The Rhodesian Ridgeback is one of the rarest of breeds.

It has a long history, and is descended from semi domesticated hunting dogs in Southern African. Eventually these ridged dogs came to be bred with other breeds from Europe. The Great Dane is one of these, and the two breeds are found to have similar DNA traits. Clearly mixing these early hunting dogs with other breeds, did not take away their most distinctive feature - the Ridge

The official Rhodesian Ridgeback breed standard was created in 1922 with the founding of the first kennel club. A few years later it was officially registered with its first show club. To this day it is the only registered breed indigenous to Southern Africa.

But it is still a hard breed to find. But its exoticness and rareness has led it to have a core following, and we get many enquiries from people looking for their perfect Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. And many ask just what is the ridge?

What is the Rhodesian Ridgeback RIDGE?

Is it bone? Is it a deformity?

In fact it is something much, much simpler!

The ridge on the Rhodesian Ridgeback is all hair. Just the hair is going the wrong way.

The ridge is caused by the hair along the spine of the back growing in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat.

This unusual trait, is only found on a few breeds, and with the Rhodesian Ridgeback, it is there from birth.

What causes the Ridge?

For those Rhodesian Ridgeback fans, who have wondered why a Ridgeback is indeed called a Ridgeback, one has to look at the cause of the ridge on their backs to get the real answers.

Taking the initiative to map the hair ridge trait in Rhodesian Ridgebacks, scientists identified a segment of DNA that was found in Ridgebacks and the analysis revealed the precise genetic cause of ridges in this awesome African dog. A certain region contained three genes which were abnormally duplicated. These three genes are present in excess copies. When the genes are present in single copies, no ridge occurs - as in "normal dogs".

Rhodesian Ridgeback ridge

The same underlying genes are responsible for two traits: the rare white coat colour in Boxers and the inverted ridge of hair growth in the 3 Ridgeback breeds:

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks
  • Thai Ridgeback
  • The rare Phu Quoc Dog of Vietnam

Based on genetic-based hypothesis, both the Thai Ridgeback Dog and Phu Quoc Dog are likely to be descended from a so-called Funan Ridgeback Dog which originated over 1,000 years ago in Funan Era of the region. The Hottentot Dog or Ari Dog (as called by the tribe), a known African Ridgeback ancestor of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, is now extinct. The possible genetic connection among the three remaining breeds is being investigated through DNA studies. So far, the only thing they have in common is the ridge on their backs.

In addition to showing a simple pattern of inheritance- suggesting that one gene or genomic region is responsible - the coat color and ridgeback traits are easily observed in dogs as well!

With it's fascinating history, that has brought about such a unique ridge, and such strong looks, Euro Puppy is proud to have Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies for sale.