1922 was the year when the Rhodesian Ridgeback had the breed standard written down. Although the breed at that time was close to extinct and the dogs present ranged in size and look from Bull Terriers to Great Danes, but the Dalmatian standard was used as a template for the Ridgebacks.
The breed origin goes back couple of hundred years in time, though. Dutch colonists brought European dogs to Africa and bred them with native so-called Khoikhoi dogs. The result was a dog who could withstand the African temperature, the various pests that European dogs weren’t resistant against, but also an inborn knowledge of how to navigate the African environs. The ancestors of the Rhodesian Ridgeback were born.
Cornelius van Rooyen from Rhodesia brought Greyhound-like females into a pack of lion-dogs, and found that the offspring excelled at confronting and confounding the king of beasts – the lion, giving the hunter time to sight his rifle and dispatch his prey. He also discovered that these dogs were amazing at guarding and protecting both humans and property. These dogs were extremely devoted and loyal to their family, and very tolerant to the human children.
The Weimeraner, like so many other breeds, has a human standing behind it. In this case, it was German Grand Duke Karl August who wanted to create the perfect hunting dog to support his sporting interests. The result of his attempts with crossing Bloodhounds with various German and French hunting dogs, is the Weimeraner.
At first, these beautiful dogs were used for big-game hunters – they went after bears, mountain lions and wolves. When the numbers of these decreased, the Weimeraner became an all-around-purpose hunter, pointing and retrieving gamebirds.
The Germans were extremely protective of the Weimeraner for a long time, but eventually, they began appearing in America in the late 1920s. The real interest for the breed took up for real in the 1950s when celebrities began exposing them by their sides. Among those were President Eisenhower, movie star Grace Kelly and photographer/artist William Wegman.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Weimeraner could likely be mistaken for the other, by someone who doesn’t know either very well. At a first glance, they do resemble each other to a high degree. The biggest difference between the two is the ridge along the back of the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Other than that, both dogs are quite similar in height, reaching to about 27 inches to the shoulder. The Rigdeback is slightly lighter than the Weimeraner with his up to 85 pounds compared to the Weimeraner and his 90 pounds. Both breeds are quite similar in how their bodies look, but the Weimeraner has a slightly more sloping back and deeper chest than the Ridgeback. Both have those adorable floppy ears, but the Ridgeback’s tail tends to be kept low, while the Weimeraner holds his tail proudly in the air.
Both of these glorious hunters are easy to deal with when it comes to grooming. Their coat is short and sheds very little, especially compared to many other breeds. There’s no need for brushing, other than making it a part of a connecting process between you and your dog.
Colour-wise, the Rhodesian Ridgeback come in wheat only, but with different shades of it. The Weimeraner come in blue, gray and silver gray.
Being what they are – hunters, both the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Weimeraner may not be the easiest dogs to deal with. The Ridgeback has high prey drive and should always be kept on a lead or inside high fences. He can also be both strong-willed, stubborn and is quite independent. For him to thrive as an adult, you need to start socialization and training at a very early age.
The same goes with the Weimeraner. His intelligence is for both good and bad. While he learns very quickly, he doesn’t only learn the good stuff. He also learns everything you don’t intend to teach him, or develops bad habits just because he can. To keep up with him you need to be smart and creative with your training. Make sure your Weimeraner understands what’s in it for him with your training, and you’ll have a much faster progress.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is known for his independence, his strong will, stubbornness and tough mind. That being said, they are amazing family pets for people who understand how to raise and train these amazing dogs correctly to help them become the glorious dogs they can be. They do have high prey drive, so perhaps it’s wise not to keep smaller pets in the house or close to where your Ridgeback roams.
These are not dogs for everyone. Like most mastiffs, the Rhodesian Ridgeback needs his people to be able to set clear rules, boundaries and limitations, to be firm, kind and patient in their way to live with and train their dog.
The Weimeraner is intelligent and very quick to learn. He’s lively and active and needs lots of physical and mental challenge to thrive. A bored Weimeraner tends to be destructive, and finds ways to utilize his intelligence in ways not at all compatible with what you had in mind.
A Weimeraner is a hunting breed, and while these dogs are both beautiful, intelligent and amazing, they are not a dog for just anyone. It takes a person with deep knowledge of dogs, their behaviour and psychology, dog training – and most importantly, how to be that calm, consistent canine leader that’s needed for dogs like these glorious canines.