Rhodesian Ridgeback has a very interesting history. When the Europeans
emigrated to South Africa to colonize it in the 1650s, they took all
of their possessions with them, including their dogs. The Dutch observed
that the Khoi Khoi and Hottentot natives had ridged native dogs that
slept in the huts at night to protect them, herded the goats and cattle
during the day to fend off marauding animals, and assisted the natives
on hunts. So, the Colonists began interbreeding their European dogs
with these ridged native dogs, and, over the next 250 years, an exceptionally
versatile dog was "created" - capable of protecting, hunting,
herding, retrieving, working a farm, and being a good companion.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback has been referred to as the African Lion Dog because it hunts large game (including lions) in packs of 2 to 3 hounds. Generally, the Ridgeback was not meant to kill a lion but to track it, hold it at bay, and turn the lion when it charged away from the hunter.
breed standard for the Rhodesian Ridgeback originated with the Kennel
Club of South Africa in 1922 where the dog did, and still does, hunt
large game, including lion; the breed was "recognized" by
the American Kennel Club in 1955. Clearly, the outstanding feature of
the Ridgeback is the "ridge," which is a strip of hair along
the spine extending from the back of the shoulders to just before the
hips; this hair grows in the opposite direction to the other body hair
and must contain two identical 'swirls" or "crowns" in
the first third of the ridge. The ridge must be present at birth, or
it is not there - it will not grow in as the puppy matures.
Rhodesian Ridgeback is noted for being protective of the family (even
fearless), territorial, and loving of children; grooming is minimal
and the dog is inherently clean. The Ridgeback is not considered a "biting"
breed, preferring to corner its game. Because it is a very intelligent
breed (it would have to be to survive a lion hunt), the dog learns quickly,
yet also gets bored quickly. Obedience training is easy, yet if the
dog gets bored, training can become a challenge since the breed has
a very quick and keen sense of humor, and oftentimes succeeds in embarrassing
its owner. They never forget love and understanding, nor do they lightly
forgive harsh treatment.
in certain lines is becoming an emerging concern.