Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament Information! (2024)


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an iconic large breed whose size and appearance can be both cute and imposing, so if you’re interested in getting one, you may be wondering – what does a Rhodesian Ridgeback temperament look like?

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know. Before adopting a dog that is a specific breed, you’ll want to make sure it is a good fit for your lifestyle.

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Rhodesian Ridgeback Origin & History


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large scenthound and sighthound breed of dog from South Africa. It is the only registered dog breed indigenous to the country.

Its ancestry can be traced back to the semi-domesticated ridged hunting and guardian dogs of the indigenous Khoikhoi people and European dogs of the Cape Colony of South Africa. 

Originally used for guard work, these strong dogs, also known as African Lion Hounds, were developed as hunting dogs that could flush out and track wild game and large predators like lions. 

The original breed standard was written by F. R. Barnes in 1922 and approved by the South African Kennel Union in 1927. In 1950, they were bought into the United States and were shortly accepted by the American Kennel Club.

They remain a fairly popular breed, ranking 41 out of 197 according to the AKC as of 2021. 

What two dogs make a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a product of several breeds, including the native ridged Khoikhoi dog and Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, Great Danes, and Greyhounds. As a result, they’re closely related to these breeds and share many qualities with them.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Personality & Temperament 


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is typically a gentle giant, but they are strong-willed and independently minded. They can be somewhat aloof to strangers but shouldn’t be aggressive as long as they’re well-socialized.

These dogs are incredibly loyal, brave, and protective but sensitive and affectionate towards their loved ones. 

Other Rhodesian Ridgeback characteristics include being athletic, intelligent, and playful. They can suffer from loneliness and separation anxiety, so daily life should be full of stimulating play to avoid behavioral issues.

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Good Family Dogs?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks can make excellent family dogs for the right family with training.

They are very sociable and love to be a part of a pack, so big, social, active families who spend a lot of time together and go on many fun adventures are the ideal match. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Good With Kids?

These dogs can be good with children and vulnerable relatives, but 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. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Good With Other Dogs?


Rhodesian Ridgebacks tend to be quite sociable and outgoing with other dogs, but they require a lot of training and socialization to ensure good behavior. 

The best companion dogs for Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the Boxer and the Great Dane, as both of these breeds are big and strong enough to keep up with the RR, but their temperaments also complement each other well.

We recommend caution when having two large male dogs under the same roof.

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Get Along Well With Strangers?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be aloof and reserved around strangers, but they are generally even-tempered and shouldn’t be aggressive for no reason.

Again, early socialization is key to good behavior, so try to expose your pup to as many positive people as possible in their puppyhood.

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Protective?

American Foxhounds are very loyal to their families. As a result, they can be protective of their homes and loved ones.

Some people say they make good guard dogs, as they pick up on disturbances quickly and are very vocal. However, others say that they’re too friendly!

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Territorial?


Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be territorial if they’re not well-trained and socialized from a young age. Territorial behaviors can include barking aggressively at strangers and can be prevented by practicing recall and obedience training. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Aggressive?

Any dog breed can become aggressive following mistreatment if they are not handled with care, and most dogs will protect themselves, their homes, and their loved ones when faced with a threat. However, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not known for aggression. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Biters?

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies have the same tendency to nip and bite as any other breed, but they are not known to be prolific biters in their adult years unless they’re made to feel threatened in some way. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Smart?


According to famous psychology professor and researcher Stanley Coren’s famous work The Intelligence of Dogs, the Rhodesian Ridgeback ranked in the group of average intelligence. 

The book determined each AKC registered dog breed by intelligence according to tests that tested them.

Instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working and obedience intelligence are ranked in six different categories; brightest, excellent, above average, average, fair, and lowest. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks hard to train?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are bright dogs and highly trainable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that training will be easy. They’re very independently-minded and energetic so they can get bored and frustrated easily.  

The key is to keep your training sessions short and sweet with positive reinforcement. You should start training your pup as early on in their life as possible and ensure that positive reinforcement is the dominant force in your sessions.

Start with the basics, but as mentioned above, areas of particular focus should include socialization and separation training. 

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.

To practice separation training, introduce time apart gradually from a young age and be sure to associate it with something positive – like a special treat or toy. 

Can Rhodesian Ridgebacks Be Used As Working Dogs?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks were originally excellent guard dogs and hunters. However, they are no longer used for work and are most often kept as beloved pets.

They are sometimes seen running in field trials and could work as guard dogs if necessary. 

When Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Stop Growing?


Rhodesian Ridgebacks reach their full adult size at around 14 months old (24-27 inches or 61-69 cm), but they will continue to fill out and gain weight (63-90 lbs or 29-41 kgs) until two years of age.

They should enter adolescence at around 9 months old, reach sexual maturity by a year, and reach full mental and emotional maturity by 2 years of age. 

When Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Calm Down?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks remain active dogs for life, but their hyperactive puppy stage will wear off gradually between 6 months and two years as they mature mentally and learn to regulate their energy levels. 

Can Rhodesian Ridgebacks Adapt Easily?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are fairly adaptable dogs, but they’re not well-suited to smaller homes and apartments unless they’re very well exercised because of their large size and high energy.

They’re also not the kind of dogs to get too anxious about changes in location or routine. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks High Maintenance?


Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their high energy levels.

As mentioned above, dogs with high energy levels and high intelligence have a particularly low tolerance for boredom, which can lead to separation anxiety, as well as other behavioral problems.

In dogs, this can lead to destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, destroying household furniture, harming themselves, and going to the toilet indoors.

The best way to prevent this is to make sure they get enough exercise and play daily. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Active?

Yes, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are an active breed. They need at least 2 hours of exercise a day, preferably split into two or three walks.

It’s a good idea to vary the location of your walks to keep things interesting and you should also try to include different activities. These active dogs love to run, hike, and play games of fetch – but they’re not typically keen swimmers. 

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Playful?

As mentioned above, these pups need lots of mental stimulation, so if you want to get one, you’ll have to invest in some mentally stimulating toys like puzzles, treat dispensers, and sensory toys and spend time playing fun and challenging games. 

Games like hide and seek, treasure hunt, and the cup game are great for Rhodesian Ridgebacks. To play hide and seek with your dog, ask them to sit and wait while you hide somewhere in the house.

Then, call them to come and find you. To play treasure hunt, follow the rules of hide and seek but hide a yummy treat or their favorite toy instead.

To play put two empty cups face-down on the floor before your dog. Then, place a treat underneath one of them. Make sure your dog is watching, and switch the cups around.

Then, ask your dog to find the treat. You can try switching the cups twice and adding another treat or cup into the mix if your dog becomes a pro!

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Bark A Lot?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks don’t tend to bark a lot. They usually bark to alert you to something unusual or somebody approaching the home, but they are not a yappy breed.

Some may even vocalize to let you know what they’re thinking, but this is not necessarily a bad thing and rarely becomes excessive. However, if it does, it’s easily curbed with some training. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback Temperament Information


The traits of a Rhodesian Ridgeback can make a wonderful addition to the family.

For the right owners willing to train hard and put in the necessary effort in daily life, providing plenty of love and companionship, you can’t ask for a more fun and fiercely loyal companion. 

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