FCI-Standard NO 146 10.12.1996 / GB


ORIGIN : Southern Africa.

Standard supplied by the Kennel Union of Southern Africa a the Zimbabwe Kennel Club.


UTILIZATION : The Rhodesian Ridgeback is still used to hunt game many parts of the world, but is especially prized as watch-dog a family pet.

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 cross with the early pioneer’s dogs and the semi-domesticated, ridged Hottentot hunting dogs. Hunting mainly in groups of two or three, original function of the Rhodesian Ridgeback or Lion dog was to track game, especially lion, and, with great agility, keep it at bay un the arrival of the hunter.

The original standard, which was drafted by F.R. Barnes, in Bulaway 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 outline, and capable of great endurance with a fair amount of speed. The emphasis is on agility, elegance and soundness with no tendency towards massiveness. The peculiarity of the breed is the ridge on back, which is formed by the hair growing in the opposite direction the rest of the coat. The ridge is the escutcheon of the breed. The ridge must be clearly defined, symmetrical and tapering towards haunch. It must start immediately behind the shoulders and continue to the hip (haunches) bones. The ridge must contain only two crow 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 5cm (2″).

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : Dignified, intelligent, aloof with strangers, but showing no aggression or shyness.


Cranial Region :

Skull : Should be of a fair length (width of head between ear 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.

Facial Region :

Nose : The nose should be black or brown. A black nose should 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.

Mouth : Jaws strong, with a perfect and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square the jaws. The teeth must be well developed, especially the canines holders.

Cheeks : Cheeks should be clean.

Eyes : Should be moderately well apart, round, bright and sparkling with intelligent expression, their colour harmonising with the colour 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.


Back : Powerful.

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 nor too low, and should be carried with a slight curve upwards, never curled.


FOREQUARTERS : The forelegs should be perfectly straight, strong an well boned, with the elbows close to the body. When viewed from the side, the forelegs should be wider than viewed from the front. Pasterns should be strong with slight spring.

Shoulders : The shoulders should be sloping, clean and muscular, denoting speed.

Feet : The feet should be compact and round, with well arched toe and tough elastic pads, protected by hair between the toes and pads.

HINDQUARTERS : In the hind legs the muscles should be clean, well defined, good turn of stifle and strong hocks well let down.

GAIT/MOVEMENT : Straight forward, free and active.


HAIR : Should be short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance, but neither woolly nor silky.

COLOUR : Light wheaten to red wheaten. A little white on the chest and toes is permissible, but excessive white hairs here, on belly, above toes is undesirable. A dark muzzle and ears permissible Excessive black hairs throughout the coat are highly undesirable.


The desirable heights are:

Dogs 63 cm (25″) to 69 cm (27″)

Bitches 61 cm (24″) to 66 cm (26″).


The desirable weights are:

Dogs 36,5 kg (80 lbs)
Bitches 32 kg (70 lbs).

FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be consider a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regard should be in exact proportion to its degree.

N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


13, Place Albert I
B-6530 THUIN (Belg)