The Ridgeback truly honors its name. The crest (ridge) is formed by a line of hair on the back that grows opposite to the rest of the coat. 

An attractive hunting dog, very hound type, which receives its name from its peculiar crest (ridge) on the back, the main trait in the breed. The Crest is defined, narrowing and symmetrical, beginning behind the withers and going along the back to a point between the hip bones, and having two identical crowns. It is a short and dense haired dog, with a glossy appearance; from light wheat to reddish in color, small white spots are admitted at the chest and the fingers. It stands from 63.5 to 68.5 cm; the female, 2.5 cm less. The head is quite lengthy with a flat and quite wide skull, and a long and deep muzzle; the jaws leveled and powerful; lips clean and well closed. The ears quite high inserted and wide at the base, medium length. The neck is quite strong, with no dewlap. The chest not too wide, but noticeably deep. The ribs moderately well chiseled, never barrel shaped. The forelegs strong and heavy bones, compact feet; the hindquarters muscular with low hocks. The tail is strong, wide at the base and narrowing to the tip, carried in a slight ascendant curve, never curled. The FCI and KC do not establish a standard weight, the AKC does: males 34 kg and females 29 kg.



Those considering a Rhodesian should know that this robust dog was bred for lion hunting. For this it is strong and aggressive, if not violent. It needs plenty of exercise and prefers life in the country and not the city. The current Rhodesian, retired from the African jungle, has become a good partner, and loves to play with children. Keep in mind that it plays vigorously and can be too rough for children. The training should be firm to obtain a balanced and obedient partner as well as a great guardian.



Litters are usually large in this breed, and the puppy size varies considerably. The Rhodesian can basically come in two colors: reddish brown with a dark nose, or liver with a light nose. The birth color is not an indication of the adult color, but after two weeks, when pigmentation begins, the definitive color can be determined. In general, the eyes darken with age, while the liver colored lighten. Except for the crest, the Rhodesian has a very natural appearance, and the buyer should choose a good temperament and healthy appearance. The breed requires good education and socialization in the first years to become the desired extroverted family dog. Behavior problems have been reported such as shyness and aggressiveness, never pick a puppy that is too shy or bold.


A tough, no nonsense hunter, bred for large game in the African jungle; of course it can be a lovely dinner companion. The Rhodesian Ridgeback nowadays is a company dog enabled for an experienced person or family.


Finding the adecquate Rhodesian Ridgeback litter is difficult. Of all breeds, the Rhodesian should be socialized early, so the puppies are not aggressive, stubborn or impossible to handle. 



The Ridgeback crest is a problem exclusive to the breed. Since it is thought to be caused by a gene complex, and not simply a recessive factor, theoretically a defect called dermoid sinus is characterized by the apparition of a sinus (channel or fistula), be it over (towards the head) and/or under (towards the tail) of the crest line. These orifices grow downward, toward the spine, for which corrective surgery is dangerous. Euthanasia is usually the most humane option. Hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, vertebral deformities, deafness and other common canine anomalies can also affect the breed, although responsible breeding has limited its incidence a lot. Care is minimal and the crest requires no special care. Caution is recommended regarding anesthetics.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is not a vulgar dog. It is prone to be aggressive towards other dogs, suspicious with strangers and very watchful and territorial. Form all hound, trail and similar breeds, this breed is the best candidate as a guardian dog.