How Much Does a Rhodesian Ridgeback Cost?

In the middle of the 17th century, Dutch traders in South Africa encountered an unusual-looking hunting dog used by the locals in the Cape Peninsula area. 

The dog featured a prominent dorsal “ridge” of hair growing in a reverse direction along its back.

This dog, known today as the Rhodesian Ridgeback, was referred to as the “African Lion Hound” or “African Lion Dog” due to its prowess at cornering lions and keeping them at bay until its master arrives.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

This breed was originally developed in Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) and is currently used as a guard dog and hunting assistant.

One-Time Rhodesian Ridgeback Prices

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies can and should be purchased from registered breeders. Their pricing can vary depending on the breed quality and the State in which they are purchased.

If the puppy comes from a champion bloodline (meaning that one dog from its parentage going back 4 generations has won a championship title), then the price can be affected.

Below are some of the one-time costs that you can expect to shell out for a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

  • The Actual Pet Price

The American Kennel Club is a 134-year old dog registry that is one of the oldest in the United States. All breeders are registered to sell puppies and conform to the breed standard. Prices for its available Rhodesian Ridgebacks start at $800 and can reach as high as $2,500.

Puppyfind.com is another source for this breed. Prices typically range from $300 up to $3,000, with most of the expensive ones are already inclusive of the shipping costs.

Shelters or non-profit volunteer organizations that dedicate their time towards helping dogs find new homes sometimes charge an adoption fee of around $100 to $300. However, many do not have a charge and simply rely on donations to keep operations afloat.

  • Transportation

Pets will occasionally need to be moved from one location to another. There are specific companies that specialize in pet transportation. uShip is one good service to use if you’re located in the United States, and it’ll cost you about $270 to $500 to move your Rhodesian animal.

  • Refuge

Ridgebacks are pretty large animals so you’ll need a dog crate where they can fit comfortably.

If you bought a puppy, it’s recommended that you get a crate that’s large enough for it when it becomes an adult. In the meantime, you can make the space smaller for the baby dog by putting cardboard boxes in the back until it needs more space. Petco sells dog crates for $40 to $150.

What Do You Get When You Buy a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Depending on where you purchased your dog, you may be privy to receive certain additional benefits. Please keep in mind that not all breeders may offer these, so do your research thoroughly beforehand.

Some breeders are shouldering the cost of neutering the dog when it becomes old enough to undergo the procedure. They may also supply the first vaccinations free of charge; meaning, that you are only responsible for the next batch of shots.

Most shelters and adoption centers also provide free neutering services and first vaccinations. Castration and spaying services normally cost around $60 to $120.

Microchips are another benefit which quite often comes free as compliments of the seller. When it comes to animal shelters, it is quite common for new animals which are brought in to be microchipped immediately. So, by the time you swing by to pick one up, they’re already tracked and ready to go.

Microchips are relatively inexpensive and if you had to pay for it yourself, it would only cost about $10 to $25. If you plan on expanding your pet family, it would be better to buy the chips in bulk to save money.

Recurring Expenses You Can Expect by Owning a Rhodesian Ridgeback

  • Food

This dog has a large appetite, and so needs to consume large portions of food every day. However, keep in mind that Ridgebacks are susceptible to “bloat” (gastric dilation volvulus) as most deep-chested dogs are; which means absolutely no exercise before and after meals, and it should eat small meals throughout the day, not one big meal.

Since a large protein diet is appropriate for this breed, the Orijen 6 Fish Grain-Free Formula Dry Dog Food is recommended for the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Its 85% meat and 15% veggies will fulfill all of your pet’s daily nutritional needs and more. A 28.6 lb. bag of this stuff costs a whopping $395, so budget wisely to ensure that you are capable of providing your dog the best food available.

  • Healthcare

Your puppy will need to receive annual vaccinations, and you’re responsible to shoulder the bill. There’s also vet checkups and health exams to take place.

Vaccines cost around $40 to $105 depending on the type of package you choose. Having a veterinarian examination take place will set you back for about $50.

How to Prepare for Your Rhodesian Ridgeback

Puppies are not born instinctively with the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, it lies to you to teach them.

Ask the breeder in charge of your puppy if you can visit as early as 4 weeks after the delivery. This will be your first encounter with the new dog and it’s a good opportunity to bond and become familiarized with each other.

Prepare your home and yard area in preparation for the puppy’s arrival.               Make sure its crate and rest area are clean and ready. If you have other dogs in the house, make sure that they’re clean and in a separate area. Once the puppy arrives, you might want to give it plenty of time to adjust to its new surroundings.

Research specific training which you want to perform with the pup. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are an extremely versatile breed of dog so you can have it specialize in guard duty, companionship, or even as a sports dog.

Plan your budget. Dogs, in general, require much maintenance and proper care to be raised correctly and for Ridgebacks, even more so. The last thing you want is for your puppy to become malnourished or sick due to your inability to provide for it.

Make sure you bought everything you need in advance. Most importantly, dog bowls, leashes/collars, toys, and bedding for the sleeping area.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a very high prey drive, owing to their illustrious and tenacious history. What this means is that they have a great inborn desire to chase moving animals and objects.

A few of the most common triggers of a Rhodesian’s prey drive are other animals (cats, squirrels, hamsters, etc.) and motorized vehicles or bicycles. In order to ensure the safety of your pet and other people, your yard or property should have a fence high enough that it can’t be jumped.

Buyer’s Guide

Some of the other important organizations and facilities that are associated with dog ownership that you may want to know and be affiliated with aside from the AKC are the following:

  • The United Kennel Club is the second oldest club in the United States. It’s estimated to be the largest performance dog registry in the world. Breeders pay a fee to be added to the UKC showcase. Breeders can be located via filtering by Kennel, Contact, or City.
  • The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States is the parent club made specifically for the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed in the U.S. It also contains a listing of breeders that have adhered to the code of ethics and conformation to breed standard.
  • Ridgeback Rescue is the place to be if you’d like to help your local community by adopting a Rhodesian Ridgeback. The RRCUS has listed several shelter communities that are actively seeking for owners of lost and abandoned Ridgebacks.

Listed below are some of the tips in buying this particular dog breed:

  • Choose your breeder wisely. Visit the kennel to get started; you can tell a lot about the breeder by the condition of its facilities.
  • Collect all important registration information.
  • Inspect the animal for any defects.
  • A Ridgeback should have a clearly visible ridge of hair running in an opposite direction from the rest of the coat.
  • If the animal has any special instructions, listen carefully or make sure the notes are saved.

Startling Facts About the Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback grows to an average height of 25-27 inches (64 – 69 cm) for males, and 24-26 inches (63 – 68 cm) for females.

The male tends to weigh around 85 pounds while the female a bit less – 70 pounds.

It has a longer average lifespan than most other hound-type breeds. A long life for a Rhodesian Ridgeback means about 11 years.

Only one coat color is accepted under the breed standard: wheaten. There are multiple shades though, with the most common being light wheaten and red wheaten. The coat is also short, sleek, and glossy.

The ridge on its back is around 2 inches (51 mm) in width.

Intelligent, loyal, strong-willed, and confident; these are all traits displayed by the Rhodesian Ridgeback. It is protective and fearless; therefore, ideally utilized as guard dogs.

Rhodesians make excellent family dogs; but be wary when letting them play with very young children as they don’t know any better and may end up causing harm.

Imported Great Danes from Europe can be considered the Ridgeback’s closest relative.

It has been classified as a sighthound by the AKC, although there are many groups that dispute this classification and insist that it’s more of a Scent Hound, Cur-Dog, or Wagon Hound.