The act of choosing a puppy begins long before the litter is born. Each individual should do their own research. Initially on the breed, to ensure that a large and sensitive hound, that a ridgeback is, is for them. Should that be the case then the next step is to make contact with some reputable breeders and our Puppy Co-ordinator Alison Wigglesworth, contact details can be found on the Committee page
Alison has many years’ experience in Rhodesian Ridgebacks and will be familiar to many of you, but for those who might now know her, below is a little information on her background, in Alison’s own words.
“This year we celebrate 40 years of Ridgeback ownership. Kinza Cleo was our first, and our three children grew up with her here in West Yorkshire. The day after she died, aged 11, we started looking for another – this was definitely the breed we couldn’t resist. We’re now loving life with our 8th Ridgeback, along with his mum and another mother and son pair. Both girls have had litters of fabulous pups and I’ve absolutely loved the whole experience of breeding our five litters and being a KC Assured Breeder (well, I’m forgetting the sleepless nights, worries and endless paperwork!) We have made some wonderful friendships through homing our pups with their new families, and have learned so much about the breed. Hip scores weren’t even mentioned when we bought Cleo!
Some of the best days with our dogs have been when I visit a women’s prison, local hospital and dementia café, with Stella and Yogi in their roles as Therapy Dogs. These visits bring huge pleasure to residents, patients and the hounds, and the dogs are wonderful ambassadors for our breed. I enjoy showing the dogs too, and being among fellow Ridgeback owners. My dream, as a complete novice, of taking a dog to Crufts came true in 2000, when Roo (Sofala Sembe) and I were judged by the late, great Jack Selby. Since then, we have enjoyed strutting our stuff on the green carpet with her granddaughter, niece and great-grandson, and we are proud of the cards won there, but treasure even more the Gold and Silver Good Citizen Awards won by Bronte and Yogi.
I look forward to taking on the role of Puppy Coordinator and helping to introduce new owners to trusted breeders – matches made in heaven, we hope!”
Below is a flowchart that may help guide you through the first stages on your journey finding the right breeder and puppy.
You might also like to visit some shows, which now run virtually throughout the year and all round the country, are a good place to meet up with the breeders. Many now have excellent web sites with a lot of information on their dogs and their breeding. These breeders will want to develop a relationship with all potential owners and it will never display the attitude of “just bring the money and you can have a pup”! Equally as potential owners it is in your interests to form a mutually comfortable and open relationship with the breeder.
Some questions that you might ask of the breeder:
- Have the puppies been checked regularly for Dermoid Sinus?
- Were any puppies in the litter affected by Dermoid Sinus?
- Are the parents and any ancestors Hip and Elbow scored?
- Are the parent’s health tested for JME, DM, EOAD and any other tests currently available?
- Were there any umbilical hernias in the litter?
- Are the sire and dam of good temperament? (You must meet the dam but it is not always possible to meet the sire).
- Will the puppies be insured?
- Will there be any written feeding and care guides when the puppies go to their new homes together with continued support from the breeder?
- Are the puppies registered with the Kennel Club and are there any restrictions on them?
Answers to all of the above should be along with advice should be freely given.
Most responsible breeders will hip, elbow score and any other relevant health tests prior to breeding. Sinus checks should be carried out regularly ensuring the puppies have happy and healthy lives free from this condition.
It is important that you are able to openly discuss anything to do with owning a ridgeback puppy with the breeder. You should be able to see the breeders dogs in their home environment, specifically the dam of the litter and if residing with the breeder the sire to. The British Veterinary Associations Certificate of hip and elbow scores for both parents should be available for inspection (if the sire resides elsewhere a copy should be readily available). A reputable breeder will always help you to choose a puppy depending on your experience with dogs and your current circumstances. However, if you feel in the slightest way uncomfortable with the breeder – say NO thank you!
A WORD OF CAUTION TO PUPPY BUYERS
It has come to the notice of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed Clubs that some unscrupulous breeders are passing off Rhodesian Ridgebacks of incorrect colours, as “rare and correct” – please be careful. The correct colours allowed by the breed standard, as defined by The Kennel Club, are Light Wheaten to Red Wheaten and not colours such as black and tan (Doberman colouring) or brindle. Occasionally, due to recessive genes, silver/grey, blue, black & tan or brindle coloured puppies are born. They should never be shown, never be used in a breeding programme and should be registered as “non standard” colours; their purchase price should reflect this. The Kennel Club and M&N RR Club recommends that these puppies should have their registration documents endorsed by the breeder accordingly.