The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a native of Southern Africa. Early in the 16th century a ridged dog was "discovered" this was the original bush-veldt dog.

The RR was developed by the first white settlers in SA for their need for an all purpose dog in the wilds. A mixture of breeds including Great Dane / Mastiff / Greyhound / Collie & other breeds were used, crossing with ridged bush dog. In 1707 European immigration was closed and other breeds couldn't be imported. Good hunting dogs that suited the terrain were few & far between & highly prized.

Settlers wanted a dog that would flush small birds, pull down smaller/wounded game, herd their flocks & guard, not only from 4 legged marauders, but 2 legged as well. On top of this a dog that could withstand the rigours of the African bush, drastic temperature changes & go for 24hrs without water if the need arose, was essential. A short haired dog (ticks / fleas were a problem) was required by the settler who needed a dog that he could sleep with to keep him warm at night in the bush.

From necessity the settlers used a selective breeding program, using dogs they had bought with them & the bush dog of the veldt. This was the beginnings of the dog that became the RR. Cross breeding & inter breeding between the native dogs & those of the settlers also took place. The ridge was respected & highly prized, thus retained and refined & found on our present day RR's.

In 1879 Missionary Rev Charles Helm journeyed from Swellendam in the Cape Province of SA to Rhodesia with 2 of these dogs. Cornelias Van Rooyan (well known big game hunter & early authority on SA wild life) borrowed the dogs to take on a hunt. He soon concluded that they possess excellent instinctive hunting qualities & he pioneered the breeding of a pack of the dogs as hunters of big game for his own use. Since then they have been bred on an extensive scale in Rhodesia & were given the name of the country.

1922 saw the first Rhodesian Ridgeback Club. A standard of points were set (these differ little from those in use today) based on the standard of the Dalmatian.

Today the RR is one of the most popular hunting dogs in Southern Africa. Their hunting characteristics have also proved to be useful in hunting all sorts of game in other parts of the world.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback Today
Stig Carlson

The Rhodesian Ridgeback
Anne Woodrow

The Complete Rhodesian Ridgeback
Peter Nicholson & Janet Parker

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pioneers
Linda costa

The Rhodesian Ridgeback
T C Hawley (considered the RR bible by RR breeders!)

The Rhodesian Ridgeback
1924 - 74
J N Murray

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Indaba
J N Murray

Dog Tales At Home & Abroad
J N Murray

The Rhodesian Ridgeback In Australia
Pauline Sadler