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Male vs Female Rhodesian Ridgeback: What’s The Difference (With Pictures)

Written by: Oliver Jones

Last Updated on July 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

Male vs Female Rhodesian Ridgeback

Male vs Female Rhodesian Ridgeback: What’s The Difference (With Pictures)

The Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed is a loyal and assertive dog that is always willing to please its owners. This medium to large dog breed was originally bred for hunting for large game. After years of domestication, they have become a protective and loving dog breed. They have many interesting qualities that make them a good family-orientated dog breed.

If you are interested in learning the main differences between a male and female Rhodesian Ridgeback in terms of personality and appearance, then this article will help you make an informed decision on which gender is better for you.

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Visual Differences

Male vs female Rhodesian Ridgeback
Image by: Left – Male Rhodesian Ridgeback (Camilla Holm, Pixabay); Right – Female Rhodesian Ridgeback (Michael Lofenfeld, Shutterstock)

At a Glance

Male Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Average height (adult): 25 – 27 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 60 – 70 pounds
Female Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Average height (adult): 24 – 26 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 70 – 80 pounds

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Rhodesian Ridgeback 101

Rhodesian Ridgeback
Image Credit: du_weist_schon_wer, Pixabay

The Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed is a uniquely South African dog. This breed is a cross between the Mastiff, Great Dane, greyhound, and bloodhounds. This makes them decently large and powerful dogs. The name ‘ridgeback’ comes from the prominent ridge that develops on their shoulder blades and sticks up when they feel threatened or protective. They live for around 10 to 12 years on average and are considered to be hypoallergenic dog breed.

They have a moderately low level of shedding. This hybrid dog breed has many things to offer its owners as they have many great characteristics that shape the positive view of this dog. It is active and independent with a noticeably energic and confident temperament.

As puppies, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is playful and small, but their large paws are a sign that they grow quickly and large. They were originally bred by farmers for hunting purposes which makes them prey-driven and headstrong.

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Male Rhodesian Ridgeback Overview

Personality / Character

Males are considered to be more protective and energetic than their female counterparts. Males are significantly larger than females, however, they weigh less. Male Rhodesian Ridgebacks are slimmer and faster than females. Their body is built for speed and males may bark less than females.

Rhodesian Ridgeback_Shutterstock_Osetrik
Image Credit: Osetrik, Shutterstock


The male Rhodesian Ridgeback is easy to train. Their assertive and intelligent nature makes them able to learn various tricks as well as where to potty and where to not go in the house. Males are great at agility courses and their slim body enables them to use speed and balance to complete courses in a record of time.

Health & Care

The male Rhodesian Ridgeback has the same health issues as females, with the exclusion of reproductive problems seen in females. Some common health issues these dogs face include elbow dysplasia, canine hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, deafness, and dermoid sinus.


It is not encouraged to breed your dog without knowledge and skill. Inbreeding the Rhodesian Ridgeback can cause an increased risk of health issues in the puppies. Breeding your male Rhodesian Ridgeback to a small breed female dog can cause birth complications and even death in the female.

Male Rhodesian Ridgeback Pros
  • Strong and fast
  • Easy to train
Male Rhodesian Ridgeback Cons
  • Prone to hip and elbow dysplasia
  • More aggressive than females

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Female Rhodesian Ridgeback Overview

Personality / Character

Females are believed to be more nurturing and motherly, which can make them better suited for families with young children. Females The female Rhodesian Ridgeback can be more independent than mothers as they will willingly accept rubs and cuddles, but also prefer to do their own thing. Females are more prone to aggressive issues than male ridgebacks.

rhodesian ridgeback dog at a pond
Image Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock


Female Rhodesian Ridgebacks have shorter legs with a stocky body that carries more weight around the mid-section. This makes females slower than males and less agile due to their typical body type. However, they can still be trained to do a variety of obstacle courses and tasks like sit or rollover.

Health & Care

Like the male, females are prone to similar health issues. They are more prone to obesity and ovarian cancer which male Rhodesian Ridgebacks cannot get. If you provide your female with a good quality diet suited for obesity-prone dogs, your female should be able to balance out the weight as she ages.


Breeding can be difficult for females and should be avoided unless there is a good reason. Birth complications are possible in this hybridized dog and death is a huge risk with breeding female Rhodesian Ridgebacks. It Is best to look over the pros and cons of breeding your dog before you do it to ensure that you are aware of the potential yet common risks that come with breeding dogs.

Female Rhodesian Ridgeback Pros
  • Paternal nature
  • Ideal for households with children
Female Rhodesian Ridgeback Cons
  • Prone to obesity
  • Slower and stockier than males

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Are Male Rhodesian Ridgebacks Aggressive?

Both male and female Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be aggressive depending on their environment, personality, and how they were raised. If your ridgeback has previously had bad experiences with humans, then they are going to be more guarded and protective. However, it is believed that females are naturally more aggressive than males and bark constantly if they detect a potential threat. Females can also growl and feel protective over their family when it comes to strangers and other dogs.

Is a Male or Female Rhodesian Ridgeback Better?

There is no better gender when it comes to the ridgeback. The type of gender you want depends on your personal preference. Although there are certain attributes highlighted between males and females, the overall personality will determine how your male or female Rhodesian Ridgeback behaves.

rhodesian ridgeback dog on a leash outdoor
Image Credit: REN Photography, Shutterstock

Has a Pair of Rhodesian Ridgeback Killed a Lion?

This South African dog breed was used to tease and disorient lions while hunting for game for their owners back in the day. A pair of Rhodesian Ridgebacks can kill or injure a single lion, however, it should not be tested. This dog breed is strong, but it is no match for the strength and jaw of an adult lion. This myth has most likely stemmed from their ability to take down large prey, but there are no factual records that state that a Rhodesian ridgeback has killed a lion but injuring one is a possibility. The power and strength have little to do with gender, as both male and female Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be equally as powerful and intelligent enough to protect themselves.

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Which Gender is Right For You?

Females are generally better suited for families with older children in comparison to males. If you prefer the stockier and maternal nature of the female Rhodesian Ridgeback, then this might be the better gender for you.

If you plan to train and work your Rhodesian Ridgeback for farm life, then a male’s slim and agile build may suit you more.

Although there are some visual and characteristic differences between the male and female ridgeback, it does not mean that it applies directly to the individual personality of the ridgeback you are getting. Take your time to observe the difference between the two genders before you purchase them and ask the shelter or breeder what characteristics the parent of the dog has.

We can differentiate between the genders, but it is a mere classification and does not always mean that it is guaranteed your male or female Rhodesian Ridgeback will have the same personality.

Featured Image Credit: Up – Osetrik, Shutterstock; Down – erje_Ansgar_Eriksen, Pixabay

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