The Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a delightful nature. He is a faithful, one man or one family dog, and his friendship, once given, is for life! The Ridgeback is very affectionate and likes to lean on you, lie on your feet or sit on your lap if permitted. He is extremely loyal to those he loves, but distinctly offhand with strangers and quite disinterested in anyone outside his chosen circle. He is placid and easy going, putting up with endless torment from children, as well as being highly intelligent and quick to learn. He is happy to participate fully in family activities, but is equally content to laze around all day if there is nothing better to do. The Ridgeback is an excellent guard dog and his deep bark warns intruders to keep away from his property.
No single breed of dog ideally suits everyone and there are aspects of the Ridgeback character, which may not appeal to some people. Most Ridgebacks are independent and stubborn: if you give them an order when they would prefer to be doing something else, you will probably not get an immediate response.
Servility plays no part in the temperament of this breed, but if you want the rewarding companionship of a dog that has spirit and considers itself to be your equal rather than your slave, you need look no further!
History of the Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a native of South Africa descending from a variety of European breeds which were bred with the wild, ridged dog of the Hottentot tribes. The Boer farmers originally bred this breed as a multi purpose companion who would hunt, bring down game for food and protect their homes from predators. These ridged dogs became well known above all others for their ability to keep a lion at bay with a combination of speed, agility, cunning and bravery. The ridge has become the breed’s identifying mark. Ridgebacks are sturdy, low maintenance dogs with a faithful, affectionate and loyal nature, which makes them good companions. They are dogs of an independent character whose aloofness with strangers and physical appearance make s for an excellent guardian and companion.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback should present a well-balanced, strong, muscular, agile and active dog, symmetrical in outline and capable of great endurance with a fair amount of speed. The emphasis is on agility, elegance and soundness with no tendency towards massiveness. The peculiarity of the breed is the ridge on the back, which is formed by the hair growing in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat.
The ideal Rhodesian Ridgeback is an eye-catching dog with a rare combination of elegance and substance; therefore it should neither be too racy or too heavy in bone. A Ridgeback should look as if it could run all day and turn on a burst of speed when necessary; this indicates a hound that is athletic, clean cut and agile, with no hint of coarseness, yet, at the same time, having the substance to pull down medium size game.
The desirable heights are: Dogs: 63cm (25 inches) to 69cm (27 inches)
Bitches 61cm (24 inches) to 66cm (26 inches)
Any dog ownership requires responsibility. Dogs are not something to decorate your home or yard, they are living, feeling creatures who should be treated as members of your family. This is especially true of Ridgebacks. They must be made to feel as part of your "pack", ie your family, or they will strike out on their own. You should think of them as a new addition to your family and plan for them as you would a new child.