Rhodesia, modern Zimbabwe, used to be a Dutch colony (like South Africa where the VOC [Dutch East India Company] held sway). My Dutch heritage sometimes inspires me and this is perhaps the one true 'Dutch' dog. Bred by Cornelius van Rooyen [a real Dutch name], it is a true mix of the Netherlands and Africa.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred to hunt wild game and as a guardian dog. This dog's independent, mild-tempered, intelligent, fast, strong, and fairly large. They are extremely fast and agile but not scrawny. This is a dog to fear nothing or nobody, to be loyal to those who love him, and bred to suffer African heat and drought.
What this dog is NOT...
- friendly to strangers [seriously, some of them won't even offer a stranger a glance and keep staring in front of them]
- shedding or needing grooming
Many lovers of this breed are convinced that this is the ultimate dog. I of course agree. Having said that, how suited are they to guard animals and serve as all-round guardian dogs to a (small) farm? I would appreciate some feedback on that one.
Jan Dohner recently suggested this list of breeds as livestock guardian dogs:
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Caucasian Mountain Dog
Central Asian Shepherd
Estrela Mountain Dog
Karakachan or Bulgarian Shepherd Dog
Polish Tatra Sheepdog
I was of course shocked not to find the Rhodesian Ridgeback on that list
Many of the dogs on that list are familiar to me as i have been researching the matter a little bit. And it seems to me that at least many of the dogs on that list are likely not suitable to a semi-arid climate (which is my focus of attention).
As far as i'm concerned a dog should fulfill many uses, like
- scare away or intimidate undesirable people and animals, particularly other dogs
- guard the animals
- love the kids
- be quiet when nothing's wrong
- maybe pull a cart or carry a backpack
The Ridgeback checks off every one of these wishes.
In my perfect dream world i might like to have at least one Ridgeback, a Viszla, and the perfect WATCH dog: a chihuahua
The Viszla looks a lot like a Ridgeback but that's really coincidence (though it's great they both require little to no grooming). The Ridgeback bitch and Viszla male are actually the same height, though the Ridgeback would be heavier. Viszla's are in many ways the opposite of Ridgebacks:
The main reason to desire a Viszla is that they have a keen nose (unlike the sight hound Ridgeback).
P.S.: when dog breed sites say "intelligence", what they usually really mean is "trainability", i.e. how 'obedient' and 'responsive to (usual modes of) training' they are. Actually, Ridgeback's are too smart to care about performing tricks, hence they are perceived as unable when it's really about being unwilling to perform pointless tasks (which is a good sign of both intelligence and pride if you ask me).
Why do you feel safe when mankind has only proven to be able to survive 12,000 years at a stretch...? Be prepared for the next probable end: http://www.teomcrote.co.nf Security: Rhodesian Ridgeback; Animals: Scobies and rabbits; Diet: Born to Run; Religion: trust no one; my best posts/replies so far
I've met one in person, they are very cool, though I'm not surprised it's not on the list. The classic livestock guardian dog lives 100% with the stock, where you are describing a real farm utility dog that does it all. The Ridgeback sounds great for a lot of things. There's the Northwest Terrier that's been discussed here before. And I'm kind of intrigued by the Wheaten Terrier breeds, if I could find one that was from a working line. We are starting a McNab Cowdog puppy right now. He's in the teething phase, which makes the biting tendency worse. Definitely not a general purpose farm dog, but it's an interesting ride so far.
I have been told, Ridgeback bitches are very protective of their "family" to the point of being tricky if not carefully trained, and the dogs are relatively more laid back. From the few I have encountered, this seemed to hold true.