The Rhodesian Ridgeback is the only registered breed indigenous to Southern Africa. These hounds originated in the old Cape Colony of South Africa by crossing the European settler’s dogs with the indigenous ridged African hunting dogs of the Hottentots.
The dogs were used to track game, especially lion, and with its great agility, keep it at bay until the arrival of the hunter. The uniqueness of this breed is the ridge on the back, formed by hair growing in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat.
General Appearance: A well balanced, strong, muscular, agile and active dog, symmetrical and balanced in outline. The mature dog is handsome, upstanding, capable of great endurance with a fair amount of speed.
Temperament: Intelligent, with an independent mind. Dignified, alert, aloof with strangers but showing neither shyness nor unwarranted aggression. They are even tempered, rarely noisy or quarrelsome, unless provoked. They are particularly attached to their owners, excellent family dogs and outstanding guardians.
Head: Should be of fair length, the skull flat and broad between the ears. The stop should be reasonably well defined. The nose should be black or brown. The eyes should be moderately well apart, round and bright, with intelligent expression, their colour harmonizing with the colour of the dog. The 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 head. The muzzle should be long, deep and powerful, jaws level, strong, with complete scissor bite. The lips should be clean, closely fitting the jaws. The neck should be fairly long, strong, and free from throatiness.
Body: The shoulders should be well laid back, clean and muscular. The forelegs should be perfectly straight, strong and well boned, elbows close to the body. The chest should not be too wide but very deep and capacious. Brisket should reach to the elbow. The forechest should be visible when viewed from the side. The ribs should be moderately well sprung. The back is powerful and loins strong, muscular and slightly arched. In the hind legs the muscles should be clean, well defined, moderate turn of stifle and strong hocks well let down. The feet should be compact and round, with well arched toes and tough, elastic pads. The tail should be strong at the insertion and generally tapering towards the end. It should be of moderate length and should be carried with a slight curve upwards, never curled or gay.
Ridge: The ridge should be clearly defined, symmetrical and tapering. It should start immediately behind the shoulder and continue to a point between the prominence of the hips. It must contain two identical crowns, directly opposite each other. The lower edges of the crowns must not extend further down the ridge than one-third of its length.