“The Rhodesian ridgeback is the only recognized breed originating in South Africa. Unique in having a ridge of hair in the shape of a dagger on its back, it is said to have descended from native ridged dogs known in South Africa since the 16th century. In the late 1870s, a few of these dogs were acquired by Cornelius van Rooyen, a South African who hunted big game for a living. For 35 years he refined his ‘lion dogs.’ Basic Greyhound blood gave his first dogs speed and to this he added the Pointer for scenting ability and Collie, terrier and Great Dane crosses for endurance, agility and biting power – through it all, the dogs retained the ridge. After van Rooyen’s death, a group of fanciers who had continued to breed the big-game stalkers met in 1922 to draw up a standard, form a club and seek breed recognition from the South African Kennel Club.
Dignified and even-tempered, the breed may be reserved with strangers. The Ridgeback is regarded as a strong protector of the home.
Muscular and active, the Ridgeback is capable of great endurance and a fair amount of speed. He’s best suited to the suburbs or country and needs lots of outdoor exercise.
The upstanding Ridgeback male should be 25-27 in (64-69 cm) tall and weigh approximately 75 lb (34 kg). Females measure 24-26 in (61-66 cm) and weigh about 65 lb (29.5 kg).
The coat is short, dense, sleek and glossy.
The accepted colour is light wheaten to red wheaten. A little white on the chest and toes is allowable.
Minimal grooming is needed. A stiff brush or rubdown with a hound mitt will suffice.”