The Rhodesian Ridgeback, also known as the African Lion Hound, the African Lion Dog, the Rhodesian Lion Dog, the African Bull-Dog, the Van Rooyan Lion Dog and the Ridgeback, and less formally as “the dog with a snake on its back,” is instantly recognizable by the unique ridge of hair that grows forward (in the opposite direction of the rest of its coat) along the top of its back. As a hallmark of this breed, the ridge must be clearly defined, tapering and symmetrical, starting behind the shoulders and continuing to a point between the hips. There should be two identical crowns of hair, called “whorls,” directly opposite each other. Long thought to be the only breed with a ridge, several lesser-known breeds share this trait, including the Thai Ridgeback and the Phu Quok Dog. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a powerful, intelligent and formidable breed that can be domineering and aggressive if not properly socialized and has a strong prey drive. It is not a particularly good choice for novice owners. The Rhodesian Ridgeback was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of its Hound Group in 1955.
The mature male Rhodesian Ridgeback should 25 to 27 inches at the withers, with adult females standing 24 to 26 inches in height. The desired weight for males is 85 pounds and for females is 70 pounds. Their short copper coat is very easy to care for, with only an occasional brushing being necessary to keep shedding under control.