Home   »   Breeds   »   Rhodesian Ridgeback   »   History

Rhodesian Ridgeback
Looking for a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback, sometimes referred to as the African Lion Hound, is a native of South Africa bred by the Boer farmers to fill their specific need for a serviceable hunting dog in the wilds.

Immigrants to South Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries brought with them Danes, Mastiffs, Greyhounds, Bloodhounds, Terriers and other breeds. In 1707, European immigration was closed for one hundred years, and the native dogs played an important part in the development and ultimate character of the Ridgeback.

The Hottentots, a native race living in range of these early settlers, had a hunting dog that was half-wild with a ridge on his back formed by the hair growing forward. There was interbreeding between these dogs and those of the settlers, this crossbreeding, in due course, established the foundation stock of our present day Ridgeback. Of necessity, the Boer farmer developed by selective breeding, a distinct breed of the African Veldt-the Ridgeback.

In 1877 Rev. Helm introduced two Ridgebacks into Rhodesia where big game hunters found them outstanding in the sport of hunting lions on horseback. They raised and bred these dogs with an appreciation for their exceptional hunting qualities, the ridge on their back becoming a unique trademark. In 1922, a group of Rhodesian breeders set up a standard for Ridgebacks, which has remained virtually unchanged ever since.

Some outstanding specimens were imported to the United States in 1950 and the breed was admitted to registration by the AKC in 1955.

More Info