The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed of dog from Rhodesia (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. more...
They rarely bark while hunting.
The Ridgeback's general appearance is of a handsome, strong, muscular and active dog, symmetrical in outline, capable of great endurance with a fair 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 usually about 2 inches (5 cm) in width at its widest point. The ridge is believed to originate from the dog used by the original African population, who carried a similar ridge. The first picture of a Ridgeback is a wall painting describing the life of the Boers. The painting is situated in South Africa in the voortrekker monument.
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). They are typically muscular and have a light wheaten to red wheaten coat which should be short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance but neither woolly nor silky. The coat should contain no black hairs, although 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 colourâ€”dark 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.
Although wheaten is the most common coat color for Ridgebacks and also the only color recognized by all kennel clubs worldwide, they do occasionally occur in other colors. Such colors include brindle, black wheaten, and silver. Since these dogs do not fit into the breed standard, they are either spayed/neutered or put down to prevent the genes for the 'undesireable' color to be passed down.
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 African veldt, which has come to be known as the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
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