History of the African Lion Dog

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a native of South Africa.  In the early 16th century, European settlers found a domesticated dog among the Hottentot tribe that distinctive ridge of fur along its spine. By the 1860s, European settlers were breeding the indigenous dogs with Great Danes, Bloodhounds, Greyhounds and Terriers, resulting in the Boer hunting dog, a relative of the modern Ridgeback. This new breed was developed as hunting dog, while also able to guard the farm from animal and human prowlers and withstand the African bush environment.  The Rhodesian Ridgeback came to the United States in the 1950s and was admitted into the American Kennel Club in 1955 as past of the Hound Group.


The Ridgeback has a quiet, gentle temperament and rarely barks. He loves to lay in patches of sun and be a “couch potato,” but becomes instantly alert if a stranger should appear and can make a threatening presence as a watchdog. Because of his prey instinct, a Ridgeback can make a good hunting partner, agility competitor, or lure courser. However, the Ridgeback is very affectionate and can be a good companion for a child.  Because of his protective instincts and large, muscular size, a Ridgeback should not be trained as a guard dog but must be properly trained in obedience.  Moreover, children must be taught the appropriate rules of interaction and respect for all dogs they encounter.  

Additional information is provided by the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States, Inc. (RRCUS):

Breed Resources

National Breed Club: Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States, Inc. (RRCUS)

California Breed Clubs: