The origional standard was constructed by F.R. Barnes in 1922, and was accepted by the South African Kennel Union in 1926. With the direction and help of Ridgeback fanciers -including Margret Cook- the breed was eventually accepted in the United States in 1955 by the American Kennel Club.
The overall appearence of the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog formally the "African Lion Hound", or the "Van Rooyen Lion Dog") is one of charisma, strength and poise. He should be well muscled, with apparent agility and grace coupled with power.This is not considered "pretty", but rather is said to be "handsome" with a look of noble character. Frequently you will hear of him spoken of as regal or austere in temperment and personality.
The hallmark of the breed is a neat, symmetrically balanced ridge of hair growing in the opposite direction of the rest of the coat. It starts in the middle of the shoulder blade area, where there should be a symmetrical fan with two whorls (swirls) of hair on either side of the ridge. From here the "ridge" should proceed neatly along the spine all the way to the front of the croupe (rear) tapering gently until it ends, forming a point.
It is possible, and in fact, a 2% probability that a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog can be born without a ridge. This shouldn't be considered a health issue, nor is it an aberration. This is simply in the genes due to the fact in the early history of the breed there are ridgeless dogs. Reputable breeders, such as ourselves, will not breed ridgeless dogs as the ultimate goal is to eliminate ridgelessness alltogether.
There is a health concern known as "Dermoid Sinus" wich can be present at birth. It is important to understand that this defect does not "suddenly appear" one day. If a Rhodesian Ridgeback has this problem, it will be detectable almost at birth to an experienced breeder. Most of the time a surgical procedure can be effective and there is no noticeable problem with the animal. Reputable breeders have this surgery performed prior to placing a puppy. These dogs make fine pets and the surgery is usually undetectable. However, in an effort to protect the gene pool, no dog with such a defect should be bread.
The ridge is said to have derived from a dog from the South of Africa, where it was domesticated by a tribe of people dubbed by the early European settlers as the "Hottentots". One such dog was unearthed at a place called "Orange River" South Africa by archaeologists where they discovered the remains of a dog with a ridge that was clearly discernable.
Eventually, the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog became revered because of its hardiness in the harsh African Veldt and soon the Europeans began trying various crosses, perfecting the breed for their own needs. A few notable people began focusing on shaping the breed for hunting big game, mostly Lion. The rigors of African life required an extremely versitle dog, smart enough to protect itself from danger and at the same time, courageous enough to defend life and property, if need be. Thus, the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog was born. Please go to our Facebook to get to date information!