Rhodesian Ridgeback

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Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback Overview

The name Rhodesian Ridgeback has a dignified air to it, and these hounds live up to the label. The breed was born in southern Africa, where the dogs of European colonists were crossed with semi-domesticated hunting dogs used by the indigenous Khoikhoi. The name comes from both the first breed standard developed in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the distinctive “ridge” of fur that runs down the spine, growing in the opposite direction of the rest of the coat.

Standing at 24-27 inches tall, they’re strong and athletic with a muscular build. They require lots of exercise and love to run, so they make great buddies for jogging or hiking. These natural athletes also love participating in canine sports including agility, obedience and tracking. They have a strong drive to chase and wander, so make sure to keep your Rhodesian Ridgeback on a leash unless they’re in an enclosed area. That drive extends to food—they love to climb and will “counter surf” for leftovers. They can be strong willed and stubborn, so a lot of patience and firmness is needed when training your puppy. Because of their strong personalities, the Rhodesian Ridgeback isn’t recommended for first-time dog owners. These sweet tough guys are devoted and affectionate to their owners, but they tend to be more aloof toward strangers. They aren’t big barkers, but their guarding instinct means they’ll alert you if something is amiss. 

Did you know?

Classic Hollywood actor Errol Flynn was the first to import and breed Rhodesian Ridgebacks in the United States in the 1930s. Other celebrity owners have included Blake Griffin, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, Patrick Swayze and Anthony Kiedis.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Stats

  • Kid-Friendly Kid-Friendly

  • Good with other animals Good with other animals

Popularity ranking**
24-27 in / 70-80 lbs (L)
Average lifespan
10-12 years
Activity level
Little to none
Barking level
Little to none
Coat length

Caring for your breed

Daily serving

Daily kibble serving

3-5 cups

Daily exercise

Daily exercise

2 hours


Grooming frequency

Brushed Weekly

Dog Food

Feeding your Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks love to eat, but don’t let them clean you out of kibble—or your food. Puppies need to eat more than adult dogs, but by the time your Rhodesian Ridgeback is one year old, they should be eating 3-5 cups of kibble either in one serving or two smaller meals, depending on their preferences and nutritional needs. Like many dogs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks love people food and will get in the bad habit of begging for table scraps if you aren’t strict about sticking to a feeding schedule. Stick to high-quality dog food where meat and fish are the main ingredients.


*Contrary to popular belief, there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs. There are breeds, however, that have non-shedding coats and are suited well to allergy sufferers.
**The breed popularity ranking is based on the most current ranking of the American Kennel Club (AKC)

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