Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback


"Mufasa" - Rhodesian Ridgeback - Submitted by Macridge Kennels


Origin and Purpose - Developed in southern Africa as an all rounder, general farm and hunting dog. The breed had its roots with the big game hunters such as H.G. Robins and Cornelius van Rooyen. These men, amongst others were hard men in a hard land filled with great dangers from insects to the large predators. It was also a land that required a smart agile and hardy dog. Many of the dogs bought from Europe and the like failed, so only those that could endure the harsh conditions of the Dark Continent survived long enough to be bred from.

The ridged dogs were required to accompany the hunters on their long treks to protect the oxen and the rest of the camp from predator attack. Once camp was set up for the day they would accompany the hunter and, as fire arms were not what they are today, the dogs were required to track and dispatch wounded game thus helping to keep the camp fed.

It is well known that the ridgeback was the great lion hunter. It is a misnomer though that they were there to kill the lion. Any dog game enough to take on a lion in a combative manner only ever did it once. Rather, their method was to track the lions spoor until he was found then keep him at bay in the manner a bailing dog does with a pig. This allowed the hunter to get in a shot to dispatch the lion.

When back home at the farm the dogs took on their guard work once again and there have been many accounts of ridgebacks chasing leopards off the verandah at night and killing thieving Baboons in the corn crops during the day.

"Marlie" on right - Rhodesian Ridgeback - Submtiied by Macridge Kennels.

Temperament - The Rhodesian ridgeback is an independent dog loyal with its owner and family. Aloof with strangers and protective of property.

Size - Males – 25” to 27” at the shoulder

Females – 24” to 26” at the shoulder

Coat and Colour -The coat should be short, dense, sleek and glossy.

Hard enough to protect from burrs but short enough to make parasites easy to find.

The colour ranges from light wheaten to red wheaten This is to allow the dogs to blend into their surroundings The lighter dogs are becoming harder to find with the current fashion in the show ring to have the dogs as dark as possible.

General Appearance -The ridgeback should be a well balanced dog - strong, muscular, agile and active, capable of great endurance with a fair amount of speed.

Training -The ridgeback is a slow starter however they should be taught the basics such as sit, stay and to come when called. As a young dog, it is also advisable to have them around stock letting them know what is not allowed to be chased. The Ridgeback like any dog will learn more from the dogs that it is hunted with than it will ever learn from its owner. However the grounding it is given as a young pup will serve it well as it becomes an adult hunting dog.

Hunting -The Rhodesian ridgeback today is used in many hunting endeavours from the flushing of game birds or rabbits, tracking wounded game and the finding of feral pigs which it has adapted well to. Being an all rounder it uses sight, scent and hearing to the best of its abilities to find its quarry.


"Mufasa" - Rhodesian Ridgeback  and "Gaby" - Staghound -  Submitted by Macridge Kennels.

The ridgeback is a close to medium hunter traveling in circles out to around half a klm checking back in with the hunter on regular intervals to find its prey. Once it has found a fresh trail the dog will track at a steady pace to endeavor to catch up with its game. The ridgeback is a silent hunter so it is able to come up on a pig often without being noticed. Once of course the pig knows he is there he will then endeavour to stop the pig in the normal manner by biting leg, balls or ear then back off to bail the pig until the hunter arrives to either shoot the pig or as my present dog does lug up on command. This method works well when on foot in light forest or along creeks and boar drains where a pig may be laid up in the heat of the day.

The ridgeback is not an out and out lugging dog and this has lost it some favor with some hunters that are used to bully cross type dogs that lug at a young age, but for those that love to hunt on foot and perhaps carry a fire arm, for whatever game the Rhodesian ridgeback can be an excellent hunting companion.

Submitted by Steve McElhone

Macridge Kennels