The hallmark feature of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is "the ridge" or stripe of forward growing hair located on the dog's back.  The ridge should start just behind the shoulders with two identical crowns (or whorls) directly opposite each other.  It should continue down the back of the dog and come to a point ending at the hips.  There are many variations in the ridge but the essentials of the ridge regarding location and dimension are clearly defined in the RR breed standard.  We explain the ridge as each dog's unique "thumbprint".  You will see that the ridge is very unique from dog to dog in shape, size, length and overall dimension.  The ridge is present at birth and can be evaluted for show potential immediately.  The ridge does not "grow-in", it is either present or it is not.  Please "run away" quickly if a breeder tries to tell you otherwise.

Several examples of ridges that are very different but ALL perfect, show quality...


Please note:  The percentage is small - but there is always the possibility of producing 1 or 2 ridgeless pups when pairing ridged, recessive gene parents, Rr or heterozygous is the genetic term.  This means, each parent has only 1 ridged gene (Rr x Rr breeding).  Ridgeless pups are Ridgeback's in every way and are often the most exceptional in structure and very beautifully balanced.  A ridgeless puppy has no idea it is "missing" its ridge...so, don't tell them!!  The pup (rr) simply did not receive a ridged gene from either parent.  There is no method of testing just yet to determine dominent vs. recessive genes.  UC Davis is working on it so, hopefully in the near future we will have the ability to determine whether a dog is RR - homozygous (2 ridged genes) and Rr - heterozygous (1 ridged gene).  Both RR and Rr genetics are vital to our breeding programs.  Research suggests that the ideal breeding combination is RR x Rr to not only ensure the continuation of the ridge but also, to produce the most ideal progeny genetically speaking.  

**Be sure to read our Characteristics Of The Breed and History Of the Breed pages for more detailed information.


​​​​​Characteristics Of The Breed


The History Of The Breed