up; when they bark there is always a reason.
– They are easily adaptable. When raised with other pets (whether cats or other dogs) from a young age, Ridgies become companionable with the other species. They will even take cat naps with the kitty, or cuddle up with other dogs.
– They are healthy! Aside from a tendency towards a skin irritations (and a lumpy condition called dermoid sinus) this breed seldom has health problems.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks need plenty of exercise and an authoritative, consistent leader to fully thrive as the ideal dog they can be. For so many reasons, this breed makes a wonderful pet.