Rhodesian Ridgeback

Narrator: A dog that can take on a lion.

Tyson: An amazingly courageous animal. This an animal that will stare death in the eye and move forward.

Narrator: A dog that can keep up with a running horse for 30 miles, no sweat? Immune to insect bites, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the Navy Seals of dog breeds.

Tyson: This one of the most amazing dogs to walk the face of the earth.

Narrator: Also known as the African Lion Dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large muscular dog bred in Southern Africa to hunt lions.

Dr. Karen: You know that term keeping a lion at bay? Well, that came from the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Narrator: The bred was created by Hottentots and indigenous people of South Africa and early German and Dutch settlers. They combined imported Mastiff, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Bloodhounds, Terriers, and other breeds with the Hottentot dog, a semi-wild tribal, guarding and hunting dog to create the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Tyson: Imagine the type of personality it takes to run after a 7, 800 pound cat and chase it up a tree, and that’s the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Narrator: The most unique and defining character of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is its ridge. You can thank the wild Hottentot dog for that.

Andrea: It’s basically hair growing in the opposite direction of the hair that grows down the rest of their body.

Narrator: The ridge should be clearly defined, symmetrical, and run the length of the dog’s back.

Sally: You want it to have two crowns right here within a nice pan at the top and then symmetrically tapering down the body.

Narrator: The second characteristic is the Rhodesian’s feet – compacted with well-arched toes, and tough rough elastic pads. Those thick padded feet were vital to protecting the dog from miles of wear on the roughest terrain in Africa.

The final characteristic is the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s durability. Adapted to the harsh environment of the African plains Ridgebacks can withstand extreme temperatures. In addition to durability what gives the Rhodesian Ridgeback the ability to run great distances up to 30 miles in one stretch is his superb, strong framework.

His back is powerful and firm with 31 dense vertebrae in the neck and back, each with extensions where powerful muscles are attached. And they have long, strong forelegs which are straight with heavy bone density, designed to sustain the high forces the body is subjected to when in motion.

No wonder the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the dog of choice for many athletes including Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis.

Tyson: This dog is a dog that is for somebody that’s very fit, very healthy.

Narrator: They do well with country or city living. But beware, this breed can be more destructive than a lab if under exercised. They require at least an hour of vigorous exercise every day. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is generally a very healthy and robust breed and have very few health issues. However, they are susceptible to dermoid sinus.

Dr. Karen: Which is a congenital hollow tube that runs along their back under their skin, and it has to be surgically removed.

Narrator: The Rhodesian Ridgeback is generally odorless, easy to groom, and has minimal shedding. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are very intelligent but determined and independent thinkers. So they do best with experienced dog owners who are consistent and practice positive training techniques.

Tyson: This is a dog that is definitely not for the faint of heart. You want to make sure you get it right with this dog the very first because you only get one shot.

Narrator: Rhodesian Ridgebacks do best with athletes or active families who like the outdoors. While some maybe too boisterous for young children they make great protective companions for older kids.

So in general the Rhodesian Ridgeback is tolerant of extreme temperatures. They’re a hardy breed that is general healthy and illness free. Grooming is minimal. They’re an intelligent breed that needs consistent obedience training from puppyhood, and they are a great dog for athletes or a family with older children.

Sally: They’re really wonderful, unique breed that’s changed my life.

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