How is the Ridgeback around children? Other pets? As a watchdog?
The Ridgeback is extremely tolerant and an excellent companion for children. However, no child should be left unsupervised around any dog, as either may hurt the other, even unintentionally. Children and puppies should be supervised as well as young puppies have the jaw power of a German Shepherd and teeth as sharp as surgical scalpels! Due to its large size, younger and more excitable Ridgebacks may knock over smaller children by accident. The Ridgeback is a gregarious animal, enjoying the company of other dogs. Beware of having several male dogs -- this can lead to dominance struggles (as is true with several males of many breeds). They can be good with cats if brought up with them, but fiercely effective in defending their territory from stray dogs and cats. The Ridgeback is an excellent natural watchdog and family protector, requiring only that the owner has control over it. Obedience training is a must
Are they noisy? Do they have any bad habits?
Ridgebacks tend to bark only when there is something to bark at. They are very athletic, easily able to clear high fences. Not that any of mine have done this, all yards containing a RR will need to be fenced. Proficient swimmers, they can be an annoyance if the owner does not want them in the pool! They are not usually nuisance diggers, but can create large pits to escape summer heat if left out of doors. A Ridgeback can become a roamer out of boredom. Dogs who roam often fall victim to automobiles -- another reason to have a properly fenced yard.When going through teething periods, at young ages to about 4-½ months and again at around eight to10 months. Ridgebacks can be quite destructive if not provided with things that you want them to chew on, such as safe and fun toys, bones, hard plastic kongs etc. Crate training may be essential in order to keep an unsupervised, adolescent Ridgebacks in check.
Is the Ridgeback a good house-dog?
The Ridgeback is an extremely clean dog with little odor and minimal shedding. Its short, dense coat sheds little. In general, a Ridgeback kept indoors sheds a little all year round, whereas an outside one will experience seasonal shedding. They do not drool, except in anticipation of food. They are generally easy to housetrain and are not overactive in the house. They will take over the furniture unless their owners discourage this habit from puppy hood. A happily wagging tail will easily clear a low coffee table of its contents.All Ridgebacks benefit from training at an early age not to jump on tables or counters with their front paws. Ridgebacks can be notorious "counter surfers" once they discover people food left unattended. Ridgebacks who who live with their owners as valued members of the family and are taught manners as youngsters are among the finest companions in the dog world.
Are there any special feeding problems?
Most Ridgebacks have very hardy appetites! They can drool a bit when their food is being prepared. Ridgebacks inhale their food enthusiastically. Consequently, Ridgeback owners must monitor their dog’s weight and cut back, as appropriate, to prevent obesity. Sometimes a good cupboard lock is needed to keep a clever dog from helping itself. You will definitely need to steel your heart to keep those pleading faces from convincing you they are STILL hungry…remember, Ridgebacks are always hungry!
How much exercise does a Ridgeback need?
Like any medium-large dog, Ridgebacks need exercise -- a daily romp in the back yard or park and a couple of longer trips to the park per week should be sufficient. More would be better, but Ridgebacks do adapt to their people.Ridgebacks excel at lure coursing and agility -- two fun activities a which dog and owner can work as a team
Are they energetic or hyper?
A young Ridgeback is a very energetic fellow. But as Ridgebacks mature, most of them become much more laid back. One author calls them the "kings of dozing." Some say that a mature Ridgeback is happiest when either running flat out across a field or flat out asleep at your feet. In general, they mature into lovely calm dogs that do well when raised with children and other pets.
How long do Ridgebacks live?
From 10 to 12 years is a good average. Some Ridgebacks have lived up to 16 years. As with all dogs, good health may be compromised by poor dental health and lack of veterinary care. Keeping your ridgeback lean will give him a better chance for a longer life, extra weight on the joints of these large dogs, will cause arthritis, and poor quality of life as they age. A vigilant owner watches out for unusual lumps or behavior in their pet, which can be precursors to illness.