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Breed Characteristics

The Rhodesian Ridgeback has the advantage of having keen sight, and a good nose for scent. Due to the wide-open terrain of the southern African veldt, coupled with the habits of the game to be hunted and the techniques required to hunt such game in that terrain, the Ridgeback was developed as a silent trailer, characteristic of its sight hound ancestry.

Contrary to what many books will say, some Ridgebacks are not particularly good with small children. Many Ridgebacks react negatively to the loud screaming, noisey toys and unpredictability of small children. Most Ridgebacks tolerate small children but would not necessarily be categorized with Goldens and Labs as “good with children.” Above all, they are NOT Labs with ridges!

Possessing many of the characteristics generally associated with hounds, the Ridgeback has a quiet, gentle temperament, rarely barking. While able to enjoy lazing around in a patch of sun, or in front of a winter fireplace, a Ridgeback can be instantly alert if a stranger should appear and zealous in his pursuit of legitimate prey.

He is easily trained, being, more than many hounds, of above-average tractability. However, because of this intelligence, an untrained Ridgeback can become a terrible nuisance! Properly trained, he is a pleasure as a companion, a hunting partner, show dog, or obedience competitor.

Because of his innate abilities to protect his family, a Ridgeback should not be trained as a guard dog but rather the natural protective qualities should be supplemented with obedience training for control. Training must also be extended to children in the appropriate rules of interaction and respect for all dogs they encounter.

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