THE RHODESIAN RIDGEBACK is a dog of formidable power, dedication and courage. He claims an ancient heritage, yet is of relatively recent linage in terms of standardization of the breed.

Today’s Ridgeback is descended from a variety of breeds which were crossed by settlers of South Africa and Rhodesia with the native dogs of the Hottentot tribe. The ridge became his identifying mark.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback survived in various forms through the years because of his superb hunting ability. In addition to trailing and tracking large animals, he was also used to hold his quarry at bay. He was the protector of game wardens, farm families and hunters throughout South Central Africa, where the breed developed into its present form.

From its origin in Africa, the Ridgeback has lost none of his abilities as a hunter and guardian and he continues to be an excellent companion. The Ridgeback is a devoted family dog, totally loyal to his master. He is rather aloof and undemonstrative towards strangers.

This is the Rhodesian Ridgeback, a dog of incorruptible, independent character, who takes his responsibilities of companionship, protection and family dedication to heart. He never forgets love and understanding, nor does he lightly forgive harsh treatment. He is a dog of noble bearing, whose physical attributes should reflect his role as guardian, companion and hunter.

General Appearance

The Ridgeback represents a strong, muscular and active hound, symmetrical and balanced in outline. A mature Ridgeback is a handsome, upstanding and athletic dog, capable of great endurance with a fair (good) amount of speed. Of even, dignified temperament, the Ridgeback is devoted and affectionate to his master, reserved with strangers. The peculiarity of this breed is the ridge on the back. The ridge must be regarded as the characteristic feature of the breed.


Dignified and even tempered. Reserved with strangers.


A mature Ridgeback should be symmetrical in outline, slightly longer than tall but well balanced. Dogs: 25 to 27 inches in height; Bitches: 24 to 26 inches in height. Desirable weight: Dogs: 85 pounds; Bitches:70 pounds


Light wheaten to red wheaten. A little white on the chest and toes permissible.

Learn more at the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States.