About the Breed

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are regarded as native dogs in South Africa. The breed is possibly only one of two dogs in the world to have a ridge of reverse hair growing down the spine of the dog, giving it’s characteristic looks and name.

The ridgeback is an agile dog, powerful with great speed. The original purpose of the dogs was assisting big game hunters in the pursuit of their quarry, including lions. They are often kept in packs to protect camps at night from predators and have developed a strong sense of protection of property and family. The ridge is a feature of the breed and there are two crowns either side of the ridge just behind the shoulders. Ridgebacks are still used in Africa as guard dogs. They make excellent family dogs, are good with children and are very protective with family. They are affectionate, very loyal and easy to handle. They tend to be aloof with strangers until they get to know them and it is often best to introduce friends gradually over time until the dogs come to trust them.

General Appearance
Handsome, strong, muscular and active dogs. Symmetrical in outline and capable of great endurance with a fair amount of speed. A mature ridgeback male is handsome, upstanding, proud and often admired by passers by.

Dignified, intelligent, aloof with strangers but showing no aggression or shyness.

Head / Skull
Of fair length, skull flat, rather broad between ears, free from wrinkles when in repose. Nose black or brown in keeping with colour of dog. Black nose accompanied by dark eyes and brown nose with amber eyes. Muzzle long, deep and powerful. Lips clean and close fitting.

Set moderately well apart, round, bright and sparkling with intelligent expression. Colour should match coat colour.

Strong jaws with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bit. Upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to jaws. Well developed teeth, especially with canines.

Chest not too wide, very deep and capacious. Ribs moderately well sprung and never barrel-ribbed. Back powerful. Loins strong, muscular and slightly arched.

Compact, well arched toes, round and tough. Elastic pads protected by hair between toes and pads.

Coat and Colour
Short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance but neither woolly nor silky. Colours can be light wheaten to red wheaten. Any other colours are not special or rare breed ridgebacks contary to increasing numbers of breeders claiming such. Head, body, legs and tail of uniform colour. Little white on chest and toes acceptable but excessive white hairs on chest, belly or above paws is undesirable for showing. Dark muzzle and ears permissible.

It is possible for a Ridgeback to be born without the characteristic ridge of hair down the spine – about 10% of puppies born have this. At Makeda, we do not see this as a genetic fault and do not cull any puppy because of this – a common practice amongst some breeders. Puppies born without ridges should not be bred with as registered pedigree dogs, as this goes against the breed standard. They still make fantastic dogs with all the characteristics of a ridgeback and deserve the same chance as any puppy to enjoy a normal, happy life. Interestingly enough, Ridgeless ridgebacks cannot get Dermoid Sinus – a condition sometimes seen in puppies with Ridges. At Makeda, we always check our puppies for Dermoid Sinus problems.

Size Dogs
25 inch is the desirable minimum height at withers and in bitches it is 24 inches. Many UK ridgebacks are only just making the desired minimum size, so always check the parents as an indication of likely size.