Here are some fun and fascinating facts about the Rhodesian Ridgebacks that will surely surprise a lot of people!
The Rhodesian Ridgebacks were developed in a small country located in southern Africa known as Rhodesia. Earlier, Rhodesia was an unrecognized segment of Africa but today it is considered to be a part of modern Zimbabwe. Hence, technically, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a Zimbabwean breed.
The Rhodesian Ridgebacks possess quite a unique coat. The hair on their spine region runs in the opposite direction when compared to the rest of the coat which gives them a peculiar mohawk. And because of this, it appears as if a ridge is present on the back of these canines. And, that is why they were named as Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
We now know why these canines are called as the Ridgebacks or Ridgies, but you will be surprised to know that not all of these pooches have the signature ridge on their backs. In fact, most of the purebreds do not have a coat that has hair running in the opposite direction over the spine region.
As these pooches have a fairly short coat, their grooming needs are not that high. They only require a weekly brushing of their coat and occasional baths to remain clean and fresh-looking. But, the frequency of brushing should be increased during the shedding season as it helps in controlling the shedding process to some extent.
It is believed that the Boer Farmers of Africa started crossing several different breeds in the hopes of creating a new breed of canines that was strong, powerful and sturdily built. They crossed breeds like the Mastiffs, the Bloodhounds, the Greyhounds, the Great Danes and the native tribal hunting canines known as the Hottentot dogs. And, the result of this cross-breeding was the creation of an immensely robust and sturdy breed, the Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
Because of their exceptionally well-built body and a fearless character, the Rhodesian Ridgebacks were given the task of hunting down large-sized games such as Bears and Lions. These pooches were amazing at their jobs and they were able to assist a lot of African Hunters in tracking down the Lions and then distracting them so that the hunters could easily aim at their targets. And because of this, the Rhodesian Ridgebacks were also known as the African Lion dogs or African Lion Hounds.
F.R. Barnes founded the first Ridgeback Club and drafted the original breed standard for the Rhodesian Ridgebacks in the year 1922. He also gave these canines their official name which was approved by the South African Kennel Union in 1927.
The American Kennel Club registered the Rhodesian Ridgebacks as a distinct breed in the year 1955, several years after these canines had been recognized by the Kennel Union of South Africa.
Although these canines were used as Lion Hunters in the past, when it comes to small children, these pooches are known to have a soft spot for them. Rhodesian Ridgebacks remain highly gentle and careful with kids of all ages and are happy to spend most of their time in the company of a small child. They have great protective instincts for kids as well and these pooches also enjoy playing various light-hearted games with them too. Hence, this extremely strong and powerful breed is great for those people who want a canine that is cordial, warm and kind to small kids.
The Rhodesian Ridgebacks have been fancied by a lot of celebrities over the year. Some well-known Ridgeback owners include Rainer III (Prince of Monaco), Patrick Swayze (American actor), Blake Griffin (American basketball player), and Errol Flynn (Australian-born American actor).