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Your Rhodesian Ridgeback and You

Updated on April 12, 2012

Planning to Get Yourself a Ridgeback?

A breed of dog that went through development in South Africa, The Rhodesian Ridgeback has forebears from Europe that can be tracked to the early Cape Colony pioneers of South Africa were they cross-bred their canines with Khoikhoi ridged, semi-domesticated hunting dogs.

In history's earlier parts, this breed has also been named the African Lion Dog, the African Lion Hound or Van Rooyen's Lion Dogs.

Because of their abilities to create distractions from lions when waiting for their owners to finish the hunt, they are also called Shumba Imbwa in Shona and Simba Inja in Ndebele.

Originally, the standard of teh breed was first made a draft of by F.R. Barnes in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe based on the Dalmatian standard in nineteen twenty-two. This was an approved standard by the nineteen twenty-six South African Kennel Union.

Intelligent and loyal, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are aloof somewhat when it came to persons they do not know. This does not mean they are aggressive. On the contrary, this breed with the right temperament will be inclined towards ignorance rather than challenge strangers.

One requirement of this breed is consistency, good socialization and reward based, positive training. Often not the best choice for dog owners who are inexperienced, this breed is intelligent, strong-willed and loving with a bit of a tendency towards mischief. Towards their families and owners, they are protective. When well-trained, they can be guard dogs which are excellent. If not socialized properly, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has a tendency to develop aggression.

Rhodesians have a side that is sensitive despite their imposing, athletic exterior. With training methods that are overly harsh that a working dog can tolerate may just back fire on your Rhodesian.

As long as it is justified and fair, Ridgebacks accept correction, and also if it comes from someone he trusts and knows. This breed has been known to go to pieces when treated roughly, and thus rough treatment should never occur when you are the master of a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

The feature that distinguishes the Rhodesian Ridgeback is its back hair which creates a ridge since it runs the opposite direction from the rest of its fur. Consisting of an area that is fanlike and formed by 2 hair whorls, there is a tapering behind the immediate shoulders down to the hip-level. Usually, the ridge is approximately five centimeters in width at its broadest point. This is thought to come from the dog utilized originally by the population of African dogs that have a ridge similar to this. Ridgebacks were first depicted in a painting on the wall that described the Boers life.

Ridgebacks which are male ought to stand between twenty five to twenty seven inches at the shoulders and weight approximately thirty-nine kilograms. Typically,

Ridgebacks are muscular and have a coat that is red wheaten or light wheaten that should be glossy, sleek, dense and short in appearance and neither silky or woolly although this is acceptable on the toes and chest.

In the AKC standard, the presence of ticking or black guard hairs is not addressed. However, the AKC standard elaboration notes that the dark brown or black coat must not be in excess. It is highly undesirable for there to be excess in hair that is black in the coat. Sometimes, there is a dark mask that Ridgebacks have.

The nose ought to be liver-brown or black and no other nose color is permitted. The nose that is brown is a gene which is recessive and is not as common as the nose that is black.

Some believe that a breeding program that includes noses that are brown is needed for maintaining coat vibrancy. There should be round eyes that reflect the color of the dog.

For example, a dark nose with dark eyes and a brown nose with eyes that are amber. This breed has a smooth, strong tail which is carried usually in a backwards gentle curve.

Other breeds of dogs have a line of reverse fur on the spine including the Thai Ridgeback and the Phu Quoc Ridgeback dog.

The Ridgeback that is Thai is actually a Phu Quoc crossbreed and has made speculations that the relationship with the Phu Quoc and the Rhodesian are just 1 breed and only the locations have been altered.

The known conditions of health that affect Rhodesians include a dermoid sinus and hip dysplasia. In terms of the breeds most affected by problems with the thyroid, the Rhodesian ranks sixth. The lifespan average of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is between ten and one-fourth years.

Although becoming death is not a problem common with this breed, Ridgebacks do go through a form of this disease which is breed-specific. University of California at Davis has found the mutations that have caused this form of deafness which is breed specific and somewhat rare.

Just like other breeds that are deep-chested, this breed has a tendency towards getting bloat and may need treatment immediately when this condition occurs.

The AKC Standard's only disqualification is having no ridge. This is a term that refers to the offspring purebreds of the parental heterozygous animals that don't inherit a ridge mutation copy from either of their parents but are actually normal dogs that don't have a back which is ridged.

The modern and historic uses of Rhodesian Ridgebacks for hunting have made inclusions of everything from game birds from the uplands to the larger game that are more dangerous.

While the versatility of hunting for this breed has in the field served it well, it has created a lot of contention and confusion among those that fancy the Ridgeback about these dogs as hunting companions.

In history, the Ridgeback has been on dog breed that has defied somewhat the strict interpretations of most conventional paradigm classification groups.

At the moment, the classification of this breed is hound by every main global registry. For instance the Canadian Kennel Club and the British Kennel Club both classify this dog as a hound without any more specifications.

Both the UKC and the AKC which are major USA registries distinguish this breed as Sighthounds. The biggest dog governing body of the world which is the FCI distinguishes Rhodesian Ridgebacks as Scenthounds. `


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