"The Ridgeback represents a strong, muscular and active
hound, symmetrical and balanced in outline... a handsome, upstanding and
athletic dog, capable of great endurance...."
This is the dog we breed
for in our program, and as such, requires good daily exercise (out of the back
yard), socialization and training (formal classes, as a puppy at least) from
the time a puppy goes to its new home.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not best suited to every dog owner.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an active sight hound...
It is important to do your homework when dog shopping. Ridgebacks are NOT the dog of choice for MANY potential owners. It is up to the breeder to interview and investigate applicants appropriately. Ridgebacks are often a more demanding breed than some others. They are independent thinkers, they are intelligent, they are stubborn, and they are ridiculous counter surfers. They are hounds, not Labradors.
Ridgebacks can often be a more high maintenance dog...
usually respond better when fed a good holistic kibble vs some of the
popular lines like Pro Plan, Eukanuba, etc (full of fillers and grains,
by-prducts, gluten and the like). This is not always the case, but so often is. You won’t find these foods in any grocery store or Walmart.
We also recommend adding Vitamin C and fish oil to the diet for immunity. Generally, a poor diet is first apparent in the coat appearance and ear issues, such as infections and yeast. Allergies often also result from fillers and garbage in poor quality kibble. Ridgebacks do well on grain-free diets as a whole, and holistic kibbles with no wheat, corn, gluten, soy, etc. Of
course, most Ridgebacks also thrive on a raw diet as well.
No diet is right for every dog, so look at your dog to see "Is this working?"
The pups I have seen that do not do these things with their owners as babies are not as well socialized as those who do, I have seen it too many times. Many can have fear/anxiety or aggressive (a fear response) behaviors as a result. Therefore, we require classes as part of our contract, and look for homes that are willing, have the time to commit and frankly are interested in doing so.
Raising a confident, balanced dog should be the goal for any owner.
Exercise… is a MUST with a driven sight hound, not just a Ridgeback. Ridgebacks are intelligent and active. They need daily stimulation and good exercise. Whether it be the dog park, long walks or hiking, running once age appropriate, or playing with other dogs on a regular basis. A fenced backyard won’t do it, not for a Ridgeback.
Doggie daycare is another great answer for working owners. Again, problems in behavior result in dogs that are NOT well exercised. I have seen this as well. We look for owners who are active themselves, and plan to include the dog in their already active lifestyle. Damage in the house (shoes, toilet paper, beds, etc. being shredded) are often the responses of a bored, frustrated dog. Providing plenty of exercise tends to eliminate these activities.
Runners and hikers provide an excellent environment for a Ridgeback, for example. We
have one owner over the age of 60, who has done everything you could
ask for with her dog, from the daily exercise part, to the continuing
classes, socializing him in every way possible. She now competes in AKC events with him, for fun and companionship. My point is, the dog is in a great environment for a Ridgeback. He is kept active and busy.
Crate training is also very important in this breed (and dogs in general). Puppies can easily chew and eat parts of toys, especially if they are bored. This often results in blockage and ER surgery. It is also a good routine for the puppy to take breaks to rest as they grow so quickly and loose joints need rest. Traveling in the car is also safer in a crate and if your dog is at the vet for any reason and must stay, they will be crated so it is a skill that they should have without undue stress. It also comes in handly if you have guests and the dog is overwhelmed or just needs to have a place to go safely.
Ridgebacks that are well bred and of champion quality are somewhat costly. Pet quality can run starting at about $2000.
Show quality can start at about $2500 and be as much as $3500 depending on region of the US.
Prices vary around the United States, depending on breeders, and expenses as they vary from region to region. East and west coasts are generally more expensive, as is the cost of living. Price reflects what it costs to finish AKC championships, full health testing to include OFA hips and elbows, thyroid, CERF (eyes), cardiac, and DM (degenerative myelopathy) clearances. This cost also reflects the time and knowledge of the breeder with regards to pedigrees which includes health issues in the breed.
Also included is ever rising vet costs, nutrition/food, AKC registration, etc. Stud fees and traveling to breed is also very costly. Raising a litter "correctly" is not a cheap endeavor. Spending less in the short run could EASILY cost far more in the end in medical bills due to health problems, etc. So always consider these points when checking out breeders.
Part of a health guarantee means the breeder has done the best they can to breed your puppy and raise it as best they can. AKC Championships are not flashy titles, but rather they illustrate that the dog has met the criteria defined in the breed standard to be a good spcimen as future breeding stock. Several judges has given points to meet the Championship status (15 points) as defined by the AKC using the national breed standard (RRCUS in our case) as their guide.