History of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

More and more people are inviting dogs into their families. Recent statistics tell us that people are foregoing child rearing in favor of canine companionship. As people decide on a breed type, many of the more obscure breeds are gaining in popularity. One such dog that has been making its way into the public limelight is the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog that originated in Rhodesia, which is now known as Zimbabwe. This breed is only one of two dogs that is indigenous to Africa. The Rhodesian Ridgeback was also very popular on the southern cape of Africa, where its ancestry can be traced back as far as the 16th and 17th century. They were originally a cross between domesticated dogs that were brought to Africa by the Boer settlers and the now extinct Khoikhoi ridged dog.

Records are scarce, but we do know that Cornelius van Rooyen was the first man known to select for certain characteristics in the breed. Each time he bred during the development of the “Van Rooyen Lion Dog”, as they at one point came to be known,  something different was brought to the mix of what would later become the dog we now have. The bull terrier was known for its courage and stamina, the Bloodhound was known for its keen sense of smell and tracking skills, the Greyhound had a long stride and great speed, and the Airedale and Irish Terrier brought focus, loyalty and tenacity. These breeds would become pivotal in the final outcome of the breed we have today.