What is puppy quality?

Normally we has Standard and Pet Quality of the puppies. But there some more Qualities – Show Quality and Breeding Quality.

So lets look what is it mean.

Standard Quality

Rhodesian Ridgeback of cource has Breed Standard where written What dog of these breed need has and what can’t. So Standard Quality mean that these puppy not has any breed faults what is written in Breed Standard.

Standard quality not mean Show/Breeding Quality! Remember it when you looking on 8 weeks puppy. It is always risk when you taking puppy in 8 weeks or 4 months and you dream about showing or breeding!

Pet Quality 

There are several cosmetic issues that automatically remove a newborn Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy from Standard Quality. None of them have any impact on the dog’s health or lovability.

  • Ridge faults (ridgeless, multicrowns, 1 crown, offset, short ridge)
  • Too much white marks on body (for example, a white “sock” on the front leg that ending upper then 5 finger)
  • Black color of coat
  • Kinky tail
  • Dermoid sinus
  • Wrong bite
  • Cryptorchism

You need understand that even if you looking on a puppy for just family it is not mean that you need take exactly Pet Quality puppy. Every puppy deserve on Best home! And they all want be Super Family Members! No mater on quality!

And now is the most interesting qualities.

Show Quality and Breeding Quality

I not has puppies with breeding or show quality. I has standard and pet quality puppies.

Why i has only standard and pet quality puppies? Because to me not possible do prognosis in age of 8 weeks or 4 months. Puppies are changed with age. Temper is changed with age. And of course important health checking in 2 years.

For me, the combination of words “show dog” or “breeding dog” means complex breeder + owner + dog – the great work of the breeder + the huge work of the owner + the incredible makings of a puppy. In the combination of words “the huge work of the owner” for me – the right feeding, the right vitamins, the right growth, the right socialization, the right education, and the right training in the future. Also clean tests that must be passed in 2 years (Dysplasia, elbows, back, temperament …)

So i never sell breeding or show quality puppies and never give prognosis. Because it take so long time from 8 weeks till 2 years and even 1 mistake can do dog with “big perspective” into “pet quality”.

But i know that some kennels do it.

In my opinion kennels what can give you these guaranties with 8 week puppy or even 4 month puppy lie! They are not God and can’t know everything! Not right growing puppies, wrong feeding, traumas, bad socialization and like a reason wrong temper… It is all can change promissing puppy on not promissing. And i never will trust to breeder who can say on 8 weeks puppy or 4 months puppy that he/she is super for breeding in future!!

When people ask me “we want show/breeding puppy” my answer will be “you need look in another kennel”. To me puppy with show/breeding perspectives mean:

  • puppy has age 6-9 month or even more
  • puppy has all genetick tests (JME, Dilution, Hemophilia, DM…)
  • puppy has “not official” x-rays and how minimum vet already say about Hd, Ed perspectives
  • puppy has some show marks from famous judged
  • puppy teeth already changed
  • in male both testiculard already get out and fixed in these position
  • VERY important is temper of the puppy!

And, of course, the price on these type of puppy quality is very big!!! But only with these qualities i can say that puppy has show/breeding quality!

Now i think you more understand in Qualities of Rhodesian Ridgeback! But i always open to speak and answer on many questions!

Hanna Dymytrova-Kaihila

Rhodesian Ridgeback Kennel from 2009

“Maanhaar Primo-Creatus”

Normally we has Standard and Pet Quality of the puppies. But there some more Qualities –...   Continue
Read more

Black nose and liver nose

Rhodesian ridgebacks can have one of two nose colours: black or brown (usually referred to as “liver”). The eye colour should be in line with the colour of the dog: the liver nose should be accompanied by an amber eye colour; the black nose should have a dark eye colour. Liver noses can vary in the intensity of their nose pigment, from a deep brown to a light, almost pinkish color. Both – black nose and liver nose – are correct according to the standart of the breed.

Parents give to their offspring one of the two alleles from each parent. The set of alleles for a given organism is called its genotype, while the observable traits of the organism are called its phenotype. If two alleles of a given gene are identical, the organism is called a homozygous; if instead the two alleles are different, the organism is heterozygous. When organisms are heterozygous at a gene, one allele is called dominant as its qualities dominate the phenotype of the organism, while the other allele is called recessive as its qualities recede and are not observed. Concerning noses of ridgebacks, black color is dominant, while liver is recessive.

The livernose is seen less often than black nose simply because it is a recessive feature. Both parents must have the liver gene and pass it on to their progeny in order to produce livernosed puppies. Black nosed ridgebacks can produce liver puppies if they carry a copy of the liver gene along with the dominant gene for black; to produce livernose puppies, they must be bred to either a livernose or another heterozygous black nose – that is, one that also carries the livernose gene. Two homozygous black nose ridgebacks will not produce liver puppies.


Rhodesian ridgebacks can have one of two nose colours: black or brown (usually referred to as...   Continue
Read more


The ridge is the characteristic feature of the breed of Rhodesian ridgeback.  The ridge is a strip formed by the hair growing in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat.  A ridgeback’s ridge is always there – from birth on.  Ridge does not grow in over time nor is it only present when the dog is excited or otherwise stimulated.  


Current research shows,that the ridge is a dominant trait – that is, only one parent needs to have a ridge in order for it to be passed down to offspring. Ridgeless Rhodesian ridgebacks don’t carry the ridge gene at all, and cannot produce ridged offspring. If a ridgeback has a ridge, he is either carrying two copies of the ridge gene (homozygous), or just one copy (heterozygous). In both cases the dog will have a ridge. In general, not having a ridge is the normative state in dogs, while the ridge gene is a dominant mutation that makes the ridged dogs different.

 Types of the ridge

The ridge should start immediately behind the shoulders with the widest part and taper evenly towards to the hips and it should contain two identical whorls (crowns) directly opposite each other. The lower edge of the whorls should not extend further down the ridge than one-third of the ridge. There may, or may not, be a ‘box’ above the whorls and the box may vary in shape from dog to dog; any shape is acceptable. Sometimes dogs get extra whorls or less than two whorls – these dogs are not “show-quality” but they are still true ridgebacks by their nature. 

Correct ridge types

Incorrect ridges

Short history

The ridgeback’s ancestor, the Hottentots’ dog, had one unusual feature that set it apart from all other dogs and it gave this characteristic to ridgebacks – that was a ridge of hair that ran down its spine, the hair turned forward in the opposite direction than the rest.  Several lesser-known breeds also have a ridge the Thai Ridgeback and the Phu Quok Dog. What the connection was, if any, has been lost in the passage of time.



The ridge is the characteristic feature of the breed of Rhodesian ridgeback.  The ridge is a strip...   Continue
Read more

What breeds lurk in the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s genes?

What breeds lurk in the Ridgeback’s genes? Now, scientists can tell us.

If you’re a Ridgeback history junkie, prepare to become very, very excited.

Some breeds have the luxury of being founded by compulsive individuals with a knack for documentation. The early Boer architects of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, however, were more interested in shooting their supper and avoiding the rake of a leopard’s claws than noodling with pedigrees or preserving parentage. As a result, we have had a very tentative understanding of what breeds went into making the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Until now.

Earlier this week, Cell Reports magazine published a paper called “Genomic Analyses Reveal the Influence of Geographic Origin, Migration, and Hybridization on Modern Dog Breed Development.” To create what is the most diverse data set of dog breeds to date, the researchers studied 161 modern breeds, comparing 170,000 different points on their genomes. They identified 23 clades, or breed clusters, containing breeds that are significantly related.

A graphic showing the 23 clades identified by the researchers. Proximity to another clade is not relevant; what matters are the dogs that share the same color, which reflects their shared genetic heritage. Look for the Ridgeback in the hot-pink clade at about positioned at about the four-o’clock mark.

“There are different reasons logically that a breed could be assigned to a clade,” explains one of the paper’s authors, Dr. Dayna Dreger of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. “Its breeds might be derived from a common source, or it could reflect that there was introgression of one breed into another.”

The scientists assigned the Rhodesian Ridgeback to a clade that has just one other breed:

The Great Dane.

Recruit of Foxbar, a female Great Dane from the 1930s.

If you know your breed history, that canine connection doesn’t come totally out of left field: In her seminal book Rhodesian Ridgeback Pioneers, author Linda Costa shares correspondence from De Beers Ranch officials in Rhodesia in the early 1920s that outlines the diamond mine’s plans to breed Lion Dog sires to recently procured Great Dane bitches. The planned progeny were to be used to hunt vermin on the grounds of the diamond mines, including wild dogs. “I really want rough, big dogs,” one official wrote. ” … the pure Lion Dog appear [sic] too small for the use I need them for in Rhodesia.”

Photographs of Great Danes from the early-20th Century-show dogs that were more moderate in size and type than today’s much more stylized Danes — not too far removed from a modern Ridgeback. And some might argue that Great Dane type is one of the strongest drags on the breed today, manifesting in over-standard size, relative narrowness for that ample height, a squarer silhouette, excessive haw and flews, black masks that extend over the eyes and an overall “extreme” outline.

In addition to grouping breeds into these related clades, the researchers delved into breed make-up. “The paper looked across the admixture of how are breeds created — what was mixed with what to create what,” says Dr. Elaine Ostrander, another of the paper’s authors, who is world famous for her work in purebred-dog genetics.

At left are the paper’s findings of the significant genetic influences in the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Let’s take a look at some of the historical and geographic evidence we have of these breeds intersecting with the Ridgeback.

I’ve always found it interesting that there is very little cultural exchange between Rhodesian Ridgeback and Boerbel fanciers. In fact, many of the former are unaware that the Molosser-derived Boerboel developed in tandem with the Ridgeback in the same region of Africa. This lack of awareness could stem from the fact that the breeds had different emphases: Both are hunters and guardians, but the Ridgeback specializes in the former and the Boerboel in the latter. Perhaps the Ridgeback’s development to the north, in Rhodesia, further cementing the division between the two breeds, in the dog fancy at least.

At first glance, having the Basenji place so high on the list of Ridgeback-influencing breeds might seem odd, but this wrinkle-browed dog is a native African, so genetically unique that is has its own singular clade in the study. Sheer geography makes it logical that this purely African breed would have found its way into the Ridgeback gene pool, which is otherwise composed of Continental breeds brought to Africa by European colonizers. Dr. Ostrander notes wryly that the impact of one of the Ridgeback’s most important ancestors, the Khoikhoi dog, can’t be assessed because there are no surviving dogs to provide DNA, though a sampling of ridged Africanis dogs might be the next best thing. And those dogs might prove more closely connected to the Basenji themselves.

The rest of the breeds on the researchers’ list of Ridgeback “introgressors” are European. And they dovetail with surprising precision with the list of founding breeds proposed by the late Canadian breeder-judge David Helgesen in his self-published Definitive Rhodesian Ridgeback.

For the 1984 book, Helgesen analyzed period newspapers to determine what breeds were most common in turn-of-the-last-century Rhodesia, when the breed was formally developed by big-game hunter Cornelius van Rooyen. That, paired with anecdotal accounts of van Rooyen’s pack, led to his oft-repeated list of eight foundation breeds: Greyhound (for speed), Bulldog (for substance and biting power), Irish Terrier and Airedale (for tenacity, and, in the case of the Irish, coat color), Collie (for slashing ability), Pointer (for air scenting ability), Deerhound (for size as well as all the Greyhound’s advantages) and of course the Khoikhoi dog, which contributed the ridge, as well as unknown levels of native knowledge, disease resistance and local adaptability. Other than the Khoikhoi dog and the Irish Wolfhound (which is mostly made up of Deerhound blood, with still more Dane thrown in), only the Pointer is missing from the paper’s list of influential breeds in the Ridgeback — the only real stumper I find in these results.

Genome haplotype sharing for the Rhodesian Ridgeback, from “Genomic Analyses Reveal the Influence of Geographic Origin, Migration, and Hybridization on Modern Dog Breed Development.” Labels added by RidgebackCentral.com.

Helgesen’s candidates aside, other breeds that come up in the modern DNA findings are logical fits, too. South African diamond mines also used Bullmastiffs for guard and patrol duty, and the Boerboel has a good infusion of Bullmastiff blood itself. Some lines of early Ridgebacks — in particular, Graham Stacey’s Dewsbury and Khami dogs, and those of Phyllis Archdale — had wiry coats accompanied by good size, which strongly evoke the Irish Wolfhound (and so, by extension, the Great Dane), and period articles also mention Wolfhounds being used for lion hunting in Africa. And the occasional black-and-tan has led many Ridgeback fanciers to assume that a two-tone breed — like a Doberman or Rottweiler — jumped the fence somewhere along the line.

In the end, what does all this provide us, other than cocktail-party fodder?

For breeders, knowing the Ridgeback’s actual foundation breeds — as wel. l as those that parachuted in later as it developed — helps us chart where our Ridgebacks are heading. Though those  who wrote the first Ridgeback standard in 1922 were aiming for a souped-up version of the Dalmatian — that spotted breed’s standard was used to draft the Ridgeback’s, in some places word for word — none of the high-influence breeds in this new genomic study share that basic endurance-trotting silhouette. (Which makes the Pointer’s absence felt even more strongly.)

Ridgeback breeders need to be aware of the genetic influences of other breeds, such as the Great Dane, that can slowly chip away at their breeding programs.

Is it any wonder, then, that Ridgeback type can seem so infuriatingly elusive for those who try to pin it down, either in their whelping boxes, or in the show ring? By knowing what influences lie in the genes of our dogs, we can be more aware when they begin to push breed type in the wrong direction, like a sudden current angling a swimmer away from shore. After all, past is always prologue, and knowing where we’ve been helps us immeasurably in determining where to go next.

Calling all Ridgebacks: Drs. Ostrander and Dreger are looking for Ridgebacks from a variety of lines and countries to continue their genetic work. If you are willing to contribute a blood sample for this research, please contact me at denise@ridgebackcentral.com, and I will put you in touch.

What breeds lurk in the Ridgeback’s genes? Now, scientists can tell us. If you’re a Ridgeback...   Continue
Read more

History of Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback
A history long 75 years… and beyond

(Courtesy by “The Parent club”).

The breed today known as Rhodesian Ridgeback was established in 1922, thanks to the passion, constancy and drive of Mr. Francis Richard Barnes.

Let’s follow the words of Mr. B.W. Durham witness of those days, as he told about them some years later in an article for the South African Kennel Union Gazette (Dec. 1950):

The chief, if not the sole, credit of getting the breed standardized and recognized by the South African Kennel Union, is due to Mr. F. R. Barnes of Figtree – then resident in Bulawayo. I think it was in 1922 that Mr. Barnes circularized the many owners of “Ridgeback” or ‘Lion Dog”, as they were beginning to be known, and asked owners to bring their dogs to the meeting to be held on the second day of the Bulawayo Kennel Club Show to endeavour to formulate a standard with the object of later recognition by the South African Kennel Union.

The response must have been gratifying to the convenors. A large number of owners attended and well over 20 dogs were paraded. I attended by invitation. These dogs were of all types and size, from what would be regarded as an undersized Great Dane to a small Bull Terrier; all colors were represented – Reds and Brindles predominating.

The convenor addressed the gathering and there was general agreement that a club to further the interests of the breed be formed.

Mr. Barnes then asked for suggestions as to the standard to be adopted. Owners were reluctant to come forward, each naturally thinking his the correct type.

Finally a spectator with some knowledge of the breed took a dog and suggested that his size and configuration be adopted, then chose another specimen for its head and neck, a third for legs and feet, and, making use of some five different dogs, built up what he considered to be aimed for. A few days later Mr. Barnes compiled the standard, a club was formed, Mr. Barnes’ standard adopted and this, with some later amendments and alterations is the standard in use today.

It must be noticed that the witness ” with some knowledge of the breed ” was Durham himself, at the time the only “ALL BREEDS” judge in Rhodesia. Beyond this Mr Barnes, Mr Durham and Mr. C. H. Edmonds took part in the drawing up of the standard, the latter a senior Vet Surgeon for South Rhodesia at the time.

1922- Original Standard

Crested dogs arrive in Rhodesia

But let’s go 50 years back, to Rev. Charles Helm who lived in Matabeleland at the end of last century, the southern region of today’s Zimbabwe, Rhodesia up to 1980. Helm ran the mission of Hope Fountain, not far from the kraal of the matabele king Lobengula, where years later the city of Bulawayo was to be founded.

In 1879 he brought two ridged dogs from the Swellendam district, to his new house. The dogs were Lorna and Powder. The mission was located at a crossroad and stop place for the many travellers crossing the region, among whom were a number of “white hunters” after big African preys, elephants and lions.

Cornelius Van Rooyen

Among the people visiting Helm’s house there was Cornelius van Rooyen who lived in Mangwe, only 90Km. south of Hope Fountain, and one of the most famed hunters at the time. He was impressed by Helm’s dogs and asked him for crossing them with the dogs of his own pack. This breeding resulted in more rigdged dogs closer to the hunting needs of van Rooyen.

He continued to breed and improve his dogs which started to be known as “van Rooyen dogs”. Many had a ridge.

Today our understanding of the “White Hunters” (thanks to the movies) is of middle aged people, just like Michael Douglas or Stewart Granger, full of wisdom and experiences when in fact, in 1879 Rev. Helm married “Nellis” van Rooyen, when he was already a renowned hunter, with Miss Maria Margareta Vermaak: Nellis was 19 years old and Maria 14!

Francis R. Barnes, then living in Bulawayo, obtained his first ridged dog in 1910 from Mr. Graham Stacey, owner of a farm nearby Figtree, who had his dogs from van Rooyen. So the circle was closed between Helms and Barnes, through van Rooyen.

Hence the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the result of the efforts of hunters, breeders and dedicated people who have managed to cross dogs and get the best out of some European breeds like the Irish terrier, Great Danes, pointer, greyhound and the bulldog-not the same of today’s, but taller and more agile at the end of 1800-, with the breeds already existing there when the Europeans arrived. At this point it is time for the question: where does the “ridge”, the distinctive mark of the breed, come from?

Khoikhoi dog

Almost certainly from the Hottentots – o Khoikhoi, as they called themselves. The Khoikhoi was the population the first Europeans found when they landed in Good Hope Cape region. The Khoikhoi had come from the Great Lakes Region some centuries before and, along with the big horned oxen and fat tailed sheep, they took with them in their migration a small-medium sized dog, 45 cm., pricked ears, a ridge on the back and a terrible temperament. Guardian and hunter.

This dog was widespread in the region, so it is likely to have mixed with European dogs, thus passing the ridge, that unique characteristic, to their offspring.

By David Livingstone “Missionaries travels in South Africa”.

This dog was widespread in the region, so it is likely to have mixed with European dogs, thus passing the ridge, that unique characteristic, to their offsprings

The foudation of the Rhodesian Ridgeback club of Rhodesia – The Parent Club

Mr. F. R Barnes
(Courtesy by di Mrs. R. Brooke-Risse)

A few days after writing the standard Mr Barnes and some friends founded the Rhodesian Ridgeback (Lion Dog) Club sited in Bulawayo. On 29 December 1924 the club tried to have the breed recognized by the South Africa Kennel Union (SAKU, today KUSA, Kennel Union of Southern Africa), but unsuccessfully. It was only in 1926, February 4, that the affiliation was accepted by SAKU and the breed recognized as the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

This had been a point in Mr Barnes’ wishes: that the new breed had a name, which would acknowledge the country of origin and its distinctive mark at the same time. Many others would have liked the name “Lion Dog”, in South Africa in particular.

First steps of the new breed

Eskdale Dingo
(Courtesy by di Mrs. R. Brook-Risse)

Mr Barnes registered his dogs (6) on 16 march 1926, among them there was EskdaleDingo, born on 15 May 1915 from Lion and Como. Barnes adopted the Eskdale name for both his kennel and his farm near Figtree.

Eskdale Dingo
(Courtesy by di Mrs. R. Brook-Risse)

The kennels we find in today’s pedigree belong to those years:

  • Avondale of Mr. T. Kedie-Law from Rhodesia of Mrs. L. M. Dickson who was among the founders of the Club
  • Eskdale of Mr. Barnes
  • Khami of Mr. G. Stacey
  • Kumalo of Miss M.J.S. Vigne
  • Munemi of Captain B.L. Miles, who collaborated with the Club for many years
  • Revelston of Mr. D. R. Keith from Swaziland
  • Rhodian of Mr. A. J. Walker, famous for his hunting pack
  • Sandvelt of Captain R. R. Dendy-Rawlins
  • Sipolilo of Arthur “Tractor” Smith, great hunter
  • Umvukwe of Miss Ainslie
  • Viking of Mr. Vernon H. Brisley, probabily the greatest among the breeders of the time and the one who influenced the most the breed in those years.

Vernon Brisley, Viking Kennel.
Da Hutchinson Dog Encyclopaedia, 1935.

The breed spreads out

From 1930 to 1949 Rhodesian Ridgebacks spread all over Southern Africa. Under the British Crown ruling the region life is easy: there are no borders, there is a widespread enthusiasm, the perception of being privileged citizens and a general welfare in which the white population participates. When the war arrives it is anyway far. It is in this context that the breed establishes and consolidates. In this period the first quality kennels were established, run by dedicated and experienced breeders and passionate people.

Among the most important kennels
  • Drumbuck of Mrs. A.M. Smithwick
  • Leo Kop of Miss Mabel Wellings, one of the most important of the time which much contributed to today’s bloodlines
  • Lions Den, of Mrs. D. E. Strickland who worked for many years in the committe of the RR Club of Rhodesia, till she went back to England in 1950
  • De Holi the affix with an Esperanto name of Major T. C. Hawley. He was a famous breeder and also a historian of the breed with his book “The Rhodesian Ridgeback”
  • Gazeley of J. B. Bocock, who started breeding in 1947
  • Inkabusi of Mrs. I. Kingcome fom Salisbury in Rhodesia, her husband, dr. Martin Kingcome, carried out studies on the Dermoids Sinus and suggested recommendations to the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club in order to defeat it
  • Meyendell of Mrs. M. Mooiman from Sandown in Transvaal (RSA).
The breed establishes

These years are of fundamental importance for the definitive affirmation of the breed. Some kennels will in fact produce subjects that left their mark in the pedigrees of next generations. The most authoritative perhaps was the kennel Glenaholm of Mrs. Phyllis McCarthy, Pitermaritzburg, Natal, founded in 1951. This kennel is still active today, after 46 years, run by Loraine Venter, Honeydew Transvaal, Mrs. McCarthy’s daughter.

But other kennels greatly contributed
  • Isimangamanga of Mrs. J. B. S. Yeates who started breeding in the 50s
  • Mindemoya of Mrs. F. H. A. Pritchard in Bulawayo
  • Rockridge of Mrs. Howard in Johannesburg
  • Thornbury of the Greens in Johannesburg
  • Maxwood of Mr. S. Cawood in Honeydew, Transvaal
  • Mpani of Mrs. Mylda Arsenis in Salisbury, Rhodesia.

Mrs. Mylda Arsenis was an active supporter of the breed, both as a breeder and as a member of The Parent Club where she held various offices. She had her first litter in1964. In 1979 she moved to South Africa.

These years are quite difficult for Rhodesia and have significant consequences for the breeders in the country. In fact momentous events were to occur when the white population claimed on 18 November 1965, with unilateral declaration, the independence from the British Commonwealth, and a long and difficult time of civil war started.

The war caused several kennels to disappear and others to move to South Africa. The war finished in 1980 with the declaration of independence of the Republic of Zimbabwe. This period was a serious blow for the Rhodesian Ridgeback in Rhodesia, and only after several years since the end of the war the canine heritage of the country could be rebuilt.

In this respect a fundamental contribution is certainly due to Margaret and Sammy Wallace from Harare (formerly Salisbury) with their kennel Mushana. They had started breeding in 1968 and up to today they have produced outstanding RRs exported all over the world and present in the lineage of the best champions in many countries.

Beyond their activity as breeders the Wallaces have also acted as the guardian of the tradition and “culture” of the breed with their action within The Parent Club of which they are respectively Secretary and President. Sammy Wallace also is an International judge of the breed.

Finally among the important kennels it must be mentioned Shangara of Mrs. and Mr. Megginson. They arrived in South Africa in the mid-70s for a short holiday. Today they still live in Verwoerdburg in Transvaal, where they breed RR. Among the many outstanding RRs they bred there is “Paco”, Shangara Checheni, RR of the year 1980, 81,82,83,84,85, winner of 105 BOB, and perhaps one of the most complete RR ever seen.

From south Africa to the world

At the end of Second World War, Rhodesian Ridgeback breed is already known worldwide, except in Great Britain, where the breed became well known soon after its standardization. It is in these years that the breed began to gain popularity outside Africa.

North America:

Soldiers always bring back souvenirs from war campains: objects, weapons, sometimes wives. Some G.I. Men took back home some Rhodesian Ridgebacks from South Africa. The first RR kennel was Redhouse of Bill and Sada O’Brien in Boston, who bought three dogs from Major Hawley.

Col and Mrs. Morrie DePass , along with Gene Freeland and Margaret Lowthian were also instrumental in “founding” the Ridgeback in the US. Morrie DePass was the 1st President of Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of USA -RRCUS and his dog, Ch. Swahili Jeff Davis was the first US Champion. The DePass’ brought several RRs with them from South Africa.

In the same period in CaliforniaMargaret Lowthian and Gene Freeland founded the Lamarde Perro, an important name for the breed in America.

The work of these and other breeders led to the recognition of the RR by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as the 112th breed in November 1955. Since then in the US the breed has developed into a popular dog thanks to the action of the RRCUS: every year about 2000 RRs are registered. American breeders have done and still do a remarkable selective breeding with outstanding results, though developing their own standard, this detracts nothing. Among the American breeders it should be mentioned:

  • Calico Ridge of Diane Jacobsen, California
  • Kimani of Alicia Mohr, New Jersey
  • Kwetu of Barbara Sawyer Brown, Chicago, IL
  • Lionpride of the Coopers
  • Oakhurst of the Ruperts
  • Raintree of Beachley and Kathy Main
  • Rawhide of Louise Lertora
  • Shadyridge of Ulla Britt Ekengren
  • Tawnyridge of Kay Fanning
  • Rolling’s of D. Jay Hyman, Maryland (MD)
  • Blanbeeridge of Blanche Brophy and Bee Elliot
  • Walgroh of Martin and Betty Walsh, Palatine, IL
  • Lamarde Perro Gene Freeland and Margaret Lowthian

Great Britain:
The first Rhodesian Ridgeback arrived in GB in 1914, a dog named Cuff who was shown at the Cristal Palace exhibition as “exotic dog”. Thirteen years later a second RR, imported by Mrs. John Player, arrived in GB. In 1932 Mrs Player herself presented two dogs at the Cristal Palace Club Show: Labenguela and Juno. Since then RR breeding started to develop firmly interwoven with that of South Africa, notwithstanding the difficulties due to the British quarantine. The breed will definitely establish in the 50s, with some kennels and dogs which will also deeply influence the continental European breeding.

Among them it is worth citing:

  • Mancross of the Mackenzies
  • Owlsmoor of Mrs. Hick
  • Footpath of Mrs. R. Baily
  • Aldonnels of the Jacksons

Closer to our days and in many cases still active:

  • Eilack of the Selbys
  • Janak of Mrs. Elisabeth Webster
  • Matabele of Mrs. Simper
  • Mirengo of Mrs. Woodrow, who bred the most prize awarded RR of the UK, Mirengo Mandambo
  • Umtali of Mrs. G. Adsett Dixon
  • Caldas of the Grimwoods – where in 1984 we saw our first RR from life, the superb Carla.

Scandinavia and Finland

Up to a few years ago in these countries there was the quarantine, therefore they owe a lot to Great Britain for the bloodlines they imported, as this was the only country, along with far Australia, from which to import freely. The effort made in order to overcome their isolation, led the Swedish to deal with artificial insemination with frozen semen in a scientific and sistematic way. Their approach resulted in a fair diffusion of the breed – especially if compared to the local population, and in the quality of the subjects bred. This action was supported by the efforts of breeders like Pettersson of Loustigens Kennels and Stig Carlson who still today breeds with success.

In Finland the first RR was imported from Svezia in 1965 by Carl-Henrik Lucander. Today with the abolition of the quarantine the situation is much more dynamic, with direct imports from Africa and other European countries.

In these years a great contributor to the breed has been Marianne Aaltonen and the Club founded at the end of the 80s, of which she is the President.

Fin.Ch.Fin.Ob.Ch. “Kimba” Mbwa Jinke Shinda Moya
(Courtesy by di Ms. M. Aaltonen)


In this country the fortune of the breed starts with the foundation of the Club from Mr. Hans Muller, international judge and President of the Federation Cinologique International (FCI), and a group of thirtynine RR enthusiastic people. At present the breed is well represented at an international level.


The first Rhodesian Ridgeback in Germany was Rhodus of Leo Kop, bred by Ms. Mabel Wellings. Today the country is very active in breeding, with outstanding subjects and well known kennels.


In the 60s there were two imported RRs: Mwala Mpani of Mrs R. Ricci and Rosette of Mpani of Mr. P. Mario; in the early 70s there was the couple Caldrees Mambo and Caldrees Neredzi of Mr. S. Ricceri and Rockridges’s Thaba Zimbi of Mr.V. Castellino.

Since early 80s, of great importance is the kennel Delle Cime Bianche of Ms. Giovanna Bacchini Carr. This kennel was the only one affiliated to FCI-Enci in Italy up to 1995 when Murenga kennels was recognised by FCI-Enci. In Italy the situation has been somehow difficult because of the lack of a club for the protection and improvement of the breed. Recently, on 16 May 1997 in Tuscany a group of fans and breeders founded the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Italy. Every year about 30-50 puppies are registered in Italy.

Australia and New Zeland

As a proof of the long standing existance of RRs in Australia there is a curiouos photo of early 1900 showing three nurses of the Australian Army Nursing from the Boer war, with a RR with quite a lot of white on the chest, legs and muzzle and posing very proud of himself. Later, in the 30s, there was an unusual arrive in the country: Mr. Koster, life member of the Parent Club, took with him two RRs on a journey around the world on a yacht. Once he landed in Australia, he gave the RRs in exchange for an Australian Cattle Dog.

This is undertandable considering the risk for the storeroom!

But it is in the 60s that breeding starts to develop in Australia, notwithstanding a quarantine even more strict than the British one.

The first kennel was Serengeti of the Adams in Western Australia.

More followed in those years to cover all the countries’ states:

  • Glenrowan of the Morris in New South Wales
  • Zambesi in Northern territory
  • Chilolo in Qeensland
  • Maleema in South Australia
  • Ulundi in Victoria

The history of Ulundi Kennels and her owner is quite particular. The kennel was founded in 1968 by Miss J.N. Murray in the State of Victoria. Ms. Murray is from South Africa, where as a child she came in touch with RR. Once she moved and settled in Australia she decided to breed the breed she had so much loved as a child. But she had to face a great difficulty: there were no RRs in Australia!

Only in 1968 did she manage to obtain a RR from the young Serengeti Kennels. Since then she has had a long period of success in Australia and South Africa where she went back again in 1971 and where she continued breeding and showing. In 1984 Ms. Murray moved back to Australia where she still lives in Yea, north of Melbourne. J. Murray is to be remembered for her adventurous life across two continents, but even more as the historical memory of the breed.

Her three books – The Rhodesian Ridgeback 1924-1974, The Rhodesian Ridgeback Indaba and An Omnibus of Rhodesian Ridgebacks – cover the history of RR from the birth of the breed up to nowdays. Her books are fundamental texts for all the people who want to gain a thourough insight in the efforts and the work which were necessary from many breeders for the breed to develop and establish in a complex international canine context.

The first couple of RR arrived in New Zeland, Christchurch, in 1970, imported from Australia by Mr. Fears: two dogs from Ulundi Kennels.

Both became chmpions. In 1973 with Kirrimba of Exmoor there will be the first champion bred in New Zeland. In the country there is a very active Club founded in 1983, with dedicated people capable of producing high quality subjects.


Actually there is no conclusion: for the History of a breed, its breeders and lovers never ends. This short history aims at sketching out the effort of women and men who devoted part -sometimes all their lives, to a wonderful breed and wonderful friends. This history does not arrive to today: the very recent years are too close, but it is always important to remember that at present there are people in the world who, following Francis R. Barnes’ lesson, breed, protect and love Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

© (Copyright) 1999 by Sandra Piscedda ( Murenga Kennel, Italy )
Text and photos may be reproduced with acknowledgment of the source.

Rhodesian Ridgeback A history long 75 years… and beyond R.F.R.Barnes (Courtesy by “The Parent club”). The...   Continue
Read more

Standard Rhodesian Ridgeback in pictures


Read more