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Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Horses?

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  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Horses?

    I've been considering a new dog for a while now, and had actually attempted to adopt one from the shelter earlier this month, which fell through because of lack of action on the shelter's part to get the dog HW and temperment tested.

    Anyway, a business friend was telling me today that they have a Rhodesian Ridgeback that they may need to re-home, as they have a new baby on the way and are also moving to a place with no outdoor space. They can't make up their minds at ths point, but he said if they do, he knows I'd give the dog a great home, and he'll be happy to be able to keep track of the dog as well. We pretty much talk weekly.

    Does anyone have experience with this breed who can give me some insights? I saw one at the Jacksonville show in Jan that was a boxer/rhodesian mix, and just thought he was a very good looking dog with a great temperament.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    From the Ridgeback Rescue site

    http://www.ridgebackrescue.org/breed...ur_family.html

    "Ridgebacks are not Labradors or Golden Retrievers in short coats. They are hunting dogs and have a high prey drive. Translation: They are quite independent -- they don’t fawn over your every word, they can be oblivious to being called and require a lot of positive motivation to train them in traditional obedience. Many people just aren't prepared for the willful disobedience and hard-headedness in this breed."

    They were bred to hunt lions in Africa. While I'm sure there are exceptions, it is very difficult to keep a dog with a high prey drive from chasing stock.

    I would consider another breed.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by jherold View Post
      From the Ridgeback Rescue site

      http://www.ridgebackrescue.org/breed...ur_family.html

      "Ridgebacks are not Labradors or Golden Retrievers in short coats. They are hunting dogs and have a high prey drive. Translation: They are quite independent -- they don’t fawn over your every word, they can be oblivious to being called and require a lot of positive motivation to train them in traditional obedience. Many people just aren't prepared for the willful disobedience and hard-headedness in this breed."

      They were bred to hunt lions in Africa. While I'm sure there are exceptions, it is very difficult to keep a dog with a high prey drive from chasing stock.

      I would consider another breed.
      Amen to all of the above. We have a rhody/boxer cross, and while she is a pretty lovable house pet, it is like Jekyl and Hyde, she is the most difficult dog to deal with from a training perspective, unless she feels it is in her best interest to do as you ask.

      She always charges the shared fence if the horses are on the other side. Always. And we have lived here 5 years.

      This is also the dog that I can count on to be protective of us and our property, but never would I trust her around the horses.
      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

      Comment


      • #4
        A local eventer has one - this is at least her 2nd since I've known her.

        They seem like nice, quiet dogs to have at horse shows.

        FWIW.

        (I think she posts on here sometimes, so maybe this will catch her eye.)
        Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
        "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother

        Comment


        • #5
          Perhaps it depends on whether they were raised from puppyhood with horses or not?

          Ours was a pound puppy, who had been returned twice because the ealier adopters couldn't deal with her. My in-laws adopted her when she was about 3 years old and already quite set in her ways, and my in-laws are not dog trainers by any stretch of the imagination.

          She is now 9, and I still would not trust her off leash anywhere outside of our fenced in yard. Even on leash in some cases.
          There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

          Comment


          • #6
            The ones that I have known were very rambunctious until about 2 years old. Then they became TOTAL COUCH POTATOES.
            "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

            Comment


            • #7
              Qualified "good" rating for RRs

              I had a RR growing up who was great with horses. He and my mixed Shepherd would accompany me and my pony all over on trail rides and was fantastic. He was well behaved with my pony and my sister's horse. We didn't have horses for the first 2 years of his life so he hadn't been raised with them but adjusted quickly with no problems.

              However, once he accompanied me to college and has less action since I didn't take him out riding anymore, he became terrible about running away if he had the opportunity so I had to be very careful about keeping him on a leash. (Multiple daily walks apparently did not suffice for his activity level desires!) And this was a dog who had had a lot of obedience training, getting a CD degree and two legs on his CDX and I could trust to walk with me/stay with me without a leash before. He had been a challenge to train to "high precision" (hence the difficulty getting that third leg!) but was certainly an awesome/perfectly-behaved dog for general family life. But this breed needs consistent reinforcement since being concerned about doing the right thing is not at the top of their agenda. And being a hound breed means they are distracted easily!

              So if you are considering this dog, I'd suggest some trial visits to see how the dog reacts to your environment and a detailed "background check" to find out how much training this dog has received and how responsive to commands he is. He might be great! But realize he'll need consistent refresher courses to reinforce what you expect from him.

              Good luck!

              Comment


              • #8
                I've been a Corgi owner for over 40 years but a RR will be my next dog. I have a friend who's raised and shown them forever. They are SUPPOSED to be good around livestock...their dual purpose on the plains was to guard, herd, and hunt the lions that were threatening the villages and domestic livestock.

                They are not a breed for everyone...they are pretty hard-headed and slow to mature. I've been around my friend's dogs for some years now and I think I'm up to the task. The human being the alpha in the pack brings on new meaning with a RR. They also require a great deal of exercise, which I can provide on my farm.

                Now the big question is if the RR can outhink a Corgi. It should be an interesting household!

                Comment


                • #9
                  My friend had 3, which she got from her other good friend who raised them for years. Had them one at a time, over the years. She raised them from puppies, and made sure they were well trained, socialized and behaved. She did both obedience showing and breed showing with them, they all did very well in both settings. Hers were yard dogs, didn't bother the horses at all. She had about an acre of yard in front of the horse fence. They did keep all varmints out of the yard, including shredding up a badger that tried to move in! Good guard dogs, barked but did not go into the road when walkers, riders or bike people went by. She had not let dogs set road edge as part of "their" property, so no need to defend it.

                  The first dog was rather atypical, not as hound acting, more a house pet type. Spent his time following the kids around, his self-appointed job as protector. The other male and female were more hound type, liked the varmint hunting. All the dogs were very athletic, NEED to be under control by being trained. You would NOT want to exit the car in her yard, until the dogs were called in if you were not well-known to them.

                  Plan on putting in time to train them well. Hers had nice minds, and she worked with them to make them nice, under control. Big dogs need to be controllable in all situations.

                  I liked the dogs when visiting, spent a lot of time over there, just not the breed for me.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've had a cross (never a PB) and he was a very good dog. From what I've read, it seems that Ridgebacks go through a long and tortuous adolescence during which they need skillful, firm guidance. Once you get through the difficult years, I think you can end up with a fiercely loyal, wickedly smart, sophisticated dog (though perhaps still a dog with more protectiveness, energy and prey drive than you're used to). The way this dog was raised may influence your decision. Could you arrange a trial meeting if the dog does become available?
                    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

                    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Growing up, my 4-H leader had two RRs, a male and female. Both neutered. The female was older and more settled. She was an EXCEPTIONAL dog. She was always ready for long rides, the Arizona heat never bothered her, she never bothered the horses. Great with the leader's young kids. We always took her to shows, where she stayed in the back of the truck, which was posted with a "beware of dog sign". People thought that was funny until they heard the low growl and saw those golden hazel eyes. She was immensely protective of the truck and all its contents, so we never had a problem with tack being stolen out of the back of the truck. She had a clear understanding of her boundaries (farm, home, truck, children) and protected them. I loved that dog and if I had enough room, would have one tomorrow.

                      The male, however, was an idiot. Slow to mature, frequently chastised by the older female, just goofy. He loved to chase things. Not horses, just things. Finally caught an 18-wheeler and was killed.

                      But I think adequate exercise is important to their success. These dogs went out with their owner on long rides every day.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We had two, purebred male and female from puppys. Female was extremely sensitive and eagar to please. Male was independent, but doted on my husband, who had spent the time it takes to do the training to make him a really good dog. On hikes the female would stick close and the male would do wide ranging circles, checking by occasionally. As a half grown puppy, he bonded to my broodmare, and would sleep in the dust next to her, or doze leaning against her front leg. As an adult at a new location, he tried to hang with the neighbor calves and get them to play - momma cows didn't like this.

                        Good dogs all around, but EXCEPTIONAL at keeping our property free of coyotes. They are very protective of their property. They take heat very well, but needed to be inside at 25 degrees or less. I would have another in an instant, escept for the cold weather in Denver area. German Shepard was our current choice only because they handle the cold better.
                        Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                        www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The few Rhodies I've met have given me the very strong impression that they are truly hounds with a working dog's readiness, aka, 100% independent thinkers with the focus and drive of a GSD or Rottie. Intense dogs. I suspect that many Rhodies would be highly attracted to large prey, and feel strongly about 'challenging' large animals like horses.

                          In the OP's case, I'd probe a bit into the dog's background. People can use the nicest possible reasons like 'moving' or 'new baby' to try to rehome a dog showing signs of behaviors that trouble them. Ask how old the dog is, where they got it, how they chose it, if it's neutered, if it's ever been to a dog park, if it's ever been in a fight, how it reacts to children, etc. And visit before committing. Tricky situation, if the dog doesn't work out and you've got to tell a business friend you had to rehome or - worst case - euthanize his former dog.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I had a RR with horses, never had any problems. In fact, I'm surprised at all the comments about high prey drive - this could be true - but it's not like an Aussie or BC that has a high HERD drive... Yes, my dog was protective, loyal, and I wouldn't necessarily trust her with kids she didn't know that might jab her - they are definitely not labs that can be pushed and pulled on by kids - but I never had the impression that mine would have "gone after" livestock. Which of course she didn't - she was much too interested in what I was doing to worry about the horses. She was very very stubborn as a young dog and independant, but once she matured, she was the best dog in the world.

                            Jill

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              mine is great with horses. He is not a chaser and if he does look at all interested in the horse all I have to say is "No". He almost dies when he hears that. His main problem (that I found out recently and I have had him all his life) is that he will try to chew through a door when there are fireworks He is very very senisitive and you can't yell at him you must "reason" with him. He wasn't a real bad puppy but he would challenge for pack leader here and there.
                              Draumr Hesta Farm
                              "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
                              Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have a Ridgeback lab cross and I absoulutely love her (RR color/confo with lab yellow eyes, and coat great for midwest winters) She is friendly, and quiet and while she will chase the ponies its only when you tell her to otherwise she is happily off chasing birds, turtles, fish, mice, and cats. A dog is a dog and anydog will chase something, the thing is you have to train it. We got her when she was a month old and once she had been kicked (By a mini of mine) she knew better than to chase them when she wasn't told to.

                                I've been around pure RR's at shows and fell in love with them, they are big trainable dogs (Uncle has a great dane that is trained but only listens to him...she's scary I much prefer the RR's) The sister is getting a RR puppy this weekend, and she's having a baby in jan, but her plan is to train the him to be a service dog since she is hearing impaired so he'll be able to tell her when baby is up ect. We plan on getting a female since they tend to be more guardy (My half was growling and snarling at me when I first picked her up and she was the one that came home with me)

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  There's a RR at a barn where I attend clinics occasionally. That dog is VERY good around horses, but you have to watch him, because he steals cookies and horse treats when he can. Even Strategy pellets are not safe from him!

                                  Otherwise, a very nice dog, although my gelding thinks he's the devil incarnate. I think much depends how the dog is handled.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    From what I've seen they come in two types. Mellow couch potatos and high strung protectors. Either type is likely to wander away from home if given the opportunity and are stubborn... you will need a good fence or that underground fence with the shock collar. I really like them, but I agree that they are not a dog for everyone.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The only dog which has frightened me (in my adult life) was a RR. It was very dominant. A person could not make eye contact with that dog without being growled at.
                                      My Equestrian Art Photography page

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Funny aside. Last time I took Figgy to a clinic at the RR's barn, as we were cantering along (with much forwardness and spring!!!), the RR same strolling through the arena door. Figgy spotted him and came to a complete HALT. No transition steps. Thank God for a deep seat!

                                        I have it on tape. Everyone had a good laugh!

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