Originally traced to Africa, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a strong, loyal, and athletic dog breed that was originally bred to hunt lions. It is characterized by a ‘ridge’ of backward-facing hair on its back which gives the breed its name.
Adult Rhodesians can reach a weight of 85 lb. While they get along with other pets and small children, they need to be monitored closely. After all; they are known for their strong prey drives and could unknowingly hurt small children. They are certainly not fit pets for first-time dog owners as they need plenty of training, socialization, and firm handling.
In recent times, the popularity of the Rhodesian has grown several times over. It is ranked almost 42nd in the AKC list of 193 popular dog breeds.
Physically, the Rhodesian is slightly longer than it is tall yet it has a very balanced structure. Males reach nearly 80-95 lb. and measure about 27 inches at withers. Females weigh between 75 and 80lb and measure around 25 inches at withers. The coat of the Rhodesian is short, smooth, and easy to care for. The available colors are light wheaten, deep brown, and even shades of red.
If you’re looking to add the Rhodesian Ridgeback to your household, then it is not a decision you should take lightly. These dogs need plenty of exercises, firm handling, and training. In case you’ve thought things this, then you may want to consider the financial implications of owning a Ridgeback.
Here is a summary of what it could cost you to own a Rhodesian:
Let us check out these costs in detail.
How Much Does a Rhodesian Ridgeback Cost?
A purebred Rhodesian is expensive to buy. Reputed breeders will charge between $1500 and $2500 for each puppy. Some even charge up to $3000 for their pups.
You can find a list of reputed breeders on the official website of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of America.
Many factors can affect the price of a Rhodesian puppy. These are:
Some breeders charge more for their male pups. However, sometimes, even female pus could cost more since owners want to buy them for breeding purposes. Males weigh more than females and need more food. In those terms, a male dog may cost more to own.
Puppies that come from champion show dogs or winners of certain dog show titles will cost more. Sometimes, the breeders have themselves paid heavy stud fees which they naturally wish to recover from their buyers.
Responsible dog breeders always check their dogs for joint issues, eye problems, and other genetic conditions. They also offer to take the puppy back in case it develops any health problem within its first year. This too can cost extra.
If your breeder lives in another state or country, you need to factor in the cost of transport. This can increase your dog’s price by several hundred dollars.
Adopting a Rhodesian
If buying a Rhodesian Ridgeback for thousands of dollars is out of your budget, then you may consider adopting one. Most animals shelters only charge a small fee of about $500. They even cover your pet’s vaccination, spaying/neutering, and deworming.
Here is a table showing these costs:
|The minimum cost of a purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy from a reputed breeder||$1500|
|The maximum cost of a purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy from a reputed breeder||$3000|
|Median Price/national average||$1000|
|Adopting a Ridgeback||$500 – covers the cost of vaccination, deworming, and de-sexing surgery.|
Costs of Basic Supplies for Your Rhodesian Ridgeback
Irrespective of whether you’re bringing a puppy from a breeder or adopting an adult Rhodesian from the shelter, it is important to stock up on some supplies. In addition to food and treats, your dog will need the following items to make it more comfortable:
Choose stainless-steel, ceramic, or food-grade plastic bowls for food and water. Make sure they are heavy enough not to tip over or skid off the floor and startle your pet. The cost of good bowls is around $10 each. If you go for elevated bowls or slow-feeder bowls, then they might cost up to $100.
Leashes, ID Tags, and Collar
Select a soft and comfortable leash to walk your dog. Your pet will also need a safe collar with some ID tags. Most nylon collars cost about $15. Leather collars and leashes can cost more – about $50.
Every dog owner must keep some basic grooming tools on hand. Although your low-maintenance Ridgeback won’t need too much grooming, it still needs brushing during the shedding season. A basic dog grooming kit should have the following items:
- Brush, curry comb, pet grooming glove
- Dog toothpaste and brush
- Pet wipes
- Tick/flea spray
- Nail clippers
These items can cost around $100.
Crate and Bed
A crate is not a punishing tool for your Ridgeback; rather, it is a training tool and also a safe and secure place for your little buddy to rest. Select a wire or sturdy plastic cage of an appropriate size. Add in some toys and a comfortable bed. This will make your pet feel right at home. The cost of a reliable crate and bed is around $75 to $100.
Every Ridgeback needs sturdy toys for chewing and for outdoor play. These can engage your pet positively and prevent boredom. Teething toys also soothe your pet’s irritated gums while it is teething. The cost of toys is between $40 and $80.
|Food and water bowls||$20|
|Toys and chews||$40-$80|
|Collar, leash, ID tags||$15 to $50|
|Grooming supplies (shampoos, pet wipes, nail clippers, ear cleaner)||$50-$80|
|Bed and crate||$75 to $100|
|Miscellaneous (poop bags, poop scooper)||$10|
Training Costs for Rhodesian Ridgebacks
If you want to go anywhere or do anything with the freedom that your Rhodesian will always listen to you, then you need to train your dog. Training is of different types:
Customized Private Dog-Training
There is no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to training a dog. Different dogs have different issues and customized private training is the best way to overcome them.
Most certified dog trainers charge between $40 and $120 an hour although some private trainers could even charge up to $200 per session. Training for overcoming aggression, fear, or anxiety can cost almost $2000 per package.
If your Ridgeback is vaccinated, you could consider this option. It is a great way to teach your pet certain commands like sit, come, heel, stay, etc. Group training also helps your dog socialize with other pets. This type of training can cost between $10 and $80 per class.
Boarding your dog at the trainer can also be a great way of training your pet. Your puppy will stay for a week with the trainer during which, it will get potty trained. Your pup will also learn some basic obedience commands and leash training. The last two to three days are reserved for training with the owner. This is an expensive option that can cost around $500 to $1250 per week.
Here is a table showing these costs:
|Type of training||Cost|
|Online classes/Skype or video training||$60|
|Private in-person training||$40-$200|
|Special needs training for aggression etc.||$1000 – $4000 per package|
|Group puppy classes||Between $10 and $80 per class or per week|
|Board-and-train (dog boot camp)||Between $500-$1250 per week|
|YouTube/at-home training by the owner||$0|
Food Costs for Rhodesian Ridgeback
Your Rhodesian puppy will need 3-4 meals per day and a 4-month active pup can even eat 5-6 meals a day.
This is a large dog breed weighing over 85 lb. at adulthood. An adult Ridgeback needs almost 1500 calories per day which you need to provide through 2 daily meals.
Here are some guidelines to bear in mind:
- Puppies can eat the same food that they were eating at the breeder’s place. This is important to avoid digestive upsets while your pet is already under the stress of adjusting to its new environment
- You can also feed readymade kibble to an adult Ridgeback. Adults need between 2 ¾ to 3 ¾ cups of dry dog food daily. You can divide this into two meals.
- If you choose to feed wet or canned food, feed between 4 to 5 cups of canned food to an adult Rhodesian. You can divide this into two meals.
- Some people feed raw or the BARF diet to their Rhodesians. If you go this route, then feed 60% raw meat and bones daily with 15% raw leafy green and yellow vegetables, 15% offal/liver once a week, and one egg each day. Never give cooked bones as they can splinter and shatter causing intestinal perforations in your dog.
Always discuss any dietary changes with your vet.
Here are the approximate costs of feeding your Rhodesian:
|Type of food||Monthly quantity||Cost per month|
|Kibble||25-30 lb.||$50 to $100|
|Wet or canned food||30- 45 cans per month||$100-$150|
|Freeze-dried food as a topper||20 lb.||$60-$120|
|Raw food||50 lb.||$50-$200|
|Dog treats||20 lb.||$20-$50|
Best Dog Food For Rhodesian Ridgeback – Cost Comparison
The most popular type of food, by an enormous margin, is kibble. Dog owners find it easy to administer and store. However, not all commercial kibble is the same so it is very important to compare them.
In addition to the cost comparison, you need to compare the food’s ingredients. Learn to read food labels so you can give the best nourishment to your dog. Look for foods containing meat as its first ingredient. Steer clear of foods with fillers like soy, corn, and wheat. Also, avoid foods packed with grains and animal byproducts. These do not serve any purpose but are simply added for increasing the food’s weight.
Ideally, you should buy food that meets the AAFCO guidelines.
You can also choose to feed home-cooked meals to your Ridgeback. The raw diet is a great option and can also be inexpensive if you buy cow and chicken offals and bones from a butcher. However, it is very important to discuss your dog’s diet with an experienced vet before selecting what to feed it. This is important to ensure that your Rhodesian gets balanced nourishment.
Here is a table showing the best commercial dog foods for a Rhodesian Ridgeback along with approximate costs:
|Name of food||Features||Cost per pound|
|Taste of The Wild||High-protein, nutrient-rich, packed with superfoods, and probiotics. Made in the USA||$1.96/lb.|
|Wellness Complete Health||Contains high-quality chicken and oatmeal as the main ingredients. Free from meat by-products, fillers, and preservatives.||$2/lb.|
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food||Made using real chicken, sweet potato, peas, and antioxidants. Natural dog food||$2.5/lb.|
|Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Beef & Rice Dry Dog Food & Wet Dog Food||High-quality protein with real beef. Supports bone health and joints in dogs weighing over 50 lb.||$2.84/lb.|
Medical Costs to Expect for Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Over your Rhodesian lifetime, you’d have to deal with various medical costs. In your pup’s first year with you, you’d take it to the vet for various core vaccines and non-core vaccinations. Core vaccines will protect your puppy from various contagious canine diseases like distemper, parvovirus, and influenza. Non-core vaccines are recommended based on the area you live in – examples include Lyme disease vaccine, Rattle Snake Vaccine, etc.
Most vets charge around $75-$100 for a combined vaccine called the DHPP vaccine. Rabies vaccine can cost between $15 and $35 per shot. The following table shows the vaccine, cost, and age of the puppy to administer it.
|Age of puppy||Core vaccination/ preventive treatment||Non-core vaccination||Cost**|
|6-8 weeks||DHPP vaccine (Parvo, distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis))||Distemper vaccine alone costs (first year) $20-$30. The total cost of vaccination is between $75 and $100|
|10-12 weeks||Parvo, distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis) rabies and leptospirosis||Distemper + measles combo and Giardia||Rabies vaccine in first year $15 to $25
Distemper – $20 to $30- total between $75 and $100
|12-16 weeks||Parvo, distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), leptospirosis||total between $75 and $100|
|26-52 weeks||Boosters for the above, rabies||Lyme if present in your region||total between $75 and $100. Lyme disease vaccine costs between $20-$40|
|Every 6 months||Bordetella, parainfluenza||$20-$50|
|Every 3 years||Rabies||Influenza||$20-$50|
Parasite Prevention Costs
External parasites like fleas and ticks carry several diseases including tapeworm and they can even cause symptoms like intense itching in your pet. Thankfully, there are various ways to protect your Ridgeback from these parasites. You could use shampoos, powders, collars, sprays, and even oral medicines to prevent ticks and fleas from biting your dog.
Most flea-tick preventive treatments cost $200 a year.
Your buddy will also need regular deworming. Deworming pills eliminate the eggs and larvae of deadly internal parasites like tapeworm, hookworm, roundworms, etc. The cost of deworming is around $8 to $60 for a three-month supply.
If you do not plan to show or breed your Rhodesian, it is best to get it de-sexed. The surgery for desexing a female dog costs around $400 whereas neutering a male dog can come to about $200 depending on your vet.
Other Medical Costs
We want the best for our dogs and regular medical checkups can help ensure that. The cost of routine vet exams is around $50 but some vets in certain cities could charge around $100 per visit.
If your dog needs special medical treatment, then the costs can be higher. For example, blood tests can cost between $20 and $100. Heartworm testing comes to about $75. X-rays can cost between $100 and $300. A single night’s hospitalization can come from $500 to $1000.
Common Medical Conditions Seen in Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Generally a very hardy breed, the Rhodesian is sometimes known to suffer from the following health issues
1 – Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
These are common afflictions seen in large dog breeds like Rhodesian Ridgebacks. However, they can be prevented with proper testing and breeding practices. That is why it is very important to buy your dog from a reputed breeder. The cost of surgery for fixing the affected joints is between $2000 and $4000 per joint.
2 – Thyroid Disease
Nearly one out of every four Ridgebacks is known to have thyroid disease. The symptoms range from obesity, lethargy, mental dullness, and hair loss. The cost of treating it can be almost $500 to $1500 per year for tests and medication.
3 – Cataracts
A Ridgeback with cataracts will have difficulty seeing in the dark. It might also have cloudy eye lenses. To treat your dog, veterinarians may suggest surgery which can cost $2700 to $4000 on average.
4 – Heart Disease
Heart disease in dogs can manifest as a persistent cough, restlessness in sleeping, breathing difficulty, fainting, or a pot-bellied appearance. Aging, obesity, genetics, and nutrition can all play a role in the cause of heart disease in dogs. The cost of treating heart disease will depend on the exact symptoms. Most medicines for heart diseases cost about $50 per month.
Should You Purchase Pet Insurance for Your Rhodesian Ridgeback?
As seen above, it is important to buy pet insurance for your Rhodesian. After all, illness can strike at any time. And even if your dog is very healthy, injuries could also occur without a moment’s notice. The cost of treating an illness or injury can be very high and sometimes, pet owners end up spending thousands of dollars on their pet’s medical bills.
If your Ridgeback swallows something, the cost of treating the blockage can set you back by almost $3000. To avoid ‘economic euthanasia’ it is best to invest in a good pet insurance plan.
Pet insurance plans vary in coverage, deductibles, and co-pays. On average, most pet owners spend $550 a year on pet insurance. However, this figure can vary based on your Zipcode, your Rhodesian’s age, and also the overall health of your dog.
If you decide to purchase pet insurance, do your homework thoroughly. Go to the company’s website and see sample policies. If needed, visit forums to see what is and isn’t covered. To avoid headaches, try and understand how payouts are made and also how your premium will change as your Rhodesian ages.
Here are some pet insurance companies with their features and approximate costs:
|Name of Pet Insurance||Price||Pros||Cons|
|Nationwide||$25-$60 per month||Plans cover wellness care||More expensive than other pet insurance companies|
|Trupanion||$38.93 per month for a $1,000 deductible||Trusted by more than 600,000 pet
|Does not cover pre-existing conditions, and has a one-time administration fee during enrollment.|
|Healthy Paws||$39 per month||Covers alternative therapies like acupuncture||One-time new member fee, no multi-pet discounts.|
Additional Costs of Owning a Rhodesian Ridgeback
It can be difficult to estimate the cost of owning any dog breed because there are several factors involved. In addition to the necessary costs like medical costs, food, and daily care, there can be certain miscellaneous costs as well. Here are some of them:
Travel and boarding
Traveling with a Rhodesian can help you save on pet boarding especially if you travel by car. But if air travel is involved, then you’d need to pay the airfare which can be almost $200 each way. A special dog carrier may also be mandatory and could cost another couple of hundred bucks.
Boarding your Ridgeback at the hostel isn’t cheap too. Most pet hostels charge a daily fee of between $50 and $100. If you hire a pet sitter, then expect to shell out almost $45 to $60 per day depending on the services.
This is another one-time cost that you’d incur should you choose to microchip your buddy. It comes to nearly $50 and can help you locate your pet should it get lost.
Pet deposit fees
If you live in a rental home, prepare to pay a pet deposit of almost $200. This can vary from state to state and also depends on your landlord. Some landlords even add a monthly pet rent of $25 to $50.
Even if you live in your own home, you’d have to dog-proof it. Add in a fence to make it more secure. Other home improvement projects can cost nearly $500-$1000.
Key Takeaways – How Much Does a Rhodesian Ridgeback Cost?
Thanks to their increasing popularity, the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s purchase cost is very high. You also need to factor in other costs of owning this majestic dog breed. Here is a quick summary:
The price of a purebred Rhodesian puppy from a reputed breeder is between $1500 and $2500. Some even charge as high as $3000 depending on the pup’s bloodline, breeder’s location, and even the coat color of the puppy.
In the first year, you need to consider various medical costs like vaccinations, spaying/neutering, etc. You also will buy some essential supplies like a crate, dog bed, toys, etc. Training can also be a significant expense unless you choose to train your dog on your own.
Expect the first-year cost of owning a Rhodesian to be almost $4000. This cost can be higher or lower depending on the pet’s price and your style of dog parenting.
After the first year, most dog owners get some relief as the costs drop slightly. You’d mostly spend on food, some basic or routine medical costs, pet insurance, and services like dog grooming, pet boarding, or dog walking. These can amount to $1500 to $2000 per year.
As long as your Rhodesian Ridgeback lives a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition, exercise, and regular health checks, it should not have too many medical expenses. Most Rhodesians live up to 10-12 years. This can bring the lifetime cost of owning one to nearly $20,000 to $30,000.
Again, these costs are just an estimate and the actuals will depend greatly on factors like where you live, how often you travel, and other styles of raising a dog. We hope this guide helps you plan a budget and raise your Rhodesian with love and care.