Breed Comparison, General info

Weimaraner vs Rhodesian Ridgeback: What’s The Difference? (Complete Guide)


The Rhodesian Ridgeback belongs to the Hound group (AKC standard) and Scent Hound group by the FCI standard. On the other hand, the Weimaraner is classified as Working group (AKC) and Pointing Dogs group (FCI).

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is pretty similar in size as the Weimaraner, around 27 inches in height. Weimaraners can reach up to 90 pounds, Ridgebacks up to 85 pounds.

Weimaraners’ coat is in shades of gray, mouse gray, silver and even blue. Ridgbacks are usually shades of red (or ‘wheaten’) and darker (black or brown) muzzle. Ridgebacks have a prominent ‘ridge’ on their backs, where the hair grows in the opposite direction.

LifespanSizeWeightColorSheddingPersonalityPuppy Cost
Weimaraner10-13 yearsup to 27″up to 90 lbsgray, blueseasonalvery active$700-2500
Ridgeback10-13 yearsup to 27″up to 85 lbswheatenseasonalactive$800 – 2000

Rhodesian Ridgeback’s origin reaches to 16th or 17th century South Africa. The history of Weimaraners is a bit murky and there’s multiple theories on where the breed originated. However, the breed is named after German region of Weimar in the 19th century.

Ridgebacks were used mainly during hunting and tracking, but also guarding livestock. Weimaraners were similarly bred for hunting and are used as such to this day.

Ridgeback

Appearance of Weimaraner vs Ridgeback

The Weimaraner is considered to be medium to large, they can grow up to 27″ in height and 90 lbs in weight on average. The Ridgeback is about the same size, they can measure up to 27″ and weight 85 lbs.

Ridgebacks and Weimaraners have similar build. Both are muscular and strong but rather sleek and sinewy as opposed to stocky. They’re both very agile, built for speed.

Eyes

Ridgeback has medium sized round eyes, usually matching the color of their coat (shades of amber and brown). Their eyelids are black around the edges.

Weimaraner has usually amber or blue-gray eyes, although some dogs may retain the bright blue eye color from puppyhood.

Ears

Weimaraner’s ears are fairly long and have a rounded tip. They are set high on their head. Ridgebacks have similar shaped ears, though they are a bit shorter and smaller overall.

Nose

Ridgeback’s nose is usually black or brown, depending on the color of their coat. Weimaraner’s nose is usually dark brown in gray dogs, dark blue in blue Weimaraners. If you’d like to read more about blue Weimaraners, I wrote a post about them here.

Coat

Ridgeback’s coat is in shades of wheaten, from light to red. White markings on the chest and toes are permitted. Ridgebacks got their name from their peculiar trait – a stripe of coat along their spine grows in the opposite direction. It starts around the shoulders and tapers slightly by the hips. A good stripe thickness is about 2 inches.

Weimaraner comes in shades of gray from mouse to silver and sometimes blue, though that color isn’t standard. White markings on chest and toes are acceptable. Weimaraner puppies are born with little stripes which go away in a few days. Some dogs may have a visible “eel stripe” which is a stripe of darker coat along their spine.

Weimaraners can also have long hair. If you’d like to read more about them, please see my post about the different types of Weimaraners.

Tail

Ridgeback’s tail is moderately long, strong at the root and tapers at the end. It’s carried slightly curved upwards. Their tail doesn’t get docked. Weimaraner’s tail is thinner but it’s strong and where law permits, short-haired Weimaraner’s tail is cropped to cover their genitalia (about 6 inches).

I wrote an article about docking Weimaraners’ tails here.

hunting weimaraner

Personality of Weimaraner vs Ridgeback

Due to their history, Ridgebacks are a prety active dog breed. Ranking 41 out of 200 on the AKC popularity score, their personality is very dignified and intelligent. They are very loyal and calm, very affectionate with their families. They are also good with children.

They can sometimes be independent and strong-willed. Ridgebacks are pretty aloof with strangers but they aren’t agressive or shy. They don’t tend to bark a lot.

Weimaraners are very loyal as well and this attachment to their families has earned them the nickname “velcro dogs”. They will follow their owners everywhere. They are affectionate, though some individuals may prefer affection on their own terms. They are very intelligent, can be stubborn and like to test their boundaries from time to time.

They can be quite energetic, so they can knock small children (or even adults) off their feet. Always supervise your children with any dog.

General Care of Weimaraner vs Ridgeback

Both the Weimaraner and the Ridgeback do not have an undercoat.

Ridgeback’s coat is smooth, short and dense and they shed quite a bit regularly. Thankfully their coat needs only minimal grooming. A weekly brushing will be enough for most dogs.

Weimaraners shed usually only seasonally and they don’t require any special care other than a weekly brushing, more often during the shedding season.

If the nails of both breeds don’t get worn outside, clipping them or grinding them will prevent them from discomfort of having long nails.

Both breeds don’t really need a bath unless they roll in something dead, stinky or are extremely dirty. Usually any dirt just slides away from their coat when it dries and you can help by brushing through their coat.

Ridgeback

Training and Exercise of Weimaraner vs Ridgeback

Weimaraners are very a active breed so they need plenty of exercise. A walk around the block won’t be enough for any of them. Weimaraners need at least 2 hours daily.

Mental stimulation is just as important (if not more) as physical exercise and it often tires them out quicker. Both breeds are very smart and eager to please their owners, so training them should be a breeze with lots of praise.

Ridgebacks can adapt to any situation. They are very intelligent. They need a firm but kind hand and might not be the best for novice dog owners. They require a moderate amount of exercise a day. They love long walks and playing with other dogs.

They do have a stronger prey drive but it can be quite easily redirected to other activities. Ridgebacks are excellent in agility, tracking, canicross, jogging, bike rides, hiking, dog company for horse riding. Of course Ridgebacks can be also used for hunting.

Both breeds love to work and have been used in rescue and as police dogs. You can’t go wrong with canicross, agility or obedience training.

As for swimming, some Ridgebacks might not be keen on getting wet at all, while others will jump straight in and enjoy it immensely. Weimaraners are much the same. However, both can be taught to love water, just start early with the introduction and use a lot of praise and treats.

Lifespan and Health Issues of Weimaraner vs Ridgbeack

Both breeds have a similar lifespan, generally 10 – 13 years on average. The oldest Weimaraner was 18 years and 10 months old. The oldest Ridgeback lived to be around 18 years. They are both pretty healthy breeds.

Both Weimaraners and Ridgebacks are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, ectropion and epilepsy. Both breeds are at the risk of bloat.

Ridgebacks can also suffer from dermoid sinus, which is a congenital defect, located most often at the neck or upper back. It has to be removed because it could turn into abcess. Puppies need to be screened for this condition and an experienced breeder can check for this. They can also suffer from hypothyroidism.

I explained some of the most common health problems in Weimaraners in this post.

Make sure you are getting a puppy from a reputable breeder who does health screenings on the parents and the puppies for hereditary issues.

Ridgeback puppies

Average Puppy Prices

The average price of Weimaraner puppies has increased dramatically in the recent years. The average price nowadays can be anywhere between $700 and $2,600.

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies can go between $800 to $2,000.

The prices vary due to location of the breeder, the parents’ pedigree and lineage. Sometimes people may offer puppies above or below these price ranges but that may not be a good thing as that can indicate either an inexperienced breeder or a puppy mill.

Ridgeback Rescues

If you’d like to adopt a Ridgbeack, there are a lot of rescues operating all across the US and also internationally. Check out the directories below!

I’m compiling a list of all Weimaraners rescues, please check out my Weimaraner rescue category on this blog.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Both Breeds

Weimaraner

Advantages

  • very intelligent
  • easy to train
  • loyal
  • minimal grooming requirements
  • good guard dog

Disadvantages

  • requires a lot of exercise
  • potentially stubborn
  • prone to separation anxiety
  • can get over-excited
  • needs a solid recall
  • risk of bloat and gastric torsion

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Advantages

  • very affectionate with families
  • good with children
  • good guard dog
  • minimal grooming maintenance
  • loyal
  • they don’t bark a lot

Disadvantages

  • risk of bloat and gastric torsion
  • strong prey drive
  • can be a bit independent and stubborn
  • regular shedding

Conclusion

The Weimaraner and Rhodesian Ridgeback are beautiful dog breeds. Weimaraners are more demanding in therms of physical activities, Ridgebacks can be a little stubborn and they need firm but kind hand in training.

They are both loyal to their families and good with children.



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