How much exercise does a Rhodesian Ridgeback need?

how much exercise does a rhodesian ridgeback need

The Rhodesian Ridgeback originally comes from South Africa and was a classic working dog there. They guarded the farms, accompanied the hunters on the hunt and herded the cattle. So the Ridgeback had a lot to do and accordingly needs a lot of exercise and employment.

In this article, I will discuss exactly how much exercise and activity a Rhodesian Ridgeback needs and how you can best keep him busy.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is classified by the FCI in tscent hounds dogs. This means that the Ridgback has a high urge to move and needs a lot of exercise. Daily 2 hours and more movement in the form of walks but also jogging units you should be able to offer the dog. In addition, mental exercise is also necessary to keep the breed happy.

How do you exercise a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The Ridgeback is an active dog that loves to run and needs a lot of exercise in his younger years. If you think that 1 hour a day is enough to keep your Ridgeback happy, I’m sorry to disappoint you.

If you want to keep your Rhodesian Ridgeback satisfied, you should plan at least 2 to 3 hours of exercise per day.

Walking alone is not enough for a Ridgeback.

You should not make the mistake of thinking that walking your Ridgeback around the block 2 times a day for an hour at a time is enough exercise for him.

Ridgeback is a powerhouse that also likes to run with you at the bike or is also getting enthusiastic about a jogging session

But also long walks through forests and meadows can and should be offered to the Ridgeback. It is important that you give your dog time to explore and sniff the surroundings.

Make your walks varied and interesting. If your Ridgeback just has to walk beside you, that is not enough.

Activities with the Rhodesian Ridgback

You can’t make a blanket statement about what individual Ridgebacks like to do and what they don’t like to do. Basically, they are for countless activities to inspire, of which I will list some below.

Which activities are especially fun for your Rhodesian Ridgeback you have to find out with time.


The basis to keep your Rhodesian Ridgeback physically busy and active are the classic walks. You should offer your Ridgeback at least 2 or better 3 walks a day. One walk can also last a little longer.

In winter you should put a coat on your Ridgeback, if the walks last longer and the temperature drops below 7 degrees Celsius / 44 degrees fahrenheit.

Jogging with your Rhodesian Ridgeback

In addition to normal walks, you should also give your Ridgeback some extra exercise and workout. They are powerhouses that need to be exercised.

The Ridgeback is the ideal dog if you like to jog and are looking for a companion for your jogs. They are used to running longer distances and need it, especially in their younger years.

As the original companion of the hunters in South Africa are made to run longer distances.

Cycling with the Ridgeback

If you are not a great runner yourself, you can also switch to the bike. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an ideal companion for your bike rides and will get a real physical workout.


In addition to regular walks in your neighborhood, you should be able to offer your Ridgeback regular hikes through woods and meadows.

Hikes through the woods are a welcome change.

It allows your dog to explore new environments and take in new smells. This alone provides some exercise for your dog and helps tire him out.

Make your walks and hikes varied

Not only do you need to give your Rhodesian Ridgeback plenty of exercise, but you also need to keep him mentally challenged and busy.

Don’t walk your Ridgeback the same route every day. You should have different routes that you can walk with your dog so that it doesn’t get boring.

Train your Rhodesian Ridgeback on walks and hikes. When you are out and about, you can take retrieving toys like a retrieving dummy with you and let them retrieve in between..

If your Ridgeback doesn’t like to retrieve but is an avid sniffer, you can incorporate search games during walks or hikes. Hide treats or throw them in the leaves and let him search for them.

Use the environment like fallen trees, tree stumps etc. to let your Ridgeback balance on them.

Train the important basic commands such as recall, wait or even the stop command.

Keep your Ridgeback busy at home

At home in the living room or in the garden it is also possible to keep a Ridgeback busy. Especially in the rain or in winter, when your Ridgeback does not like to go outside, you need alternatives.

Tug of war

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a physical dog that likes to play accordingly. Many Ridgebacks love to tug and pull with ropes or other tools.

Basic commands

Training basic commands or even tricks is ideal to keep your Ridgeback mentally engaged. Usually a few minutes is enough to keep your dog mentally busy.

Nose- search games

Your own home or garden is ideal for nose work. Hide treats and let your Ridgeback sniff for them. Sniffing is very exhausting for dogs and ideal to make them tired.

You can use classic sniffing rugs for this purpose or you can make them yourself very quickly. Take an old pair of jeans, knot the trouser legs together and hide the treats in the trouser pockets, etc.

Just take an old sheet or blanket. Crumple them up and hide little treats everywhere. Done.


You can also let your dog play fetch in your home or garden, if he likes it. A food dummy is ideal.

how much exercise do rhodesian ridgebacks need

Dog sports for the Ridgeback

If you as a dog owner want to do more with your Rhodesian Ridgeback than the “standard dog owner” you can also try the following dog sports:

  • Agility: In agility, the dog must complete an obstacle course as quickly as possible.
  • Obedience Training: Obedience training is about the precise following of commands.
  • Mantrailing: Mantrailing is similar to tracking, except that a human track is followed.
  • Frisbee: Frisbee for dogs is basically nothing more than fetch. Your Ridgeback ideally catches a Frisbee in flight and brings it back to you.
  • Companion Dog Sports: The goal of companion dog sports is for dogs to respond to words and body language alone without the use of treats.
  • Dog Dancing: In dog dancing, dogs work with their owners to perform a choreo of basic commands and tricks.
  • Dummy Training: In Dummy Training, dogs retrieve a training dummy. This fulfills the natural need to hunt in dogs.
  • Tracking: Tracking involves sniffing out objects and tracks.

Signs your Ridgeback is unhappy!

If you work with your Ridgeback every day, and he gets enough exercise and is mentally stimulated, it is not tragic if somedays you do nothing.

It can always be that you are so busy at work that you don’t have time or you are sick. So sometimes it is only enough for a little pee round.

But if you don’t manage to meet the demands of your Rhodesian Ridgeback over a longer period of time, you can see it in the following signs:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Destructiveness
  • Excessive barking
  • Urge to chew

can be signs that your Rhodesian Ridgeback is not getting enough exercise or mental activity.

When does a Ridgeback become calmer?

As described above, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a powerhouse that needs plenty of physical action and mental activity.

At the age of 4 to 5 years they become a bit calmer and more comfortable. But they still need enough activity and do not become couch potatoes all at once.

CONCLUSION: How much exercise does a Rhodesian Ridgeback need?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback belongs to dogs that need more exercise than the average. 2 to 3 hours of exercise in the form of walks, hikes but also jogging units and bike rides should be normal.
Additionally, a Rhodesian Ridgeback also needs mental activity to be content and happy. (featured image)


I am Marco and I have the pleasure of living with 3 large Mastiff-type dog breeds. I would like to share my dog-related experiences on this blog

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