The Rhodesian Ridgeback is considered a 'Renaissance hound.' The hallmark of this breed is the stripe or ridge of hair that grows backward on its back.
The breed was first recognized in Africa due to its high level of skill at baying and tracking but never killing lions. Today, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a cherished family dog that provides a loving companion, great guard dog, and protector.
The breed can be traced back to the 1500s when European immigrants took several dog breeds to South Africa with them. The people settling in these areas needed a quality hunting dog, companion, and protector.
While in South Africa, the dogs were bred with the partially wild "ridged-back" dogs used by the natives to the region. Several breeds likely contributed to creating the modern-day Rhodesian Ridgeback, including terriers, greyhounds, Great Danes, bloodhounds, and Mastiffs. The dogs were used for hunting all types of games at this time.
In 1877, the ridgebacks were taken to Rhodesia, which is known as Zimbabwe today. Here they were raised and further bred to serve hunters. The resulting breed was called the African lion hound, as they were used for hunting lions exclusively. They were also used for hunting boar.
The breed's standard was first seen in Rhodesia in 1922 and arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1900s. It was accepted as a breed by the AKC in 1955.
Keep reading to learn more about this breed, its behaviours, and its characteristics, and then decide if it is the right breed option for you and your family. Taking time to do this will pay off and ensure you get a dog that will meet your needs and living situation. Remember, not everyone is suited for a large dog, so make sure you can accommodate their needs.