When you first meet a Rhodesian Ridgeback, two things are immediately obvious: the striking ridge of hair along his back and his imposing stature. This is a strong, dignified, and muscular breed; he's not likely to be the first dog that strangers reach over to pet and cuddle. Those in the know, however, appreciate all of the qualities that make the Ridgeback beloved by his fans.
1. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a superb hunter. This South African dog was created by the native Hottentots and then combined with Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, Great Danes, Greyhounds, terriers and more brought to Africa by European settlers. Originally bred to hunt lions, he not only tracks his prey, but can hold his quarry at bay. In fact, he's also known as the African Lion Hound.
2. He's an athlete. Along with his hunting skills, he's got great endurance and is speedy enough to run with the fastest dogs, including Greyhounds. With this speed, he excels at lure coursing.
3. The Ridgeback is the family guardian. Not only did the original breed hunt in the wild, but he also protected Boer farms and families in an untamed, often hostile environment. He's reserved, often aloof with strangers, and his formidable presence will make any intruder think twice.
4. Like other hunting breeds, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is highly intelligent, with a strong-willed, independent streak. He needs patient and consistent training from puppyhood to avoid becoming a domineering nuisance. Although he may be too much to handle for an inexperienced owner, the Ridgeback responds well to fair and positive training.
5. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a devoted companion. As imposing as he looks, he is wholeheartedly attached to his family, including children. These are "people" dogs that want to be wherever you are. They love you deeply, with unswerving dedication and loyalty.