Update 05. Oktober 2012 / Rhodesian Ridgeback FCI-Standard N° 146 / 10.12.1996 / Origin: Southern Africa
Rhodesian Ridgeback FCI-Standard N° 146 / 10.12.1996
Origin: Southern Africa
Standard supplied by the Kennel Union of South Africa and the Zimbabwe Kennel Club.
Utilization: The Rhodesian Ridgeback is still used to hunt game in many parts of the world
but is especially prized as watch-dog and family pet.
Classification F.C.I.: Group 6 – Scent hounds and related breeds, Section 3 – Related breeds, without working trial.
Brief historical summary: The Rhodesian Ridgeback is presently the only registered
breed indigenous to southern Africa. Its forbears can be traced to the Cape Colony of
Southern Africa, where they crossed with the early pioneers’ dogs and the semi-domesticated
ridged Hottentot hunting dogs. Hunting mainly in groups of two or three, the original function
of the Rhodesian Ridgeback or Lion dog was to track game, especially lion, and, with great
agility, keep it at bay until the arrival of the hunter.
The original standard, which was drafted by F.R. Barnes, in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, in 1922, was
based on that of the Dalmatian and was approved by the South African Kennel Union in 1926.
General appearance: The Rhodesian Ridgeback should represent a well balanced, strong,
muscular, agile and active dog, symmetrical in outline and capable of great endurance with a
fair amount of speed. The emphasis is on agility, elegance and soundness with no tendency
Ridge: The peculiarity of the breed is the ridge on the back, which is formed by the hair
growing in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. The ridge is the escutcheon of the
breed. The ridge must be clearly defined, symmetrical and tapering toward the haunch. It
must start immediately behind the shoulders and continue to the hip (haunches) bones. The
ridge must contain only two crowns, identical and opposite each other. The lower edges of the
crowns must not extend further down the ridge than one-third of its length. A good average
width of the ridge is 5 centimeters (2″).
Serious faults: One or more than two crowns.
Behavior / Temperament: Dignified, intelligent, aloof with strangers but showing no
aggression or shyness.
Skull: Should be of fair length (width of head between ears, distance from occiput to stop,
stop to end of nose, should be equal), flat and broad between the ears; the head should be
free from wrinkles when in repose.
Stop: The stop should be reasonably well defined and not in one straight line from the nose
to the occipital bone.
Nose: The nose should be black or brown. A black nose should be accompanied by dark eyes,
a brown nose by amber eyes.
Muzzle: The muzzle should be long, deep and powerful.
Lips: The lips should be clean, closely fitting the jaws.
Jaws/Teeth: Jaws strong, with a perfect and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth
closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. The teeth must be well
developed, especially canines or holders.
Cheeks: Cheeks should be clean.
Eyes: Should be moderately well apart, round, bright and sparkling, with intelligent
expression, their color harmonizing with the color of the coat.
Ears: Should be set rather high, of medium size, rather wide at base, and gradually
tapering to a rounded point. They should be carried close to the head.
Neck: Should be fairly long, strong and free from throatiness.
Loins: Strong, muscular and slightly arched.
Chest: Should not be too wide, but very deep and capacious; the brisket should reach to the
elbow. Forechest should be visible when viewed from the side. Ribs moderately well sprung,
never rounded like barrel-hoops.
Tail: Should be strong at the root and gradually tapering towards the end; free from
coarseness. It should be of moderate length. It should not be attached too high or too low,
and should be carried with a slight curve upwards, never curled.
Forequarters: The forelegs should be perfectly straight, strong and well boned, with the
elbows close to the body. When viewed from the side, the forelegs should be wider than
when viewed from the front.
Shoulders: The shoulders should be sloping, clean and muscular.
Pastern: Should be strong with light spring.
Hindquarters: In the hind legs muscles should be clean and well defined.
Stifle: Good turn of stifle.
Hock: Strong, well let down.
Feet: The feet should be compact and round, with well arched toes and though, elastic pads,
protected by hair between the toes and pads.
Gait/movement: Straight forward, free and active.
Hair: Should be short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance, but neither woolly nor silky.
Color: Light wheaten to red wheaten. A little white on the chest and toes is permissible but
excessive white hairs here, on belly or above toes is undesirable. A dark muzzle and ears are
permissible. Excessive black hair throughout the coat are highly undesirable.
Size and weight
Height at withers:
Dogs: 63 – 69 cm (25″ – 27″)
Bitches: 61 – 66 cm (24″ – 26″)
Dogs: 36,5 kg (80 Ibs)
Bitches: 32 kg (70 Ibs).
Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the
seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should in exact proportion to its degree
and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities shall be disqualified.
N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the