Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback — The Complete Guide

Jul 23 ·

If you’ve been looking into getting a dog, you might have come across the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Originally bred in southern Africa, they were intended as hunting dogs, but are now great companions to have.

As with any breed, however, it’s important to do your research on the breed before seeking one out to own. Read on for all you need to know about this amazing dog.

Where To Get A Ridgeback

The most obvious place to get a Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breeder. Many people balk at the idea of shopping over adopting but the truth is, shopping is only bad when it’s done unethically. In other words, don’t shop at puppy mills or buy from backyard breeders. This is Nova and Mila…

Instead, look for an ethical breeder. AKC registration is a good start, but far from everything. You should also look for:

  • A spay/neuter contract
  • Transparency
  • A willingness to let you meet the parents and see where the puppies were brought up
  • Health checks done on the parents
  • Puppies up to date on shots and deworming
  • A guarantee to take the puppy back if anything goes wrong

If all of these things are in place, you’ve found an ethical breeder.

You can also look at breed-specific rescues, but their standards for adoption tend to be high. Many rescues are criticized for being overly picky with who they adopt their dogs out to, so you’ll need to have a truly great home in place.

It’s always good to look in shelters too, but you may have to be prepared to compromise on a mixed breed.

The Cost

From a good breeder, you can expect to pay around $1500 for a puppy. For puppies from amazing show lines, the cost can run as high as $3000 or more. For a companion, there’s no need to worry about show lines, but if you have bigger plans for your dog it may be necessary. Bastian…

Ridgeback Veterinary Needs

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are generally healthy dogs. Like a lot of purebred large dogs, however, they can be prone to hip dysplasia. Make sure you have your dog checked for this, the parents are clear, and that your pet insurance covers it. Pet insurance often has stipulations to avoid paying for this, so look out.

As puppies, they will need shots every three weeks until they’re around sixteen weeks old. This will protect them from parvovirus, distemper, and other nasty illnesses they could pick up as puppies. At sixteen to eighteen weeks old, they will also receive their rabies vaccine. Ravelli…

Vets should deworm puppies and check them over. After that, they should only need a routine veterinary visit once a year to update their vaccines and make sure nothing unexpected is cropping up.

Flea and tick prevention is also necessary. You can get this as a topical solution or pill and administer it every so often, usually monthly.

Appearance And Temperament

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are medium to large dogs, with a smooth, short coat that doesn’t shed too much. They can hit anywhere between 70-85lb at a healthy weight.

They have a relatively high energy level but even more than that, they need a lot of mental stimulation. That means you should be prepared to train them as well as you possibly can, and start early as a puppy. Keeping a Ridgeback mentally satisfied will mean they’re less destructive and vocal, because they’re getting everything they need.

Fortunately, their high intelligence makes them easy to train. They tend to be good with kids, making them great family dogs, but introductions to other animals should be slow.


Your dog’s diet is up to you. Different things work for different dogs, and many owners have strong opinions about what works for theirs.

For example, many people love feeding their dog a raw diet. This is fine — as long as you do your research. Feeding your dog home-cooked meals while doing no research can mean they miss out on vital nutrients.

Use a subscription service or do extensive research before deciding on what to feed your dog.

Kibble is also a fine choice, and more convenient since it’s easier to dish out. If you’re feeding kibble, however, you should avoid grain-free, which has been linked to heart disease in dogs. Not all dry food is created equal, so make sure you check that the one you’re using is of good quality.


Because their coat is short and doesn’t shed too much, this dog doesn’t have particularly high grooming needs. All dogs need some level of maintenance, however.

Make sure you trim their nails every six to eight weeks, keeping them short enough that they don’t hurt or get caught in anything. It is important to clean their ears and teeth regularly and even though their coat is short, you will still need to brush it every now and again, especially when they seem to be shedding more.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

You should only bathe your dog when they’re extremely dirty, as over-bathing can cause problems with the skin. You can use deep-cleaning dog wipes in the interim between baths if your dog is prone to getting dirty.

So, there you have it! This is everything you need to know about getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog. These pups make excellent companions as long as you give them plenty of exercise and, even more importantly, mental stimulation. They’re great with kids, highly trainable, and make excellent family dogs. What more could you ask for in a best friend?

Rhodesian Ridgeback Photos


Rhodesian Ridgeback


Rhodesian Ridgeback

Houses of ridges…

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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