How fast can a Rhodesian Ridgeback run?

Picture of a Rhodesian Ridgeback
Photo of a Rhodesian Ridgeback by Justus Menke on Unsplash

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a native breed of South Africa that is considered a very fast runner. The other names used for a Rhodesian Ridgeback are African Lion Hound and African Lion Dog. They are not known to be barkers but a good protector and are bred for hunting and guarding, hence why they are able to run so fast to catch their prey. 

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a well-muscled, loyal, and courageous athletic dog breed. They are gregarious, witty, and excellent companions with a modest energy level. This dog breed needs a lot of activity and exercise to stay healthy and happy, and are known to be able to run very fast.

But how fast can a Rhodesian Ridgeback run and what running speeds can be expected from this breed? Well, you’re in luck, as we have covered everything you need to know here in this article!

How fast can a Rhodesian Ridgeback really run?

A Rhodesian Ridgeback has an average running speed of 25-30 mph. According to the Fast Coursing Ability Test (CAT) ® by American Kennel Association (AKC), the most common speed of a Rhodesian Ridgeback is 25-26 miles per hour. The fastest speed is 33.37 mph, and the minimum recorded rate was 7.86 mph.

There is a chance of a speed variation between male and female Rhodesian Ridgebacks. However, when referring to the statistics of Fast CAT®, the typical speed of male Rhodesian dog is 25.2 mph, and that of female Rhodesian dog is 25.3mph.

Therefore, female Ridgeback’s are ever so slightly faster on average. This canine breed is well-known for its endurance and ability to run at fast speeds for long periods.

Infographic of how fast a Rhodesian Ridgeback can run by Miniature Friends

Video of a Rhodesian Ridgeback running fast

Below is a video of a Rhodesian Ridgeback running fast alongside a car on a public road, this breed can really move! This helps put into context how fast this breed can really run and their potential to run incredibly fast for long distances.

Ridgeback running fast alongside a car on a public road

Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks good running partners? 

Yes. Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be an excellent running partners if you want to go for a jog or run for several miles, as this dog is known to love running! Their internal machinery also makes them a great companion for long trails.

If your someone that’s very active outdoors and likes physical activity, then a Rhodesian Ridgeback could be a suitable breed for you. On the other hand, if you do like intense physical activity, and were looking to welcome a Pug or Bulldog to be your running partner, well, that would be a different story! We would advise against that as those breeds aren’t made for running, but a Rhodesian certainly is!

How much exercise does a Rhodesian Ridgeback need daily? 

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies require 15 to 20 minutes’ walk daily or playtime in an open area. An adult Ridgeback requires 30 minutes to 1-hour walk or run and fun time in a large fenced yard.

Photo of a Rhodesian Ridgeback running
Photo of a Ridgeback by Meli1670 from Pixabay

This breed requires a lot of exercise everyday, so you should only consider a Ridgeback if you have time to dedicate the physical activity required for this breed.

Why are Rhodesian Ridgebacks able to run so fast? 

The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed can run and hunt from birth. There are different features in their anatomy that makes them a good runner. Like the ridge at the back, moderately sprung chest, well-developed bones, well-defined muscling at the fore and hindquarter, and thickly padded feet. A balanced combination of these anatomical structures makes a Rhodesian Ridgeback an excellent runner and hunter.

History of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are marvellous hunters. The European hunting dog breeds like Mastiffs, Irish Wolfhounds, Bloodhounds, and Great Danes are crossed with the local African Khoikhoi dog. This interbreeding resulted in the development of the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed. The ridge at the back of this canine breed shows its ancestry to the Khoikhoi dog, which also has a prominent peak of hairs on the back.

Photo of a Rhodesian Ridgeback preparing to run
Photo by boumapetrovice from Pixabay

Boer farmers in South Africa first introduced the Rhodesian Ridgeback. They developed this breed to meet their different needs, i.e. from family protection to hunting in Savannah of Africa. 

In 1922, Cornelius von Rooyen from Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) sent a standard breed description. In 1924, the South African Kennel Union officially accepted the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Tchaika of Redhouse was the first Rhodesian Ridgeback registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1955. Now, in the popular breeds and varieties ranked by AKC, the Rhodesian Ridgeback ranked 54th among the 155.

Characteristics of a Rhodesian Ridgeback

Essential traits and features

The characteristic feature of this breed is the ridge on the back. The ridge is formed just behind the shoulder and goes down to just before the hip. The ridge is the growth of hairs opposite to the body coat. Two similar whorls (also called crowns) are present at the start of the ridge. 

Below are some of the other essential traits of the Ridgeback, including their body weight, tendencies and appearance, that can help assist the Ridgeback in running incredible speeds.

Body WeightMale – 80-90 lbs, Female – 60-70 lb
Wither HeightMale – 26 inches, Female – 24-25 inches
Drooling TendencyLow
Snoring TendencyLow
Barking TendencyLow
Digging TendencyLow
Coat TypeSmooth, easy to care
Coat LengthShort
Grooming FrequencyLow
Coat HairsFlat, Wirehairs
Affection LevelHigh
Child FriendlyHigh
Intellectual LevelHigh
PlayfulnessMedium – High
Attention NeedsModerate
Health IssuesMedium
Daily Activity RequirementHigh
Average Litter Size8-10 puppies
Facts and Features of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Appearance of a Rhodesian Ridgeback

The coat color of a Rhodesian Ridgeback varies from light wheaten to red wheaten. A little white patch on the chest, belly and toes is permissible, but excessive white there is undesirable.

The head is long, with a flat, broad skull. Long muzzle and close-fitting lips have a darker mask. They usually have floppy ears and webbed feet, which help them walk across sandy surfaces. It’s coat is flat, smooth and short haired which makes them a low-cost maintenance breed. For grooming, a weekly brush is enough to remove dirt and loose hairs. The Rhodesian’s average lifespan range is 10 to 13 years.

Temperament and Socialization

The adult Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the quiet, confident and even-tempered dogs. But the puppies have a curious, fun-loving, playful nature. Puppies are attention seekers and want to be with their pet parents. This is why it is necessary to socialize a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy with other dogs, animals, and humans as soon as possible, so they aren’t reserved with unknown dogs and humans in adulthood. Don’t let your dog get bored, as this can lead to a destructive behaviour build-up, especially if they are left at home for long periods.

Training a Rhodesian Ridgeback

Their inherent ability to be guardians does not require intensive training as would protective dogs. But their protective instinct can be trained for obedience and control. A Ridgeback requires enough socialization and training to be safe for kids and other creatures, so it’s important to ensure that they are trained and socialised from an early age during puppyhood.

Training of Ridgeback puppy can be started at 7 to 8 weeks. They can learn things even at this young age, such as their name, how to sit and lay — there’s no need to wait for your dog to turn six months old before you start basic training.

Ridgeback Dog
Photo by boumapetrovice from Pixabay

It is imperative to note for this breed that strict, punishing and abusive behaviour during the training can lead to destructive behaviour. Consistent incentive-based training can help in building obedience, so you shouldn’t discipline your dog if they aren’t following your training exactly how you’d like. It’s important to note that training takes consistency and time to be effective, so don’t worry if your dog doesn’t pick up tricks straight away.

Space requirement for a Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a large size breed. They require a large open area or spacious fenced yards for daily walks and exercises. It’s suitable to have a large garden too, so the dog can run around and play freely.

A living environment such as a flat or apartment may not be suitable for a Ridgeback, as there’s limited space and they won’t have a chance to manoeuvre as they like and let off steam.

Health status

As history suggests, Ridgebacks are breeds that can tolerate harsh conditions and still continue to be healthy. But there are specific health issues they can get like elbow and hip dysplasia, eye diseases, and an inherited spine defect, i.e. dermoid sinus.

As with any dog breed, it’s important to have them regularly checked by an veterinarian, and if you suspect any health issues, to get them checked out as soon as possible by an expert.

Conclusion: How fast do Rhodesian Ridgebacks run?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known to be very fast runners and shouldn’t be under-estimated, with average running speeds of up to 25-30 mph, they will certainly out run you on the beach on in an open field.

The fastest speed for a Rhoesian Ridgeback has been recorded as 33.37 mph, so they can even outrun Usain Bolt on his best day!

They are quiet, playful, even-tempered dogs with higher than average intelligence, they also make an excellent family-friendly dog choice too. If you’re someone that enjoys physical activity and running, the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed could be an excellent companion for you.

How fast can a Rhodesian Ridgeback run?
How fast can a Rhodesian Ridgeback run by Miniature Friends
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