The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a native of South Africa. Its long history dates back to the early 16th century when European settlers found a domesticated dog with the Hottentot tribe. This dog, which had a distinctive ridge of fur along its spine, was selectively bred with dogs from the European continent to develop a new breed now known as the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
This breed was developed to meet the wide-ranging needs of a hunting dog in the African veldt. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks of lore were capable of performing such diverse tasks as flushing a few partridge, pulling down a wounded stag, or guarding the farm from marauding animals and prowlers at night. It was also able to withstand the rigours of the African bush. While many of these traits still contribute greatly to the breed's temperament, the Ridgebacks of today are more often found in the show ring or in the home of a loving family. The Rhodesian Ridgeback makes an attentive companion that is devoted to its family.
Possessing many of the characteristics generally associated with hounds, the Ridgeback has a quiet, gentle temperament and rarely barks. While able to enjoy lazing around in a patch of sun, or in front of a winter fireplace, a Ridgeback can be instantly alert if a stranger should appear and zealous in his pursuit of legitimate prey. Though he may give the impression of a big, lazy, slow-moving animal, the Ridgeback can be a threatening presence as a watchdog. Conversely, the Ridgeback's affectionate disposition can make him a trustworthy companion for a child. Properly trained, he is a pleasure as a family pet, hunting partner, show dog, or obedience competitor. An untrained Ridgeback, however, can become a terrible nuisance! Because of his protective instincts, a Ridgeback should not be trained as a guard dog but, rather, be effectively controlled through obedience training. Moreover, proper training must also be extended to children in the appropriate rules of interaction and respect for all dogs they encounter.
Ridgebacks are not Labradors or Golden Retrievers in short coats. They are hunting dogs and have a high prey drive. Translation: They are quite independent -- they don’t fawn over your every word, they can be oblivious to being called and require a lot of positive motivation to train them in traditional obedience. Many people just aren't prepared for the willful disobedience and hard-headedness in this breed.
Ridgebacks need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. You'll need to set aside playtime and time for training. Young puppies need a lot of socialization to be good companions. A weekly obedience training class and daily practice is a must for your Ridgeback to become a welcome member of the community!
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