The Rhodesian Ridgeback is the only breed besides the
with a ridge of fur along the spine.
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 6 Section 3 #146
||Group 4 (Hounds)
||Group 2 - Hounds
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a
(now Zimbabwe and Zambia) in
Southern Africa. Also known as the "(African) Lion dog" because of
their unique ability to taunt a
lion and keep it at
bay while awaiting their master to make the kill. They rarely bark while
Examples of Ridges.
The Ridgeback's general appearance is of a handsome, strong, muscular and
active dog, symmetrical in outline, capable of great endurance with a fair
(good) amount of speed. The mature dog is handsome and upstanding. The
Ridgeback's distinguishing feature is the ridge of hair along its back running
in the opposite direction to the rest of its coat. The ridge must be regarded as
the escutcheon of the breed. It consists of a fan-like area formed by two whorls
of hair (called "crowns") and tapers from immediately behind the shoulders, down
to the level of the hips. The ridge is derived from the ridged hunting dog of
(literally, "men of men"; native South African people, referred to by the
Europeans as Hottentots).
Some Ridgebacks are born without ridges, and until recently, most ridgeless
puppies were culled, or euthanized, at birth. Today, many breeders opt instead
to spay and neuter these offspring to ensure they will not be bred.
Male Ridgebacks should be 25-27 inches (63-69 cm) at the
weigh approximately 85 lb (36.5 kg FCI Standard), females 24-26 inches (61-66
cm) and approximately 70 lb (32 kg). They are typically muscular and have a
light wheaten to red wheaten
which should be short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance but neither
woolly nor silky. The presence of black guard hairs or ticking is not addressed
in the AKC standard, although the elaboration of the AKC standard
 notes the amount of black or dark brown in the coat should not be
excessive. White is acceptable on the chest and toes.
Ridgebacks have a strong, smooth tail, which is usually carried in a gentle
curve upwards. The eyes should be round and should reflect the coat coloródark
in a black muzzle, amber with a brown nose. The brown nose is a
recessive gene and is therefore not as common as a black nose.
The original standard allowed for a variety of coat colors, including brindle
and sable. Today, all shades of wheaten are permitted. While the deeper red are
often favored by pet owners, the lighter wheaten is just as correct. Color
variants such as brindles, black-and-tans and blue dilutes appear occasionally
but not commonly.
They are loyal, intelligent, and gentle, making them good family pets despite
their size. They were traditionally hunters, guardians, and companions.
The breed's long history dates back to early in the 18th century when the
first European settlers found with the Khoisan tribes a domesticated dog with
the hair on his spine being turned forward. To fill their specific needs for a
serviceable hunting dog in the wilds, these settlers developed, by selective
breeding between dogs which they had brought with them from home countries and
the half-wild ridged dog of the Hottentot tribes, a distinct breed of the
which has come to be known as the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
The Breed Standard is based on that of the Dalmation & was first registered
in South Africa in 1924. The breed was first admitted into the
American Kennel Club in 1955 as a member of the Hound Group.
As hunters, Ridgebacks kept a lion at bay while the hunters came to kill it.
The dogs worked in groups to keep the lion occupied until the hunter arrived;
the dogs themselves did not actually kill lions.
Health conditions known to affect this breed are
dysplasia. Average lifespan is from 9-11 years but they have been know to
live to nearly 16 years but this is very rare.
Dermoid sinus is a congenital condition that is known to affect this breed.
There is some debate whether the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a
hound. In general, Ridgebacks pursue prey by sight, but after the prey is no
longer in sight, Ridgebacks continue tracking with scent. More credibility is
given to the sight argument largely because the Ridgeback seldom barks, a
technique scent hounds more often use to allow both hunters and hounds to
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