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Rhodesian Ridgeback

The hunter! (other names: African Lion Hound, Lion Dog)

Rhodesian Ridgeback
origin:Southern Africa
date origin:19th century
life expectancy:10 to 12 years
classification:Hound
height:61 to 69 cm
weight:30 to 39 kg
exercise: Demandingtraining: Reasonableclimate: Temperatein/out: Indoorfeeding: Mediumsize: Large
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History [ edit ]

The mysticism of this dog comes from it´s original name: Lion Dog, which led people into believing that they hunted lions. In fact, this breed never hunted lion’s by themselves but it was a precious help for the human hunters. But this shouldn’t kill the mysticism of this breed, because these dogs´ tasks in lion hunts were quite demanding! With several feints attacks and redraws a Ridgeback’s pack should place the lion into position so that the hunter could have a clean shot.

Ridgebacks are hounds and first-rate trackers, but they can also hunt on their own, usually smaller game. His excellent scenting abibilities make him able to be a good retriever as well.

This breed is originally from South Africa, and it´s the only indigenous breed registered to this country. The Ridgeback is a cross between the hunting dogs of the Hottentot that had along the spine hair that grew in the opposite direction and the settler’s dogs, mostly Dutch and German mastiffs. It is believed that the Ridgebacks where established in the early 19th century.

The original standard of this breed was written in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, in 1922, and four years later it was approved by the South African Kennel Union.
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General Appearance [ edit ]

If the coat is generally what sets some breeds apart, in the Ridgeback it is only a small part of his hair that makes him unique: a long ridge on the back, which is formed by the hair growing in the opposite direction of the rest of the coat. This type of crest should contain two identical crowns (whorls) directly opposite each other.

With a strong presence, this muscled dog can reach up to 69 cm and 39 kg. His coat is light wheaten to red wheaten. A dash of white on the chest and toes is allowed. The coat is slick and very fine, lying flat against the body. The hair is short and glossy. 
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Temperament [ edit ]

Agility, strength and hardiness could be the Rhodesian Ridgeback middle names. But this dog is not for the average owner. They are very protective of their family and need a good socialization since early ages. He is as courageous as we should expect of a lion hunter, so they fear nothing and can be quite stubborn sometimes. He doens´t like to be left alone and if nothing else to do, he will chew whatever he finds.

They are good guard dogs, very intelligent, wary of strangers and need supervision with small pets and young children.

These dogs can live in an apartment as long as properly exercised. Their stamina never ends, but they will adapt to your exercise regimen. They are good for long walks and jogging. Indoors they are calm and gentle.

They don’t tend to be destructive unless they get very bored, so if you have to leave them for a few hours - make sure you give them plenty to play with to occupy them - or they will find something else to occupy their time and it might not be something you want them to play with.
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Training [ edit ]

These dogs are wonderful to train because they want to please. They are hunters too and will scent things out. Try to keep to simple key words when training, such as here, gentle, good and bad, no etc as this makes it easier for you.

Socialize them from the very start with other dogs and other people - you will avoid the strong protectiveness. This is not to say that they would not protect the property or family if necessary.

This breed hates being shouted at and will tend to back away rather than come to you if you shout. Encouragement is the key word with ridgebacks.
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Health [ edit ]

This is a very resistant breed, yet special attention must be paid to hip dysplasia, cataracts, thyroid malfunctions and sinus problems.

Healthwise, dermoid sinus is the worry when they are very young.

The grooming is minimal: a brush now and then and nails trimmed is quite enough.  
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