Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Good For Hunting? (2024)

Today we are going to talk about are Rhodesian Ridgebacks good for hunting. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large, ancient sight and scenthound from South Africa.

Also known as African Lion Hounds, they were originally developed as hunting dogs that could flush out and track wild game and large predators like lions using their sight and scent. 

They remain popular to this day, with famous owners of Rhodesian Ridgebacks including Patrick Swayze, Grace Kelly, and Prince Rainier, as well as Errol Flynn and Blake Griffin, but can you still use a Rhodesian Ridgeback for hunting today? Let’s take a look. 

Other articles you would like: How Long Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Live? and Rhodesian Ridgeback Hunting Lions! Can They Kill A Lion?.

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks good hunting dogs?


Rhodesian Ridgebacks are excellent hunting dogs by nature. In fact, they’re known to be one of the most versatile hunters on the planet.

However, these days, they are most often kept as beloved pets in the West – but they can still be found hunting in other parts of the world, such as in their home country. They also participate in field trials and can work as guard dogs.

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks good bird-hunting dogs?

To see a Rhodesian Ridgeback bird hunting is not uncommon in its native country. They are good for tracking, flushing out, and retrieving game birds like partridges. 

Can a Rhodesian Ridgeback hunt coyotes?

Again, Rhodesian Ridgeback coyote hunting is not uncommon. They are more than capable of hunting a lone coyote, or perhaps even a pair. 

Can Rhodesian Ridgebacks hunt deer?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks of more than capable of hunting deer. However, it’s not overly common for them to do so.

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks still hunt lions?

Sadly, lion hunting is still legal in most places in Africa, so Rhodesian Ridgebacks could still technically be used to hunt lions.

However, it’s no longer common practice, and contrary to somewhat popular belief, a Rhodesian Ridgeback could not actually kill a lion. 

What they would actually do back in the day, during the hunt, was track them down in packs and chase and harass them until the hunter could kill them.

How to train a Rhodesian Ridgeback to hunt


In order to train your Rhodesian Ridgeback to hunt, you must first teach them the basics of training, such as recall and basic commands like sit and stay.

You’ll also need some equipment, something to distinguish your dog from other animals, such as a bright vest, a sturdy collar, a strong leash, and some retrieving dummies, as well as a first aid kit for their safety. 

Before starting your training, you should expose them to various noises, obstacles, and distractions that they may come across in nature in order to de-sensitize and acclimate them.

Then, you can simulate hunting scenes with your dummies to teach them how to chase and retrieve. You can also teach them the necessary commands by association as you go with words, whistles, or hand signals. 

When they’re ready, you can take them out into a real hunting scene and let their instincts combine with their training, or test them out first by entering them into a field trial.

Start small in a smaller space and keep them on a longline leash at first, if that makes you feel better, and gradually increase the difficulty as you go. 

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a high prey drive?


As you might expect, due to their hunting DNA, these dogs do have a naturally high prey drive. So, it’s not a good idea to have a Rhodesian Ridgeback if you also have other small pets in your home.

You should also fence your backyard to keep other animals safe and practice recall to keep them safe on walks. 

That said, if you do have other pets, it is possible to train your Rhodesian Ridgeback to get on well with other animals and improve their impulse control with lots of early socialization and training.

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks friendly dogs?


Despite their hunting DNA, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is usually a friendly breed of dog, but they are also strong-willed and independently-minded, so training is a must.

They can be somewhat aloof to strangers, but they shouldn’t be unfriendly or aggressive, so long as they’re well-trained. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks good family dogs? 


For the right family, Rhodesian Ridgebacks can make excellent family dogs. They are very sociable, outgoing dogs and can be sensitive, affectionate, and loyal to their loved ones.

They’re also good with kids and other dogs, so long as they’re well-socialized from a young age. 

That said, they’re not recommended for families with smaller children because of their size – they could easily knock over or hurt a small child by accident.

All children should also be taught how to interact safely, kindly, and respectfully with their pets, regardless of age. Their ideal families are those who spend a lot of time together and like to stay active and have fun. 

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks make good guard dogs?


These dogs were originally used for guard work; they are strong and powerful, and very brave, so they can make excellent guard dogs with the right training. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks protective?


As mentioned above, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are loyal dogs, and as a result, they’re protective of their homes and loved ones.

They are brave in the face of threats and will alert you to any disturbances within the home, as well as defend themselves, their territory, and their family members if necessary!

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks aggressive?


Any dog breed can become aggressive following mistreatment if they are not handled with care, but Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not known for aggression and shouldn’t behave aggressively unless provoked.

However, they can be territorial without training. To ensure good behavior, always train your dog well and socialize with them from a young age. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks easy to train?


Rhodesian Ridgebacks are bright, obedient dogs, and they are highly trainable, but training isn’t always easy. They’re very independently-minded, and they’re high-energy pups, so they can get bored and frustrated easily.  

To prevent boredom and frustration, you should keep your training sessions short and sweet and provide plenty of positive reinforcement.

You should start training your pup as early on in their life as possible and focus on socialization, recall, and obedience training, as well as impulse control to ensure good behavior.

To socialize your pup, introduce them to spending time with people and other friendly dogs from a young age in a safe environment or on walks and reward them for their positive interactions.

You can practice recall by calling your pup randomly throughout the day and rewarding them for coming to you, and obedience by practicing commands consistently.

Improve your dog’s impulsive control by getting them to sit and wait for food and treats. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks high-energy?


As you may expect from their hunting DNA, Rhodesian Ridgebacks have high energy levels. Like most hunting dogs, they’re very lively, athletic, intelligent, and playful.

They need at least 2 hours of exercise a day, preferably split into two or three walks, and plenty of mental stimulation from fun toys and challenging games. 

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks bark a lot?


Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not a particularly vocal breed. They are hunting dogs, so they will bark to alert you to anything unusual, but they are not yappy dogs.

Some of them may even vocalize to let you know what they’re thinking, but this is not necessarily a bad thing and rarely becomes excessive. 

Conclusion For “Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Good For Hunting”


If you want to get your Rhodesian Ridgeback hunting – there is no job that they are better suited to. However, it’s important that you do your research or seek help from a professional to ensure you train them thoroughly. 

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For more information about the Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed, check out the video below: