Monday, October 23, 2006

Is a Rhodesian Ridgeback Right for your Family?

Knowing what type of dog to get for your children is never an easy decision to make. If you are considering a breed such as a Rhodesian Ridgeback that is somewhat lesser known than other kinds of dogs, be aware that for the most part, these large dogs are gentle giants. Rhodesian Ridgebacks for all intents and purposes make excellent companions for children, from babies all the way up to teenagers. As well Ridgebacks tend to have a good, even temperament and are very tolerant of the exuberant behavior of youngsters. Ridgebacks however grow to be large dogs very quickly and sometimes are capable of knocking down a small child with their strength. However they do not aim to hurt children at all and often love the affection they receive from little ones. Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies are big enough but once they grow to be full sized dogs you really need to make sure that they do not knock down everything in their path.

Eating Patterns of Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are lovely dogs that are not fussy eaters at all and therefore can be fed almost anything. Unfortunately they want to eat all of the time! Overeating can lead to gas in the short term and an excess of weight in the long term. It is important to develop a schedule for feeding and stick to it, no matter how hard your Ridgeback tries to convince you otherwise! Be firm and do not feed your Ridgeback just because he or she is giving you that sad look. It is important to keep in mind that Rhodesian Ridgebacks are both tall and swift to movement, which means that food can very quickly and easily disappear from tables and countertops. Be forewarned- this breed of dog is very clever indeed.

Exercise for Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgebacks require plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy, right from the time they are babies and all throughout their lives. It is important to set aside time in your schedule for runs and playtime with your Ridgeback. A high energy run a few times a week combined with brisk walks as often as possible should keep your Ridgeback in top form. Most Ridgebacks like to get out in the neighborhood and explore or enjoy a leisurely romp in the park. Ridgebacks require lots of space and finding a wide-open spot where they can run, play and exercise safely is a must! But remember that Ridgebacks are hunting dogs with a hunter type instinct. They are always looking for potential prey so watch out for other animals such as squirrels, rabbits and cats while you are out on your jaunts. Keeping a leash on your dog is a good idea when you are outside of your own property. It is also a wise idea to get an identification tag for your Ridgeback just in case he or she manages to get away from you.

Life Span of a Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks generally have a life span of between ten and twelve years. Some have been known to live up to sixteen or eighteen years. Regular checks up at the vet (including inoculations), proper dental care, diet and exercise as well as genetics all play a role in how long a Ridgeback will live. As well, owners who are well acquainted with their pets and keep abreast of changes in their behavior, eating habits, etc. and seek immediate medical attention for their dogs help to lengthen their life spans.

Costs Associated with Owning a Ridgeback

Owning a dog is not cheap, no matter what breed it is. The lifelong cost of owning a Rhodesian Ridgeback far outweighs the initial cost of obtaining one. Besides the price of purchasing a Ridgeback (which varies in cost), there is food to take into consideration, a leash, grooming items, collars, toys and a special dog bed. There is also training lessons if that appeals to you and of course one of the biggest costs- that of veterinarian care over the life of the dog. All dogs require regular medical check ups as well as annual vaccinations and often heartworm medication to stay healthy. Very often they also need flea or tick treatments and other kinds of costly treatments can be required for other health problems and/or illnesses that might crop up. Always keep in mind that owning a dog is a lifetime commitment and not a passing fancy.

Problems Associated with Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgebacks do have some unique genetic problems. The most common to be found in this breed include the dermoid sinus, elbow and hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, and cataract (in later years). More information about these problems can be obtained through the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC officially recognized this breed of dog and inducted it into their organization in 1955.

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