The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a powerful, good-natured dog that’s an excellent guard dog as well as a fun family dog. As its name suggests, this breed’s origins lie in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), while the distinctive ridge of hair along the spine has inspired the second part of its name.

Originally used as big game hunters in Africa, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are now more commonly used as companion dog and guard dogs.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a smooth, short coat of a solid brown colour and is easy to groom. You’ll recognise this breed from the ridge of hair along its spine that runs in the opposite direction to the rest of its coat.

Standing 61 to 67 cm tall and weighing 30 to 39 kg, this is a large, strong dog. Despite its commanding appearance, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a loyal, affectionate dog that can be quite placid. It loves to keep its owner company and doesn’t mind children playing with it, but is very protective and wary of strangers (which makes it such a good guard dog).  

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an intelligent dog. If you socialise and teach your Ridgeback manners from an early age it will know its place in the family and you’ll have yourself a friendly, faithful family dog for many years to come.

This breed doesn’t need large amounts of exercise or special foods. Common health issues include OCD, hip dysplasia and sinus problems. The average lifespan of a Rhodesian Ridgeback is 12 years.

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals