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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Rhodesian Ridgeback


Rhodesian Ridgeback Facts

  • Group
  • Hound
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 24" - 27"
  • Weight
  • 70-85 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Easy
  • Colors
    • Cream
    • Fawn
    • Red
    • Tan
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Hunting heritage
    • Ok outdoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Lion dog, African lion hound.


The Rhodesian ridgeback originated in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Date Of Origin

This breed was created in 1922.


The Rhodesian ridgeback was developed in South Africa by English settlers. It is descended by the native dogs kept by the Hottentot tribe and was considered an all purpose farm dog, used to herd, guard, and hunt African lion. It was first imported to the U.S. after WWII. It is a popular companion dog today.


The ridgeback is a large, muscular dog that is slightly longer than it is tall. It has a powerful back and lions, a deep chest, and a long, tapering tail. The head is broad with wrinkling on the forehead when the dog is alert. The ears are medium size and drop and the large eyes complement the coat coloring. It has a long, powerful muzzle and a large, black nose. The short harsh coat ranges from cream to brown. There may be small white markings on the chest or toes. it is distinguished by the ridge along the back, which is a result of two whorl's of hair that grow in opposition to the rest of the coat.


The Rhodesian ridgeback is a good natured, laid back dog. It is devoted to its family but intelligent and independent, so training can be a challenge. It has a high prey drive and is not trust worthy with small animals.


It has been known as a "safari dog" because in small groups it has been used for hunting lions and pumas. It withstands well the torrid heat of the day and the damp cool of the night. Today it is known as a friendly companion dog.

Health Concerns

Dermoid sinus, hip dysplasia.

Additional Information

The Rhodesian ridgeback requires a consistent, firm, dog experienced owner in the suburbs or country.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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