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.
The Committee have been made aware that some breeders are asking potential puppy buyers to pay hefty deposits not only before the litters are viewed but in some cases before they are born and, in a few instances, before the pregnancy is even confirmed. Obviously, it is always up to individuals if they pay a deposit or not, but we would like to just raise a few points to think about if you are looking to buy a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy and get asked to pay a deposit. The practical bit . . . a lot can happen between contacting a breeder and taking a new puppy home. When looking for a breeder or a potential puppy owner you want someone you can get on with. Hopefully, this is going to a relationship based on mutual trust for the next 10 plus years and it’s hard to make those decisions unless you have met each other or had lots of conversations. Mother nature isn’t always kind and doesn’t always provide the litter that is planned. Matings don’t always take, litters can be lost, all the puppies might be just one sex and, in our breed, the pattern of the ridge or not can often indicate the homes puppies will go to. Potential buyers should visit the breeder, see how a litter is being raised and cared for, meet the mother of the litter, the other family dogs, make sure the health test results are good and how the individual puppies are. If there are any concerns at any point it is far better to walk away before you pay any money. Responsible breeders want the best possible homes for their puppies and want the option that if any doubts occur they can change their mind. They will ask lots of questions, they might want to meet your existing dogs, they will want to see how you and your family interact with the puppies and their adult dogs. It should be all about the home, the life and love a potential puppy buyer will offer one of their dogs. The legal bit . . . a deposit forms part of a legally binding contract. It is a promise to buy something, in this case a puppy. It gives rights to, and places duties on, you and the breeder. A true deposit is deducted from the purchase price and can be anything from a nominal amount to 40-50% of the final price. As a potential puppy buyer if you change your mind the breeder can legally, depending on the amount paid, keep the whole deposit or a proportion of it in order to cover any losses incurred as a result of you cancelling the contract. For example, to compensate for time or re-advertising costs. Sometimes, breeders will ask for a Reservation Fee – this is like a deposit but as it stands as a payment in its own right the whole amount can generally be kept by the seller. As a breeder, asking for a deposit does put a duty on you to supply a puppy in line with the buyers expectations, and if you can’t, you must return any monies paid. People hate to walk away from money that they have paid and it is not unknown for buyers who have paid a deposit to go ahead with a purchase, even if they are having doubts. During the last 18 months paying deposits for puppies has been part of many scams. Both parties need to make sure there are clear terms and conditions covering all eventualities and receipts are given and received. Regardless of all the legal aspects once someone has your money it can be very difficult to get it back if either party changes their mind. If you are looking for a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy please contact our Puppy Co-Ordinator, Alison Wigglesworth, who will be aware of responsible breeders.
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.