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    Rhodesian Ridgeback |Zimbabwe|

    Rhodesian Ridgeback |Zimbabwe|

    Despite its history of hunting big game, the Rhodesian Ridgeback can make a wonderful family pet as long as it is properly socialized. These large dogs are protective and territorial, making them useful guard dogs, but they are also affectionate and loyal to their families. When introduced correctly, they are good with other dogs, animals, and children— though small children should always be supervised with any breed of dog. Their versatility is reflected in their popularity and high breed numbers in the United States and the United Kingdom.

    History

    The unique ridge along the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s spine would suggest a shared ancestry with the other two breeds that exhibit it: the Thai Ridgeback and the Phu Quoc Ridgeback. These two ancient Asian breeds may have influenced the development of the Rhodesian Ridgeback when prehistoric people moved from central Asia outward, reaching Africa and taking their dogs with them. Native dogs of the South African Khoekhoen people developed specific adaptations to their environment: they were semi-wild and extremely tough, durable, and self-sufficient. During the seventeenth century, European settlers moved to South Africa and took their dogs—Mastiffs, Great Danes, Greyhounds, and Bloodhounds—which interbred with the native dogs, eventually giving rise to various types, including what became the Rhodesian Ridgeback. The dogs were bred specifically to hunt big game such as lions, most notably by early breeder Cornelius von Rooyen, and became known for their unrivaled bravery and tenacity. They were also colloquially called “lion dogs.”

    Ridgeback puppies can be very lively and mischievous if they get bored!

    The Rhodesian Ridgeback has an intelligent expression with dark brown or amber eyes.

    The breed’s characteristic feature is the ridge of hair running along its back in the opposite direction of the rest of its coat. The ridge is more than an inch wide for most of its length and tapers toward the tail.

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    From Dogs Unleashed, Copyright by Tamsin Pickeral, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with Thunder Bay Press

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