Rhodesian Ridgeback FCI Standard
The farmers initiated the breeding program of mixing dogs they’d imported from Europe – such as Great Danes, Mastiffs, Greyhounds, and Bloodhounds – with half-feral local dog developed by the Khoikhoi, an indigenous folk of the continent. This dog had one peculiar feature: prominent ridge of hair along its spine. The breeding specialists made a useful observation that crosses with this particular trait had tendency to become outstanding hunters.
At some point the Rhodesian Ridgeback was used to flush partridge or kill various African game. Gradually the hunting on big type of animals gained a substantial popularity and the hunters tested the breed as assistant in hunting on lions from horseback. The dog passed the test with flying colour and eventually the lion hunting became its speciality. The main assignment of the dog was to hold back a wild beast until the arrival of the hunter.
The breeding of the Rhodesian Ridgeback didn’t have any systematic approach well until the end of the XIX century. First purebred dogs appeared in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) thanks to the accurate breeding practices of the hunter Cornelius von Rooyen. In 1924 his efforts resulted in a breed standard that experienced virtually no changes since then.
Initially the Rhodesian Ridgeback arrived to the United States as early as 1911 but the population of dogs in this country remained fairly scarce prior the end of the Second World War. After the war many dogs were brought to the USA, Great Britain, and Canada and soon it acquired there much following. The breed was officially accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1955. Nowadays the Rhodesian Ridgeback performs a various tasks including hunting, companion dog and guardian and this makes it a great choice for those, who want to have a so-called «three in one» dog.
The strong protecting instinct of the Rhodesian Ridgeback purports that it’s rather suspicious towards strangers. It doesn’t mean though that the dog is prone to display aggression without any serious reason. The breed stays always on the watch so it can make an excellent watchdog. If properly trained it can also become a highly effective guardian, who is capable of courageously defending its master’s family and property.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a mixed reputation with other canine animals. The dog is apt to develop possessive as well as territorial issues, so it can set up a fight over its subordinated territory with the other dog. Unneutered males can also become quite aggressive towards canines of the same sex. The breed needs a close supervision around small species of animals including homeless cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, etc. Majority of the members manifest a powerful prey drive and therefore it should always be kept on a leash during walks. In most cases if the Ridgeback and a home cat have been introduced to each other at the early age the dog will tolerate it the rest of its life.
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• cervical vertebral instability;
• ears problems;
• eyes problems.
Remember that this powerful animal will always strive to reach an alpha status in the pack hierarchy so the trainer should hold control over the situation at all times and regularly remind the dog, who is the boss. The Ridgeback is intolerable to critiques and reacts to it with wilful and stubborn behaviour. The handler should apply only gentle encouragement and abundant treats while working with this breed.
The Ridgeback will make an incomparable jogging or walking partner that is able to withstand even long-distance running. This breed can barely be satisfied with living in a small city apartment and it’s destined to live in rural areas where it’s provided with ample opportunities to spend its excessive energy reserves.