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PronkRidge Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Our dogs:

* NJK Red Hot Line Arziki Ayanda Amara 'Arziki' (imp UA) (Female)
* Saimon's Praide Arcane Power of Beauty 'Diwara' (imp RU) (Female)
* Leeurif Jukeba Mshangao Inzalo 'Inzalo' (imp GR) (Male)

In memoriam:
* Multi CH Vizara Jukati 'Jukati' († 08-09-2016) (Male)

* Kuona Fahari Cheleza Nangi 'Nangi' (Female)
*'Tari' (Female)

© Willemijn Pronk 2018


The breed Posted on Mon, June 24, 2013 21:38:14


Ridgebacks have always had and still have a high level of tolerance, well developed survival instincts and possess very fast decision making abilities as well as a high readiness to co-operate with a partner, who has proven their competence. These dogs present themselves as reliable partners, fully integrated protectors of their families and they even prove their rights to exist as hunting companions. But as the truly big hunters, as which the Ridgebacks originated (and which they still are in incredible measures!) they only find very small parts of their former ways of living amongst our civilized surroundings – and truly big hunters or “alpha wolf-humans” have become very rare amongst ourselves as well!

Ridgebacks are companions that need close contact, ample exercise and find gratification with duties that can be mastered together with their “alpha” humans.
It is important that Ridgeback owners who would like to do their dogs justice, have adequate knowledge of Wolfs behaviourisms in order to understand and handle their dog correctly. Just like all large, strong dogs, Ridgebacks living in our lifestyles, require competent guidance and adequate supervision.

His character: The Rhodesian Ridgeback is almost aboriginal, very serious with specific chains of behaviour. They are even-tempered, well-balanced without an ounce of spitefulness Ð and never reacts blindly. Within the “pack”, its family, this breed is friendly, cuddly and almost clingy. They are very territorial, watching over their yard, their house and their family without having any kind of training. This breed is however fully unsuitable for any kind of “sportive biting” affiliated with a guard dog training. The dog’s love for the hunt lies in it’s blood and should be geared sensibly.

The Ridgeback is very sensitive and does not bear to loud, hard and unfair treatment. When it comes to development and growth the Ridgeback matures slowly is however willing and able to learn for a long time. The Ridgeback is absolutely unsuitable for being kept in a kennel. The city centre is also not suitable for this breed as it is an almost unnatural habitat, where a Ridgeback with his unaltered behaviour would waste away in the long run. The consequences reach from diseases and troubled behaviour up to the proverb “shadow existence”. So far the breed does not show an affinity to hereditary diseases. However, it should be pointed out that since 1924 the so called “Dermoid Sinus”, a very rare defect that appears under skin, as well as a missing ridge lead to breeding disqualification. A well balanced diet for this breed consists of fresh food (meat, vegetables etc.) – based on experience ready made food is not digested very well and will in the long run lead to health damages.

It is a big responsibility for all, who keep and breed this race to offer growing puppies/youngsters the personal devotion and the natural surroundings which this excellent natured dog needs for its development and well-being. Not moulding the dog at an early age ends tragic for a Ridgeback as an atrophied young dog remains a caricature of what it actually is and it will never develop properly at a later stage. These nature dogs should neither be kept in a tiled sterile surrounding in which they are treated like precious dolls nor should they be put in sheds, stables or barns, aside the daily human life where they might just be watched via a video device.
It is however just as big a responsibility to place puppies of this primal breed in suitable homes. As much as a Ridgeback is good-natured, it is not a dog for first time dog owners due to its very special personality, distinct behaviour and sensitivity. It requires an owner who is experienced with dog behaviour.

The absurdity to include the Rhodesian Ridgeback in fighting dog discussions becomes obvious looking at the history of this dog and the characteristics its breed. Because of its deep-seated healthy instincts and particularly due to its carefulness and considerateness in regards to conflicts, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is totally unsuitable for any kind of usage in a so called “scene”. A Rhodesian Ridgeback has never been bred towards aggression!
As one of the most interesting breeds which has been formed by humans and the wilderness, the Rhodesian Ridgeback came to be because of a special breed selection. In any case of doubt concerning these original bush hunters, it would prove a strong will not acquire such a dog!

“A Ridgeback isn’t just another dog….It’s a lifestyle”


The breed Posted on Mon, June 24, 2013 21:36:47


APPEARANCE Handsome, strong, muscular and active dog, symmetrical in outline, capable of great endurance with fair amount of speed. Mature dog is handsome and upstanding.

CHARACTERISTICS Peculiarity is the ridge on back formed by hair growing in opposite direction to the remainder of coat; ridge must be regarded as the escutcheon of breed. Ridge clearly defined, tapering and symmetrical, starting immediately behind shoulders and continuing to haunch, and containing two identical crowns only, opposite each other, lower edges of crowns not extending further down ridge than one-third of its length. Up to 5 cm (2 ins) is a good average for width of ridge.
TEMPERAMENT Dignified, intelligent, aloof with strangers but showing no aggression or shyness.

HEAD AND SKULL Of fair length, skull flat, rather broad between ears, free from wrinkles when in repose. Stop reasonably well defined. Nose black or brown in keeping with colour of dog, Black nose accompanied by dark eyes, brown nose by amber eyes. Muzzle long, deep and powerful. Lips clean and close fitting.

EYES Set moderately well apart, round, bright and sparkling with intelligent expression, colour harmonizing with coat colour.
EARS Set rather high, medium size, rather wide at base, gradually tapering to a rounded point. Carried close to head.

MOUTH Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Well developed teeth, especially canines.

NECK Fairly long, strong and free from throatiness.

FOREQUARTERS Shoulders sloping, clean and muscular. Forelegs perfectly straight, strong, heavy in bone; elbows close to body.

BODY Chest not too wide, very deep and c

apacious; ribs moderately well sprung, never barrel-ribbed. Back powerful; loins strong, muscular and slightly arched.

HINDQUARTERS Muscles clean, well defined; good turn of stifle; hocks well let down.

FEET Compact, well arched toes, round, tough, elastic pads, protected by hair between toes and pads.

TAIL Strong at root, not inserted high or low, tapering towards end, free from coarseness. Carried with a slight curve upwards, never curled.

GAIT/MOVEMENT Straight forward, free and active.

COAT Short and dense, sleek and glossy i

n appearance but neither woolly nor silky.

COLOUR Light wheaten to red wheaten. Head, body, legs and tail of uniform colour. Little white on chest and toes permissible, but excessive white hairs here, on belly or above paws undesirable. Dark muzzle and ears permissible.

SIZE Dogs: 63 cm (25 ins) desirable minimum height at withers, 67 cm (27 ins) desirable maximum height at withers.
Bitches: 61 cm (24 ins) desirable minimum
height at withers, 66 cm (26 ins) desirable maximum height at withers.

FAULTS 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.

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


The breed Posted on Mon, June 24, 2013 21:31:38

The first pictures of African dogs are to be seen on the cave paintings made by the San (Bushmen) all over Southern Africa. These rock paintings are thousands of years old.
On 7th April 1652 the Dutch settled in the Cape under Jan van Riebeeck. By then the Khoikhoi had displaced the San, and they owned ridged hunting dogs who were renowned for their hunting skills.

The early settlers took with them various European hunting dogs, Bloodhound types and Mastiff types for guard purposes. In due time these were interbred with the local ridged dogs.
One of the earliest ridged dogs was an engraving in Livingstones book of 1875, “Missionary Travels in South Africa”.
Another picture of ridged dogs occurs in Frederick Courtenay Selous’ book “Travel and Adventure in Africa”. This is the hunting pack of Cornelis van Rooijen and in his book gives a vivid account of the hunt.
F.C. Selous was the greatest game hunter Africa had.

In the 1870’s Rev. Charles Helm travelled from Swellendam in the Cape to the Hope Fountain Mission in Matabeleland, Rhodesia. With him he took his 2 ridged dogs: ‘Powder’ and ‘Lorna’. It was at Hope Fountain Mission that Cornelis van Rooijen met these ridged dogs for the first time.
Van Rooijen farmed at Plumtree, but was better known as a big game hunter, and he kept a big pack of hunting dogs. He admired Helms’ ridged dogs for their physique and their guarding character and arrangements were made to breed them with his hunting dogs. The result of the cross was ridged dogs, with red coats and bobbed tails, and they formed the foundation of van Rooijen’s pack, which he bred with selectively for the next 35 years to produce a dog with the natural ability to bay lions.

In 1897 Francis Barnes co- founded the Salisbury Kennel Club. In 1910 he left Salisbury for Matabeleland and settled on Eskdale Farm at Figtree. In 1915 he purchased his first ridgeback ‘Dingo’ from Graham Stacey of Inszia, who had obtained his first ridgebacks from Van Rooijen.

Barnes later bought another ridgeback ‘Judy’, and this was the start of the famous Eskdale Ridgebacks.
Barnes became increasingly aware of the need of a Breed Standard, as he was constantly coming across Ridgebacks of a different size, coat and colour.
In 1922 a small gathering of seven people met to discuss the problem, and the result was the formation of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club.
The first Breed Standard was drawn up later in the same year, and according to Barnes, it owned much to the Breed Standard of the Dalmatian. In fact it has served the breed very well, and has remained virtually unchanged in all the important points, with the exception of eliminating brindle as an acceptable colour and the restriction of white to the feet and the chest.
After some time the Rhodesian Ridgeback was officially recognised by the South African kennel Union and the first dogs were registered in September 1924.

Vernon Brisley farmed from about 1920 at Sandown, beyond Mazoe, towards Centenary. The farm was in the Umvukwes area on the escarpment leading down to the Zambezi Valley.
At this time game and predators were moving away, but lions were still being hunted with the dogs being kept on a leash by the dog boys, with up to 4 dogs being handled by one boy. The dogs were kept in runs and exercised.

The first dogs probably came from Tractor Smith (Sipolilo). The first Viking registered dog to be found is Viking Lady (bitch) out of Towser and Flossie, born 23-11-1927.

Of the Viking dogs, Ella (the niece of Vernon Brisley) remembers Towser, biggish and dark, Queenie and old Ginger. Ginger was bigger and soft natured and was allowed in the home – the other dogs were hunting dogs. The dogs had yellow eyes, and on the hunt the dogs were often clawed – when they died they were full of scars. Queenie was a wonderful hunter who realised she had to get the animal into a shooting position. On the hunt the dogs did not bite the animal at the throat or neck but would nip at the heels. Enough dogs were used to corner the animal and form a ring around it. Horses were not used for hunting as horses were difficult to keep.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pioneers by Linda Costa
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Today by Stig Carlson
The Complete Rhodesian Ridgeback by Peter Nicholson
and Janet Parker