Do Rhodesian ridgebacks howl?

Rhodesian ridgebacks rarely howl and may only do so if they are part of a pack. I have never heard my ridgeback howl instead he will whine or bark. Ridgebacks can learn to howl if they are with other dogs that howl a lot. On their own ridgebacks are a quiet breed and usually only bark to warn you that a stranger is near.

This article will explore more about ridgeback vocalisations and my experience with my ridgeback over the years.

Rhodesian ridgeback vocalizations

Ridgebacks do make some noises but are known as a quiet breed. Here are the top noises you will hear from your ridgeback.


Ridgebacks were bred to be a quiet breed. When they were out hunting as a pack it was important that they were quiet to avoid scaring their prey. This has continued and most ridgebacks will not bark excessively if they are kept happy.

If ridgebacks are left on their own for long periods of time or are with other barking dogs they can learn this behavior. I have found that my ridgeback would only bark if a stranger is nearby. He does not bark at other dogs or animals but only at people or cars that he doesn’t know.


Ridgebacks rarely howl and instead will bark or whine. Ridgebacks who spend times in packs with other ridgebacks have been known to occasionally start a session of howling together. They will do this for a short period and they usually stop.


Ridgebacks are known instead to communicate with you by whining. My ridgeback will whine if he is outside and he feels it is too cold, if he has decided it is dinner time or if he just wants my attention. You will get used to a face at your backdoor making a whining sound when your ridgeback is outside and wants something for you.

If your ridgeback has everything they want, then you will barely hear a noise. He will sleep quietly indoors on his bed in the warmth for hours without making a noise.

My ridgeback will also whine when he walking on a lead and sees another dog that he wants to play with. Rather than barking my ridgeback will whine on the lead hoping to get me to go over and let him meet the other dogs out for a walk.

Reasons that ridgebacks vocalize

Understanding why ridgebacks vocalise is important to understand what they want and what you can expect if you are planning on getting one.


The top reason why ridgebacks will make any noise is to communicate with their pack. In this case it is usually you and your family.They will bark when a stranger is around, they will whine when they are ready for dinner or if they are unhappy with something.

A quiet whine is not a problem to me and is far better than dogs that choose barking as their way of talking to you.

Separation anxiety

Ridgebacks can bark if they start to experience separation anxiety. A new pup that is left on its own or a dog that left outdoors all of the time can start to bark.

Ridgebacks are social dogs and will feel excluded if they are left alone for long times. I have found that my ridgeback took time to understand that we do leave the house to work but will come back. Give your dog a comfortable bed, water and food and they will be happy until you return.

Attention seeking

Ridgebacks love attention and although they are not the typical ‘velcro dog’ they do like to spend as much time with you as possible. Ridgebacks can start to bark or whine if they feel like they have been excluded or left alone for too long.

Ridgebacks will look for you often to make sure you are still there. Once they know you are around, they will be happy to sleep in their own warm and comfy bed. Ridgebacks do not do well as purely outdoor dogs. I have always kept my ridgeback indoors at night and allowed him inside often to be part of the family.

How to stop your ridgeback from howling

While howling is rare for ridgebacks it can happen. To avoid this try to keep them away from other dogs that have this behaviour. Ridgebacks are smart and will learn quickly from other dogs. Ridgebacks that spend time with other ridgebacks might howl on the odd occasion but if it gets out of hand, remove your dog and come back another time to play.

Make sure your ridgeback is not left outdoors for too long on his own, he is walked often, has a cosy place to sleep and food and water. A happy ridgeback is a quiet ridgeback so if he is making noise, it is usually for a reason.

Do Rhodesian ridgebacks howl? | Summary

Rhodesian ridgebacks rarely howl but they can start to if they are part of a pack and feel the need to express themselves. Ridgebacks will whine if they want something from you and may bark if a stranger approaches. Ridgebacks are otherwise quiet dogs that are content if they are with you and have a warm place to rest.