Rhodesian Ridgebacks, instantly recognizable by their ridge of hair along their back, are hunting dogs that have adapted over time to become loyal and protective family companions.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
About this Breed
The Rhodesian Ridgeback was developed in South Africa when European settlers arrived and bred their imported dogs with local tribal dogs. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, settlers arrived with breeds such as Great Danes, Mastiffs, and Bloodhounds, but they needed a dog that could survive the harsher African climate, and could also hunt and protect property. So, they bred these dogs with Hottentot dogs of the Khoikhoi people, that had a distinct ridge of hair along their back. These excellent hunting dogs were brought to Rhodesia, today called Zimbabwe, where they were bred in larger numbers and became known as Rhodesian Ridgbebacks. Following WWII, the breed was imported in large numbers to the United States and quickly became popular. They AKC officially recognized the Rhodesian Ridgeback as a breed in 1955.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an athletic and powerful dog, whose physical attributes are matched by impressive levels of intelligence. This breed makes for a great family companion, although it can be rather over protective of owners and often aggressive towards unknown pets. Once they are trained to restrict their dominance seeking personality, this breed has a mild temperament with moderate exercise requirements. Their short coat requires minimal grooming to maintain a clean Rhodesian Ridgeback. This impressive breed ranks as the 40th most popular breed.
Did you know? Some Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs can experience progressive hearing loss early in life, a condition known as early-onset adult deafness (EOAD). Embark discovered that a genetic variant in the EPS8L2 gene is associated with EOAD in Rhodesian Ridgebacks. This finding was published in the scientific journal PLoS One.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Rhodesian Ridgeback ancestry.