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Hound Group Third and Best of Breed: GCHP CH Diablo's Back Alley Brawler CGC, Rhodesian Ridgeback; Hound Group judging at the 2016 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin in Orlando, FL.
David Woo ©American Kennel Club

When you first meet a Rhodesian Ridgeback, two things are immediately obvious: the striking ridge of hair along the back and the imposing stature. This is a strong, dignified, muscular breed and member of the Hound Group. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not likely to be the first dog that strangers reach over to pet and cuddle. Those in the know, however, appreciate all of the qualities that make the Ridgeback beloved by fans.

1. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a unique South African dog, a product of several breeds.

The breed is the result of crosses among the native ridged Khoikhoi dog and dogs brought to Africa by European settlers, including Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, Great Danes, and Greyhounds.

2. Originally bred to pursue lions, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are superb hunters.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback not only tracks their prey but can hold also quarry at bay. The breed is also known as the African Lion Hound due to their history in helping to hunt lions in the savannah.

Three Rhodesian Ridgebacks together outdoors.

3. An athletic breed, Ridgebacks loves to run.

Along with the Ridgeback’s hunting skills, they are speedy enough to keep pace with some of the fastest dog breeds. They tend to perform well at lure coursing.

4. Rhodesian Ridgebacks only come in one color, wheaten.

Although you’ll see coats in what appear to be varied colors, they’re really just all the different shades, from pale flax to deep auburn. The breed standard details acceptable colors as “light wheaten to red wheaten.”

5. They make an excellent family guardian.

Not only did the original breed hunt in the wild, but they also protected Boer farms and families in an untamed, often hostile environment. The Ridgeback’s formidable presence will make any intruder think twice.

6. Among the first people to breed Rhodesian Ridgebacks in the United States was the movie star, Errol Flynn.

He purchased his first Ridgeback from an English breeder in the 1930’s and raised the dogs on his ranch in Hollywood. Sadly, that bloodline is now extinct.

7. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is highly intelligent with a strong-willed, independent streak.

The breed needs patient and consistent training and a lot of positive motivation from puppyhood to avoid becoming a domineering nuisance.

8. As a rule, the breed is not known as barkers.

If your Ridgeback is barking at someone or something, you’d better investigate, as something may be up.

9. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are worthy competitors in various dog sports, including conformation.

Most recently, A Touch of Class (called “Penny”), bred by Shadowbridge Rhodesian Ridgebacks in Sacramento, California, took first in the Hound Group at the 2019 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin.

10. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dearly devoted companion.

As imposing as they look, these dogs are whole-heartedly attached to their families, including children.  These are ‘people’ dogs that want to be wherever you are. They love you deeply, with unswerving dedication and loyalty.

Purchasing and Registering your Rhodesian Ridgeback

Think the noble Rhodesian Ridgeback is the breed for you? Check out Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies on the AKC Marketplace.

After becoming the owner of a Ridgeback, it is important to register your dog. Why? The AKC is the only purebred dog registry in the United States that maintains an investigation and inspection effort. The AKC conducts thousands of inspections each year to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of dogs and the environments in which they live.

After you register your dog. you will receive your official AKC certificate in the mail. There are many other benefits, including a complimentary first vet visit, 30 days of pet insurance, and eligibility to compete in AKC events and sports.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Products You May Like:

Embroidered Baseball Cap

This cotton twill ball cap is almost as handsome as your Rhodesian Ridgeback. It’s got an antiqued brass buckle and mesh lining and comes in eight appealing colors. Price: $25

 

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pendant

Wear it as a charm on a bracelet or on a necklace. Either way, you’ll be showing off your Ridgeback love with this hand-polished, sterling silver charm. Price: $45

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