Frequently Asked Questions Relating to the Rhodesian Ridgeback

ARE THERE MANY PUPS AVAILABLE? Patience is required, be ready to wait for the right puppy and breeder! Do not jump in and impulsively buy the first pup you see, ensure you look at several litters to gain a comparison. After having undergone your research into the breed, you will know the style of Rhodesian you desire -- don’t settle for second best. Most breeders only have one or two litters per year and puppies are usually pre-booked months if not years in advance, so you will need to get your name onto their waiting list as soon as possible.
HOW MUCH DO THEY COST? A puppy with main registration papers will cost ~ $800 - $1200 on average. The price may vary between the level of quality (ie. pick of the litter) and breeders. Limited registered (pet quality) pups may vary depending on the degree of the cosmetic fault.
A DOG OR BITCH? Differing characteristics between sexes is not too pronounced in Ridgebacks. Both have the same breed traits. However, generally speaking dogs tend to be that much more assertive and self assured with an inclination to wander. Bitches tend to be that little more gentle and affectionate and perhaps a shade more biddable. Both make excellent house dogs and watch dogs. Bear in mind that bitches come into season at least once per year, usually twice, and must be strictly confined whilst it lasts ~ 28 days.
DO THEY MAKE GOOD COMPANIONS? In a thoroughly impartial view they are ... simply the best! Whether you wish to sit by the television or take a walk, they will be only too happy to oblige.
ARE THEY GOOD WITH CHILDREN? The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an intelligent, placid, sensitive, easy going dog and is usually very tolerant of children. Supervision of both the dog and child is always advised regardless of breed. As a general rule children should treat dogs with respect, ie. no teasing nor tormenting and the dog should always have a safe haven, where it can retreat from the child(ren) if necessary, ie. its kennel. You need to establish a firm rule with the child that they are not permitted to go into the dogs kennel EVER.
ARE THEY OBEDIENT AND ARE THEY EASY TO TRAIN? Being basically hunting hounds their inherent nature is to think for themselves and to act independently of command. As they are a large breed, obedience training and socialising both with humans and other animals is essential! They are highly intelligent breed and will learn quickly. Ensure you do not do more than 10 –20 minutes training at a time, as they will quickly become bored. Keep it short, keep it fun and give them plenty of variety of activities. Being “Food Hounds”, use their delicious treats for rewarding (positive reinforcement) and always verbally praise them when they have done a desired command/action correctly. It is not necessary to hit a ridgeback as they are a sensitive breed, reprimand them with a harsh voice, it is most effective.
Ridgebacks have and do excel at Obedience competition level if you are willing to put in the hard work. They are generally more obedient than most other hounds and more trainable, but you will never get that instant submission you see in many Working breeds, like German Shepherds or Border Collies, so, if you are seeking a dog purely to trial, perhaps the Ridgeback (indeed any hound for that matter) is not right for you.
WHAT IS THEIR LIFE EXPECTANCY? Anything over 10 years old is a bonus, so to speak for most large breeds, Ridgebacks have been known to live to 14-15 years old with the proper care, diet and exercise.
ARE THEY EFFICIENT GUARD DOGS? Their sheer size and their deep, reverberating voices are a great deterrent to intruders but they are unlikely to attack anyone without extreme provocation, preferring to challenge strangers with their barking and disconcerting glares. Persons seeking genuine guard dogs should look elsewhere.
HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO THEY NEED? It takes very little to make a dog happy, a walk every day is one way. Even a short street walk on the lead will be the highlight of the dogs day. It is mental stimulation. Bored dogs tend to destroy gardens and objects and bark for no reason. Your puppy will not require much exercise, and should not be given it, until after 6 months of age, and then only a little say half hour walks will suffice, they get enough exercise just being enthusiastic puppies. We recommend that you do not exercise (say walk over 2 kilometres any dog under 12 months of age.) Never jog or run (in particular lure course) a puppy under 12 months of age – it can cause major irreversible structural bone damage.
ARE THEY GOOD WITH OTHER DOGS & CATS? Absolutely, provided they are socialised and introduced correctly and diligently. It is very important to socialise your dog with other people and the animals it will have interaction with.
WHAT ARE THEY LIKE WITH LIVESTOCK? You have a Hound Breed .. so, if it runs .. your Ridgeback will chase it. It is simply instinct. Regardless of breed most dogs will chase something that runs. If you live in a rural area, ensure you have adequate fencing to keep your dog in and that when you have your dog out with you, supervise him/her accordingly. With correct socialising and training your Ridgeback will not be a liability in a rural area, nor should it be allowed to wander onto adjoining properties.
Bear in mind, a farmer has the legal right to shoot a dog found on their property with their livestock.