Rhodesian Ridgeback - You Asked for It and Now You Have It
Rhodesian Ridgeback: -
You Asked for and now you have it.
Centuries ago, when the first white people arrived in South Africa, they found that the Hottentots at the Cape were using dogs of the Ridgeback type for hunting purposes. The peculiar ridge of hair, running parallel to the spine and in reverse to the rest of the coat, at once distinguished it from other breeds. During the 19th Century big game hunting flourished in Southern Africa, particularly in the area north of the Limpopo River, later to become known as Rhodesia (after its founder Cecil John Rhodes).
Hunters were quick to realize the value and importance of good hunting dogs. In choosing dogs to fill this role, it was natural that they turned to a native breed - the Ridgeback - a dog that had, for generations, proved such a boon to the African Hottentot with his primitive weapons of the chase. The origin of the breed is not definitely known, but the most generally accepted view seems to be that it is the result of crossing the Cuban Bloodhound with the Hottentot hunting dog, the latter supplying the characteristic ridge.
From such a breeding one would expect just such characteristics as the Ridgeback so markedly shows - speed, power, courage, fidelity, and in addition, a remarkable skill in tackling wild animals. Unfortunately for the breed, the name Lion Dog became popular because several big game hunters found them by far the best for lion hunting, and this led many to assume that the dogs were the actual killers of lions, although no dog would have stood a chance in a fight with a lion. Ridgebacks would harass the lion by constant feint attacks until it was held in sheer bewilderment, giving the hunter a shot at close range. With the advent of long range rifles, hunters dispensed with the use of dogs so the Ridgeback has had to turn to its other vocation, that of guard dog.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks live from between 10 to 12 years of age.
AVERAGE SIZE & WEIGHT
61cm to 69cm
32kg to 36.5kg
BREED PERSONALITY, CHARACTERISTICS & TEMPERAMENT
The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a delightful nature, being a faithful one-man or family dog. It is very affectionate and likes to lean on you, lie at your feet or sit on your lap if permitted. It is extremely loyal to those it loves. Although not an aggressive dog, the Ridgeback is distinctly reserved with strangers and usually objects to people making the first advances to it. It is placid and easy going, putting up with endless torment from children, as well as being highly intelligent and quick to learn. Happy to participate fully in family activities, the Ridgeback is equally content to laze around all day if there is nothing better to do. An excellent guard dog, it has a deep bark to warn intruders to keep away. Friendship, once given, is for life.
COMPATIBILITY WITH OTHER PETS
It is compatible with other domestic animals, but needs training regarding livestock.
This is a fast growing dog that should not be overfed or over exercised as a puppy, as this puts too much stress on developing bones.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE
Remember that this breed is part of the hound fraternity and likes to chase. Secure fencing and gates are needed.
No single breed of dog ideally suits everyone and there are aspects of the Ridgeback character that may not appeal to some people. The Ridgeback is independent and stubborn and if you give it an order when it would prefer to be doing something else you will probably not get instant results. 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 it your equal rather than your slave, you need look no further. The Ridgeback is extremely tolerant of children, however is not so well suited to older folk, who may have trouble handling a boisterous puppy.
If you have decided that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the dog for you and you realize that this dog can be stubborn and so needs firm but fair discipline
Before making a decision on getting a puppy, here are some articles you might find helpful:
- What do we need to consider if we are thinking of buying a puppy?
- How do I determine which breeder to use?
- What should you ask the breeder?
- How do you check if the breeder is reputable?
- What to ask your vet prior to buying a puppy
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog breed indigenous to Southern Africa. Its European forebears can be traced to the early pioneers of the Cape Colony of southern Africa, who crossed their dogs with the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the Khoisan people (referred to by the colonists as "Hottentots").
In the earlier parts of its history, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has also been known as Van Rooyen's Lion Dogs, the African Lion Hound or African Lion Dog—Simba Inja in Ndebele, Shumba Imbwa in Shona—because of their ability to harass a lion and keep it at bay while awaiting their master to make the kill.
The original breed standard was drafted by F.R. Barnes, in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (modern day Zimbabwe), in 1922. It was based on that of the Dalmatian and was approved by the South African Kennel Union in 1926.
The Ridgeback's distinguishing feature is the ridge of hair along its back running in the opposite direction to the rest of its coat. 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. Some Ridgebacks are born without ridges, and until recently, most ridgeless puppies were culled, 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 withers and weigh approximately 85 lb (36.5 kg FCI Standard), females 24-26 inches (61-66 cm) and approximately 70 lb (32 kg). Ridgebacks are typically muscular and have a light wheaten to red wheaten coat, which should be short, dense, sleek and glossy in appearance and neither woolly nor silky. Ridgebacks have a strong, smooth tail, which is usually carried in a gentle curve backwards. The eyes should be round and should reflect the dog's color—skin pigment, not coat color: dark eyes with a black nose (regardless of coat color), amber eyes with a liver nose. The liver nose is a recessive gene so therefore is not as common as a black nose; some breeders believe the inclusion of livernoses in a breeding program is necessary for maintaining the vibrancy of the coat.
Other breeds with a ridge of fur along the spine include:
Ridgebacks are loyal and intelligent. They are, however, aloof to strangers, and can be territorial and aggressive without proper handling. This breed requires training and dedication and is only for the experienced dog owner. They are strong-willed, intelligent, and many seem to have a penchant for mischief though lovingly. They do not make a good first dog, though the same traits that make them difficult often appeal to the more experienced owners. Although they can withstand wide temperature variations due to their African heritage, they are sensitive and prefer to be with their human families inside. They were traditionally hunters, guardians and companions.
Despite their athletic, sometimes imposing exterior, the Ridgeback has a sensitive side. Excessively harsh training methods that might be tolerated by a sporting or working dog will likely backfire on a Ridgeback. The Ridgeback accepts correction as long as it is fair and justified, and as long as it comes from someone he knows and trusts.
This does sound like a lot of human beings
I know, and a few Hubbers as well. Incidently this is by a guy who thought he knew alittleabout marmalade. Maybe overnight he might be known as Ridgeback Man
Francis R. Barnes, who wrote the first standard in 1922, acknowledged that "rough treatment ... should never be administered to these dogs, especially when they are young. They go to pieces with handling of that kind”