So how does Hera’s personality compare with that of a Rhodesian Ridgeback?
The most territorial of the hounds, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is aloof with strangers and should be accustomed to people at an early age so that his guarding instinct remains controlled rather than indiscriminate.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is dignified and reserved toward strangers.
Describing Hera’s initial response to me and my family as “aloof” or “reserved” would be an understatement. Thankfully we soon stopped being strangers. And the first few days she was with us she growled as the fathers who live on either side of us fired up power saws and lawn mowers. Now that she’s become more used to them, she simply ignores them. She certainly doesn’t wag her tail and back end, begging for attention as so many dogs do. Dignified and aloof or reserved is about right.
Some individuals are fine with the family cat, while others are predatory chasers of anything that runs.
Ridgebacks are not Labradors or Golden Retrievers in short coats. They are hunting dogs and have a high prey drive.
The first time we let Hera upstairs she didn’t seem to notice any of our three cats, she was so focused on running from room to room, smelling and looking around. The second time she stopped to sniff them. The third time, she gave a cat a nudge, he ran and she chased until he jumped up out of reach. When we saw that hisses and claws didn’t phase her, and correction only worked for a few moments, we decided we better shut the cats away when Hera was out. Obsessed, she paces the house trying to discover where the cats are. High prey drive? Check.
If bored, the Rhodesian Ridgeback can become very destructive
Remember what I wrote about the mess Hera made of the dog area her first night? How she’d pulled the newspaper out of the whelping box and torn up more on the floor? She continues to shred the newspapers and even yanks the towels out from under her puppies. She’s also scratched the walls and pulled items off the shelves. This isn’t how any of the other mother dogs I’ve fostered have behaved.
The Ridgeback is an extremely clean dog with little odor and minimal shedding. Its short, dense coat sheds little.
Hera’s coat is very short and thus far I’ve noticed little shedding.
A young Ridgeback is a very energetic fellow.
Because of the newspaper shredding, towel yanking, wall scratching and other mess making, I’ve been letting Hera upstairs far more than most mother dogs with pups this young (approx 2-2.5 weeks old). When Hera is upstairs, she paces the house. Nonstop. For hours. When I let her outside, she jogs or walks the perimeter of the backyard, like a soldier on guard duty, rarely stopping, never sitting or lying down. This is highly unusual for a dog just a few weeks postpartum. At this stage, most dogs content to do little more than nurse their pups and sleep.
The Ridgeback is a gregarious animal, enjoying the company of other dogs.
From the beginning, Hera had no reservations about Wendy or Little. This is not always the case with mother dogs who can be quite aggressive with other dogs in fear that they might be a threat to their puppies.
The Ridgeback is extremely tolerant and an excellent companion for children.
Last weekend, during the period Hera was showing signs of being uncomfortable with the fathers who live on either side of us, their children were running, shouting and laughing in their yards, sometimes right next to the fence. Hera didn’t so much as turn her head to look at them. Unlike the fathers, she seemed to have no worries about the children. We have not yet introduced her to any children but given her reaction to the neighbor children I don’t anticipate any issues.
Ridgebacks are easily house-trained.
Most of our fosters have accidents when first introduced to our home, even if they’re already house-trained. Hera is a rare exception.
Ridgebacks are intelligent and want to please their owner.
Hera is very responsive to our commands. I hold up my hand and say Hera, Stay! when I’m locking the gate to the dog area. She walks well on a leash and changes directions with the lightest pressure. A few times she’s jumped on one of the chairs in the living room but a quick No! and she’s down on the floor again. Her body language shows she appreciates praise and wants to please us.
They are quite discriminating in who or what they bark at…you should ALWAYS go check it out.
Since Hera was so guarded with us initially, I was fully prepared for her to bark when the door bell rang or when she saw the neighbors or their dogs in their yards as so many of our fosters have done. So it was a happy surprise to discover that she hardly ever barks.
Ridgebacks are intelligent…this too, has been said — what is means is they are fully capable of training you before you can train them. They are quite clever and can be willfully disobedient. The earlier the obedience classes the better….. It is essential that you have the time to put in with them, which can be as simple as having them in the house with you when you are home…
My instincts tell me Hera had an owner who trained her to a leash, let her inside at least some of the time and probably taught her basic skills. As a result, she’s a very pleasant dog to have around (as long are you aren’t a cat). While she does want to be upstairs with us, after giving and received warm greetings, she demands little attention, spending most of her time simply walking around.
So in conclusion, her personality closely fits that of a Rhodesian Ridgeback. We’ll likely never know for sure but since her traits are so similar I feel comfortable listing her as one.
And I’m sorry no pictures this time. It’s way past my bedtime, even with the clocks turning back. Tomorrow I plan to film the puppies. they opened their eyes a few days ago:)