Description: The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large, agile, and muscular dog. The dog measures 25 to 27 inches and the bitch 2 inches less. Depending on sex, this dog will weigh between 65 and 90 pounds. The Rhodesian Ridgeback has immense stamina, and can run for miles without tiring. The coat of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a glossy wheaten to red in color, and is marked by the distinctive ridge running down the back from just behind the shoulders. The ears are pendent and of a medium size. This dog can live for 10 to 12 years. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is also known as the Lion Dog, the Ridgeback, and the African Lion Hound.
History: When European settlers went to South Africa in the 18th century, they naturally brought their dogs with them. Mastiffs, pointers, and greyhounds were among the dogs that made the journey. The Europeans soon became aware of a half-feral dog kept by the local Hottentots, which had a reputation for physical toughness. Breeding their European stock to the local dog, which had a ridge down its back, produced the Rhodesian Ridgeback. These tough dogs soon found good service in guarding farms and houses and also in hunting lions and other game.
Temperament: The Rhodesian Ridgeback is totally dedicated to its family and will protect them with its life. This dog is loyal and needs to be in the company of its human friends. Because they can be somewhat energetic when playing, it is probably better to keep very small children away from them. The dog would not intentionally harm the child, but might knock a child down by accident. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is reserved with strangers, but does not automatically act with aggression towards them. It should be socialized with other family pets while it is still young.
Health Issues: The most serious health problem with the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a condition known as dermoid sinus. To make the explanation simple, a tube (sinus) sometimes insinuates itself around the spine. This can sometimes be corrected surgically, but in many cases it cannot. An abscess can form and cause great pain to the animal. The Rhodesian Ridgeback can also suffer from hip dyplasia, although this is not a common complaint in this dog. Watch out for bloat, as well, and take the dog to the veterinarian at the first sign of this serious condition.
Grooming: The short coat of the Rhodesian Ridgeback does not require intensive grooming. A good brushing every week or so will keep it in top condition. The ears are not as prone to infections as in some other breeds, but they should be checked periodically to make sure they are clean and dry.
Living Conditions: Although the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an active dog with great stamina, it is fairly quiet indoors and is suitable for apartment living if exercised enough. Regardless of where this dog lives, it needs a great amount of exercise every day to maintain its physical and mental health. This dog will happily run along with your bicycle, and is probably best suited to individuals or families that indulge in outdoor sports.
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