|Purpose of Rhodesian Ridgeback|
THE BEGINNINGS IN AFRICA
In its native Africa, Rhodesian Ridgeback has proven itself hunting a wide variety of African game, primarily lions, leopards, jackals, baboons, and - thanks to great speed and agility - antelopes. Hunting in a pack of several dogs, they would detect a lion, then quietly surround it and single it out. Taking turns they would attack the lion from different sides, quickly retreating with a sudden turn, evading the reach of lion’s paws or jaws. They would keep the lion at bay until the hunter could approach close enough to take an accurate shot. Only courageous, agile and fast - hence the most capable dogs - could survive such a game.
However, their main purpose was guarding the native settlements and livestock from predators. Later they became the trusted watchdogs on farms, and companions. They also took the role of watchdogs in South African diamond mines.
Today they protect and escort tourists and explorers on expeditions in Africa. Sensing danger, they jump out of all-terrain vehicles and search the terrain in complete silence. If they spot a possible threat, they come back and warn their handlers. They are also capable of stopping and diverting herds of elephants, which is an extremely dangerous task.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are also successfully used as hunting dogs outside their native land, most often as blood hounds. Interestingly, in Australia they are used to hunt down live wild goats for scientific purposes. In Tasmania they are used to hunt kangaroos, which are considered pests due to overpopulation.
Since their introduction in Europe, Rhodesian Ridgebacks have been used for a variety of purposes. They have become highly valued as house dogs, companion dogs, watchdogs and guard dogs. In some countries they are used as police tracking dogs. In Canada they are also used as seeing eye dogs. They are very successful in agility, and because of their great speed are also used in dog racing.