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February 28, 2017Essay

Everything You Need To Know About Getting A Rhodesian Ridgeback

I’m frequently asked here, on Instagram, and on YouTube about the process of finding and adding a Rhodesian Ridgeback to your family. The questions have really poured in since I got Zero so I figured I’d put together a comprehensive public resource I can point people to for answers.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, lion

For introductory/general questions about the breed, Wikipedia and the AKC both offer a solid overview of the breed history and standards. The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United Status (RRCUS) also has a couple helpful guides on preparation and choosing the right dog. For a closer look of what day to day life with a Ridgeback looks like you can check out my videos here and here.

Okay, so you’ve done your homework. You’re ready for the challenges of having a Ridgeback. You’re eager to invest the time and effort it takes to reap the wonderful rewards. Great! Now what?

More homework! I know, I know. You came here for a dog, not a degree. But trust me – this is important. There are a ton of pitfalls when it comes to finding a Ridgeback. RRCUS lists some of the most common ones here. Memorize that list by heart.

Everything you love about these dogs is the result of ethical breeders who through careful and loving devotion help Ridgebacks remain healthy and robust. RRCUS is a collection of such breeders and their website is a great resource and a perfect place to start your journey.

I began my search for each of my three Ridgebacks with the Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue – the official rescue of RRCUS. In each case there wasn’t a dog available or I couldn’t meet the requirements of the available pups in my home. The Ridgeback network is great and the RRR actually connected me with the breeder where I got Eko. Even though I haven’t matched with one of their dogs, I like to donate to RRR whenever I get a dog because they do such awesome work. I highly recommend you check them out.

If you decide a puppy is the right fit for your family, I always suggest people start their search with the RRCUS Breeder Directory. Avoid any and all websites which let you simply buy a puppy, little or no questions asked. No ethical breeder will list their puppies this way. Leave the one click deliveries to Amazon.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, amazon

Whenever possible, use the directory to search for breeders within driving distance of your home. This allows you to meet the breeder/litter ahead of time and more fully participate in the process. Also, many breeders will not ship their puppies, or will only do so under extenuating circumstances.

After you locate a handful of breeders I’ve found the easiest thing to do is give them a call. Definitely don’t judge the quality of a breeder by the quality of their web presence. Glass Creek, where Zero is from, has an updated WordPress site with great photos. Mystic Isle, where Eko and Penny are from, is hosted on an older platform. I trust and recommend both Mary from GC and John from MI not because of their websites, but because I’ve spent a lot of time talking with/learning from them.

Expect finding a breeder to be a lot like speed dating. They’re going to have a lot of questions for you, and you should have plenty for them. Every breeder has different plans and goals in mind for their litters, so it’s important to talk about whether their plans match yours.

For example, some breeders may be looking for speedsters to home with families who lure course, while others might want to place a number of their dogs in show homes. It’s helpful if you go into your conversations with the breeders knowing what kind of puppy you’re looking for. Here’s a few items to consider ahead of time:

  1. Male or female? You’ll hear plenty of different opinions about this, but I believe the personality of the puppy is way more important than the sex. That said, I do like to have one female and one male together, so when looking around for a puppy this time I informed breeders my preference was for a male. If you’re amenable to either it helps give you more options.
  1. Show or pet? Puppies of every breed are evaluated for their potential to succeed in the show ring. For Ridgebacks, the most obvious marking evaluated is the ridge. Hips, joints, shape, movement and health are all considered as well. A puppy will be automatically designated as “pet” if it doesn’t meet certain breed standards. Penny, because of her off-kilter ridge and a neck-whorl, was evaluated as “pet.” Zero, because of his even ridge and no glaring disqualification, was evaluated as “show.” Most importantly, these distinctions mean nothing about the physical health of the pup. Some of the most stunning Ridgebacks I’ve ever seen have been “pet” quality. So unless you’re thinking of showing your pup I’d recommend not wedding yourself to the idea of a “show” quality dog.
  1. Temperament? All good breeders will temperament test their pups in order to gauge what their adult personalities will be like. It’s as much art as science, but I’ve found the evaluations to always be helpful and spot on. With Eko I knew he was a personable charmer, with Penny I knew I was getting a fearless firebrand, and with Zero I know I have an easy-going lug. It’s important to think about what types of personalities would be a good (or bad) fit for your home. In my case, one Penny is more than enough, so I fastidiously avoided any rabble rousers.

Remember the dating analogy? Well it holds true not just because you want to pick the right one, but also because you need the right one to pick you. Most breeders have more potential homes than they have puppies, so the best way to get higher on their list is to demonstrate your preparedness. An easy way to do that is to have solid answers for the above questions. You should also be ready to discuss your plans for caring for your pup in both the short and long term.

A breeder’s inquiries might seem intrusive to people going through the process for the first time, but the questions are simply the sign of proper diligence. Any ethical breeder commits themselves to the health and well-being of their pups for the lifetime of the dogs. An ethical breeder’s responsibility does not end when you take the dog home.

In fact, the contract you sign (yes, there’s a contract, we’ll get there) says you must return your dog to the breeder if for any reason you are unable to care for them. This is not some draconian mandate, it’s simply indicative of the breeder’s commitment.

When I first met John from Mystic Isle, he had just picked up two dogs a woman got from him a decade ago. Sadly, the woman was undergoing medical treatment and could no longer care for her pups or find someone who could. John said there was never a question in his mind whether he’d bring the two seniors back home. “No matter where they go and no matter how old they are, they’re always my puppies,” John said.

That conversation and so many more made it clear that John was a breeder I wanted to support. The same is true for Mary, who is similarly invested in the well-being of her dogs. A good breeder is an invaluable resource. It’s well worth your time and effort to find the right one.

Once you’ve found that breeder and you’re on their list for the litter, it’s time to pick your pup! Resist the urge to make any instant decisions based on a single photo. Treat the process as a collaboration with the breeder, whose intimate familiarity with the pups should help guide you. This is also why I recommend choosing a breeder within driving distance, if feasible.

I’ve always visited litters ahead of time to meet the pups in person. This is also nice because you can introduce yourself to the breeder and meet the dam (aka the two who do all the hard work). Plus, nothing beats being at the bottom of a pile of puppy Ridgebacks! Photos and videos are great, but there’s no substitute for face time.

You’ve picked your pup – woohoo! Almost there. Now just have to sign the contract. This part can spook people, so I want to let you know that it’s totally standard protocol. No need to hire a lawyer. The contract covers straightforward registration/health considerations, indicates show/pet quality of the dog, and delineates breeding restrictions – i.e., you must follow agreed upon guidelines for spay/neuter/breeding.

You should read the contract thoroughly and ask the breeder any questions you have about it. They will be happy to walk you through it.

For payment, some breeders take an early deposit while others will have you pay in full before pickup. Both are fine.

If you’ve made it this far, and you’re anything like me, you’re beyond excited and dreaming of the day you bring home the new pup. Get plenty of sleep while you still can! On pickup day I recommend you bring a leash, a good chew toy, some treats, and a blanket (let mom and the puppy siblings lay on the blanket to make it have a comforting, familiar scent). Your breeder will let you know about any other specifics.

Congratulations, you did it! Welcome to the Ridgeback family, enjoy that new puppy smell while it lasts. And don’t forget to take plenty of photos, they grow way too fast.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago, marking our territory

Now, despite the title of the post, this certainly doesn’t cover everything you need to know about getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, but I do hope it will be a helpful primer. If you have any additional questions you can ask in the comments below or shoot me an email at [email protected]

Comments for Everything You Need To Know About Getting A Rhodesian Ridgeback

  1. thanks for a great post… I like that your breeder is always there for his pups… no matter what… that is a good sign that you found the right breeder…
    what are your plans for Zero? will you show him once (westminster needs a RR champion)?

  2. Piglove says:

    Very well said. You covered everything sweet friends. Now the fun begins of connecting to that little puppy! XOXO – Bacon

  3. Shannon says:

    Great article!!!

  4. Ellen Quilty says:

    An extremely well thought out piece on due diligence before bringing a Ridgeback into your home.A good breeder of any consequence will ask all the questions you mentioned and more.And as you say that is the easy part!Zero looks like he has tripled in size – he is going to be a big gorgeous boy for sure.

  5. realappetite says:

    Wonderful post, Will! I’m sure it will be very helpful for anyone interested in this amazing breed. I have a few points to add.
    1. Be prepared to WAIT! Many reputable breeders have only 1-2 litters a year. Coupled with a waitlist. We had to wait 8 months for Atlas to be born but it was absolutely worth it. Don’t be tempted by a backyard breeder with a quick turnaround because…
    2. Health testing. A solid breeder will have had both parents tested for genetic abnormalities as well as had their hips and elbows certified healthy by the Orthepedic Foundation for Animals. If a breeder can’t or won’t provide basic health info — run, don’t walk.
    3. Don’t be afraid to contact your breeder after you bring your pup home! Think of the price of the dog including free lifetime tech support. A good breeder is absolutely interested in your puppy doing well and has probably seen it all…so if you’re struggling with something, reach out to them for help.

  6. Luckily Zero’s breeder is only a few hours away, so we’re going to get him and a few of his littermates in the ring early to see how they look. Could be a fun new adventure.

  7. Thanks! Can’t believe how quickly that puppy chunk melted off – he’s a big little dog now.

  8. Connie Taylor says:

    Not only is this good advice for RRs, but it can be applied to any puppy/dog you may be interested in adopting from a breeder, neighbor, or animal shelter. However, we did have two strays puppies twice that showed up on our property and they turned out to be awesome dogs. (Zero is turning into another handsome pup like Eko!! and Penny couldn’t be prouder of your selection)

  9. All great points. Backyard breeders may try to distract you by saying things like “the parents have papers!” which is meaningless. Hips/elbow/genetics testing are a must and a breeder will always be eager to share those results. And as you say, part of why picking the right breeder is so important is that this is someone who you’ll be in touch with for years to come. Thanks for the additions!

  10. Thanks! While my experiences is with Ridgebacks, I definitely think the general advice carries over well to getting a dog. Thought that’s pretty awesome your pups literally found you!

  11. Anne says:

    I think you provided great information for those interested in purchasing a RR puppy. I have shown 2 of mine to their AKC Championships, usiing a professional handler, and my breeder helped show them as well. Are you going to show Zero? He’s such a handsome dog!

  12. KarenS says:

    Excellent Will. Sat here reading this nodding my head continually and smiling. And may I add that an ethical breeder is there for you every step of the way. To answer your silly questions. Advice on health issues. Fill out that questionnaire, be honest with them and yourself

    I had used a questionnaire I had filled out for another breeder to introduce ourselves to the breeder of Bruno and Ty. She travels and was difficult to get ahold of, initially. Both breeders I had contacted prior were willing to consider my purchasing a puppy from them, but told me to also keep trying to contact her, “she breeds good solid dogs” and was closer to us. Best thing we ever did. She also introduced us to other owners of this wonderful breed and gave us even more resources. She’s been there for us ever since we brought these puppies home.

    Bruno was pet quality and my field dog. Ty was my show prospect. Let’s just say he left the ring and settled into pet easily. Even with a show prospect, the breeder wants the best possible home for their pup. And just because they are pet quality doesn’t mean a lack of care when evaluating a potential home.

    When you find the right breed, and a good network of breeders you have truly found your breed for life!

  13. Emmadog says:

    People really need to be careful when choosing a breed and a puppy, so good post. Lucky for us, the GBGV is rare and there are only a couple breeders in the USA. We know Bailie and Madison’s breeder in MO really well, and she puts so much care, love, time, and effort into all her dogs. She knows us and has been so helpful in selecting the right puppies for our family. It is a family member that will hopefully be with you for many years, so it’s important to get it right!

  14. I have no experience in the ring, so our plan is to meet Mary at some local shows and see where that takes up. If an AKC championship is in our future that could be a lot of fun.

  15. Well said. A great home is always a breeder’s first priority above all else. And once you get tied into the network it’s really nice to have such a good group of people to turn to for help/support.

  16. You guys are building your very own network from the ground up. Very cool for you to be on the front lines from the beginning.

  17. Jodi Wood says:

    Love this post! I probably know all of this, and it will be a good resource to copy and send to someone who asks all those questions! Perfect! I am so jealous of your new puppy photos of Zero! They look like a professional photographer (you!) with the white background (head tilts!). I sadly did not get enough of my Perdie before she is suddenly 10 months old now! My first RR Lola, came from Aegis RRs (Oregon/Utah), of course a member of RRCUS. Erin gave me a wealth of information to raise my puppy. My new puppy Perdie came from Cordell RRs (Iowa) and Muriel has also been a fantastic breeder. We truly have a unique breed. I really dream about driving to Chicago with my Perdie, or you and Emily coming to Utah with the dogs!! I feel like you are my pen-pal friends XO

  18. KDKH says:

    I would also recommend that when you go to pick up your puppy, you take a roll of paper towels, a trash bag, and wet wipes. I’ve had several puppies get car sick on their trip to their new home, even when it is considered to be local.

  19. Anne says:

    Yes and fun for all of us too . He would have a built in, huge cheering section!

  20. T&S says:

    Great advices! Some people fall in love with dogs appearance and they dont study their characters.
    Our male is easy going our female proactive, and its a significant difference no mather they are both RRs.

  21. We are looking forward to giving it a shot , brothers Rex and Bennett will also be trying it out next month at a puppy match in Birch Run, time to practice stacking!

  22. I already feel like I didn’t get enough puppy photos of Zero – he’s shed that puppy chunk and is now a fully big little dog. I’m relentlessly snapping away to capture as much as I can. Utah was one of my favorite places to hike with Eko, so would be great to take another road trip there someday for a RR adventure club meeting.

  23. VERY true! Can’t forget the cleanup stuff.

  24. Nice! Zero is still a bit stubborn about sitting, so I’m sure he’ll much prefer the stack.

  25. It is important to be patient, most puppies are not ready to be evaluated until they hit 7/8 weeks, that is when puppies can be best matched with families. Some are easier to peg than others, some puppies are late bloomers and just need an extra week or two to mature. This is a very needed resource so great job!!!

  26. Patience is a virtue! From start to finish it requires patience to get the best results. So glad you like the post. My hope is to get as much information out there as possible to help people make the best decisions.

  27. Nicole says:

    It makes me so happy that you touched on Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue. Puppies are adorable and great and amazing and fantastic, but sometimes an adult rescue dog could be just as wonderful. I got both of my girls when they were about a year old from RRR and I wouldn’t have it any other way! It’s important to consider all the options!

  28. coastingnz says:

    Great blog Will – and I think it applies to all and any breeds. Research, research, research and ensure the right fit for you.

  29. Abbie says:

    Ever since fostering undeage puppy litters for the Humane Society I volunteer at, I’ve had way more respect for a breeder’s opinion and knowledge of puppies personality and fit. Not that I didn’t respect them before, but now, if I found a breeder I trusted, I would give them almost complete say in which puppy they thought would be a good match for me. Not completely, but way more than I would have before. And of course, finding a good, trustworthy and ethical breeder is the vital part. Great article, Will! I’m not looking to get a Ridgeback, but so many people don’t understand what goes into getting responsibly bred purebred puppy, it’s great to have all the basics laid out in a straightforward way.

  30. Jodi Wood says:

    Do! And like I’ve said before, stay with us! Totally fenced in dog yard!!!! 🙂

  31. Chelsea says:

    As a Vet Tech owned by a ridgeback I would recommend being prepared for the medical side of things.

    Ask your breeder if health checks have been conducted on the breeding pair. It is ideal to have OFA or comparable certificates for hips, elbows, and thyroid. You can’t be guaranteed that your dog won’t get hip dysplasia but having the proper check on the parents greatly reduce the risk.
    Research dermoid sinus (D.S.), this is a congenital issue that has an increased incidence in ridgebacks and can be evaluated as you are selecting your puppy.

    Puppies should remain with their mother and litter mates for a minimum of 8 week for a myriad of reasons. If your breeder is allowing you to take home a six-week old puppy then your super duper responsible puppy parent senses should be tingling!

    Please, Please, PLEASE be diligent in having your puppy properly vaccinated for Distemper, Parvo, and Rabies. Parvo cases are horrific and easily avoidable. Some of these vaccines are given in a three shot series, I won’t bore you with the details on maternal antibodies but know that the veterinarian is not just trying to take your money with multiple vaccinations.

    Socialization is so important for any dog but especially ridgebacks as they tend to bond closely with a limited number of people. It doesn’t seem like a problem now but consider the separation anxiety Fido will experience when you are at work or out of town. The key socialization period is in the first 16 weeks. Regulated puppy playgroups are a great way to get in this socialization without fear of your dog coming into contact with unvaccinated dogs or contaminated areas during that period of time where their vaccine series is not complete.

    Rhodesian Ridgebacks are large, fast growing dogs and joint development is slow; their level of exercise should be monitored until 16 months of age. This means no road work until then! I know they look big enough to go jogging on sidewalks with you but it is so hard on their joints. Also, make sure that you are feeding food that is specifically formulated for large-breed dogs even as a puppy.

    My final suggestion would be to exercise caution when it comes time to spay or neuter. I personally, will not have my ridgebacks spayed/neutered until ~2 years of age due to the slow fusing of their growth plates and how a sudden decrease in hormones can be detrimental in the long run. This isn’t a hard rule just something to consider, my current ridgeback was neutered at 18 months due to behavioral issues (obsessive humping of other dogs.

  32. Completely agree. And for many people, like yourself, an Rescue Ridgeback is the perfect choice. It’s such a rewarding way to get an awesome dog and support an awesome cause.

  33. Exactly. It’s a lot of work, but the rewards are well worth it.

  34. One of my hopes here is to also shine a light on the incredible work that ethical breeders do. The time and effort and travel and money it takes to have a responsibly bred litter is quite substantial, so I always like when I have the chance to highlight that work.

  35. A lot of really helpful info for here – thanks for taking the time to add it all. After hearing more from the community I plan on updating the post with more info. The genetic screening, DS, and OFA testing is extremely important so that will definitely be added.

  36. lauramcgrew says:

    Thanks so much for such an educational and informative post, Will. I was so happy to learn that RRR is the official rescue organization of RRCUS. We adopted our awesome Radley from RRR and have never regretted it (on the contrary we cannot imagine our lives without him!).

  37. wakefll says:

    I had the breeders of my two goldens pick them out for me…..they were familiar with my household and what I had planned. I would only ever get a pup from an ethical breeder, unless I was going to rescue…..they put tremendous thought and effort into each litter, and rarely make money

  38. Awesome! I’m hearing so many great stories of RRR pups today and it’s giving me a big smile. No better advertisement for the rescue than all these pups happily paired with loving homes.

  39. The time, effort, travel and money that ethical breeders pour into their pour into their loving work is truly incredible. I love when I have the opportunity to showcase their endeavours.

  40. Ethical breeders like one you found are a dream come true when you are looking for a puppy, regardless of the breed. Thanks for distilling the process into a great post! Well done. P.S. Can’t believe how much Zero has grown already. Holy cow!

  41. David says:

    A note on running your Ridgebacks, I say this as an experienced Ridgeback owner, is wait until their growth plates have fused and hardened. Dogs much under 3 that run a lot can receive CCL tears or ruptures that can cost upwards of 5k to repair.

  42. Kali and Max says:

    Hi Will,
    There are two books that I consider to be my ‘dog bibles’ and I highly recommend them to any dog owner. They will give you a wealth of knowledge about training and understanding dogs. I wish I had these when raising my children.
    They are:
    ‘Don’t Shoot the Dog’ by Karen Prior and ‘Culture Clash’ by Jean Donaldson, available at popular on-line book stores.
    There is a third very small book by a Norwegian lady by the name of Turin Rugaas called ‘On Talking Terms With Dogs Calming Signals’. It will teach you how to speak ‘Dog’ and recognize that they are saying to you. A delightful book.

    To add a bit to Chelsea’s very informative comments, it is very important to start socializing your new puppy long before she is fully vaccinated. Pet stores, farm stores, and many other dog friendly stores are wonderful places to take your puppy. But NEVER LET PUPPY DOWN ON THE FLOOR OR CONTACT ANOTHER DOG! Take a blanket from home, lay it in the bottom of a cart and up the sides then place puppy in the cart on the blanket. That way puppy can meet people without being exposed to whatever nasty things are on the floor.

    Enjoy your puppy.

  43. stephumina says:

    Hey Will,
    As usual, amazing informative post! Just a couple of things from a vet’s perspective: PennHip scores: checking for hip dysplasia – confirm if the pup itself has been xrayed: even if the parents have been scored I highly recommend getting the pup scored too because the most effective treatments for hip dysplasia are performed before 12 weeks of age.

    Also a really important thing to ask your breeder is the current diet that the pups have been weaned on. We always recommend transitioning pets onto new diets by replacing 1/4 of the old diet with the new diet every second day to prevent stomach upsets. Always use a puppy food for the correct protien/carbohydrate/calcium ratio. Avoid supplements at early ages – too high levels of calcium in pups can lead to bone deformities.

    Also – inspecting both parents if possible. Not all breeders will have the male on display but always ask if you would be able to view the sire when you visit – not only does this give you an overall idea of how big your pup has the potential to get, you also get to see the sire’s temperment.

    But as usual – a lovely post! Zero is adorable

  44. nikdaw says:

    Look how big his paws are compared to Penny! Good article. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Very true – growth plates and running with your Ridgeback could definitely merit their own posts because there is a lot to know. That said, good general advice – for any pup – is to wait for full growth before any serious running.

  46. Hey Max, thanks for the recommendations! I’ve followed a bunch of Karen’s work and really like her training models revolving around you teaching your pup about choices. Haven’t read the other two so I’ll have to check those out for sure.

  47. Thanks so much for taking the time to add your professional expertise to the discussion. When I update the post I’ll definitely want to include the screening info. And proper food transitioning is really important for those first weeks when so many other things are in flux. I was lucky enough to meet both parents this time around, which as you say is not always possible, but definitely always preferable.

  48. No joke, his paws were larger than hers from his first day home. The discrepancy is hilarious.

  49. robert findliw says:

    Go away and learn your breeds and or gain some expertise and knowledge before proclaiming to be an expert .

  50. stephumina says:

    Always happy to help. It really is great to see owners like you out there always wanting to do the best by your dogs – I’ve always said if half my clients were as dedicated as you being a vet would be the best job in the world. If you want I can pass along some of my notes on penhipp scores and elbow scores to share with your readers 🙂

    Also I forgot to mention key diseases new owners should be asking about: haemophilia b, dermoid sinus, and ventricular arrythmia in ridgebacks – all of which have dna tests available in america – you dont need to test all dogs – owners just need to ask if theres been a history or heart disease or a blood clotting disorder in the breeding line. (Again i have a paper i’ve written that im happy to share 🙂 )

  51. Haha I have called myself many things in my life, but never an expert! This guide isn’t intended for breeders or judges or experts. The people who ask me about Ridgebacks are just regular old civilians like me who have a lot of the same questions I did. My hope is that this guide (and the experts it points towards) can help get them started on their Ridgeback journey.

  52. Malin says:

    Hi Will!
    I live in Sweden and something maybe diffrent in contracts and other things, but I really like that you wrote that you should expect a lot of questions from the breeder. That is just what I look for in a breeder. Both with our Ridgeback and with our others pets. Our last addition to our family is a cat and his breeders first questions was if I could do CPR on a cat. I loved her straight away.
    We do have some websites with healthinfomation where you can search about the dogs and see their status on hipp and knees and if they are tested for some diseases. Don’t know if you do?
    Just out of curiousity, do you know if it is common in US to spay/neuter dogs? Here in Sweden we are not that many people and even fewer dogs, so in an effort to try to keep dogs from to much inbreeding, breeder is not always that keen that you spay/ neuter your dog.
    Hope your have a lovely weekend!

  53. Questions on all sides are a good thing – the more the better! The AKC link and the RRCUS pages list breed-specific health considerations, but I’m not sure if there is a central registry where you can look up results. For spay/neuter, the US has a pet overpopulation problem (which thankfully education and spay/neuter has helped significantly reduce). That said, for RR and other large breeds especially, data suggests waiting to full sexual maturity before altering whenever possible. It’s a nuanced decision which you should definitely review with your breeder and vet ahead of time.

  54. Leanne says:

    Hiya im a mummy to a beautiful female ridgeback. Shes a darling. She has just started to do something that is quite frustrating. Shes started to pee all over any bed she can get access too. Shes only ever left with my other teo labs for at most 2.5 hours so i dont understand this behaviour starting 3-4 months ago. She is 7 this year and didnt do this as a puppy. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Leanne x

  55. Hey leanne, tough to pinpoint the cause from afar. Is she having any other issues with urination frequency? Might be a UTI. If you leave and she doesn’t have access to a bed will she still urinate? A local behaviorist could be a great resource to help figure this out

  56. dogdaz says:

    Great post for any new dog parent.

  57. Gambit and Blitz says:

    Just to add to the testing section:

    There is now a genetic test for Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy so that should now be going on the list too, as well as the test for DM (degenerative myelopathy). I may be super fussy, but seeing that the breeder has tested for the blue gene is nice, as you know that they are aware of it and the issues it can bring.

    Being clear with the breeder about what you want and the type of dog that will suit you is really important. The breeders really do care about their pups and spend a lot of money and time breeding the best dogs they can. they really do want to set the pup and the new family up to succeed. They usually lose money when they breed a litter, rather than making any.

  58. Gambit and Blitz says:

    Oh – and In New Zealand I have found that pet insurance has been handy. My adult boy is big (49-51kg depending on how fit he is) so knocking him out when he needed biopsies done was about $250 – $300. He apparently doesn’t care about the effect of the first (lower cost) sedative so decided that he was going to stay awake, so they had to pull out the heavy duty (expensive) stuff! they pup (nearly 9 months) is a bit of a bulldozer so has already had a vet trip for cleaning up a hole he put in himself! As the antibiotic dose is calculated on body weight, the cost can get expensive for the bigger dogs.

  59. Gambit and Blitz says:

    I’m not sure about how it is in the US, but here the breeder community will refer prospective owners to other breeders if they know of someone that might have a pup that is unaccounted for in a current litter. It is how we found our first RR. That said, the RR community is pretty small (maybe 15 or so breeders) so they know each other. To avoid the gene pool getting too small there are breeders that have imported semen or dogs/bitches to add to their breeding program.

  60. Niki says:

    I just thought I would mention it here since I found your blog.

    About a year ago, we knew we wanted to eventually get a dog together as a couple. I started doing a lot of research on breeds with a basic set of guidelines my husband had and a separate list that I had and merge them together. After many hours of research I had narrowed down my list to two dogs, one of them being the Rhodesian Ridgeback. I knew pretty much everything about other breed, but had not a clue about Ridgebacks! I based my research to the basics bare bone information and went from there. After lots and lots of reading and researching on forums, AKC websites, breeder websites and more. I stumbled across your Youtube Videos and watched every single one! I was convinced a Rhodesian Ridgeback was the breed we wanted! I told my husband about the dog breed I had narrowed it down to, and in like mind he did his own research and came across your videos as well, which helped convince him that a Ridgeback was a good choice for us! We found an AKC registered breeder and this past February brought Simba home with us! He is sleeping stretched out in my lap as I type this. 🙂

    I want to thank you first off for all the videos you posted! It was very helpful for us in the decision making process and I couldn’t be happier with our choice!

    I loved watching Eko and then Penny in their adventures with you, It broke my heart when I saw you had lost Eko! I have lost furry family members in the past and I know how much it hurts! I know it’s still fresh and it’s still hurting. I am sure Zero will help heal everyone with his puppy love, I know nothing can ever replace Eko and it shouldn’t! But I’m confident Zero is going to be there for you through it.

    I look forward to watching Zero grow up! Thank you again for sharing your life with your Ridgebacks! It helped this family get one of our own!

  61. Hey Niki,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share that story. There’s nothing more I love to know than that the legacy of Eko’s love continues to ripple out across space and time. I’m happy that in some small way we could help you start your own adventure.

  62. Jim Fish says:

    First – you have been a useful resource for my wife and me. We got married in Sept 2015 and while on our honeymoon finalized getting a ridgeback after doing homework on the breed all spring and summer. Most of that homework was from your work with Eko and Penny. Ironically, we had always wanted to name ours Penny so we did! So thank you!
    Second – I am so deeply sorry for your loss of Eko. However, as I pointed out above, Eko was an inspiration to us and has done more for the RR world than most. I am so glad you are continuing the journey here.
    Third – why I’m posting on this article. After having had our Penny for almost 2 years we are looking to add a second to our growing pack. I noticed above and in your work you always have 1 male, 1 female. I have seen much debate as to owning 2 female RRs. What are your thoughts and reasons for the 1-1? Is it just you don’t want to risk the potential issues between same genders or it just works out 1-1 in that way?

    Thanks again!

  63. Hey Jim,

    Glad to hear we could play a small part in helping you guys on your own Ridgeback adventure. There’s no better living legacy for Eko and this blog than to help add more love to the world.

    As for the “best” pairing of male and females, I don’t think there’s really a right answer. But like you said, many people feel strongly about not having male/male or female/female pairings. Just as many people can show you cases where those pairings work great. I personally believe that matching dogs depends a lot more on the individual personalities rather than the sex. It’s also about the effort you put into socialization.

    I decided on the one and one format just because I wanted to get as much experience with the breed as possible, and I felt that balance was one way to achieve a greater perspective. It’s a guideline more than a rule for me. If I found the right pups, I’d have no hesitation with two females. Good luck on your search!

  64. Kim Gallimore says:

    i have a 2 year old male ridgeback. I absolutely love this dog but I am having a few problems. I have been sick for the past few years and I’m unable to work so I’m home most days with him. He is very good with my 12 year old son gets a little rough sometimes but it’s all in fun. No aggression toward my son. My ridgeback sleeps in my bed and is usually right beside of me where ever I go but here lately when my husband lays down-in the bed the dog doesn’t like it. I have even heard him quietly growl. My husband has not heard this but I’m very nervous that he might turn aggressive with my husband. My son can come i here and he doesn’t act like this. In the past he is very territorial while he is in my car but thus is my bed! I don’t know what to do to correct this before it gets worse

  65. Hey Kim,

    You’re right to want to nip any resource guarding behavior in the bud. I’m not a behaviorist, but a growl or grumble is likely your dog’s way of signaling discomfort with being moved. You might try asking your pup to leave the bed first, then have your husband get in bed and once you guys are settled ask the dog to return. If you’re concerned it’s a larger issue than it’s something you definitely want to get professional help with.

  66. Karen McP says:

    Thank you for mentioning the rescue group. Our last ridgeback was a 9 yr old rescue with a truly sad story. He was a wonderful boy! He passed away after only having him one year. We still grieve for him. I encourage anyone reading this to consider older rescues because they so deserve our love.
    You are a beautiful writer and I love reading and watching you stories. I was so sorry to hear about Eko. He was a lovely boy.

  67. […] evaluating/caring for the breeding pair. You can read more about the wonderful breeders I’ve used here, but in short, ethical breeding is a pretty lousy way to make […]

  68. amanda glynn says:

    My new husband has a 6yr old male..I want a pup of my own again. Jack was raised with a female (3 yrs older than he is) German Shepard. When they got divorced each took their own dog. Can I introduce to him to an 8 week old pup male/female? He’s very laid back loves the cat thinks they’re friends, the cat is not bothered by him and actually plays with him. Also can it be any breed?

  69. […] because I get a lot of emails with questions about the breed. The inquiries cover everything from finding a breeder to training […]

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