Last Updated/Info Checked on October 19, 2023 by Linda Michaels
There was a time when Rhodesian Ridgebacks were hunting lions and other huge animals to keep them off the human settlement.
These days, however, they are more than a fierce hunter; they are loyal companions ready to take over your house’s coziest nook.
But that’s not to say that the breed doesn’t have the matter to be a good guard dog.
Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Good Guard Dogs? Definitive Answer
Yes, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are good guard dogs because of their high prey drive, mouthiness, outdoorsy nature, high energy levels, and protective instincts.
They are certainly not for novice owners to tackle because of their high physical stimulation needs.
Consider the space you own; the freedom you can give it, and the training regimes you can continue before owning the breed.
Notwithstanding their fierce hunting skills, they can still be lovable family dogs when you fulfill their needs.
But that’s that and here’s a breakdown of all the traits that make Rhodesian Ridgebacks good guard dogs.
1. Doesn’t like small places
On average, a Rhodesian Ridgeback can grow up to 27 inches tall at shoulder height.
The breed stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the giant ones there are – I’m talking about the likes of Great Danes, Mastiffs, and Bloodhounds.
Couple this kind of size with its capacity for wonder and wander, and you have a dog that’s not going to stay put in a small area.
You are supposed to provide it ample space where it can exercise its guarding behavior or everything hound.
2. Sensitive Dogs
Dogs made for specific jobs are also quite sensitive – that I’ve generally observed.
The sensitivity isn’t a by-product of their nature but serves as a helping hand for the owner and the dog.
It’s like a bridge between the two for effective communication.
These Ridgebacks are sensitive for a reason – they want to act on your cue without missing out on details.
In fact, they may not even need a lot of instructions. Just a few times training puts them in the expert categories for guarding jobs.
At the same time, highly sensitive dogs do not fare well with reprimands or inconsistent training sessions.
You have to consider this before owning the breed.
I always tell the to-be owners of these dogs to be mindful of the repercussions of neglecting the dogs.
3. Tolerates Weather Well
Managing all kinds of weather isn’t a problem for hound dogs.
They were bred to be outside most of the time and that should explain why their coats are adapted to do well in cold and hot weather.
As a guard dog, therefore, the Rhodesians will give you less of a headache – at least when it comes to dealing with temperature-borne health problems.
Still, do not stay aloof to their needs even when outside guarding your property.
They may need plenty of water and resources to thrive. It’s not like the dogs don’t have any animal needs.
4. Considerably Friendly Towards Family
What does a guard dog have to do with affection towards its family? Everything.
A dog that doesn’t consider anyone worthy enough to be called family, why would it want to protect them?
For a guard dog to give everything to protecting something or someone, attachment is a must.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback protection instincts develop that attachment early on.
Although I recommend that you train the pup from 4 months onwards, training it later in adult life bears fruit, too.
But the amount of effort that would go into the training sessions when the dog already has developed into a person will be huge.
These dogs are not easy to train. They are certainly not suited for novice owners just because of that.
5. Highest Prey Drive
A hound dog is naturally inclined to have a higher prey drive than working-class dogs.
The same is true for these Ridgebacks.
They were bred to hunt lions, for the love of God. I mean that should be the end of it.
What else is there to talk about their hunting abilities other than that?
Their hunting genes kick in when you give them the guarding job.
Therefore, be mindful of any small pets your neighbors may have. Make sure that your dog’s restrained enough to not attack them.
It can get pretty messy when the African Lion Hounds run loose on another animal – especially, a male of its breed (when unneutered), a cat, or a stranger with malicious intent.
How To Train A Rhodesian Ridgeback To Guard Your Home?
The dog may have guarding instincts but it still needs training to put them to good use.
1. Start with obedience training because that is always the number one priority
Obedience training includes commands such as “sit, lay down, or stay”. Use positive reinforcement to teach the dog these commands and condition it with them around welcomed strangers.
2. Teach the dog the boundaries of the house
You could use flag markers to teach the dog the boundaries it has to protect. Take it to the flag on a leash and then return from there. Feed it a treat on the way home. With time, it will learn which is the “treat” area.
3. Test your training
Invite a stranger to your house and entrust it to your dog’s guarding skills. See if the distractions provided by that stranger puts the dog off-guard. If they do, rinse and repeat your process by training the dog with the said distraction.
You want your dog to be on guard all the time for potential threats. Socializing it too much with other dogs and people will have a counter effect. Refrain from doing this.
Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks protect their owners?
They sure do. Their hound genes kick in when there’s a threat to their owners.
But that trigger gets developed over time as the dog forms an unbreakable bond with its owner.
They will chase off every threat large or small by first barking at them, then leaping, and finally going for the run.
Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks fight lions?
These dogs were bred in the steppes of South Africa to counter the constant threat of lions, boars, and bears.
Their athleticism and activeness when combined with an enormous urge to protect their families make them take on the most ferocious animals you could see.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a lovey-dovey personality only towards their parents and family.
Anything that threatens them is a vicious enemy and the dog fights it with all its might.
No wonder they were bred to contain bigger predators.
And when they were bred to do that, what on Earth will make anyone think that they wouldn’t make the perfect guard dogs?
However, before owning them, know that they require a lot of exercise.
High physical stimulation is a part of their daily lives. You simply cannot strip them of that.
In doing so, the dog will become destructive. Your furniture and other pets may have to bear the brunt.