Rhodesian RidgebackLion hunters in the living room? It’s actually no wonder that the Rodesian Ridgeback is becoming increasingly popular: the large, reddish-brown dogs with the typical crest of fur on their backs look incredibly majestic, making it difficult to resist their fascination. Accordingly, the number of owners who want a Rhodesian Ridgeback is increasing from year to year. Unfortunately, it is often forgotten that this breed with its impressive appearance was bred for a very specific purpose – and is therefore only very partially suitable for keeping as an easy-care family dog.

Brief racial history

The Rhodesian Ridgeback not only looks impressive, it also has an impressive history: This very old dog breed comes from southern Africa and was kept there to protect villages and hunt big game – especially lions. Their muscular build and lightning-fast reactions made it possible for them to catch the big cats and keep them at bay until humans came along to hunt them down. The colonial rulers were enthusiastic about these powerful hunters, but it took a long time before they gained a foothold in the old world.

Appearance of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

The most striking thing about the external appearance of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the crest on its back: the hair stands up in vertebrae, as if the dog were standing up its fur aggressively. In addition, it has an impressive height of 60-70cm at the shoulder and a weight of 30-40kg. The coat colors permitted for breeding range from wheat to red; the coat is dense, short and smooth. A tough selection pressure from the African climate and defensive game has made the Rhodesian Ridgebacks a powerful and frugal breed.

The character traits of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Like its physique, the character of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is also thoroughly powerful: these dogs have a strong personality as well as a strong hunting and guarding instinct, which must be carefully controlled from puppyhood onwards. They are loyal and courageous, although this courage sometimes goes so far that no conflict is shied away from – diplomacy is not the Rhodesian Ridgebacks’ strong suit. They also have a strong tendency to be independent: Without a strong leader, the Rhodesian Ridgeback takes over the distribution of resources (procuring food, places to lie down, etc.) as well as deciding who is allowed to enter “his” house independently and can therefore quickly become a leader become true house tyrants. Especially since these impressive dogs don’t know any serious obstacles: whether it’s a closed door or a high fence – if the Rhodesian Ridgeback has decided that he wants to go somewhere, then nothing will stop him.

However, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is also a real late bloomer in personality development: the final character of the respective dog only fully develops at around 3 years of age – up to this point the owners constantly expect surprises, be it the suddenly awakening hunting instinct or the Decision to keep certain people away from “his” pack.

Not a dog for everyone

The Rhodesian Ridgeback impresses with its majestic appearance. And his typically alert and loyal nature also makes him the absolute dream dog for lovers of the breed. However, it is precisely this attentive and protective streak in the Rhodesian Ridgeback that needs to be carefully controlled, otherwise it can quickly become unpleasant: its muscular build and independent nature make the African lion dog a dangerous weapon without appropriate leadership.

In addition, owners must always make sure that their Rhodesian Ridgeback is sufficiently exercised, otherwise it can easily happen that a bored lion hunter hunts deer, pets or even children instead – these huge dogs are not good to joke with. While you can let a Yorkshire Terrier run after the rabbit, yapping, knowing that he will never catch him anyway, things are different with a Rhodesian Ridgeback: These dogs are fearless hunters due to their instincts and potential hunters due to their powerful physique Killer. It is therefore definitely better to give a Rhodesian Ridgeback enough exercise: lots of exercise helps the red giants find peace of mind.

One thing is certain: the African lion dog is not suitable as a dog for keeping in an apartment or even as a city dog. He needs sporty people who are bereHe needs to be trained consistently and can offer him plenty of exercise and an appropriate property to protect. The character of the Rhodesian Ridgeback does not necessarily make him a beginner dog. But if you are willing to train him from the start with time, patience and consistency, his character traits will make him a wonderfully loyal companion in all situations.

Image: © Mikkel Bigandt / Fotolia.com

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