There is so much information available on the internet regarding the history of the Rhodesian Ridgeback and I encourage everyone researching Rhodesian Ridgebacks to read as much as they can. We’ve been living with Rhodesian Ridgebacks since 1986 and celebrated our first litter of puppies in 1991. I learned many years ago that this breed “fit the bill” of what I was looking for in a dog – short coated, handsome, on the larger side, clean, and wonderful with family. Over the years I’ve competed in conformation, lure coursing and obedience; have certified Therapy Dogs; dabbled in agility and barn hunt. relish in assisting others in their search for a new best friend. Rhodesian Ridgebacks, however, are not the best breed for everyone, so here’s my perspective on the breed.
1. Ridgebacks choose to work WITH you, not FOR you. They need leadership, but can crumble in a dictatorship. The training program that best meets the independent nature of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is clicker training which allows them to think.
2. They see no merit in fetching things, but love a good game of chase. They also love tugging and wrestling, but those activities can be best reserved for canine friends.
Ridgebacks can be much easier to live with if raised with another or other dogs, otherwise can become mischievous to destructive if there’s not enough activity for them. We humans try our best, but this breed was developed to interact with other dogs.
3. They are not particularly forgiving of bad behavior from children, adults, or other dogs. On the other hand, a well mannered individual, be it human or canine, will receive incredible devotion as well as tolerance of a few indiscretions. You’ll find Ridgebacks to be loyal and naturally protective.
4. Often a strong prey drive can get a Ridgeback into trouble or can threaten his life. Underground fencing isn’t always reliable and the automobile is the worst threat of harm. In my opinion, physical fences are the best option for keeping a RR safe, but not all fences are created equal.
They have a few requirements of their humans: –
Varied and often. People food is good only if it’s not people junk food! Most true-blooded Ridgebacks will spend countless hours trying to convince you that they are definitely starving. Their love of food can lead to your frustration from counter-surfing as well as to a very round, unhealthy companion.
Lying in front of or under a wood stove, on asphalt in summer, or in streaming sunlight are favorites pastimes. And don’t be surprised by a request to be covered up with a lightweight blanket during cold months. If they’re active with you outside on a cold day, a coat isn’t necessary, but as they age and possibly slow down, you’ll want to keep them warm.
A sofa, your bed, or cushy armchairs are preferable, but a nice soft dog bed or crate mat are acceptable.
Ridgebacks are content to lie beside you or at your feet, however when you’re ready to go, (and it doesn’t matter where) so are they! Oh, btw, there’s no such thing as personal privacy. An isolated Ridgeback is an unhappy animal.
Playing with other dogs, hiking off leash in a safe area, running with you once mature are great activities. A happy Ridgeback is one who is able to run free somewhere safe at least once a week. Dog parks, however, are not generally a good option. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have difficulty tolerating bad behavior in other dogs and sometimes appoint themselves the dog park police to the chagrin of other dog “parents”. This is a breed that was developed to interact and work well with other dogs. They expect that all dogs know the appropriate behavior rules.
-Fair training practices
Nearly all Ridgebacks are physically tough, but mentally sensitive. Short training sessions work best (otherwise they tend to shut down), and fairness to the dog is crucial to learning, but food is the best motivator.