RHODESIAN RIDGEBACK APPEARANCE:
The Ridgeback's general appearance is of a handsome, strong, muscular and active dog, symmetrical in outline, capable of great endurance with a fair amount of speed. The mature dog is handsome and upstanding.
The Ridgeback's distinguishing feature is the ridge of hair along its back running in the opposite direction to the rest of its coat. The ridge must be regarded as the escutcheon of the breed. It consists of a fan-like area formed by two whorls of hair (called "crowns") and tapers from immediately behind the shoulders, down to the level of the hips. The ridge is usually about 2 inches (5 cm) in width at its widest point. The ridge is believed to originate from the dog used by the original African population, who carried a similar ridge. The first picture of a Ridgeback is a wall painting describing the life of the Boers. The painting is situated in South Africa in the voortrekker monument.
Male Ridgebacks should be 25-27 inches (63-69 cm) at the withers and weigh approximately 85 lb (36.5 kg FCI Standard), females 24-26 inches (61-66 cm) and approximately 70 lb (32 kg). They are typically muscular and have a light wheaten to red wheaten coat which should be short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance but neither woolly nor silky. The coat should contain no black hairs, although white is acceptable on the chest and toes. Ridgebacks have a strong, smooth tail, which is usually carried in a gentle curve upwards. The eyes should be round and should reflect the coat colour—dark in a black muzzle, amber with a brown nose. The brown nose is a recessive gene and is therefore not as common as a black nose.
The breed's long history dates back to early in the 16th century when the first European settlers found with the Hottentot tribes a domesticated dog with the hair on his spine being turned forward. To fill their specific needs for a serviceable hunting dog in the wilds, these settlers developed, by selective breeding between dogs which they had brought with them from home countries and the half-wild ridged dog of the Hottentot tribes, a distinct breed of the African veldt, which has come to be known as the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
The breed was first admitted into the American Kennel Club in 1955 as a member of the Hound Group.
As hunters, Ridgebacks kept a lion at bay while the hunters came to kill it. The dogs worked in groups to keep the lion occupied until the hunter arrived; the dogs themselves did not actually kill lions.
Health conditions known to affect this breed are cataracts, cancer, and hip dysplasia. Average lifespan is from 9-11 yrs.
Dermoid sinus is a congenital condition that is known to affect this breed.
They are loyal, intelligent, and gentle, making them good family pets despite their size. They were traditionally hunters, guardians, and companions.