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African Lion Dog – Rhodesian Ridgeback

As a proudly “local-is-lekker” company, we thought we would share some information on one of South Africa’s dog breeds, the iconic Rhodesian Ridgeback loved for its bravery and protective instinct and revered for its ability to assist hunters with their hunt for lions, and of course its iconic ridge. Brave enough to keep distracting and hassling powerful lions, so the hunter could get their shot; yet clever enough to know when they needed to retreat and live to fight another day.

The distinctive ridge, which gave the Ridgeback its name

Ridgebacks are typically very active dogs, who need to be well and consistently trained. They LOVE to eat and can easily end up overweight, for a breed who survived in tough conditions and faced the daily challenges of a wilder Africa, they LOVE their creature comforts.

Couch potatoes of note, blanket hogs and the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand, when it comes to kicking them out of a warm bed, the Ridgeback makes a phenomenal family pet, as long as their exuberant personality is tempered around small children. They really love to snuggle on a cold winter’s morning, let’s be fair, their beautiful short fine coat, does not provide much warmth.

Fun Facts:

  • The Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred from the crossing of European dogs—like the Great Dane, the Mastiff, Greyhounds, and Bloodhounds—with a native dog of the Khoikhoi people known as the Hottentot hunting hound.
  • The Khoikhoi’s dogs had ridges, which is where the Ridgeback’s ridge came from (try say that 10x really fast)
  • A percentage of Ridgeback puppies are born without ridges
  • Ridgebacks are canny survivalists, even today, it is rare for a Ridgeback to blindly jump into water. A very sensible move, when way back when, that would have probably resulted in a very happy crocodile enjoying a snack
  • Ridgebacks have been the dog of choice for celebrities the likes of, Patrick Swayze, Grace Kelly, Prince Rainier and Errol Flynn.
  • They are prone to a genetic issue called Dermoid sinus. Surgical intervention may be required to avoid infection and abscesses developing.
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