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.