Rhodesian Ridgeback

Looking for a watchdog that won’t back down? You can believe the hype about me: I was bred in South Africa to hunt down lions, so I can handle your typical backyard intruder. When off the job I’m a very gentle and affectionate family dog—though I’m more reserved with strangers. I’ll tolerate mellow children but not rowdy ones, and I can be too boisterous myself during play.

Quiet and almost lazy in the house, I can be highly alert and threatening in an instant and can also be aggressive with other dogs. Early obedience training is necessary to help me learn appropriate behavior. Stubbornness can make training difficult; a firm, confident approach is needed. New or passive dog owners may find me hard to handle. A half hour of exercise each day, preferably a good jog, will keep me settled—though I can’t tolerate cold weather.

My muscular frame stands 24 to 27 inches tall and weighs 70 to 85 pounds. My sleek, short coat has solid shades of wheaten, from light buff to gold to red-gold. A strip of hair growing in reverse direction on my back gives me my name. A weekly swipe of a curry brush and a damp cloth will control hair and keep me clean.

I’m a robust breed with only a few health concerns to watch for: dermoid sinus and hip dysplasia, with an occasional risk for deafness and elbow dysplasia. Proper diet and care should enable me to live 10 to 13 years.