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Rhodesian Ridgeback basic information

The Ridgeback's general appearance is of a handsome, strong, muscular and active dog, symmetrical in outline, capable of great endurance with a fair (good) amount of speed. The mature dog is handsome and upstanding. The Ridgeback's distinguishing feature is the ridge of hair along its back running in the opposite direction to the rest of its coat. The ridge must be regarded as the escutcheon of the breed. It consists of a fan-like area formed by two whorls of hair (called "crowns") and tapers from immediately behind the shoulders, down to the level of the hips. The ridge is derived from the ridged hunting dog of the Khoikhoi (literally, "men of men"; native South African people, referred to by the Europeans as Hottentots).

Some Ridgebacks are born without ridges, and until recently, most ridgeless puppies were culled, or euthanized, at birth. Today, many breeders opt instead to spay and neuter these offspring to ensure they will not be bred.

Male Ridgebacks should be 25-27 inches (63-69 cm) at the withers and weigh approximately 85 lb (36.5 kg FCI Standard), however some have been known to reach up to 160 lb, females 24-26 inches (61-66 cm) and approximately 70 lb (32 kg). They are typically muscular and have a light wheaten to red wheaten coat which should be short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance but neither woolly nor silky. The presence of black guard hairs or ticking is not addressed in the AKC standard, although the elaboration of the AKC standard notes the amount of black or dark brown in the coat should not be excessive. The FCI Standard states - excessive black hairs throughout the coat are highly undesirable. White is acceptable on the chest and toes.

Ridgebacks have a strong, smooth tail, which is usually carried in a gentle curve upwards. The eyes should be round and should reflect the coat color—dark in a black muzzle, amber with a brown nose. The brown or liver nose is a recessive gene and is therefore not as common as a black nose.

The original standard allowed for a variety of coat colors, including brindle and sable. Today, all shades of wheaten are permitted. While the deeper red are often favored by pet owners, the lighter wheaten is just as correct. Color variants such as brindles, black-and-tans and blue dilutes appear occasionally but not commonly and are disqualifications for the show ring. White on the feet and chest are common.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rhodesian_Ridgeback".
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