CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BREED:
Yes! The Ridgeback's unique and defining feature is the Ridge--BUT let's look at several characteristics and other important traits of this amazing breed...
TEMPERAMENT - Gentle, Affectionate, Intelligent, Loyal, Protective, Devoted, Companion, very Food Motivated, Active but also, Easy-Going, Loves to "be" with his/her family, Reserved around strangers, Independent, Understands Fair Reprimands but will resent UNFAIR punishment. A RR pup can be strong-willed so Training is essential (see below) and Socialization (see Training below) with both people and other dogs is crucial for proper development.
*At Nyana Ridgebacks, we temperament test all of our puppies at 7 weeks to further assess their individual personalities and to give our new puppy parents additional insight and an understanding of their new puppy.
TRAINING - YOU HAVE WHAT YOU CREATE...We cannot stress the importance of training enough. If you devote the time to attend a puppy class regularly--for a minimum of 6 weeks but ideally 12+ weeks to receive coaching from a trainer who knows these hounds, you will be well ahead of the game. Ridgebacks are SMART! Don't be surprised when your puppy out-smarts you...it's humbling for sure but knowing how to train a hound and instilling confidence in your puppy is an amazing adventure that ensures a wonderful and very well-mannered adult! You will have ALL of the tools to train your pup to be the responsible and self-accountable adult that you desire. Training is really FUN and wonderful for your bonding too plus, when you start early it's easy. Socialization is also crucial--your pup needs to know there are other dogs in the world and to enjoy time at puppy class with other pups is key. We also recommend the following books to help you as the parent to get you started.
What All Good Dogs Should Know, by Jack Vohard & The Focused Puppy, by Deborah Jones
SIZE - Once mature Males: 25-27" in height and 85-95lbs. Females: 24-26" in height and 70-80lbs.
STRUCTURE - The Ridgeback is a handsome, strong, muscular (but not overly musculated), well-conditioned, active hound capable of great endurance and speed. The structure should be well-balanced, the dog should be slightly longer than he/she is tall. The Ridgeback is regal and dignified in its stance.
- NECK should be strong and free of throatiness.
- HEAD should be handsome in a male and more feminine in a female. The head should be well set, the scull flat and rather broad across the top between the ears. The transition from the brow to the nose (stop) should be nicely defined but never sharp.
- EYES are round, bright and intelligent in expression. The eye color should harmonize with the nose color of the dog.
- EARS should be large at the base, set slightly high, carried close to the head, tapering nicely & rounding at the bottom.
- CHEST should be deep and capacious. When viewed from the side it should extend to the elbow joint of the forearm. The ribs should be well-sprung but never barrel shaped which, would impact the motion of the elbow prohibiting proper extension and speed.
- SHOULDERS should be sloping and clean well, laid back, never straight.
- FORELEGS should be straight and heavy in bone density.
- TOPLINE should be level, with strong lions, muscular and slightly arched with a nice, seamless transition to a well-inserted tail set neither too high, nor too low. When gaiting, the tail should be carried level or very slightly curved, never curled.
- INNER THIGH should be well-musculated but clean and the hocks well let-down.
- REAR ANGULATION should be such that when drawing a line straight down the rear end of the dog (perpendicular to the ground) that the straight line drawn, meets at the front of the rear toes.
- FEET should be tight and compact, toes well-arched with tough, round pads. Feet should never be splayed or flat.
See Rhodesian Ridgeback Club United States - Elaborated Breed Standard http://www.rrcus.org/pdf/illustrated_standard.pdf
COLOR - Wheaten is the term used to define the standard color of a Ridgeback. There are many different "shades" of wheaten. Wheaten describes ALL the colors you could ever imagine in a wheat field. From a pale light blonde to a dark, rich brown--and even, the deep red coloring of a field ready for harvest. Liver coloring (a rich red) is also acceptable. A black nosed dog should have dark eyes and a brown nosed (or liver colored) dog should have amber eyes. Essentially, the nose should match the eyes. Yellow eyes are considered undesireable. Some dogs may be very consistent in their coloring while others may have a darker (black) muzzle and darker ears. White markings are permissible but should be limited to the chest and a small amount of white on the toes/feet.
GROOMING - The Ridgeback is very low maintenance. A puppy will shed (or blow) its puppy coat at about 4-5 months as its adult coloring/coat is growing in. Shedding is very minimal and typically occurs on a seasonal basis, as winter passes and spring temperatures start to rise. Bathing your Ridgeback should occur once or twice a month--no more than once a week as frequent bathing can dry out the skin slightly. Your Ridgeback only has 1 coat, there is NO undercoat. Your Ridgeback will LOVE sweaters, fleecy coats and rain slickers in the winter (typically, size XXL-XXXL). Toenails need to be trimmed. The Ridgeback's toenails are VERY hard and resilent - a typical nail trimmer will NOT work. We recommend a nail grinder or dremmel tool every week or two (at most) to maintain a healthy nail length.