Rodezijski ridžbek Multi Ch Douala Gana
Rodezijski ridzbek Multi Ch Douala Gana
Rhodesian ridgebacks Multi CH Douala Ghana, JCH Milengalenga Ghana's Heaven Sabah & JCH Mwamba Lion Strength Shumba
Rodezijski ridžbek Multi Ch Douala Gana
Rodezijski ridžbek Multi Ch Douala Gana

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Rhodesian ridgeback
FCI-Standard N 146 / 10.12.1996.

Origin: Southern Africa.
Standard supplied by the Kennel Union of South Africa (KUSA) and the 
Zimbabwe Kennel Club (ZKC).
Utilization: Rhodesian ridgeback is still used to hunt game in many parts 
of the world but is especially prized as a watch-dog and family pet.
Clasification FCI: Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds.
Section 3 - Related breeds.
Without working trial.

Brief historical summary: The Rhodesian ridgeback is presently the only
breed indeginous to southern Africa. Its forbears can be traced to the Cape
Colony of Southern Africa, where they crossed with the early pioneers' dogs
and semi-domesticated ridged Hottentot dogs. Hunting mainly in groups
of two or three, the original function of the Rhodesian ridgeback or Lion
dog was to track game, especially lion, and, with great agility, keep it at bay
until the arrival of the hunter.
The original standard, which was drafted in 1922 by F.R. Barnes in Bulawayo,
Rhodesia, was based on that of the Dalmatian and was approved by the
Kennel Union of South Africa in 1926.

General appearance: The Rhodesian ridgeback should represent a well
balanced, strong, muscular, agile and active dog, symmetrical in outline and
capable of great endurance with a fair amount of speed. The emphasis is on
agility, elegance and soundness with no tendency toward massiveness.

Ridge: The peculiarity of the breed is the ridge on the back which is formed
by the hair growing in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. The
ridge is the escutcheon of the breed. The ridge must be clearly defined, 
symmetrical and tapering toward the haunch. It must start immediately
behind shoulders and continue to the hip (haunches) bones. The ridge
must contain only two crowns, identical and opposite each other. The lower
edges of the crowns must not extend further down the ridge than one-third
of its length. A good average width of the ridge is 5 centimeters (2").
Disqualification: Ridgelessness.
Serious faults: One or more than two crowns.
Behavior/ temperament: Dignified, intelligent, aloof with strangers, but 
showing no aggression or shyness.

Skull: Should be of fair length (width of head between ears, distance from
occiput to stop, stop to end of nose should be equal), flat and broad 
between ears; the head should be free from wrinkles when in repose.
Stop: The stop should be reasonably well defined and not in one straight
line from the nose to the occipital bone.

Nose: The nose should be black or brown. A black nose should be
accompanied by dark eyes, a brown nose by amber eyes.

Muzzle: The muzzle should be long, deep and powerful.
Lips: The lips should be clean, closely fitting the jaws.
Jaws/teeth: Jaws strong with a perfect and complete scissor bite, i.e the
upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
The teeth must be well developed, especially canines or holders.

Cheeks: Cheeks should be clean.

Eyes: Should  be moderately well apart, round, bright and sparkling, with
intelligent expression, their color harmonizing with the color of the nose.

Ears: Should be set rather high, of medium size, rather wide at base and
gradually tapering to a rounded point. They should be carried close to the 

Neck: Should be failry long, strong and free from throatiness.
Back: Powerful.

Loins: Strong, muscular and slightly arched.

Chest: Should not be too wide, but very deep and capacious; the brisket
should reach to the elbow. Forechest should be visible when viewed from 
the side. Ribs moderately well sprung, never rounded like barrel-hoops.

Tail: Should be strong at the root and gradually tapering towards the end;
free from coarseness. It should be of moderate length. It should not be 
attached too high or too low and should be carried with a slight curve
upwards, never curled.
Forequarters: The forelegs  should be perfectly straight, strong and well
boned, with the elbows close to the body. When viewed from the side, the
forelegs should be wider than when viewed from the front. 

Shoulders: The shoulders should be sloping, clean and muscular.

Pastern: Should be strong with slight spring.

Hindquarters: In the hind legs muscles should be clean and well defined.

Stifle: Good turn of stifle.
Hock: Strong, well let down.

Feet: The feet should be compact and round, with well arched toes and
tough, elastic pads protected by hair between the toes and pads.

Gait/movement: Straight forward, free and active.

Hair: Should be short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance, but 
neither wooly nor silky.

Color: Light wheaten to red wheaten. A little white on the chest and toes 
is permissible but excessive white hairs here, on belly or above toes is
undersirable. A dark muzzle and ears are permissible. Excessive black hair
throughout the coat are highly undersirable.

Size and weight
Height at withers: dogs: 63 - 69 cm (25" - 27")
bitches: 61 - 66 cm (24" - 26")
Weight: dogs: 36,5 kg (80 Ibs)
              bitches: 32 kg (70 Ibs)

Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a
fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should
be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and 
welfare of the dog.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities shall be 

N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully
descended into the scrotum.

Scale of points

General appearance, size, symmetry and balance 15
Legs and feet15
Neck and shoulders10
Body, back, chest and loin10
Gait 10
Coat and color3
Tail 2
Source: American Kennel Club (AKC)


The Rhodesian ridgeback is intelligent, decisive, independent and 
resourceful. He is sometimes overly stubborn. Therefore, it is important for
the owner to impose their will on the dog with gentle but solid domination
This is not a dog for the faint of heart because you only have one chance
to raise and train your ridgeback right. This is why a ridgeback needs 
constant, positive training. Rhodesians are sensitive dogs and rough 
training can destroy the confidence they have in their owner.
Ridgeback learns quckly and easily. He has strong will and you cannot 
force him into obeying you but treats and appraisal do wonders. They are
loyal, love to cooperate but won't stand being treated badly and will 
completely stop listening in that case. Early socialization is very important.  
A puppy needs to be exposed to other dogs, animals, people, walks 
around the city and all situations it would face later on in its life as soon as
Rhodesian ridgebacks are loyal to their owner and family. This is exactly 
why they should not be trained as guard dogs and one should combine 
their abilities with obedience and control training. It is not easy to raise and
train a ridgeback and this is why this dog is not a very good choice for
inexperienced owners.

They show different levels of tolerance toward children - from complete
indifference to great affection. Ridgebacks do not tolerate rough play and
do not like to be teased and bothered so they are not ideal pets for
families with small children. On the other hand, a Rhodesian ridgeback can
be a great companion for older kids.

Ridgebacks are reserved with strangers and will rather keep their distance
until they get to know somebody well. It is not natural for a ridgeback to
seek attention from strangers.
These dogs are not pushy around other dogs and most ridgebacks are 
friendly. A ridgeback is neither fearful nor aggressive. Contrary to popular
opinion, a ridgeback is not eager to get into a fight with other dogs. On
the contrary, he will try to avoid conflicts whenever he can and sometimes
it may even look like he is a coward. However, a Rhodesian ridgeback will
not put up with insults and will wait as long as it takes to settle the score.
In other words, an RR can hold a grudge.
A young dog is often playful and mischievous and does not reflect a real
nature of a mature ridgeback. Most likely everything will go well in the
beginning because they are clean and learn quickly (if you teach them 
right). However, when your ridgeback is about four months old, you may
think that your puppy is deaf or even aggressive. They chew on things, bite
too hard when they play, they won't come when you call them, they pull
on a leash, bark at you when you scold them. But your "monster-puppy"
will soon change and get all those traits an adult dog possesses and that
attracted you to the breed in the first place. You will then be completely
horrified for thinking for even just one moment that you made a mistake
by getting him.
A Ridgeback matures late, between the age of two and three. High self-
control is a characteristic of adult Ridgebacks.
Physical activity:
A Rhodesian ridgeback is a large, muscular, strong, energetic and dynamic
dog. He is extremely hardy and can run for hours (adult dogs can keep up
with a running horse for 30 miles). Therefore it is necessary to provide him
with regular walks that will allow the dog to run freely and burn his energy
in all kind of weather. This is why a Rhodesian ridgeback is an ideal choice
for active families that spend a lot of time outdoor, people who are fit and
walk a lot. They are great partners for those who like to jog or ride a bike.
A walk around the block on a leash is not enough for a ridgeback. But,
don't expect your ridgeback to have fun on his own while you are sitting.
He won't budge if his owner is not moving. The yard itself is not by any
means a substitute for interactive activities with their owners. That is
exactly why it is necessary to allow your ridgeback to play with other dogs,
chase after a ball, take him to agility or lure coursing etc. As long as they
are interested in some activity, Rhodesian ridgebacks will be thrilled to take
part in it. However, as soon as something becomes boring, they will lose

Rhodesian ridgebacks are not weekend-dogs. You cannot neglect them 
and only occasionally give them some attention. They need to be a part
of the family and require daily attention and human companionship (they
cannot be kept outside in a kennel). If you are not at home the entire day
and you are out most nights, a ridgeback is not the right choice for you. 
This breed is ideal for somebody who truly wants a canine companion that
will be a part of their life.
Ridgebacks do very well in the city but it is necessary to provide them
enough exercise during the day (it is necessary to let them run off leash 
and play with other dogs every day) because they can become destructive
if they are under-exercised. Many behavioral problems in ridgebacks occur
because their owners do not give them enough attention and time. This is
exactly why this is not a dog that can be kept in a kennel. Ridgebacks are
relatively inactive and calm inside the house.
You cannot leave your ridgeback outside in cold weather because they do
not do well when it is cold due to their extremely short hair. Although
most ridgeback like playing in snow, they will feel much more comfortable
if they wear a doggy sweater or coat when it is cold outside. Ridgebacks
can easily get frost bites on their ears, paws, tails and genitalia in very low
These are generally clean dogs. Their hair does not have any odor and they
barely shed. It is enough to brush them once a week and give them a bath
when necessary (usually there is no need to bathe your ridgeback more 
than once or twice a year).
Ridgebacks generally like to eat a lot and have a good appetite. They are 
usually not picky eaters and should be taught from the very beginning to
eat dry food, fruits and vegetables in order to make their diet rich in 
vitamins, minerals and other necessary nutritients. Since Rhodesians have
deep chest, they are prone to bloat (torsion or twisting of stomach) - a
potentially fatal condition. This is why a ridgeback should never be taken
out for a walk after eating - you should wait at least three hours after the
meal. Ridgebacks are also known to gulp any food they find in a park or
a street. Therefore it is important to teach them command "drop" from the
very beginning, i.e. to spit something out when you tell them. It is also
important and very handy to teach them to allow you to open their mouth
and take food and other objects out.
Most Ridgebacks are perfectly reliable off leash but you should never let
your ridgeback off leash in the street. Just like other hounds, ridgebacks
can suddenly chase after a cat and other small animals and they are usually
deaf to the world around them while they are on the chase, including your
calls and approaching cars.

Rhodesian ridgeback at a glance

Energy levelX
Exercise levelX
Affection levelX
Watchdog abilityX
Grooming needsX
Good with childrenX
Source: Fox, Sue, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Barron's Educational Series Inc., Hauppauge, NY, 2003

A ridgeback is generally a very healthy and sturdy dog. It has relatively few
genetic diseases compared to other breeds. An average life span of a 
ridgeback is 10 to 12 years.

Bloat - Just like other breeds with similar built (large dogs with deep chest)
a Rhodesian ridgeback is prone to bloat (torsion or twisting of stomach).
This is a serious, potentially fatal condition that requires immediate 
surgery. The bloar occurs when a dog's stomach twists around its own 
axis so the amount of accumulated fluid and gases cannot be reduced by
burping or vomiting. When a stomach twists the blood circulation in the
stomach and small intestine gets cut off. The bloat usually happens when
a dog overeats, gulps down food and air fast, drinks large amount of
water immediately after the meal or when a dog jumps or runs after the
meal. Symptoms develop very quickly - the dog tries to vomit but cannot
throw up the content from the stomach, he is agitated, the stomach swells 
up, mucous membranes become pale, the dog becomes weak and the
heart rate increases. If left untreated, bloat can quickly cause shock and
This is why it is necessary to take special care while feeding your ridgeback,
i.e. prevention. The dog should be given several smaller meals during the
day (at least two) always AFTER a walk or exercise. Do not allow your dog
to overeat, run or jump at least three hours after the meal. Do not let him
drink water immediately after eating and wait at least an hour before you
let him drink.
Dermoid Sinus - This is a hereditary, genetic disease. A dermoid sinus is an
abscess (or a tube) that runs from the surface of the skin down to the 
spinal cord. The tube fills with hair and skin debris and fluids accumulate in
it. It leads to infection that eventually reaches the spinal cord and leads to
a painful death. The affected puppies have a small lump (usually on their
necks and backs) and a small hole is visible when the hair is shaved off. The
only treatment is surgery but it is usually unsuccessful and puppies with
dermoid sinus are usually put to sleep. Thanks to proper selection and
breeding, dermoid sinus is not very common anymore.

Hip dysplasia - this is not a very common problem in ridgebacks. It usually
develops as a result of obesity, rapid growth and innapropriate nutrition
during the dog's development. Certain dogs have genetic tendencies to
develop hip dysplasia. The disease can occur in young dogs but it usually
develops later on in dog's life. The cartliage of the femur wears off and it
only gets more damaged with time. It does not properly fit the joint and
causes pain and lameness.


1. Fox, Sue, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Barron's Educational Series Inc., Hauppauge, NY,
2. Federation Cynologique Internationale, Rhodesian Ridgeback FCI standard at
3. Rhodesian Ridgeback Club Zagreb at
4. Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppies at
5. American Kennel Club (AKC) at


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