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Origin and characteristics of the African lion dog

The Dutch living in South Africa in the 16th century once described the breed as ugly dogs. However, European settlers saw many interesting characteristics of this African breed. They have proven to be courageous but also ruthless. Therefore, they are used to hunt lions.

It is the Rhodesian breed. Their main task is not to kill the lions but to surround them and hold them until the hunters arrive. Not only are the modern representatives of this pedigree hunter smart guardians, guardians and friends of the family.

The history of the breed

The Rhodesia Ridgeback is derived from African terriers brought from Europe to Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries. Initially, the breed not only participated in the hunt, but also took care of the house and showed off. Getting in touch with enemies is pretty ruthless. Dutch settlers described them as an ugly but cruel breed.

“A swirl of hair along the spine is the most characteristic feature of these dogs.” For more than 50 years, Dutch settlers (descendants known as Afrikans) used local exotic and furry dogs to protect their herds and hunt. It turns out that they are quite good at hunting and can hunt lions with horse hunters. Due to this skill, they were given another name – the African lion dog.

Gradually, people started to breed them with European breeds including: Deerhound, Borzoi, English Mastiff and even the Great Dane breed. The breed standard was established in Rhodesia in 1922.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is very muscular and tall. The head is broad and flat, the muzzle is long and deep, the nose is black, brown or hepatic in color (depending on the general coloring). Long ears hanging over the cheeks The eyes are round, usually brown. The front legs are very straight and strong. The tail is relatively long, tapering towards the end.

The coat is smooth, shiny, short and dense, wheat or reddish in color; sometimes there are white textures on the toes and chest. The hair (swirl) on the back is a feature, as the hair grows in the opposite direction from the rest of the hair. This vortex is typically about 2 inches wide at its widest point. It is believed to be inherited from the race of African descent.


As well as being an excellent hunter, the Rhodesia Ridgeback was also a good, gentle, and kind friend. They are gentle in nature, but can be at odds with children. Some individuals are too harsh to play and may inadvertently injure a child.

True, the Rhodesian Ridgeback was very intelligent, with great loyalty to its owner. They are very alert and courageous. Away from strangers, but not at all shy. The Rhodesia Ridgeback has a very tough body, so without enough physical and mental activity they can become hyperactive and unpredictable.

A wise owner needs

The Rhodesia Ridgeback needs a wise, responsible, mentally strong, and confident owner. You must act as a “leader”. Only then will a dog obey the orders and rules that apply both indoors and outdoors. Under the supervision of a suitable owner, it will become However, Rhodesia is not for everyone, as the majority of dog lovers may not have much time or energy to meet the relevant requirements. own such a special dog.

In addition to strength, the Rhodesia Ridgeback prefers calm, so training should be assertive and patient. Training these dogs is not too difficult as they learn very quickly, although they are very stubborn and rebellious. However, if you start training in your early years it will be much easier.

A properly bred Rhodesia will be able to live under one roof with cats and other dogs, provided she comes into contact with them from a young age. Thanks to his excellent physical condition, the Ridgeback can be an excellent running companion.

Dog back swirls and interesting facts
The name of this breed comes from the old name of Zimbabwe – Rhodesia and characteristic vortex on the back

Many dogs of this breed have black tongues.

Other breeds with a crest include the Thai Ridgeback and the Phu Quoc Ridgeback.

This variety has cases of skin diseases, paralysis, hypothyroidism and twisted stomach.

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