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Rhodesian Ridgeback – FCI standard No. 146

Country of Origin: South Africa
FCI Classification: Group VI – hounds, scenthounds and related breeds.

General Appearance: harmonic in its build, strong, muscular, dexterous, elegant and active, persistent.

Head: medium length, flat and wide between the ears, complete scissors bite. Round eyes, their colour matches the colour of the coat. Ears set relatively high, medium sized, adhere to the head.

Neck: quite long, strong, lacking loose skin.

Body: strong back, muscular and lightly arched loin.

Chest: not too wide but very deep and spacious, the deepest point of the breastbone should reach up to the elbow.

Tail: strong at the root, gradually becomes thinner towards the tip. Proportionate length, slightly curved, never reaches higher than the back.

Front legs: completely straight, strong, with strong bones. Elbows adhere to the chest, should be stronger from the side than from the front.

Rear legs: slim muscles on rear limbs, knee with a good angle, short instep.

Way of moving: spacious, free and energetic.

Coat: the specific of this breed is the ridge on the back – stripe of hair growing in the opposite direction than the hair on the rest of the body. Coat should be short, dense, smooth and shiny, not wavy and silk.

Colour: ranging from light wheat to red-wheat. A bit of white on the chest and on the toes is acceptable, as well as dark mouth and dark ears.

Height and weight: males – height at withers 63-69 cm, weight 37 kg. Females – height at withers 61-66 cm, weight 32 kg.

History: Rhodesian ridgeback is now the only recognized breed coming from South Africa. Its predecessors can be traced back to Cape Colony where they were interbreeding with the dogs of the pioneers and with half-domesticated dogs of the Hottentots which (the dogs) had a ridge on their backs. Rhodesian ridgeback usually hunted in groups of two or three and his role was originally to trace up big animals, especially lions, and stop them until the hunter came. The original standard was created by F. R. Barnes in Bolawyo (Rhodesia) in1922. This standard was based on the standard of a Dalmatian and South-African breeding association called Kennel Union of South Africa recognised it in 1926.

Nature: Respectable, intelligent, hesitant towards people he does not know but not aggressive or timid. Can be a bit stubborn. Has an excellent nose and rather strong hunting instinct.

Use: Popular family dog or suitable for exhibitions. His quite a strong need for exercise must be respected. Often takes part in coursing events.