Showsight Presents The Rhodesian Ridgeback

WHY A SIGHT HOUND? Categorizing the rhodesian ridgebaCk

by aliCia hanna

T he purpose of a breed of dog dictates the conforma- tion which lends to that purpose. Those dogs best suited for the task were the type used for breeding advancement. The Ridgeback was first developed 350 years ago by the early European set- tlers in the Cape colony area of South Africa. The domestic animals that the Europeans brought to the new land quickly succumbed to the diseases

and parasites of the region. They real- ized the need to cross their imported domestic stock with the native animals to instill disease resistance producing the Afrikaner cattle, sheep, Boer hors- es, etc. The ridged native hunting dog of the Hottentot people was chosen to produce the hybrid strain of dog known today as the Rhodesian Ridgeback. In addition to disease resistance, this cross incorporated the genetic based “local knowledge” hunting instincts

for survival in this land. The settlers created a dog which possessed the keenest of sight, scenting ability and hearing as well as formidable courage, dedication and athleticism, securing survival for both man and dog. Lack- ing the ability to test DNA, the visible ridge was maintained as the identifi- able feature that indicated the dog’s crossed heritage. The importance of this dog to the Dutch/European settlers cannot be overestimated as he aided

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