by Kelley Versteegh
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a very intelligent
dog and makes a wonderful family pet. He is independent and
strong-willed, traits that were very valuable in his native
Africa where he was developed to be a hunting dog. The owner
of a Ridgeback should be able to control a large, independent,
and athletic dog.
As a family pet, he is affectionate, loyal and
loving. He usually chooses one person to bond to, but he does
share his love with the entire family. He will happily spend
his day snoozing on the couch or front of the fire. Wherever
his owner is, you will likely find a Ridgeback. He loves to
be part of a family and is an enthusiastic traveling companion.
With strangers, he is naturally cautious and
aloof. He is a well-balanced, generally laid back dog who
rarely barks, but when he is called to action he proves his
worth as a guard dog.
He must be socialized early in life in order
to develop a stable temperament. He will readily accept cats,
dogs and other pets when exposed early. He is usually very
good with children, but of course children must always be
taught to treat all animals with kindness and compassion.
The Ridgeback is a considered a Sighthound in
the U.S., and one must understand the Hound mentality in order
to happily live with one! Harsh treatments do not work. The
Hound responds very well to positive reinforcement, and will
rarely do what you ask of him unless there is something in
it for him. His "stubbornness" can be easily handled
once this concept is understood. Owners of Ridgebacks must
quickly establish their standing as the "leader"
this will gain his respect. Then one must be consistent,
and garnish your Hound with love, and you will have a loyal
companion for life.
As a member of your family, the Ridgeback does
not like to be left alone. He is not a "yard" dog
that will tolerate being left alone in a yard day and night.
He will get very bored, very quickly. He wants to be with
his family! Bored Ridgebacks become destructive Ridgebacks.
Above all, NEVER tie a Ridgeback up outside. A Ridgeback (or
any dog) is no substitute for an alarm system.