The only breed that originated in South Africa, the Rhodesian Ridgeback descends most likely from the Saluki and the Pharaoh Hound, and possibly the Hottentot Dog which is extinct. Writings from southern Africa dated prior to 1505 describe the dogs as being extremely courageous and fiercely devoted to their masters. In the late 1800's, a big game hunter from South Africa named van Rooyen, decided to cross the breed with other dogs in order to impart certain attributes needed in a lion-hunting dog. To their natural speed, he added the scenting ability of the Pointer, the endurance of the Collie, the agility of the terrier and the biting ability of the Great Dane. Once complete, the Ridgeback was the fearless enemy of the "king of beasts", the African Lion. The breed was standardized and registered in 1924, and breeders today claim that the dogs still maintain the inherent antagonism towards lions. This breed is best suited to country living.
Height: 25 - 27" (63.5 - 63.5cm) for dogs, 24 - 26" (61 - 61cm) for bitches
Weight: 75 lbs (33.5 kg) for dogs, 65 lbs (29 kg) for bitches
Coat Type: The most distinctive feature of the breed is the ridge of hair on the back that grows in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. It is thought that this feature may be a trait from the Hottentot Dog. The coat is short and sleek and gleams in colors from light wheaten to red wheaten. Very little grooming is required.
Temperament: This is an extremely brave and courageous dog, loyal and obedient to its master; it makes a good protector of the family. This dog is best suited to a situation where it can get regular exercise.
Special Interest: The Rhodesian Ridgeback has also been referred to as the "safari dog" because it can withstand the extreme climatic conditions of the desert, is unaffected by insect bites, and is able to perform well despite thirst and hunger. This "lion hound" is known for its courage and will keep lions at bay.
Please refer to
Living With Rhodesian Ridgebacks
for an informational and entertaining write-up by Barbara Sawyer-Brown, and photos by Heather Queener.
AKC: Group 2 - Hounds
CKC: Group 2 - Hounds
KC: Sporting - Hound Group
FCI: Group 6
ANKC: Group 4 - Hounds