Ridgebacks were not bred to kill, they were bred to locate lions! The dogs would go out as a pack, locate a lion, and keep it cornered until the hunters arrived to shoot it.
Is there ANY breed of dog that doesn't have prey drive?????
Most dogs regardless of breed will chase livestock given the opportunity. Dogs were meant to eat meat, what else would you expect?
If you really want a Ridgeback, buy one from a REPUTABLE breeder who does temperment testing. From the testing you can attempt to get the puppy with the least amount of "chase instinct" or "prey drive". It won't guarantee anything but at least you can start out with a puppy who will be less inclined to chase livestock.
My parents bred, raised, and showed Ridgebacks for 20+ years. Ridgebacks are very smart (females more so than males) and very loyal to their owners. Our females were aloof but polite to strangers. They tend to be a very good judge of character. I don't agree with comments about how "tough" Ridgebacks are to train. If you are the "alpha" and maintain consistency in your training, they are not a problem. Just like any other breed.
Simkie, you realize I was being facetious right? My point was that if you approached ridgebacks with the expectations of shepherds, for example, you might be in for a rude awakening. Ridgebacks are independent. When you see sighthounds in the obedience ring they are rarely trotting around looking up worshipfully at the handler. I don't see that as a quality statement -as you can see from my picture I enjoy the heck out of ridgies. But rescues aren't full of young dogs because they are easy to train.
I've had Ridgebacks since 1994 and have horses, cats and have had a few foals. I agree I go nuts when they are puppies as I always forget how difficult they can be . They also ate my deck, destroy bushes, are hard and just tough puppies but then around two they become wonderful dogs. I've had a 110 lb male and right now two 75 lb females. They are polite, love people, love to go riding and insist on being in front. My horses never spook when the dogs are along.
They are well behaved house dogs with a dog door so they come and go as they please but do have a 5 acre underground fence.
so I agree they are tough but then I also have Chesapeake Bay retrievers and the ridges backs are easy compared to a Chessie pup. After all they are hounds, love a good bed in the sun .
Anyway I do think they are more cat/dog as they can be aloof. Thats ok because I never feel guilty abut them being alone, they don't mind at all.
They do counter cruise and you can't trust them around food. They also love to sit on your feet.
So yes good farm dogs but then I don't have chickens. I think they would find them yummy. However I did find two kittens curled up on top of my 100lb Ridgeback but he knew that that was one of our kittens. He wasn't so nice to the feral cats,possums , voles, coons squirrels.
I miss my big boy> I never worried about being alone on the farm or trail when he was along.............
I think with Ridgebacks it is all about early socialization and training.
I have a 2 year old male ridgeback who was raised with horses and cats. He is completely reliable around both and would never chase them. He has also been exposed to deer, coyotes, skunks, foxes, etc. on a consistent basis. He is the best off leash dog that I have ever had. He even started to chase a skunk while we were out on a trail ride and I was able to call him off. He's never met a dog or cat that wasn't his best friend.
However, he did go completely glassy eyed drooly crazy over my dad's free range chickens. He had never seen chickens before and when we went to visit this summer I had no idea my Dad even had chickens. I left him at the farm house with my brothers while I went with my Dad to go look at hay. While we were gone my dog went on a chicken chasing rampage and from the feathers you would think he had murdered the entire flock. Thank god he didn't hurt any of them, but I wasn't able to get his attention back after that until we left. He was completely twitterpated over the chickens. If I had been there when he first saw them to let him know he isn't allowed to chase chickens I think he would have been fine.
So the moral is - if you do get a ridgeback, expose them early, frequently, and never let them slip and get a taste for chasing any animal you don't want them to as I don't think they can go back. Especially socialize them with children and strangers. If you can't do that and don't want a dog that chases, then don't get a Ridgeback.
I love mine though - he is the most ridiculously cuddly 95lb dog the world has ever seen. And he has an odd quirk of smelling when I have a migraine and wanting to lick my head. He's a sweet boy!
I got him from this lady in South Dakota, and I think she does a good job with the temperament on her dogs: http://www.kollegekennels.com/aboutus.cfm
That's what I like about them, Walkers; they are discerning (okay, and handsome, athletic crack ups). They are great guard dogs without being pscycho about it -generally speaking. The neighbor's kid can hug them in the face but they'll try to murder an intruder. I like that mix in a dog. The challenge is (typically) they take that part of their job very seriously and in some countries ridgies are the junkyard dogs -they can have a reputation similar to pitbulls in the US. In fact the few Black Africans I've met were wary of my dogs because of their experiences with them in their various countries. In Trinidad as well they can have that reputation. So you have to train them. Also, as sighthounds they can be a challenge to develop reliable recall. I was able to do so with mine. Save for Milo my first, I used clicker training to great effect.
Their prey drives can be a PITA! I keep playing with the idea of going for another breed after Yoshi passes on, but I keep coming back to ridgies. Maybe if I could find a naked GSD....
ETA Ride for Life that is a HANDSOME dog. See what I mean? I think about getting away from ridgebacks to an easier breed and you post a picture like that?
Thanks Paula! He is the cuddler of my life! I don't know if I could sleep well without being completely squished anymore. =)
And you can't get out of Ridgebacks, there's not that many of us who have them to begin with! Although I was thinking that someday I really want a GOOD Belgian Malinois. I'm a sucker for dogs with "tough" and lots of work reputations. So far, once I get one they're easier than I prepared myself for. But I think I get lucky and get good tempered individuals too!
Funny you should mention sleeping and being squished. Here are my three back in the day. http://www.flickr.com/photos/5296733...in/photostream
Unfortunately I'm down to one old man now (bottom left) and he only sometimes likes to sleep with me. As a consequence I have insomnia! Apparently I too can only sleep like a question mark! For reference -that is a queen sized bed.
Thank you for all your thoughtful replies. I really appreciated all the good info from people who really know the breed. You all have given me a lot to think about to make sure I get the right dog for my situation. My uncle has a female ridgeback that has lived in a small house with minimal "turn out" for her whole life and she is the calmest, sweetest, (almost scared of her shadow) dog. My mom's shiz-tsu (spelling??) bosses her around. I guess that's why I started to look into the breed more. I realize she is probably an exception to the general rule...
I don't want to put the dog into an unfair situation when it's natural instinct is to hunt/chase. We only have 3 chickens that I'm not particularly fond of...but also don't want to have to pick up dead chickens! The dog would be mainly a house dog and only out supervised. I have a great work schedule so will be able to dedicate time into training the puppy from a young age. I understand they can be stubborn but I'm pretty sure I am more stubborn ;-)
Anyway, a lot to ponder and I appreciate all the insight without the "you're a crazy idiot" message
You said "they don't give a crap what you want" and I just haven't had that experience with any of mine--quite the opposite, actually. It does take work to develop that bond, but once it's there, it's unlike anything else. Which is something I suspect you'd agree with? But my dogs have been faaaaaaaar from "not giving a crap what I want."
Now, if you want to say "they don't give a crap what anyone ELSE wants" I can get behind that statement ;)
RedRyderKy, what kennel name? Anything I would recognize? Mine all come from Barbara Rupert at Oakhurst. Your point about considering what they were bred to do is very valid, and something I often bring up when talking to people about my dogs, as I think it really explains what they are like.
She will settle down inside if we want her to, but if she goes a day or two without her walks or some kind of outlet for her energy, she starts getting into the bedroom trash or dragging things around the house like clothes or shoes. I know she gets very frustrated if she isn't given the opportunity to exercise.
I also had her 3/4 sibling (same sire, dams were related) who was much more of a couch dog. We did have Riana in a 700 sq ft apartment, but she did go to the barn with me every day and probably trotted a several miles with me as I brought in and fed every evening.
cbsh13, your mention of a very timid RR brings to mind this: Ridgebacks are a breed that can go bad pretty easily if not bred well. I have seen "backyard" bred Ridgebacks that are overly aggressive, and I've seen them so timid that they're fear-biters. In fact, I've run into many people who are afraid of my dogs because they've only been exposed to Ridgebacks that have poor temperaments. While it's important to find a good breeder with any breed, it is ESPECIALLY important in this one. Looks for someone who has been in Ridgebacks for a long time and is proving their dogs in some way, if you are serious about the breed. Expect to spend some time on a waiting list, and to pay some serious dollars for a dog.
Alternatively, look at rescue groups that really evaluate their dogs, so you have a good idea of what you're getting.
RR look so much, and sound exactly like, my Blackmouth Curs... Curs being what they are there could very well be RR's back there but I always think of them as coming from totally different backgrounds...but they're both houndy hunters.
So even though I don't have RR, and do have BMC's, I'd say to be very careful to choose them as a farm dog but it's not out of the question. My BMC's are great farm dogs, gentle with our animals and people but very protective and wary of strangers. Total PITA's until they're two or so and tons of personality!
well, it seems to me that people are happiest with their dogs if they make a good "match" between what the dog has been bred to do and what they actually expect the dog to spend his time doing. People who get high-drive working dogs because they ADMIRE them but aren't willing or able to actually employ the dog in its working capacity are usually miserable with their dog and their dog is miserable with them.
When I was matching people to dogs in the shelter, I suggested they sit down and make a little weekly "schedule" of what they thought the dog would most likely be doing each hour of each day for a week. This would give everyone a real idea of how much exercise the dog might get, and how much and what kind of work the dog might be doing.
Just looking at this kind of schedule was enough to convince most people that they really couldn't offer a good home to ANY of the higher-drive working-type dogs.
Not to pick on the OP specifically (about whom I know very little and might be totally wrong about), but things to consider:
So ridgebacks are generally high-energy dogs, not content to laze around on the couch all day. Lots of long walks, and plenty of free-running time is required. Not optional, required. Running loose on a fenced or isolated farm seems ideal for this independent breed; however, the OP says the dog would be expected to be in the house most of the time. A house would be fine, if you were able to commit to at least 3 to 4 hours a day of focused dog-exercise time. Most people cannot.
ridgebacks are bred to be both guardians of the home, and to be hunting dogs. The OP makes no mention of needing a guard dog, and also the OP makes no mention of planning to hunt with the dog, or to engage in any of the "hunting alternatives" like lure coursing. So the dog's hunting behaviors will not be utilized, and possibly the guarding behaviors won't either. From experience, I know it takes a lot of work with young ridgebacks to teach them how to guard properly- how to distinguish friend from foe. If you don't commit to this process, you can end up with a dangerous dog who thinks everyone is FOE and acts independently on this suspicion.
The farm has a lot of livestock. Trying to keep a hunting dog with non-satisified hunting instincts from eating the livestock is possible, but difficult.
Ergo you might think this OP might be better off with a different breed, one with no hunting background, fewer guarding instincts, and a lower energy level.
If you like sighthounds, most greyhounds make for very happy house dogs, need only a limited amount of daily exercise, and have few guarding behaviors. From the very limited information we have about the OP, I'd guess the greyhound might fit better than the ridgeback into their lifestyle.
In the 15 years we had him, our border collie never chased a thing -- not squirrels, not rabbits, not cats, nothing. And he had plenty of opportunities. He just didn't care about that. He lived to herd, which is what he'd do with the livestock, but he never chased anything.
To answer your question: Yes, there are breeds with a weak to non-existent prey drive, and IME border collies are one of them.
The thing is all prey drive is not the same. Border Collie/herder prey drive is different from hunting dog prey drive is different from working dog prey drive. If the OP had asked about bringing a German Shepherd Dog pup to the farm I'd have said go for it. Different kind of prey drive.
Different prey drives: sight hounds vs bird dogs vs herding dogs vs guarding dogs vs terriers ...
Ridgebacks were bred to hunt LIONS, to trot along next to a horse all day 20+ miles.
OP, glad you are asking & only you will know your situation, but if it was just any random person off the street I would guess that very few of us would have the situation & doggie skills needed for one of these guys (I know I don't!)
Most dogs have been bred for so long for jobs, now they are expected to be pets. It doesn't surprise me that so many dogs (lots of breeds!) end up being surrendered, or with neuroses, etc.
When you have to pay a farmer to let your Bouvier herd her sheep, is that considered a first world problem?:lol:
You can also really see what they were bred to do in the way they play--they really bounce around but stay just out of reach. Vital skill for them, as they did not kill the lion...only find it and keep it busy until the hunter got there to shoot it.
(My dogs have only had their own kitties :) Same cat all grown up!)
I agree with everyone who said it's not about training the prey drive out of them, but channeling it into acceptable behaviors. My Aussie herds dogs and people--she escorts people from the curb to their front door. She knows not to chase horses, but runs alongside.
Just train them when it's appropriate and install a good "leave it."
Simkie- My parents had the kennel name M'Khoi. They were good friends with Southridge kennels in TN and Barbara Sawyer-Brown in Chicago. For the life of me I can't remember Barbara's kennel name.
I'm going to disagree about Ridgebacks being high energy dogs. In the large number of Ridgebacks (50+) I have been around and gotten to know (with majority not my family's dogs) I think they are very lazy dogs unless food is involved. The Ridgebacks I have been around would much rather sleep in a nice comfortable spot (aka your bed or in the sun) than do anything else. Many of these Ridgebacks were nice show dogs who were bred for excellent conformation and temperments. I can't stress this enough about getting a quality dog from a reputable breeder. Go find a local dog show to watch Ridgebacks, and meet some of the people showing them. A reputable breeder will probably ask more questions about you than you will of them. They really care where their dogs are going and want to match dogs to the best possible home. Be wary of any breeder who lets you pick your own puppy from the litter.