The Rhodesian Ridgeback

General Information

I'm out at work all day with nobody at home, would a Ridgeback be a good dog for me?

No. Ridgebacks are very much people loving dogs, they need plenty of attention and are not good
when left for long periods. They can be quite destructive, especially as puppies, if left alone.
It is most unfair to any dog to leave it all day whilst you work
Do not consider having a dog until you can give it the required amount of time.

Do they make good guard dogs?
Ridgebacks, like with many other breeds of dog, do have good guarding or protecting instincts
but they are not "guard dogs" in the same way as for example German Shepherds, Rottweilers or Dobermans.
Ridgebacks are hounds and their "hound characteristics" are generally stronger than their guarding instincts.

Do they need a lot of exercise?
Ridgebacks are large active dogs and require good daily off lead free-running exercise.
However, as puppies they should not be exercised but taken out for socialisation be it to the local shops,
friend's homes, and to specialised training classes in the car etc.
The more you socialise your puppy as a youngster, the better adjusted it will be as an adult.
Puppies require a lot of sleep, do not overtire them. Avoid boisterous play with other large dogs
as injuries can happen to their soft bones if the play is too rough. Give the puppy time to develop
its bone structure and muscles. Once the puppy is about a year old
it can be taken for progressively longer walks.

Do they need company - should I consider a second dog ?
Ridgebacks love company, preferably yours on a full-time basis but they do thrive
if they live with another dog. Most owners of Ridgebacks eventually have more than one
it is advisable NOT to get two puppies together. You'll end up with twice as much trouble.
Start with one and later, when it is about 2 years of age, you can consider a companion for it.

Are they good with cats and other small family pets?
Ridgebacks can live happily with cats, pet rabbits etc., if brought up with them from the beginning.
However, being hounds they have very keen hunting instincts and anything that moves is fair game
be it rabbits in the fields, squirrels or deer. They are both a sight and a scent hound and as such use
their eyes and nose constantly when hunting. Be extremely careful if you live in an area
where there are sheep - especially on the hillsides.

Are they good with children?
This depends on you and how well you have brought your children up to respect dogs.
All dogs should be treated as dogs and not as toys or playthings.
Dogs must have their own personal space and "child-free" zone. All dogs should ultimately
be looked after by a responsible adult. Children should be encouraged
to take part in all aspects of looking after a Ridgeback but only under the supervision of an adult.
Children, especially young children, should never be left alone with any dog.
Ridgebacks are extremely tolerant around children but every dog has its limit and often
young children do not know how to behave around dogs. Young Ridgebacks can be very energetic
and a small child could accidentally get knocked over and hurt.
We have been told that our dogs are wonderfully gentle with children and asked if all Ridgebacks
were like them? No, is the answer, our dogs behave as they do because of how they have been raised.

Do I need a large garden?
It is not necessary to have a huge house and big garden in order to give a Ridgeback a good home.
Around the house an adult Ridgeback is extremely lazy and loves nothing more than to lie
in a warm sunny spot or in front of a fire. More important is the need for outdoor exercise.
A "smallish" secure walled garden is adequate but a Ridgeback MUST be taken out daily.
It is essential that the garden is secure with a wall or strong fence at least 7 feet high.

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