What is a Rhodesian Ridgeback?
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a native of South Africa. Its long history dates back to the early 16th century when European settlers found a domesticated dog with the Hottentot tribe. This dog, which had a distinctive ridge of fur along its spine, was selectively bred with dogs from the European continent to develop a new breed now known as the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
This breed was developed to meet the wide-ranging needs of a hunting dog in the African veldt. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks of lore were capable of performing such diverse tasks as flushing a few partridge, pulling down a wounded stag, or guarding the farm from marauding animals and prowlers at night. It was also able to withstand the rigours of the African bush. While many of these traits still contribute greatly to the breed's temperament, the Ridgebacks of today are more often found in the show ring or in the home of a loving family. The Rhodesian Ridgeback makes an attentive companion that is devoted to its family.
NOT THE DOG FOR EVERYONE
Possessing many of the characteristics generally associated with hounds, the Ridgeback has a quiet, gentle temperament and rarely barks. While able to enjoy lazing around in a patch of sun, or in front of a winter fireplace, a Ridgeback can be instantly alert if a stranger should appear and zealous in his pursuit of legitimate prey. Though he may give the impression of a big, lazy, slow-moving animal, the Ridgeback can be a threatening presence as a watchdog. Conversely, the Ridgeback's affectionate disposition can make him a trustworthy companion for a child. Properly trained, he is a pleasure as a family pet, hunting partner, show dog, or obedience competitor. An untrained Ridgeback, however, can become a terrible nuisance! Because of his protective instincts, a Ridgeback should not be trained as a guard dog but, rather, be effectively controlled through obedience training. Moreover, proper training must also be extended to children in the appropriate rules of interaction and respect for all dogs they encounter.
For additional information, please see Things to Know Before You Bring a Rhodesian Ridgeback Into Your Life.
The above was adapted from the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States, Inc., (RRCUS) "History of the Breed," © 1987 RRCUS.
For more information on Rhodesian Ridgebacks, please see the Breed Information section on the RRCUS website.