Breed Characteristics

The Rhodesian Ridgeback has the advantage of having keen sight, and a good nose for scent. Due to the wide-open terrain of the southern African veld, coupled with the habits of the game to be hunted and the techniques required to hunt such game in that terrain, the Ridgeback was developed as a silent tailer, characteristic of its sighthound ancestry. When the terrain becomes more varied, where baying is desirable to keep track of the hunting pack (such as in areas of the United States where these dogs have been used), supplementation with baying hounds (more typical of scent hounds) has been done.

Possessing many of the characteristics generally associated with hounds, the Ridgeback has a quiet, gentle temperament, rarely barking. While able to enjoy lazing around in a patch of sun or in front of a winter fireplace, a Ridgeback can be instantly alert if a stranger should appear, or he is in pursuit of legitimate prey. Where he gave the impression of a big, lazy, slow-moving animal, the Ridgeback can be a threatening presence as a watchdog. Developed not only to hunt, but also as family protector, his affectionate disposition makes him a trustworthy companion for a small child. He is easily trained, being of above-average tractability than many hounds. However, because of this intelligence, an untrained Ridgeback can become a terrible nuisance! Trained, he is a pleasure as a companion, a hunting partner, or as a show dog or obedience competitor. Because of his innate abilities to protect his family, a Ridgeback should not be trained as a guard dog but, rather, the natural protective qualities should be supplemented with elementary obedience training for control.