Rhodesian Ridgeback breed standard no. 146 (FCI)

Rhodesian Ridgeback


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is presently the only registered breed indigenous to southern
Africa. Its forbears can
be traced to the Cape Colony of southern Africa where they
crossed with the early  pioneers’ dogs and the
semi-domesticated, ridged, Hottentot
hunting dogs. Hunting mainly in groups of  two or three, the original
function of the 
Rhodesian Ridgeback, or Lion Dog, was to track game, especially lion, and with great
keep it at bay until the arrival of the hunter. The original standard, which was
drafted by F.R.Barnes, in
Bulawayo, Rhodesia, in 1922, was based on that of the
Dalmatian and was approved by the South African
Kennel Union in 1926.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback should represent a well balanced, strong, muscular, agile and
active dog, symmetrical
in outline, and capable of great endurance with a fair amount of
speed. The emphasis is on agility, elegance and
soundness with no tendency towards
massiveness. The peculiarity of the breed is the ridge on the back, which is
formed by the
hair growing in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. The ridge is the escutcheon of
breed. The ridge must be clearly defined, symmetrical and tapering towards the
haunch. It must start
immediately behind the shoulders and continue to the hip (haunches)
bones. The ridge must contain only two
crowns, identical and opposite each other. The
lower edges of the crowns must not extend further down the
ridge than one-third of its
length. A good average width of the ridge is 5 cm (2 ins).


Dignified, intelligent, aloof with strangers, but showing no aggression or shyness.



Should be of a fair length (width of head between ears, distance from occiput to stop,
stop to end of nose, should
be equal), the skull flat and broad between the ears and the
head should be free from wrinkles when in repose.


The stop should be reasonably well defined and not in one straight line from the nose
to the occipital bone.


The nose should be black or brown. A black nose should be accompanied by dark eyes,
a brown nose by amber


The muzzle should be long, deep and powerful.


The lips should be clean, closely fitting the jaws.


Jaws strong, with a perfect and complete scissor bite, i. e., the upper teeth closely
overlapping the lower teeth and
set square to the jaws. The teeth must be well developed,
especially the canines or holders.


Cheeks should be clean.


Should be moderately well apart, round bright and sparkling, with intelligent expression,
their colour
harmonising with the colour of the coat.


Should be set rather high, of medium size, rather wide at base, and gradually tapering
to a rounded point. They
should be carried close to the head.


Should be fairly long, strong and free from throatiness.





Strong, muscular and slightly arched, powerful.


Should not be too wide but very deep and capacious and brisket should reach to the elbow.


Should be visible when viewed from the side.


Moderately well sprung, never rounded like barrel-hoops.


Should be strong at the root and gradually tapering towards the end, free from coarseness.
It should be of
moderate length. It should not be inserted too high nor too low, and should
be carried with a slight curve
upwards, never curled.



The forelegs should be perfectly straight, strong and well boned, with the elbows close to
the body. When
viewed from the side, the forelegs should be wider than when viewed from
the front. Pasterns should be strong
with slight spring.


The shoulders should be sloping, clean and muscular, denoting speed.


The feet should be compact and round, with well arched toes, and tough elastic pads,
protected by hair between
the toes and pads.


In the hind legs the muscles should be clean, well defined, good turn of stifle and strong
hocks well let down.


Straight forward, free and active.


Hair should be short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance, but neither woolly
nor silky.


Light wheaten to red wheaten. A little white on the chest and toes is permissible,
but excessive white hairs here,
on belly, or above toes is undesirable. A dark muzzle
and ears permissible. Excessive black hairs throughout
the coat are highly undesirable.


The desirable heights are:

Dogs: 63 cm (25 ins) to 69 cm (27 ins)

Bitches: 61 cm (24 ins) to 66 cm (26 ins)


The desirable weights are:

Dogs: 36,5 kg (80 lbs)

Bitches: 32 kg (70 lbs)


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness
with which the fault
should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into
the scrotum.

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