Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Intelligent Dogs? You Bet They Are!

Are Rhodesian ridgebacks intelligent as a breed?

If you are looking to introduce a Rhodesian Ridgeback into your home, you might have a few questions.

You might be wondering about how their intelligence affects training and can this breed be a good member of your family.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed is well known for its intelligence. Experts rank them very highly in terms of how smart they are.

The Rhodesian ridgeback is a loyal, affectionate, and smart dog. It is comfortable within a family, and it has strong protective instincts. 

Other things you might be wondering about include, “how does a Rhodesian ridgeback’s intelligence affect its training, and what about the impact on its personality?”

Can this particular breed of dog be a good member of your family?

The Rhodesian ridgeback traits are a result of the cross-breeding and history that resulted in the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed.

Let’s Explore Why Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Intelligent – Just How Smart Are They?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an intelligent dog that evolved out of several breeds of dogs known for their intelligence.

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks’ main defining feature is the ridge it sports along its back.

The ridge stems from the native South African Khoikhoi dog that bred with several European breeds to produce the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback was originally used by big game hunters to hunt lions and other exotic animals.

Resilient, intelligent, and with great stamina, the Rhodesian Ridgeback excelled at hunting and was sometimes used to protect property.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a naturally protective nature and is territorial.

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks’ intelligence helped it confuse lions during a hunt.

This, combined with the ability to outwit predators and protect property from intruders, is an example of just how smart this dog breed really is.

While the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s intelligence allows for easier training, it also makes for a strong-willed breed of dog.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an independent dog that is used to thinking on its own.

With the proper training and sufficient exercise required by the breed, the Rhodesian Ridgeback can grow into a quiet, well-mannered dog that will fit within the family and complement an active lifestyle.

New dog owners with no experience training a dog will have a tough time training the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback needs an owner with experience training dogs.

An owner that can devote the necessary length of time to train the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Inexperienced dog trainers will have difficulty training the Rhodesian Ridgeback due to its strong will and dominant nature.

Proper Training is the Key to the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Training a Rhodian Ridgeback will be a challenging endeavor, but an endeavor that will be worth it in the end.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback needs firm, consistent discipline during its training.

The breed’s intelligence makes for a strong-willed dog that will constantly test your boundaries.

It is important to be firm but not too strong with discipline during training. A Rhodesian will recognize a firm leader but will ignore someone who uses strong discipline.

Never use violent or abusive behavior near a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement.

Violence and abuse will not get good results during training.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback will shut down, and the bond that you are trying to create will be damaged.

Be consistent during training and enforce the rules.

If you want the Rhodesian Ridgeback to stay off of the furniture, teach it from a young age to use its own bed.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are affectionate dogs that love being in the company of their family and, despite their large size, should live indoors.

Due to its intelligence, the Rhodesian Ridgeback won’t accept living outside as a yard dog.

How smart are Rhodesian Ridgebacks? Are Rhodesian ridgebacks intelligent?

Exercise is Necessary

You may have heard that dogs need exercise and think that the Rhodesian Ridgeback will be happy with short daily bathroom walks throughout the day, but that is not the case.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed that requires daily exercise (they love a good run) to be happy and well-mannered.

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks’ need for exercise makes them an ideal dog for an active, athletic owner or family.

Rhodesian Ridgeback needs a moderate amount of exercise.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback needs daily play sessions, long walks, and space and time to run frequently.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback needs physical activity for its physical and mental well-being.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback excels at activities with its owner or canine sports such as an agility course or tracking.

Of course, the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s breeding and history make it an excellent choice for hunting.

A Rhodesian Ridgeback would do well with a family that hunts but can adapt to a family and most living situations as long as the Rhodesian Ridgeback is provided with enough daily exercise.

An owner’s failure to provide enough exercise will result in boredom. A Rhodesian Ridgeback that is bored becomes destructive.

Destructive behavior can exhibit as destructive chewing on furniture, walls, shoes, and other items.

It’s best to keep your Rhodesian Ridgeback well exercised and mentally stimulated.

The Dignified Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback possesses a quiet (non-vocal), dignified demeanor when it has been well trained.

With its gentle disposition, affectionate personality, and easy-going nature, the Rhodesian Ridgeback may give the deceptive impression of a lazy dog but remember, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is no lapdog.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback may be comfortable and affectionate with family members, but it was bred for its hunting and protective abilities.

Due to the Rhodesian Ridgebacks’ natural protective nature, it may be cautious and suspicious of strangers. Socialization and training are important for the Rhodesian ridgeback.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback should have general obedience training. Teach it from an early age that guests are welcome at your home.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback does well within a family as they have an affectionate, protective nature.

Good training is important to have a well-mannered Rhodesian Ridgeback that knows and respects its owners. A lack of good training may result in a willful destructive dog.

However, well-trained Rhodesian Ridgebacks do well with a family and are tolerant and protective of children.

However, both the child and the Rhodesian Ridgeback must be taught how to interact with each other.

Due to the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s larger size, it may accidentally knock down a smaller child.

Keep a close watch and remember that the Rhodesian Ridgeback did not do it on purpose. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is protective of all of its family members.

The family may include a feline family member if the Rhodesian Ridgeback was raised with the cat, but it will view any stray cat as prey.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks Are Highly Intelligent Dogs

So Rhodesian Ridgebacks are extremely smart dogs.

So smart that they are strong-willed and need an owner experienced in training dogs that can provide the consistent long-term training that the Rhodesian Ridgeback needs while it grows into an adult dog.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not content to lay around all day but need moderate exercise in their daily lives.

Provide long brisk walks, play sessions, and running time. You can read up here to see how this all compares to the intelligence of Chihuahuas.

Investing in agility training and tracking may provide the physical and mental stimulation that the Rhodesian Ridgeback needs.