Showsight Presents The Rhodesian Ridgeback

in sustaining the family with meat for the pot. Quoting the South African hand- book circa 1947: “...a trained hunting pack will upon scenting game fan out, one running directly towards the quar- ry and the other circling with the object of cutting off any retreat. Here again the dog’s amazing agility is displayed—the ability to turn in a split second, swerve and feint, or maintain a fast pace should their quarry break and run, and a chase ensue.” While tracking game, usually on foot, the hunter depended on his dog to signal him as to what lay ahead. He relied on the dog’s keen senses to detect danger. When encountering a heard of antelope the hunter shot at the selected target hoping to affect a kill. A wound- ed antelope could run for many miles before dropping, resulting in the loss of a week’s worth of meat to the hunter. In the event that a clean kill was not affect- ed by the hunter’s bullet, the dog would sight the wounded antelope, and with speed, endurance and agility strike out to knock it down. He often slammed the game with his chest, landing on his feet yards away out of striking distance of the quarry.

If the wounded game was enraged and threatening a charge, the dog would distract with agile feint attacks and retreats until the hunter could take a clean kill shot. He would if needed sacrifice himself for his master. The original KUSA standard called for a maximum 25 inch bitch 65 lbs. and a dog 27 inches, 75 lbs.—certainly not the short necked, drafty, weighty, low legged and unathletic specimens judges often ribbon in the show ring today. The AKC Standard was revised by our parent club to increase the weight to 75 and 85 lbs. for no other reason than the commit- tee wanted a bigger Rhodesian Ridge- back. This decision was not based on

anything but preference for size to fit their dogs into acceptable range. If wounded in the bush the utilitar- ian size dog could be portaged out for treatment. The hundred pound and over dogs of today would certainly be left where they dropped. The AKC Breed Standard references speed throughout “General Appear- ance… athletic dog, capable of great endurance with a fair (good) amount of speed... The Forequarters… the shoul- ders should be sloping, clean and mus- cular, denoting speed. The neck should be fairly long. The Chest should not be too wide, but very deep and capacious, ribs moderately well sprung, never

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