The days of lion hunting are definitely history for the Rhodesian Ridgeback. But tracking is still the true domain of this hound.
From a hunting dog, one would expect passion and a sense for hunting. He should be healthy and strong, docile and obedient, courageous, persistent and self-reliant. These characteristics are fulfilled by the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Nevertheless, despite many efforts, it was unfortunately not possible to get the Rhodesian Ridgeback to be included in the JGHV (the national association for hunting dogs in Germany).
Consequently, the Ridgeback is also not eligible for JGHV's own tests, but they may participate in the suitability exams of some state level hunting associations. These tests are conducted at county level and are legally acknowledged, sufficient to prove the hunting usefulness of the hound.
The early conditioning for hunting, the Rhodesian Ridgeback starts with impression/play days, with playful and yet consequential practice without overstraining. This encompasses food trails, short scouting of the grounds, and familiarization with all animals in the field and forest. He will also be loosely trained in obedience (including preparation for the obedience/escort dog exam) with leashes, gunshots and retrieval.
With skillful, conscientious and dog-friendly leadership, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a perfectly suitable, very willing dog for hunting. He is a reliable track-hound, who also provides valuable help in retrieving various game.
The DZRR is working hard to highlight both aspects of the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is both a hunting hound and a family dog.