Reproduced with the permission of the Kennel Club
Last updated October 2009
Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website here http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/watch for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.
Handsome, strong, muscular and active dog, symmetrical in outline, capable of great endurance with fair amount of speed. Mature dog is handsome and upstanding.
A distinctive feature is the ridge on the back formed by hair growing in opposite direction to the remainder of coat. Ridge clearly defined, tapering and symmetrical, starting immediately behind shoulders and continuing to haunch, and containing two identical crowns only, opposite each other, lower edges of crowns not extending further down ridge than one-third of its length. Up to 5 cm (2 ins) is a good average for width of ridge.
Dignified, intelligent, aloof with strangers but showing no aggression or shyness.
Head and Skull
Of fair length, skull flat, rather broad between ears, free from wrinkles when in repose. Stop reasonably well defined. Nose black or brown in keeping with colour of dog. Black nose accompanied by dark eyes, brown nose by amber eyes. Muzzle long, deep and powerful. Lips clean and close fitting.
Set moderately well apart, round, bright and sparkling with intelligent expression, colour harmonising with coat colour.
Set rather high, medium size, rather wide at base, gradually tapering to a rounded point. Carried close to head.
Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Well developed teeth, especially canines.
Fairly long, strong and free from throatiness.
Shoulders sloping, clean and muscular. Forelegs perfectly straight, strong, heavy in bone; elbows close to body.
Chest not too wide, very deep and capacious; ribs moderately well sprung, never barrel-ribbed. Back powerful; loins strong, muscular and slightly arched.
Muscles clean, well defined; good turn of stifle; hocks well let down.
Compact, well arched toes, round, tough, elastic pads, protected by hair between toes and pads.
Strong at root, not inserted high or low, tapering towards end, free from coarseness. Carried with a slight curve upwards, never curled.
Straight forward, free and active.
Short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance, but neither woolly nor silky.
Light wheaten to red wheaten. Head, body, legs and tail of uniform colour. Little white on chest and toes permissible, but excessive white hairs here, on belly or above paws undesirable. Dark muzzle and ears permissible.
Dogs: 63 cms (25 ins) desirable minimum height at withers; 69 cms (27 ins) desirable maximum height at withers; bitches: 61 cms (24 ins) desirable minimum height at withers, 66 cms (26 ins) desirable maximum height at withers.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Illustrated Breed Standard
Drawings reproduced by kind permission of Marilyn Marschat-Rhodes
“Before considering the individual dogs which have gained honours, we should study the Standard and see what it implies, so that we may examine them more critically.
Judges have as much responsibility toward the breed they presume to judge as the breeders have. It is the interpretation of the Standard by judges, which sets the type toward which breeders strive.”
“That dog which has gained the honours is going to be sought after. Let us be reasonably sure that it is a good type and a sound dog.”
Quoted from: The Rhodesian Ridgeback.. The Origin, History and Standard by T. C. Hawley