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Rhodesian Ridgebacks: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Rhodesian Ridgeback temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed

Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

This dignified, muscular dog, a combination of scenthound and sighthound, needs brisk walking every day and the chance to run as often as possible.

This is not a breed to sit quietly in your yard all day. Young Rhodesian Ridgebacks are especially rambunctious, bore easily, and can excavate vast holes.

The most territorial of the hounds, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is aloof with strangers and should be accustomed to people at an early age so that his guarding instinct remains controlled rather than indiscriminate.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be dominant with other animals, especially with other dogs of the same sex. Some individuals are fine with the family cat, while others are predatory chasers of anything that runs.

This breed is confident and independent, inclined to do things his own way, and will test members of the family to find his place in the pecking order. Consistent leadership and obedience training is a must.

Overall, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a splendid, capable companion for assertive owners. However, without ongoing time and effort, exercise, socialization, and supervision, he can be "too much dog."


If you want a dog who...

  • Is large, well-muscled, and natural-looking, with one unusual physical characteristic: the ridge of stiff hair along his back
  • Has a short easy-care coat
  • Thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities
  • Is the most territorial and protective of the hounds, serious and confident
  • Is calm and quiet in the home -- as an adult

A Rhodesian Ridgeback may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
  • Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
  • Providing enough socialization so that protectiveness doesn't become aggression or suspiciousness
  • Potential aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge

A Rhodesian Ridgeback may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy


More traits and characteristics of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

If I was considering a Rhodesian Ridgeback, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise. Rhodesian Ridgebacks MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Rhodesian Ridgebacks can make a shambles of your house and yard.

  2. Providing enough socialization. Many Rhodesian Ridgebacks have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Some Rhodesian Ridgebacks go in the opposite direction -- without enough socialization, they become timid or nervous.

  3. Animal aggression. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are hunting dogs with predatory instincts. Many Ridgebacks are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Some have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures.

  4. The strong temperament. Like all hunting hounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Some Rhodesian Ridgebacks are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.


book cover To learn more about training Rhodesian Ridgebacks to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book,
Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Rhodesian Ridgeback the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.



book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.


If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Rhodesian Ridgeback might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.


book cover Once you have your Rhodesian Ridgeback home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.



Please consider adopting an ADULT Rhodesian Ridgeback...

When you're acquiring a Rhodesian Ridgeback PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Rhodesian Ridgebacks who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter

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