Many dogs are known for their bravery. But it takes a brave dog indeed to face off with a Lion, the King of the Jungle.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is that brave dog and they literally were used to hunt lions. They were previously known as Van Rooyen’s lion dog or the African Lion Hound or African Lion Dog.
Rhodesian Ridgeback History
The Rhodesian Ridgebacks forebears can be traced to the early Dutch pioneers of the Cape Colony of southern Africa. The Settlers crossed their dogs with the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the nomadic indigenous population of southwestern Africa, the Khoikhoi, also known as the Hottentot people in English.
European colonizers had also imported a variety of mainly European dog breeds to this area of Africa, including such dedicated hunting dogs as Great Danes, Bloodhounds, Greyhounds, and terriers. The Great Dane could be considered as the Ridgeback’s closest breed relative according to recent genetic analysis. Learn more about the history of the Rhodesin Ridgeback here
The Rhodesian Ridgeback as a distinct breed was recognised in 1924 by the South African Kennel Union.
Now Rhodesian Ridgebacks hunt Lions
Some people believe that Ridgebacks actually attack and kill lions. This is not strictly true. What a hunting pack did, and did so effectively, was to harass a lion and hold it at in place so a hunter could come and make the kill.
A pack of four or more dogs would use their scenting skills to locate the prey which was not just Lions. They would then spread out. One dog would run directly towards the prey, and the others circling with the object of cutting off any retreat. They would use their amazing agility and the ability to turn in a split second, swerve and feint, or maintain a fast pace should their prey try to escape.
Hunting alone a ridgeback against smaller prey uses their weight in a direct breast-charge. This charge is like a hit-and-run attack, leaving the dog on his feet a distance away and out of striking distance of the prey. Learn more about the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s hunting skills here