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Male vs Female Rhodesian Ridgeback: The KEY Differences

If a Rhodesian Ridgeback is on your radar, deciding between a male or a female is crucial. This article will spotlight the key differences between the two.

The Key Differences Between Male & Female Ridgebacks


Let’s run through the main differences that prospective owners want to know the most.

However, it’s super important to understand that nothing is black and white or set in stone. So while the differences I highlight below are generally accurate, it’s not always how it turns out!


Most breeders and owners I have spoken to over the years have all agreed that males seem to be more human-orientated and affectionate towards their owners.

Make no mistake, this doesn’t mean to say females aren’t affectionate, but they seem to be more “choosey” with their moments of cuddles and kisses and might be more reserved in this department.


Both male and female ridgebacks make excellent watchdogs and have a protective nature that will make any family feel safe.

However, if the unlikely situation came when your ridgeback was actually needed to protect you physically, males are much more likely to act on their aggression and attack, compared to a female, who is generally considered “more bark than bite.”


When it comes to trainability, there are mixed opinions. Some say that females are easier to train because they mature earlier, are smarter, and don’t get as easily distracted as males.

On the other hand, males desire to please their owners significantly more than females, which sets them up to learn and obey commands more willingly.

So what’s the outcome? As this one is hard to call (even for experienced owners), it shouldn’t be used as a deciding factor. And with enough persistence and correct training methods, it doesn’t really matter if you have a male or female.


Most agree that females are usually more independent than males, meaning they are ready to think for themselves and require less of their owner’s input (in general).

On the other hand, males are considered more dependent on their owners, will require more guidance, direction, and are more attentive to their owners in general life.

An example of this difference could be a female’s ability to remain completely focused on herself and what she’s doing throughout the day. In contrast, a male will typically be right by your side, perhaps even following you around, wanting to know what you are doing.

Dominance / Territorial Tendencies

According to most owners, males are the ones that try to show more dominance and claim their territory (especially by peeing on everything!) At the same time, however, you aren’t free from this behavior with a female.

Females are said to be more conscious of their pack hierarchy and can therefore prominently try to claim their position at the top, especially if you have another dog or pet in the house.

This one is a bit like trainability, with both males and females being dominant and territorial under certain circumstances.

The Size Difference Between Male & Female Ridgebacks

Although personalities can vary, it’s nearly always the males that grow to be bigger, stronger, and more powerful. This is certainly an important factor to consider when choosing which sex will be appropriate for you and your family.

I have a full article about when ridgebacks reach their full size and stop growing you might want to check out after this article.

The average range for MALE ridgebacks:
Height: 25-27 Inches (63-68 cm)
Weight: 80-90 lbs (36-40 kg)

The average range for FEMALE ridgebacks:
Height: 24-26 Inches (60-66 cm)
Weight: 70-80 lbs (31-36 kg)

Males mostly always grow to be bigger and stronger than females, so this is certainly something to keep in mind. Males will usually continue to pack on muscle until around 2 years old, with most females stopping by around 18 months.

There will always be a few exceptions to this, and some females will grow to be similar to a male (although this is uncommon and shouldn’t be expected).

The important takeaway with this is how comfortable you are with handling a bigger and stronger dog. Keeping in mind that even females are still considered large and strong dogs compared to other breeds.

What Sex Should Your Second Dog Be?

If you’re considering getting a ridgeback when you already have a dog in the household, then it’s important to know up front that it’s recommended to get the opposite sex.

Two dogs of the opposite sex are far more likely to get on and live harmoniously than two dogs of the same sex.

It doesn’t matter if it’s two males or two females. There’s a much greater chance of fights breaking out for a long time due to hierarchy and dominance-related disputes.

This can still happen with opposite sexes, but they are said to find a balance much sooner and get on well with other thereon after.

And it doesn’t mean to say that two dogs of the same sex can never work, obviously many owners have made it work in the past, but it’s just a more difficult journey, and a lot of supervision is needed.

Male vs Female Ridgeback FAQs

Let’s cover some frequently asked questions on the differences between the two sexes. If you have any further questions that aren’t already below, be sure to contact me to add them in.

Do female ridgebacks shed more than males?

In general, no, male and female ridgebacks shed similarly. However, there is some evidence to support that females shed more due to certain hormonal changes that males don’t experience, but if that is the case, the effect is minimal.

Are male ridgebacks more aggressive than females?

While male ridgebacks might act on aggression more readily than a female, both can be aggressive under certain situations. However, as males are bigger, stronger, and more powerful, more caution needs to be taken with them than the females.

Are female ridgebacks better with kids than males?

Not necessarily. Both males and females can be great with kids when introduced properly and with healthy boundaries in place. However, males tend to be more playful, affectionate, and human-orientated, so this could make them better with young children than females.

Are female ridgebacks harder to raise than males?

While females are said to be smarter and mature quicker, it doesn’t necessarily make them easier to train. Males can be very eager to please their owners, which could make them more trainable. It’s neither here nor there with this. Both sexes are easy to raise as long as a consistent effort is put in from the owner.

Do female ridgebacks mature quicker than males?

Yes, female ridgebacks mature quicker both mentally and physically compared to males. Females mature mentally at around 1 year and physically between 15-18 months, compared to males that can remain mentally immature for years and mature physically around 18-24 months of age.

Are males friendlier to strangers and other dogs than females?

While males are considered more affectionate, this doesn’t have any bearing on their sociability over females. Both males and females can be aloof to strangers and other dogs if they aren’t properly socialized from a young age. But with sufficient early-on socialization, both sexes can be friendly and playful.

Should You Get a Male or Female Ridgeback?

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter! If you have a natural affinity towards male dogs, then get a male! Or if you’ve always preferred females, get a female! The truth is you likely already have a preference, and it’s always best to go with that.

Trying to make a decision based on stereotypical personality differences alone isn’t always the best way to go, because as I said, nothing is set in stone. For example, you might be inclined to get a male just because most consider them to be more affectionate… you have to remember, this isn’t always the case. Some males won’t be affectionate, and some females can be incredibly affectionate.

As long as the same care, time, and devotion is put in, it doesn’t matter whether you get a male or female ridgeback.

Additionally, as long as the correct training methods are used, both males and females can be trained to a very high level of obedience and maturity with enough time and consistency.

If you have a natural affinity towards males or females, it’s always best to go with that because, at the end of the day, this could be the difference in how much time and effort you put into raising your Rhody.

Thank you for reading! More Rhodesian Ridgeback articles >

Additional reading from Source


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.