FAQs

How is the Ridgeback around children?

The Ridgeback is a reasonably tolerant companion for children, able to withstand a great deal of aggravation from even the smallest of toddlers as long as they have been introduced to the little ones while they are still puppies.

Ridgebacks that have not been socialized around children can become nervous by their sudden movements – a child’s natural behavior of chasing will not be familiar for them. Socialization is key. As the adult Ridgeback is a strong upstanding dog, there is also the possibility that younger and more excitable Ridgebacks may knock smaller children over by accident.

How are Ridgebacks with other animals?

The Ridgeback is a sociable animal, enjoying the company of other dogs and cats. However, if they aren’t socialised sufficiently at an early age, they may have trouble co-existing. They can be good with cats if raised with them and/or given firm “boundaries”. They can be trained to co-exist with farm stock, but on the other hand they can be fiercely effective in clearing their territory from sojourning rodents, felines or other unwanted animals.


Are they barkers? Do they have any bad habits?

Ridgebacks generally only bark only when there is a good reason to do so. Of course, if a Ridgeback has been neglected, they may fall into various negative behaviors – including indiscriminate barking – out of boredom. They are very vivacious dogs with great energy and determination. They have been known to clear fences unless the owner has taken steps to prevent it. Quality time – walks, playtime, releasing of energy by exercise will markedly reduce the desire of a Ridgeback to escape even if they have the opportunity to do so. Although they are not neccesarily water lovers, they can become excellent swimmers.

I like to have my dogs live inside – does the Ridgeback make a good house dog?

One of the great characteristics of a Ridgeback is their personal hygene. Rhodesians Ridgebacks are extremely clean dogs with very little odour with little shedding due to the shortness of their coat. They are often referred to as “wash and wear dogs”. In general, a Ridgeback kept indoors sheds a little bit all year round. However, if a Ridgeback is kept outside they will undergo seasonal shedding. They don’t slobber, except perhaps in anticipation of food. They are generally easy to housebreak. They will take over the couches and beds unless their owners discourage this habit from puppyhood. As they have a happily wagging tail they can easily knock over plants and clear off low profile tables.

How long do Ridgebacks live?

With proper health-care, observing any irregularities that appear and by reacting responsibly, you can expect a liefespan of anywhere between 11 -14 years. It is key to feed a proper, good quality food, watch their weight, give them good exercise and look after their dental hygene.

What is a Liver-nose?
Rhodesian Ridgebacks come in two nose colours. You have probably seen the more commonly seen black nose, but there is also a brown nose, which is also called “liver.” Both colours are equally correct according to the breed standard. Liver-noses can vary dramatically in the intensity of their nose pigment, from a deep chocolate that almost borders on black to a light, almost pinkish colour.

The liver-nose is seen less often because it is a simple recessive; both parents must pass the gene on to their progeny in order to produce this nose colour. Black-nosed Ridgebacks can produce liver if they carry a copy of the liver gene along with the dominant gene for black; to produce liver-nose puppies, they must be bred to either a liver-nose or another heterozygous black-nose – that is, one that also carries the liver-nose gene. Some Ridgeback fanciers say that liver-noses are more savvy and energetic than their blacknosed counterparts; others disagree.

My Ridgeback has these lighter-coloured areas over his shoulders — it that normal?

Yes. Many, if not most, Ridgebacks have lighter shading behind their shoulders, as well as on their necks and on their “britches” (the area you see from the “rear view”). Many new owners are taken aback at what they think is “weird” colouring, but it is entirely normal and visible on most every Ridgeback you will meet. You just never noticed.