Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Good with Cats?

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Get Along with Cats?

So you want to include a new family member in your home. You might want to add a cat to the home when you already have a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Or You want to add a Rhodesian Ridgeback to a home that already has one or two cats, and you want to know if a Rhodesian Ridgeback will get along with a cat.

Well, it’s not so simple.

There are occasions when a Rhodesian ridgeback can get along with a cat, but for the most part, an adult Rhodesian Ridgeback will not get along when exposed to a new cat.

There are some reasons for this, but the main reason is that Rhodesian Ridgebacks were bred to be working dogs and not spoiled furry family members.

To find out if your Rhodesian Ridgeback will get along with a cat, you have to understand the history of the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

If you’re wondering if Rhodesian ridgebacks are good with other dogs, we’ve got you covered here.

History of Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are South African in their origin and owe their existence to the popularity of big game hunting.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback resulted from the mating of several types of terriers, European dog breeds brought to Africa by Dutch Colonists, Greyhounds, and the native South African dog the KhoiKhoi.

In the 19th century, Rhodesian big game hunter Cornelius Van Rooyen used Rhodesian Ridgebacks, previously known as African Lion Hounds, because he realized their importance to hunting.

Van Rooyen noted that the dogs excelled at hunting antelope and in confusing lions enough to provide Van Rooyen with time to sight them with his rifle.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback had enough stamina to run alongside mounted riders throughout the day and fend off dangerous native animals.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback’s ability to hunt, fend off wild native animals, and protect homesteads from intruders made it a valuable and popular dog.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks remained a popular hunting dog until the popularity of big game hunting started to wane.

Despite their aggressiveness in hunting and use for security on properties, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an affectionate breed that does well as a family dog.

The Rhodesian ridgeback is friendly, good with children, independent, and has a strong prey drive.

Nature vs. Nurture

The friendliness of the Rhodesian Ridgeback makes it a popular family dog, and its intelligence makes it an easy dog to train.

However, the Rhodesian Ridgebacks’ strong prey drive might cause problems for some people.

It’s the strong prey drive that prompts the Rhodesian Ridgeback to chase any cats that they weren’t raised with.

That being said, despite its long history with hunting and strong prey drive, Rhodesian Ridgebacks can get along with certain cats.

Primarily cats that the Rhodesian Ridgeback has been raised with.


The simple fact is that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a sighthound. It was used primarily for big game hunting and to defend property from intruders.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback has an extremely strong prey drive as a result of its use as a hunting dog.

You would think that such a dog wouldn’t do well in a family environment, but this dog is very friendly and tolerant of children. So it makes it an ideal dog for a family.

However, don’t mistake the Rhodesian Ridgebacks’ affectionate nature, friendly disposition, and tolerance with children as infallible.

All young children should be supervised when in the company of a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Either the dog or the child may hurt the other unintentionally.

Teach your child how to behave when in the presence of a Rhodesian Ridgeback and when to respect the dog’s personal space.

Unfortunately, the Rhodesian Ridgebacks’ strong prey drive may lead it to hunt cats that it wasn’t raised with.

An adult Rhodesian Ridgeback most likely won’t accept and get along with a new cat. This also extends to dogs that it wasn’t raised with.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is friendly but protective of its territory.


A Rhodesian Ridgeback can do well with families and can even get along with cats.

However, in order for Rhodesian Ridgebacks to get along with a cat, they have to be raised together.

Raise a kitten and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy to adulthood, and they will get along. The Rhodesian Ridgeback will see other cats like strays as prey.

If you already have a cat that does well with dogs in your home.

Bringing in a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy into the home will ensure that they will get along when the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an adult.

However, it is not recommended that you bring in a cat to a household that has an adult Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Get Along with Cats?

Which Cats Do the Best With Rhodesian Ridgebacks?

A Rhodesian Ridgeback will do well with any type of cat as long as it was raised alongside it, but there are a few cat breeds that are predisposed to be friendly with dogs.

If you are considering raising a cat and a Rhodesian Ridgeback together, you might want to choose one of these breeds.

The American Shorthair Cat

Descended from European cats brought aboard ships as a mouser, the American Shorthair is favored by American families.

The American Shorthair has short ears, a small face, and a powerful body that can weigh from 11 to 15 pounds.

The American Shorthair is an affectionate, easy-going, and mellow cat that does well with dogs.

Maine Coon Cats

The Maine Coon has often been described as having dog-like behavior.

The Main Coon can walk on a leash. It will come to you when called and will often follow its owner to different rooms.

Main Coons can weigh from 12 to 18 pounds depending on the gender. Main Coon’s are very friendly with dogs.

Ragdoll Cat

The Ragdoll is another cat that has very dog-like behavior.

The Ragdoll is easy-going, affectionate, and has a good disposition. This cat gets along well with other cats and dogs. The Ragdoll weighs between 10 to 20 pounds.

The Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese Bobtail is predominantly white with different colorations and patterns.

The Japanese Bobtail is an intelligent, fun, playful cat that expresses itself by chirping.

It can easily be trained to walk on a leash. The Japanese Bobtail’s weight ranges from 6 to 9 pounds.

The Tonkinese Cat

The Tonkinese Cat is a Burmese and Siamese crossbred cat. With its pointed coat that comes in different patterns, the Tonkinese is a beautiful cat.

The Tonkinese is playful and loving. This cat is content to sit on your lap or play with other cats and dogs.

Final Thoughts

If you have decided on having a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a cat in your family, it is possible for both to get along well.

As long as you remember that the Rhodesian Ridgeback has a strong prey drive and the only way to have both types of animals live together in a household without an incident occurring is to raise them together.

If you want to have a multi-pet household, plan ahead and look through the list of cats that are predisposed to be friendly toward dogs.

These cats are even-tempered and affectionate. They would do well within a family environment that has other types of pets.


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