20 fun and fascinating facts about Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies

Often referred to as the African Lion Hound, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed that boasts both beauty and intelligence. With its rich history and unique characteristics, it’s no wonder why this breed is loved by so many. Let’s dive into 20 fun and interesting facts about Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies.

1. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a characteristic “spine” on the back.

This breed gets its name from a prominent strip of hair along the spine that grows in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. This “backbone” is a distinctive feature of the breed. It is believed that the ancestors of the Rhodesian Ridgeback had this trait and it was purposefully bred into the modern dogs we know today.

2. They come from southern Africa.

The ancestors of the Rhodesian Ridgeback were crossed with European dogs brought to southern Africa by early explorers and traders. These dogs were valued for their ability to protect villages from lions and other wild animals.

3. Rhodesian ridgebacks were lion hunters.

This breed was not used to kill lions, but was instead trained to distract and corner them, keeping them at a distance until the hunters arrived. Their bravery, agility and intelligence made them ideal for this difficult task.

4. They are known for their loyalty.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are extremely devoted to their families. Although they can be reserved or aloof with strangers, they form deep bonds with their family members, often becoming particularly attached to one person.

5. They have a short coat that is easy to care for.

The coat of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is short and smooth, requiring minimal maintenance. Simply brushing your teeth once a week is usually enough to keep them looking their best. This makes them relatively low maintenance costs in the care department.

6. They are quite athletic.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their athleticism. They are fast, agile, have great endurance. This makes them great companions for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as running or hiking.

7. They are very smart.

This breed is known for its intelligence. While this means they can learn commands and tricks quickly, it also means they can be somewhat independent and sometimes stubborn. Early and consistent training is critical.

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8. Rhodesian ridgebacks are sun lovers.

Many owners note that their Ridgebacks like to sunbathe. Don’t be surprised if you find your puppy looking for the sunniest spot in the yard or house to rest.

9. They can be quite loud.

Although Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not particularly barkers, they do have a variety of vocalizations. They can “talk” to you with moans, yelps, and other unique sounds, especially when they’re trying to communicate something.

10. They have webbed feet.

This feature helps them to be excellent swimmers. While not all Rhodesian Ridgebacks love the water, many certainly enjoy a good swim, and their webbed feet help them do just that.

11. They are generally healthy dogs.

Although they may be prone to certain breed health problems, with proper care, regular veterinary examinations and a balanced diet, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are generally strong and healthy dogs.

12. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have dignified behavior.

Their poised and elegant stance combined with expressive eyes give them a regal appearance. This dignified appearance often contrasts amusingly with their playful and silly nature.

13. They can be quite stubborn.

Training a Rhodesian Ridgeback requires patience. Their intelligence combined with a bit of independence means they sometimes have their own ideas about things.

14. They ripen slowly.

Although they can reach their full size by a year, many Rhodesian Ridgebacks retain their puppy playfulness and energy until they are three or four years old.

15. They are excellent watchmen.

Rhodesian ridgebacks have a natural protective instinct. They are usually reserved around strangers and can be protective of their family and territory, making them effective guard dogs.

16. They are usually not aggressive.

Despite their history as lion hunters, most Rhodesian Ridgebacks are gentle and do well with children and other pets, especially if properly socialized.

17. They have a unique color palette.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are usually light wheaten to red in color. Some may have small white spots on the chest or toes and a dark mask.

18. They have a long service life.

With proper care, a balanced diet and regular veterinary examinations, Rhodesian Ridgebacks can live for 10 to 15 years.

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19. Socialization is crucial for them.

To ensure that they grow up to be well-rounded adults, it is very important to introduce Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies to a variety of sights, sounds and experiences at an early stage.

20. They have a deep history.

Images similar to the Rhodesian Ridgeback have been depicted in ancient rock art, suggesting that their ancestors have existed for thousands of years, accompanying human tribes and settlements.


From its rich history to its distinctive spine, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed full of wonder. These dogs, with their blend of dignity, loyalty and playful energy, are truly unique. Whether you’re looking to add to your family or just intrigued by the breed, there’s no denying that the Rhodesian Ridgeback makes a lasting impression.

Frequently asked questions about the Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies

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1. What is the characteristic “backbone” of the Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The “crest” on the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a distinctive feature of the breed, consisting of a strip of hair along the spine that grows in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. This ridge is inherited from ancestors and has become a defining characteristic of the breed. Not all Ridgebacks have a perfect ridge, but this is what the breed is best known for.

2. Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks good family dogs?

Yes, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their loyalty and deep bond with their families. Although they can be reserved around strangers, they are generally gentle and get along well with children and other pets, especially if socialized early. Their protective nature makes them great watchdogs at home.

3. How much exercise do Rhodesian Ridgebacks need?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are athletic dogs that require regular exercise. Daily walks combined with games or other activities such as running or hiking are ideal. Without proper exercise, they can become boring and potentially destructive.

4. Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks easy to train?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are intelligent, but they can also be independent and somewhat stubborn. Consistent early training with positive reinforcement techniques works best. Their intelligence means they are quick to pick up on commands, but patience is required due to their sometimes independent streak.

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5. How do Rhodesian Ridgebacks get along with other pets?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks generally get along well with other pets, especially if introduced and properly socialized from a young age. However, due to their hunting origins, it is important to observe their interactions with smaller animals to ensure that they do not exhibit strong prey drive.

6. Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks have health problems?

Like all breeds, Rhodesian ridgebacks can have certain health problems. Common problems include hip dysplasia, dermoid sinus, and certain thyroid and eye conditions. Regular veterinary examinations and awareness of these potential problems can help in early detection and treatment.

7. What is the typical lifespan of a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

With proper care, a balanced diet and regular visits to the vet, Rhodesian Ridgebacks live 10 to 15 years. Of course, individual life expectancy can vary depending on genetics, health, and environmental factors.

8. What kind of grooming do Rhodesian Ridgebacks need?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have short, smooth coats that are relatively easy to groom. Weekly brushing to remove shedding and occasional bathing as needed will generally keep them looking their best. They are not heavy shedders, which is a bonus for many owners.

9. Why were Rhodesian Ridgebacks called “African lion hounds”?

The name African Lion Hound comes from the breed’s history in southern Africa, where they were trained to distract and corral lions, keeping them at bay until hunters arrived. Although they did not kill lions, their bravery and skill made them invaluable in this role.

10. Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks suitable for apartment living?

Although Rhodesian Ridgebacks can adapt to apartment life as long as they get enough exercise, they thrive best in homes with yards where they can run and play. Regardless of their living situation, ensuring they get enough physical activity and mental stimulation is essential to their well-being.

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