CLUB HISTORY 1952 – 2016

Founded in 1952, when a group of enthusiasts met at Crufts to inaugurate a club to promote the breed in Great Britain, the club is the oldest and largest Ridgeback Club in the UK. Ridgebacks had by then been imported into or bred in this country for some forty years, but not in significant numbers. In those early days, the club guaranteed classes at shows, thereby helping to get the Ridgeback exhibited around the country and giving judges who were unfamiliar with the breed the opportunity to learn. Those efforts resulted in Challenge Certificates being awarded to the breed for the first time in 1954.

Since that time membership of the club has grown to over 700 and the Rhodesian Ridgeback population is currently estimated at about 11,000. Such growth in the breeds popularity has inevitably bought it’s problems, which the club has recognised and confronted. The clubs main aim is no longer solely to promote the breed, but rather to secure it’s future well-being by encouraging carefully planned, responsible breeding from healthy stock, free from hereditary defects and equally important, persuading breeders to take the greatest possible care in the choice of homes for their puppies. The growth of the club has also seen it’s member’s interests extend beyond breeding and exhibiting – many members join simply to belong to a group of like-minded people and to be kept in touch with news, views and developments.

The club’s activities and services have been expanded over the years to take account of this and, indeed, it has been described as “the club for all reasons” appropriately as will be seen as you browse the entire web site.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback can claim its origins in South Africa. It is known that a type of ridged dog was highly prized by the native Hottentots, and these dogs were crossed with the European settlers imported dogs. Von Rooyen, a big game hunter developed the breed and found they possessed excellent, instinctive, hunting abilities and an abundance of courage; ideal for use as lion hunting dogs. The dogs work by harassing the lion by constant and cleverly made feint attacks, which held the lion at bay; giving the hunter exactly what he was looking for, a deliberate shot at close range. To do this effectively needs a dog of courage, agility, endurance and instinctive skills.


Ridgebacks are a powerful dog but can be quite sensitive, harsh treatment is most definitely not the way to train them. They need a varied training program to keep them interested, little and often works wonders! They make devoted family companions and guards, but should never be classed as a guard dog. Ridgebacks, as a rule are very good with children, but as with any dog, children must be taught not to tease and pester them. It is important to provide the dog with his own bed in a quiet place. They are intelligent, responsive and trainable, but like all hounds are independent thinkers. Some early basic obedience training and socialization is highly recommended to keep such a large dog under proper control. Also they need to be properly exercised – a quick trot around the block is not good enough, about one hour a day is the requirement to keep them in good condition, so be prepared to give up this amount of time. They are athletic so it is important to have a properly high fenced yard or garden.

Although Ridgebacks have short hair they need to be groomed regularly, this is also a good way of keeping in touch with his health and welfare, also helps to keep hairs off your clothes and the furniture.


If you have decided that you would like to share your life with a Rhodesian Ridgeback, make proper preparations, find a breeder whose dogs you like and find out as much as you can about how to feed and raise your puppy into a well behaved and liked member of society.

There is a further option, which you could consider. RR Rescues are sometimes able to offer adults without pedigree papers to vetted, suitable homes. However, this may not be without problems, but if you feel you have the commitment to help an unfortunate dog, please ask for advice and contacts.

Some questions to ask the breeder are: –

Have the parents had their Hips and Elbows X-rayed AND scored?

Have the puppies been checked by someone knowledgeable for the hereditary condition, Dermoid Sinus?

Also enquire if the puppies have been bred within the Kennel Club and the Breed Clubs Code of Ethics.