Fun Rhodesian Ridgeback Facts For Kids

Joan Agie
Feb 09, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Rhodesian Ridgeback is a very big hunting or guarding dog.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.0 Min

Rhodesian Ridgeback (Canis lupus familiaris) is a big dog breed that originated in Southern Africa. Its ancestors may be traced back to the Khoikhoi ridged hunting and guarding dogs, which were mixed with European dogs by the early colonists of southern Africa's Cape Colony. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are confused with the Thai Ridgeback, an analogous breed additionally named for its distinctive stripe or ridge of hair that is backward-growing on the back, in an opposite direction to that of the rest of the coat. The Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred in Africa and named after the unrecognized state of Rhodesia within which the primary breeding program was undertaken. It's a member of the hound family and was bred for the pursuit of giant prey like lions by hunters. However, apart from hunters, Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs currently can be found as standard family pets across many countries.

Another popular name for the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed is the African lion hound and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in the year 1955. Here are few interesting facts on Rhodesian Ridgeback that you will surely enjoying. For more relatable content, check out these Victorian bulldog facts and American water spaniel facts for kids.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback may be a result of crosses between the native ridged Khoisan dog and European breeds brought by Dutch colonists, the Boers, as well as Greyhounds and numerous terriers.

What class of animal does a Rhodesian Ridgeback belong to?

A Rhodesian Ridgeback belongs to the mammalian class of animals by its ability to give birth to its young ones. This dog breed has been recognized by the American Kennel Club.

How many Rhodesian Ridgebacks are there in the world?

African country Ridgebacks still measure a comparatively rare breed with just a pair of 2,000 AKC registrations per annum, compared to over 50,000 for breeds like a Doberman, sheepdog, and retriever.

Where does a Rhodesian Ridgeback live?

Ridgeback of Rhodesia Dog is sociable and has the qualities and temperament of a European dog. Rhodesian Ridgebacks live naturally in a house or any welcoming environment.

What is a Rhodesian Ridgeback's habitat?

The Ridgeback of Rhodesia Dog is from a typically hot climate. Aside from that, these dog breeds don't appear to have any physical adaptations that would ordinarily allow a dog to survive in the cold. Nothing in their outward appearance reminds us of polar breeds.

Who do Rhodesian Ridgebacks live with?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks live with families, as this hunting dog breed gets along well with youngsters, but both the youngster and the dog must learn how to behave around one another. Because of the size, younger and more agitated Ridgebacks may accidentally knock down tiny toddlers. Strong-willed Ridgebacks are protective of youngsters and other members of the household.

How long does a Rhodesian Ridgeback live?

A Rhodesian Ridgeback lifespan on an average is around 10 years, like the Great Dane. The lifespan of this dog breed can be extended meaningfully with help of proper health care, exercise and grooming.

How do they reproduce?

As any dog to begin breeding, the male dog will smell the female's vulva to discover whether she is receptive. After that, the male will mount the female, begin the mating process. Breeding ties can last from 2-30 minutes. After the mating process is over, the gestation period can last between 71-80 days, after which the female dog will give birth to a litter of 8-10 puppies.

What is their conservation status?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed is facing threats to its population due to interbreeding with other canines or a low birth rate. As outcome, there are fewer purebred dogs of this breed now present. But the conservation status of this dog breed is listed as Not Evaluated by IUCN nor by the American Kennel Club.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Fun Facts

What do Rhodesian Ridgebacks look like?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed is strong, slender, and tall. These are alert, beautiful dogs with erect ears and keen, expressive faces. This breed may or may not have a hint of black around the toes, but not elsewhere. The color doesn't vary much, however, a typical Ridgeback will be red, wheaten, or a mild blend of the two. A purebred Ridgeback must have a black nose at all times. The unique ridge of hair runs parallel to the spine and in opposite direction to that of the rest of the coat, differentiating it from other similar dog breeds.

The coat color of the Rhodesian Ridgeback ranges between light wheaten to red wheaten.

How cute are they?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback looks so cute as these hound dogs have an attractive appearance. The personality of this dog breed is to mingle with family and be humble among children, making these athletic dogs more adorable. But these pet dogs are reserved with the strangers, which is quite unlike other hound breeds.

How do they communicate?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback communicates by passing information from dog to dog and from dog to person. Barks, growls, howls, whines and whimpers, screams, pants, and sighs are examples of their vocalizations or auditory communication. These rescue dogs also communicate through gustatory communication, which involves the use of fragrance and pheromones.

How big is a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

As per the breed standard, a male Rhodesian Ridgeback size is around 25-27 in (63.5-68.6 cm) at the shoulder, while the female dog's size is around 24-26 in (61-66 cm).

How fast can a Rhodesian Ridgeback run?

Dogs of this breed are nimble and swift, with the ability to sprint at speeds of up to 40 mph (64.4 kph). This ability makes these athletic dogs excellent hunting dogs, friends, or protection dogs. The speed of this pet dog breed also depends on the weight, health and training.

How much does a Rhodesian Ridgeback weigh?

A male Rhodesian Ridgeback weight can go up to 85 lb (38.5 kg), whilst a female Rhodesian Ridgeback weight is capped at around 75 lb (34 kg). The weight of the Rhodesian Ridgeback guard dog depends on a variety of factors such as diet intake, food habits, exercise regimen, and training provided. They are smaller than Newfoundland dog.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male  Rhodesian Ridgeback is known as a dog whereas a female Rhodesian Ridgeback is called a bitch. African lion hound is one of the most popular Rhodesian Ridgeback names. These dogs tend to be reserved with strangers and stay aloof.

What would you call a baby Rhodesian Ridgeback?

A baby Rhodesian Ridgeback is called a puppy, like all other dog breeds. Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies are born as part of a litter of 8-10 puppies.  

What do they eat?

Premium-quality dry dog food, which may be blended with water, canned food, or broth, provides balanced nourishment for full-grown Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs. Rhodesian Ridgeback may also like boiled eggs, cottage cheese, and fruits and vegetables, but these foods should not account for more than 10 percent of the daily caloric intake of pets from this hunter dog breed.

Are they slobbery?

The Ridgeback is a very clean dog with low odor and shedding. It has a short, thick coat that sheds very little. Except in anticipation of eating, Ridgebacks do not drool. But in general, a Ridgeback maintained indoors sheds a bit all year, whereas Rhodesian Ridgebacks maintained outside sheds seasonally.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, temperament of Rhodesian Ridgebacks is quiet, calm, friendly, and wonderful with children as family dogs, yet the intrinsic packing mentality of this robust, dependable breed needs strong, continuous leadership. Their instincts and temperament are more than enough to protect the home and family as guard dogs, but these dogs tend to be reserved with strangers. Rhodesian Ridgeback  shedding is also minimal, making them ideal pets for families.

But it is advisable to not keep the Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs as pets along with other small pets or animals. This is because of their heightened prey drive which would lead them to attack any small animal that they can attack. This is the reason that this pet breed are considered as dangerous for other small animals.

Did you know...

Previously, the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed was known as the African lion hound, as this was one of the breeds native to Africa.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed is distinguished from other dog breeds through a ridge of  hair growing in forward direction on its back.

Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Great Dane fall under the same genetic group.

There is a popular notion that Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs can kill lions. But despite the huge size and power, a Rhodesian Ridgeback is highly unlikely to be able to kill lions.

The price for a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy starts from $700 and can go up to $2,000 for purebred puppy from reputed Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders. Rhodesian Ridgeback mix breed puppy dog's price will be slightly higher depending on the physical traits of the pet breed. You can get this athletic dog breed as pets at a lower price from any of the recognized Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue centres.

What is the country origin of Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed is a South African native, sometimes known as the African lion hound. Rhodesian Ridgeback history may be traced back to the 16th century when the first Europeans discovered the interior on the Cape of Good Hope. Boer farmers bred the Rhodesian Ridgeback to satisfy their demands for a hunting dog in Africa's wilds.

How to train a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback's price varies but you may anticipate paying between $700 and $2,000 for a purebred Ridgeback puppy from a breeder, depending on pedigree and region. Show quality canines might be much more expensive.

Below is a list of tips for the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Tip 1: Don't expect your dog to joyfully obey every instruction like a circus animal.

Tip 2: When it comes to learning good conduct and skills, dogs are like sponges. Your dog is eager to learn appropriate conduct. A Ridgeback's nature is to want to be close to you and make you happy - at times. Remember that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a fairly independent breed.

Tip 3: In this breed, harshness will just prevent a favorable training outcome. It is essential to express encouragement and appreciation, which will assist you in achieving your training objective as fast as possible.

Tip 4: When it comes to dog training, food is a potent incentive, especially for Ridgebacks.

Tip 5: Dog training should be a step-by-step procedure, with each approach building on the previous one.

Tip 6: When you initially begin dog training, practice in a distraction-free atmosphere so your pet hound can focus on its behavior.

Tip 7: Excessive rewards equal an overweight dog; wean your pet dog off rewards as these dogs learn the various instructions.

These seven dog training suggestions will get you started on the path to a happy, healthy, and obedient Ridgeback puppy.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed requires little maintenance. Brush the dog’s coat on a regular basis, at least once a week. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have typically healthy teeth, which may be maintained by cleaning at least twice a week.

Regular visits to the vet are essential for ensuring overall wellbeing of these pet dogs. Suggested tests for this pet hound includes dermoid sinus, hip, thyroid, and elbow.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these German Spitz fun facts and Bulldog facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Rhodesian Ridgeback coloring pages.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small animals and birds

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

8-10 pups

How Much Did They Weigh?

Male: 80-85 lb (36.3-38.5 kg) Female: 70-75 lb (31.7-34 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?


Where Do They Live?

south africa

How Long Were They?


How Tall Were They?

Male: 25-27 in (63.5-68.6 cm)Female: 24-26 in (61-66 cm)‍







Scientific Name

Canis lupus familiaris

What Do They Look Like?

Light wheaten to red wheaten coat with small white marking

Skin Type

Fur coat

What Are Their Main Threats?

health problems like hip and elbow dysplasia and dermoid sinus

What is their Conservation Status?

Not Evaluated
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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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