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13 Things to Know Before Bringing Home a New Rhodesian Ridgeback

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on May 15, 2023

Bringing home a new Rhodesian Ridgeback, whether it’s a puppy or a rescue, is an exciting and fulfilling experience. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their athletic build, loyalty, and distinctive ridge of hair along their backs. However, before welcoming a Rhodesian Ridgeback into your home, there are several important things to consider. In this article, we’ll discuss 12 essential things to know before bringing home a new Rhodesian Ridgeback.

1. Research the Breed

Before bringing a Rhodesian Ridgeback into your home, it’s crucial to research and familiarizes yourself with the breed’s characteristics. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are large, muscular dogs originally bred for hunting and tracking. They are known for their independence, loyalty, and protective nature. Understanding their traits, temperament, and care requirements will help you provide the best environment for your new companion.

2. Exercise and Energy Level

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are an active and energetic breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. They thrive in homes with a securely fenced yards where they can run and play freely. Daily walks, interactive play sessions, and engaging activities such as obedience training or agility are essential to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

3. Grooming Requirements

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a short and dense coat that is relatively easy to maintain. Regular brushing will help keep their coat clean and remove loose hair. They are a clean breed and have a minimal doggy odor. Additionally, occasional bathing, nail trimming, and dental care are necessary to keep them healthy and well-groomed.

4. Training and Socialization

Proper training and socialization are essential for Rhodesian Ridgebacks. They are intelligent and independent thinkers, which can make training challenging at times. Early and consistent training using positive reinforcement methods is important to establish boundaries, obedience, and good behavior. Socialization from an early age will help them become well-adjusted, confident, and friendly with other animals and people.

Check out the Best 7 Online Dog Training Programs here.

5. Strong Prey Drive

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a strong prey drive due to their hunting background. They may instinctively chase after small animals such as squirrels or cats. It’s important to be mindful of this instinct and keep them on a leash or in a securely fenced area when outside. Proper training and socialization can help manage their prey drive and ensure they are well-behaved in different situations.

6. Health Considerations

Like any breed, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are prone to certain health conditions. Some common health concerns include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, thyroid issues, and certain cancers. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight are important for their overall well-being. It’s also advisable to inquire about the health history of the dog if adopting a rescue Rhodesian Ridgeback.

7. Pet Insurance

Considering pet insurance is highly recommended for Rhodesian Ridgebacks. They are a large breed and can be prone to certain health issues. Having pet insurance can help offset the costs of routine veterinary care, as well as unexpected illnesses or injuries. Before bringing home your Rhodesian Ridgeback, research different pet insurance options and choose a plan that suits your needs and budget.

Tip: This free tool lets you compare pet insurance prices across all the major carriers.

8. Children and Other Pets

Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be great family dogs when properly trained and socialized. However, it’s important to supervise interactions between Rhodesian Ridgebacks and young children. Despite their gentle nature, their large size and energetic nature can accidentally knock over small children. Teach children how to approach and interact with the dog respectfully and establish boundaries for both the dog and the child’s safety.

When it comes to other pets, early socialization is key. Introduce your Rhodesian Ridgeback to other animals in a controlled environment and monitor their interactions closely. With proper introductions and positive experiences, Rhodesian Ridgebacks can coexist harmoniously with other pets in the household.

9. Mental Stimulation

In addition to physical exercise, Rhodesian Ridgebacks require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. They are intelligent dogs that enjoy solving puzzles, learning new tricks, and participating in activities that engage their minds. Provide them with interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and training sessions to keep their brains sharp and satisfy their need for mental stimulation.

10. Size and Space Requirements

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a large breed, with males typically weighing between 80 and 90 pounds (36-41 kg) and females weighing between 65 and 75 pounds (29-34 kg). They require ample space to move around comfortably. While they can adapt to apartment living with sufficient exercise, a spacious yard where they can run and play is ideal. Ensure your living environment can accommodate their size and activity needs before bringing a Rhodesian Ridgeback home.

11. Social Support and Training Resources

Joining local breed clubs or online communities dedicated to Rhodesian Ridgebacks can provide you with valuable social support and access to experienced owners who can offer guidance and advice. Additionally, enrolling in obedience classes or working with a professional dog trainer can help you develop a strong bond with your Rhodesian Ridgeback and ensure proper training and behavior management.

12. Adoption or Reputable Breeders

When considering a Rhodesian Ridgeback, you have the option to adopt from a rescue organization or work with a reputable breeder. Adoption provides a loving home for a dog in need, while reputable breeders prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs. Research and choose a reliable source that aligns with your values and provides the necessary support and guidance throughout the adoption or purchasing process.

13. Make Sure These Products Are On Your Shopping List!

Bringing home a new Rhodesian Ridgeback can be overwhelming, so we compiled a comprehensive list of every product you’ll need for your new Rhodesian Ridgeback here.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks good with children?

A: Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be great with children when properly trained and socialized. However, supervision is necessary to ensure both the dog’s and the child’s safety due to their large size and energy levels.

Q: Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks require a lot of exercises?

A: Yes, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are an active breed that requires regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation are important for their well-being.

Q: Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks suitable for first-time dog owners?

A: Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a strong and independent breed that may be better suited for experienced dog owners. They require consistent training, socialization, and a firm yet gentle approach.

Q: Can Rhodesian Ridgebacks live in apartments?

A: While Rhodesian Ridgebacks can adapt to apartment living with sufficient exercise, they thrive in homes with access to a secure yard where they can run and play.


By considering these 12 important factors before bringing home a new Rhodesian Ridgeback, you’ll be better prepared to provide a loving and suitable environment for your new companion. Remember, owning a Rhodesian Ridgeback is a long-term commitment, and their well-being and happiness should be your top priority. Enjoy the journey of raising and bonding with your Rhodesian Ridgeback, and cherish the unique qualities that make this breed so special.

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