I have recently been contacted by a pleasant well spoken young man endeavouring to source two Rhodesian Ridgeback male puppies on behalf of a Middle Eastern aristocrat. I felt this was not a good idea.

Having lived in Egypt and Aden, whilst liking the people, the fact is that their culture is very different from ours, in particular in our association with dogs. Dogs in such countries are never allowed in the home, however grand. These two puppies would be denied the absolute necessity of close and constant contact with their owner, nor experience the variety of mental stimuli we ensure which produces the calm, balanced and loyal companion we enjoy and is perceived by others.

Without a doubt these Ridgebacks denied this level of attention and care would end up difficult and be very different from what was expected. This embarrassment would very soon dampen the owners enthusiasm, even tolerance, and could result in the young dogs being discarded or left in the care of staff who might very well not share their employers rather unusual empathy with all dogs. There would be no RR welfare trust, no Lee Kent support or similar RR charities and no way of taking them back, if this was agreed, without them going through the stress of quarantine when they need most support and attention.

Many years ago John and I were asked to check up on four Ridgebacks at the Battersea Windsor kennels on behalf of Isobel Field our then Breed Rescue officer. We were told that these dogs had been taken from a substantial local property belonging to a Middle Eastern gentleman who liked dogs. For whatever reason they were left in the care of his staff who not only didn’t like dogs but were afraid of the Ridgebacks. As a result the dogs were shut in a dark stable and on occasion loaves of bread were thrown into them. Not surprisingly the dogs were in poor condition, particularly one who was emaciated and covered with bites and tears from being attacked by his stronger companions. These four Ridgebacks had been sold into this horror by two well known breeders who presumably assumed that considerable wealth equated to a superior canine lifestyle. These dogs were lucky, Isobel and Battersea picked up the pieces and found the right kindly homes for them.

I hope this information will be sufficient to dissuade anyone from sending their puppies abroad so readily. At the very least may it encourage very thorough research into cultures, attitudes and different values held, before committing their puppies beyond their reach.

Ann Woodrow

February 2013

Breed Guardian to the Rhodesian Ridgeback South African International Foundation.