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Rhode­sian Ridge­back

Orig­i­nally bred to take down lions, the Rhode­sian Ridge­back is now a pop­u­lar fam­ily dog.

BY CHRISTIANN PRIYANKA

no, it’s not a di­nosaur. It’s the Rhode­sian Ridge­back. Pre­vi­ouly re­ferred to as the African Lion Hound, this dog can be iden­ti­fied by the sig­na­ture "ridge" on its spine. The ridge is formed from two whorls that grow against each other, mak­ing the hair pro­trude like a fin on the spine of the ca­nine.

The Rhode­sian Ridge­back was ini­tially bred by Boer farm­ers in South Africa who needed a dog that could with­stand the ex­treme African tem­per­a­tures and ter­rain, sur­vive with lit­tle water, pro­tect land and be a guardian to the fam­ily. These dogs were also used to keep lions at bay in the African Plains.

By cross­ing ca­nines from Europe like the Great Dane, Mas­tiff, Grey­hound and Blood­hound with a half-wild dog kept by the pas­toral Khoikhoi peo­ple, the farm­ers cre­ated the Rhode­sian Ridge­back—a breed with a dis­tinc­tive ridge down its spine, start­ing from be­hind its shoul­ders and run­ning all the way be­tween the rise of its hips.

Al­though ini­tially bred to be a hunt­ing hound, these pooches rarely bark. They will, how­ever, if they sense a po­ten­tial threat. They are fiercely loyal and pro­tec­tive of their fam­i­lies, and love af­fec­tion. They tend to be wary of strangers and will even put them­selves be­tween their paw-rent and the un­known per­son to pro­tect them.

These pooches are also very

in­de­pen­dent and in­tel­li­gent. There­fore, they need toys that will help to stim­u­late their minds. Be­cause of their hunt­ing roots, they have a high prey drive, mean­ing that they are likely to give chase to small an­i­mals or strays. How­ever, these pups do very well with other dogs and cats that they are so­cialised with.

The Rhode­sian Ridge­back loves to run and play, and needs at least half an hour of daily ex­er­cise to keep it men­tally stim­u­lated and healthy. This breed is gen­er­ally healthy, but it’s es­sen­tial that they come from a rep­utable breeder who breeds dogs above the age of two. Rhode­sian Ridge­backs are sus­cep­ti­ble to el­bow dys­pla­sia, hip dys­pla­sia, der­moid si­nus, bloat­ing and in rare cases, de­gen­er­a­tive myelopa­thy. They are known counter surfers and will eat any­thing ed­i­ble in sight, so food has to be kept out of reach or they may be­come sus­cep­ti­ble to obe­sity.

Their fur is short, shiny and odour-free. How­ever, their nails need to be trimmed reg­u­larly and their teeth brushed at least once a week.

While this is a beau­ti­ful dog, they are un­suit­able for first-time or timid own­ers and fam­i­lies with tod­dlers.

FAST FACTS • Size Large; 32 to 29kg. • Colours Light wheaten to red wheaten; some have a black muz­zle, ears and eyes. • Groom­ing fre­quency Mod­er­ate; weekly brush­ing of fur. • Ex­er­cise High en­ergy level; needs daily walks of at least 30...

ALL FOR PAWS CLAS­SIC RAB­BIT PLUSH TOY This brown rab­bit plushie doesn’t just look real, it also has a squeaker. Us­ing this toy to play fetch with your pooch will sat­isfy his nat­u­ral hunter in­stincts. Avail­able at ko­hep­ets.com.

SOLID GOLD SEAMEAL NU­TRI­TIONAL SUP­PLE­MENT FOR DOGS & CATS Main­tain your pup's over­all health with SeaMeal, a kelp-based sup­ple­ment that aids di­ges­tion and im­proves skin and coat health. Sea­weed con­tains es­sen­tial vi­ta­mins, min­er­als, amino acids and...

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