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Spin-off: Quality Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders?

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  • Spin-off: Quality Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders?

    As a spin-off from both the farm dog thread as well as the golden breeder thread, I am asking for recommendations for RR breeders. Last night, a STUNNING ridgeback came in to the clinic (she had hives, poor girl was all bumpy!) and her mom told me that she was training to be a service dog as well. She was a REAL ridgeback, but unfortunately I was unable to ask where she got her from (but I may end up calling and asking ). I know they can be tough dogs, hence wanting a pup from a reputable breeder.

    Anyone got some suggestions? I am currently in AZ, but may be relocating to GA in the next month or two.
    When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

  • #2
    No help, but OH YAY!!! They are the BEST dogs. You won't be sorry. I had a fantastic ridgey/lab mix, and she was incredible. The most loyal, wonderful dog, and smart as a whip. So cool. As much as I love my Stella-bella, I still miss Monty terribly. I will read this thread eagerly, as at some point in the future I would like to bring another one into my life. Don't know if I'd do a breeder or a rescue, but it will be intersting to see what others have to say!


    • #3
      I have a ridgeback. Have you researched the breed? Our Maddie REFUSES to sleep ANYWHERE but in between daddy and I every night. We tried, in vain, to make her sleep in her own bed. It was sorta cute at first. Not now.

      Maddie weighs 80 pounds!!!

      When they say they are snugglers, it doesn't even BEGIN to cover it. she is constantly snuggliing. On the couch, in bed, on the floor, when mommy is trying to turn her abs from flab to firm.....

      Plus, they are large game hunters so you have to be careful about them around the horses. Mine is good with the big horses but is odd around our small ponies. I trust her, but not that far.

      My suggestion would be to contact your local rhodesian ridgeback rescue. We got our Maddie from a rescue and she's full blooded and papered but since she's just our love bug, we never bothered to finish the process. She didn't come cheap either for a rescue. We paid $400 for her, but a "pet quality" ridgeback that we found was $1400. That's more than what I paid for my horse!

      A GOOD ridgeback breeder doesn't breed very often, at most once a year. You'll know you've got a good breeder if they only breed that often and seem neurotic about it. Finding puppies is nigh impossible as they are usually spoken for before birth. I called about eight breeders in my area and no one had ANYTHING and they were more than willing to tell me where NOT to go. You could try that route too.

      Let us see pictures when you do find one! I love my snuggle butt.... Even when she pins me down in bed when I'm trying to make it to work on time!

      Here are some helpful websites.



      • #4
        Both of my dogs are Oakhurst dogs.

        Ridgebacks are very, very difficult puppies and they take a significant amount of work to turn into good grown up dogs. They want to belong to one person, and they'll get very confused if they belong to more than one person. You must be exceedingly consistent with them, and you must be able to be the biggest dog in the house ALL the time. These are definitely dogs that will take a mile if you give ANYTHING. They need very concrete rules. The line you draw in the sand must never move.

        They are *great* dogs--I don't think there's anything out there that's more loyal--and I'll never have anything but Ridgebacks, but I do a lot of directing people away from this breed instead of promoting them. For horse people, I use this analogy: if you can put manners on a rank stud horse, you can probably handle a Ridgeback.

        I wouldn't purchase a puppy from anything less than a nationally recognized kennel that focuses on temperament and has been in the business for more than a decade. Oakhurst has been in Ridgebacks for nearly 40 years. So has Kimani. That's the history you want. Be prepared to spend a significant amount of money on a puppy. This is NOT a breed where going to a "iffy" or even just a "okay" breeder is going to get you the puppy you want--you want a puppy from someone who's been in this business for a LOT of years and has a LOT of experience. I wouldn't expect you to be able to find anything in your area--I'd look nationally.


        • #5
          OH Simikie, you are so right about them needing tons of attention as puppies. My ridgeback is currently laid out asleep at my feet but we live in an apartment and we got her at like 6 months of age. What a challenge!!! I came home EVERY SINGLE DAY at lunch to take her potty. We walked her ALOT! (Well, we still walk her alot!). I took her to the dog park at least three times a week and she would run for about 2 hours. She still goes to doggy day camp once a week to run off energy.

          At 2, she did settle down. The lady who let us rescue her was very strict about lots of stuff and still calls to check up on her. She was very destructive and still is. Anything that smells like the barn, she chews. Not sure why.

          But I do love her. She's been a great dog for us, even in an apartment but I really think we're the exception. And, naturally, I think we got a special girl! She does flip flop on whose dog she is, Mommy or Daddy's but that's just if one of us is eating!


          • #6
            I wish my in-laws had done some research before they adopted their rhodesian ridgeback/boxer cross from the pound. Yes, she is a snuggler, and definitely a one-person dog (she belongs to my mother-in-law, but will accept some of us as a poor substititute - I am second on this dogs totem pole). But she is the strongest willed, most stubborn dog I have ever owned. And she is very protective of the house and family, and has nipped more than a few legs in her day.

            I was watching the Dog Whisperer last night, and they had our dog's evil twin on the show (rhodesian ridgeback/boxer), and the stuff that Caesar had to do to that dog to cure it - I'm not strong enough to pin our dog to the floor! I'm glad our dog is not as bad as the one on the show!
            There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


            • #7
              Cool thread! In 1974 as a junior I got a RR that I showed to an AKC Championship, got High Scoring Obedience at his first specialty show, and up to 2 legs on a CDX.... but never got the CDX because my dog always found something new to "challenge" me with after that and we never got another qualifying score again! They are the most handsome dog around! But they are a challenge to train since they have the distractable hound mentality so now that I'm much older and married, my husband is sold on "only GSD's" so I suspect I won't be getting another Ridgeback. But I confess to looking to see if the breeders I knew "back then" are still active with RR's or just see what they look like these days every now and then! (And sometimes I am very tempted to just get one anyway! They definitely are a wonderful breed if you are able to give them the time they deserve.)

              So the kennel I got my dog from isn't in existence anymore, but the very nice people who were friends of my dog's breeder and were so kind to ferry me around to all of the shows it takes to finish a dog still are. I'd really recommend contacting Bill and Doreen Kent. Their website is:


              It appears they do still do some breeding and they also are very active in rescue. And no matter what, I'm sure they would have great recommendations for good breeders in your area. They are super people who are interested first and foremost in the welfare of the breed.

              Another kennel I found when I checked that I knew from "way back then" that is still active is Alicia Mohr's Kimani Kennels at:


              I know I always loved her dogs' type back then and from the web site it seems they are still doing very well! But I didn't know her personally, just ran into her a lot at shows and some of the parties the Ridgeback people would have afterwards. I would expect that would be a very good kennel, too, though.

              Good luck in your search! Keep us posted with what you do!!


              • #8
                At a rescue in Atlanta, GA

                Check out these two adorable pups:


                One is still available for adoption!
                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                • #9
                  You know, it's funny: whenever I post on one of these dog threads about how difficult Ridgebacks are, I always sort of hold my breath, expecting someone to post about how I'm wrong, and how their Ridgeback is SO easy...so far, that's never happened

                  My Ridgebacks are very closely related (they're 3/4 siblings--same sire, related dams) and they are VERY different. Both were difficult puppies, but the older girl, Riana, was easier than her little sister Koa.

                  Riana is very laid back. She would rather snooze on the sofa than just about anything else. I was able to keep her in my little 600 sq ft apartment when I was in college, but she did go to the barn with me every day. Riana is very, very concerned and worried about pleasing me. She doesn't like to play with other dogs. She's very submissive...but, if any dog or any person challenged me, I have NO doubt that she would protect me. She is so incredibly loyal.

                  Her little sister, Koa, is very different. Koa is very much a sight hound and NEEDS to run. I really should try coursing her--she would love it. She runs laps in my back yard. Koa was incredibly, unbelievably difficult as a puppy. She is just now starting to grow up (she'll be 5 in Aug 09.) I joke about her ADD...but it's not really a joke. You tell her to lay down, and she does...for about 10 seconds. Then she forgets. Koa was very confused when I had a roommate and the rules were slightly different between the two of us, and acted out. She was much relieved when he moved out and she was MY dog. Koa's a barker but Riana is very quiet.

                  I was really surprised when these two very closely related dogs were so, so different. If I had Koa first, I would probably not have gotten a second Ridgeback.

                  My vets tell me that my Ridgebacks are the nicest Ridgebacks they work on. Apparently the other Ridgebacks that come into the clinic are difficult to deal with (biting, etc) if the owners are not there. Honestly, I think this is because my dogs are very well bred. I am admittedly a dog snob...but being a snob has served me very, very well with this breed.


                  • Original Poster

                    Simkie -- I love the info! I want to be a breed snob about these guys! I'm in no rush to get one, so I can do significant research about lines etc. Some questions though...the breed standard says life expectancy is 10-12 years. Is that fairly accurate? I LOVE LOVE big dogs, but the giants are just heartbreak waiting to happen. 6-8 years just isn't long enough! They are a deep chested breed, do they have a bloat issue? I have no problem getting a prophylactic gastroplexy when spayed/neutered and feeding raised if needed. I also don't mind paying for a quality animal, but for the higher price, I do expect the puppy to be fully vaccinated (from a VET), both parents to be OFA and CERF certified, as well as Thyroid tested and ideally DS genetically tested. Can I expect those criteria to be met by the breeders recommended?

                    As for the difficult puppyhood, I actually find that encouraging, as with most of my critters have proven that the toughest beginnings can lead to the most wonderful relationships! I also have the wonderful opportunity to bring a puppy to work with me (vet clinic), so those formative years aren't spent in a kennel at home!! And no rank stallion ever compared to the manners needed by my trainer's NZ TB mare!! She's got them all beat hands down! But she learned to respect the big momma!!

                    I'm also single so a bed hog isn't really a problem at this point! I lost my pointer to cancer in Feb of last year, and she was my snuggle bug, and I miss it desperately. I loved cuddling with her and watching a movie!!
                    When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


                    • #11
                      Regarding life span: my older girl is 9 in May, and I'm beginning to worry about her. She is very grey in the face and on her feet. She's not *acting* particularly old, but...10-12 years is realistic, unfortunately. With regard to life span, I'd say you're better buying from a very well established breeder, but they're still not going to live the life of a little dog.

                      *I* have not had issues with bloat, or heard of issues with bloat with this breed. I did have a scare when Riana picked up a whole bunch of pelleted senior feed that had been dropped by an aged horse. She just had a very full stomach and I had a lighter wallet (midnight vet visit!)

                      The more time you can spend with a Ridgeback, the better. My relationship with Koa really improved when she went to work with me for several weeks. She was SO much happier, just being with me. They really want to be near you, all the time. If you think about what they were bred to do--go out in a small pack, with their hunter, to find lions on the African plain--it does make sense with their needs and their personalities.

                      Being in AZ, I would encourage you to contact Barbara Rupert at Oakhurst. She may be the closest breeder with a good deal of history in the breed. If you'd like to drop my name with her, just shoot me a PT. Her daughter is also in CO and breeding, so you're pretty well placed to pick up a puppy from CO or CA.


                      • Original Poster

                        After my trip to the east coast (I leave Tues!! ) I will know what my plans are as far as moving (or not) and then I can start making arrangements.

                        I am lucky to be able to have my dog(s) with me most of the time. They don't have to spend much time in crates (unless they want to go in) and lots of interaction with coworkers and Drs at work. Plus, all the interaction at work is by savvy people, so no confusion!! It's a pretty good deal, huh??
                        When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
                          After my trip to the east coast (I leave Tues!! ) I will know what my plans are as far as moving (or not) and then I can start making arrangements.
                          Well, if you do wind up on the east coast, I would recommend Kimani.

                          I am lucky to be able to have my dog(s) with me most of the time. They don't have to spend much time in crates (unless they want to go in) and lots of interaction with coworkers and Drs at work. Plus, all the interaction at work is by savvy people, so no confusion!! It's a pretty good deal, huh??
                          LOL...well...there is one person were I work that is a "dog person." My dogs just barely listen to her, and they both check with me before actually doing anything she asks.

                          As long as the people you work with get that the puppy is YOURS, you shouldn't have issues. If the people you work with expect puppy to follow their rules--especially if their rules are different than your rules--you can expect fireworks.

                          Breeds like Border Collies are smart enough to understand that different people can have different rules. Ridgebacks are NOT smart enough to understand that. If they're expected to listen to different people with different rules, they'll go through a meltdown and they won't listen to anyone.

                          Ridgebacks are not a "smart" breed. They're smart enough to figure out what their person wants. They don't really try to outsmart their person. Once they learn, they've learned. But asking them to understand that your rules are different than someone else's rules is just not going to happen.


                          • Original Poster

                            No, I have NO problem telling my coworkers to play by my rules or don't go near my dog! Most have had some tough dogs and will ask if it's ok to talk to them, touch them, give them a treat, etc! They are a good crew! If it do end up moving and at the new place, I will be sure to lay out the rules there too! My BC mix is 4, so he's in the prime years of out of puppy and knows how to be a good boy. He must be mixed with dumb dog, as he sure isn't a candidate for MENSA! But I love him, and it's nice to not be outsmarted by your dog!
                            When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by zahena View Post
                              I have a ridgeback. Have you researched the breed? Our Maddie REFUSES to sleep ANYWHERE but in between daddy and I every night. We tried, in vain, to make her sleep in her own bed. It was sorta cute at first. Not now.

                              Maddie weighs 80 pounds!!!
                              Mine weighs 120lbs & he'll only sleep on my side of our queen size bed, my hubby is 6'3, 240lbs so I end up getting squished. Some mornings I wake up feeling like I was hit by a mack truck.

                              I guess "hard" depends on your definition. I've had three ridgebacks over the years. I've never found them difficult. I also have a German Shepherd who's the best dog ever. I think it just comes down to what type of owner you are. Our dogs know their place in the family, and it's at the bottom. There has never been any negotiation about that. They go everywhere with us, work, errands, etc. They are well socialized and very well behaved. But I do have to say my vets always say how I have the nicest Ridgie and/or Shepherd they know. I think it just comes down to training & expectations. I would imagine that if you're not an assertive personality they could be a handful.
                              FWIW...in regards to the two breeds, intelligence & having them with horses.... I agree with Simkie about their intelligence. They're not dumb dogs, but they're not highly intelligent either. My GS is much smarter than the Ridgie, but also much more likely to chase the horses even though he knows he shouldn't. The Ridgie tried in the beginning, but a couple of well placed kicks cured him of it. The GS is secure in the knowledge that he's smarter and faster than the horses so he keeps doing it.
                              Our first Ridgeback lived to be 15 years old. She was a tough old broad, was more like a cat than a dog, she liked to sleep A LOT, wasn't the most affectionate dog to anyone other than us, was very aloof with strangers. She had bloat surgery at the age of 12 & bounced back to live another three years. The last two years she was deaf and mostly blind, but she was happy and mobile until she had some sort of a stroke three months after her 15th birthday, we had her put down at home. The second one lived to be 12 and our current Ridgie is 5.
                              If you move to the east coast, we've gotten our last two dogs from Ula-Britt Ekengren, of Shady Ridge Kennels in Dunstable, Mass. I tried looking for a link to a website for you, but I couldn't find one. She's had many champions and is a very well respected breeder. I do have to warn you though, I paid less for several of my horses than I did for my last puppy. lol
                              Keep us posted, I love this thread.
                              Last edited by chism; Jan. 4, 2009, 11:34 AM.
                              "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville


                              • #16
                                [QUOTE=MunchkinsMom;3775209]I wish my in-laws had done some research before they adopted their rhodesian ridgeback/boxer cross from the pound. Yes, she is a snuggler, and definitely a one-person dog (she belongs to my mother-in-law, but will accept some of us as a poor substititute - I am second on this dogs totem pole). But she is the strongest willed, most stubborn dog I have ever owned. And she is very protective of the house and family, and has nipped more than a few legs in her day.

                                Not one of my three Ridgebacks has been a biter. I'd bet it's the Boxer side!
                                "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville


                                • #17
                                  I agree with Chism. Many dogs can be difficult if not properly socialized and all dogs will thrive best when they know their place in the pack (and YOU are the alpha dog!) I'd recommend looking at some of the books by the Monks of New Skete (such as The Art of Raising a Puppy) about socialization and training. And ok, so I only had one RR but between him or any of the others I had experience with during my showing days, I didn't observe any of the behaviors related to them being unusually prone to being "one person dogs" or even having difficulties relating to different personal styles and "rules". However, my dog did get a LOT of exposure to different people and situations which I'm sure was helpful. We went to training classes weekly with a local 4-H club (where I got hooked by the "obedience bug" with my mixed breed, hence wanted to get an AKC dog for showing!) and half the club consisted of kids providing foster homes to raise and train GSD puppies for the Seeing Eye. So lots of exposure to kids and obedience from early on. Equally important, we went to handling class at least once a week. Even if you're not going to breed show, I'd strongly recommend doing that (for any breed). Your dog learns to be handled by many different people since you will learn to pose them for the "judge" to examine and the puppy/dog will be handled by lots of different people. And then, of course, my dog had the advantage of growing up with a devoted girl who dragged him with her everywhere - shows, walks, horseback rides, picnics, you name it. Most of the accounts of RRs being "difficult" focus on how much energy they have and how destructive they can be if they don't have positive outlets for that energy. But most people who lead very active lives with their RRs comment on how "laid back" they are! So that suggests to me that if you provide the right level of stimulation, everyone does well, but if that is not going to fit into your lifestyle, then be very careful thinking about whether a RR is really a good fit for you.

                                  Regarding "smart" vs "dumb" -- again, I agree with Chism. They are not "dumb" but they are not motivated like a GSD is to please you so much. And they are a hound breed, so they will be distracted more because of their hound instincts. So training them will be more of a challenge. That said, it seems like everyone I know who has RRs comments on how much they love food, so food rewards can certainly be your friend to increase motivation levels! However, be very careful about access to food. When my dog was just a puppy, my mom made 6 loaves of Irish Soda Bread and put them out on the table in pans to rise. When she came back, they were gone, and we noticed the puppy instead growing wider and wider.... but luckily just at that time it all came out! (With 2 dogs, you aren't always sure who to blame.... but this time it was clear for several reasons!) And another time he learned how to open the kitchen cabinet door and polished off the puppy food .... luckily we only had a 5 lb bag at that time. My GSDs know that they are not to touch anything not given to them and I would trust them alone in a room with a roast on the coffee table at nose height. I would NEVER feel confident that way with a RR!

                                  Anyway, key thing for any dog but especially for a RR is lots of training and socialization, so plan to start "Super Puppy class" (for 8 - 16 week puppies) as soon as you get your puppy, and continue with training religiously. Find a handling class and do that weekly. Get out to parks and be sure your dog sees lots of kids. One thing a couple of breeders had cautioned me about was to be sure that my dog got socialized about kids, because otherwise they sometimes do have problems tolerating their erratic behaviors if they first encounter them when they are older and more set in their ways. (But that will also be true for many other breeds too!!) And at least with all of that exposure, my dog was great with everyone in the household and he was friendly enough to anyone else he would meet (especially if they had food!) With all of the exposure to other dogs (and having a second dog, too) he also was fine around dogs as well as our family cats.

                                  Even with our couple of food catastrophes, we never had any problem with bloat. But for any big dog, make sure to divide food into two portions per day.

                                  Hmmm..... maybe I'll go pine over some RR pictures again for a while....... (hubbie is absolutely adamant that we are a GSD only family )

                                  Good luck!


                                  • #18
                                    I agree that my RR is a little, well, "blonde" at times. She seems a little daffy whereas my rottweiller was always present. I love our RR,she's a super dog but we took LOTS of time with her to make her a social dog with some manners. Having said that, she's a huge crevass fan. Boobs, crotches, butts, she's all over them. Probably because my friend with rather large boobs use to let her bury her face in between them as a pup and let her fall asleep like that.

                                    The only thing about our RR is that she'd run off with Hannibal Lecter if he had a pocketful of snacks. I always equate her to that kid at Toys R Us who throws themselves on the ground and starts screaming "YOUR NOT MY MOMMY!" when she's not ready to leave the dog park or day care.

                                    She's never nipped but she will bark up a storm when the delivery people knock. She wont' get aggressive, but she does stand behind daddy and watch over it all. She knows her pecking order. She sees Daddy as alpha dog and when he's home, it's his job to protect the pack. When Daddy is gone, she's a different dog. I've awakened more than once to her straddling me and barking up a storm. Usually because she "hears" something. Aside from that, she's pretty much a submissive dog.

                                    I love her to bits, but I'm not 100% sure I'd recommend the breed either. She's chewed up many IMPORTANT things as a pup everything from cell phones to STILL chews up the buttons on my pants. I think she has issues! LOL!

                                    It sounds like OP has the time it takes to make her RR a good dog. And I agree, it's about the time you spend with them. Speaking of, I need to go remove the bed hog and make it. Oh yes, and you HAVE to be careful about their feeding. She's drank my coffee before. Just what I needed, a hyper RR!!!!! That was the BIGGEST thing the rescue lady hammered us on, 2 cups of food twice a day. No more, no less and watch her weight!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by zahena View Post
                                      Speaking of, I need to go remove the bed hog and make it. Oh yes, and you HAVE to be careful about their feeding. She's drank my coffee before. Just what I needed, a hyper RR!!!!! That was the BIGGEST thing the rescue lady hammered us on, 2 cups of food twice a day. No more, no less and watch her weight!

                                      That reminds me of another time at a dog show when I was walking Dubwana on a relatively tight leash but looking away to see how the rings were arranged and figure out where to go. Suddenly there was a tight snap on the leash, and I look down and lo and behold the guy walking next to us with his coffee and doughnut was now missing half a doughtnut!!


                                      • #20
                                        You all brought back a funny memory. We got our first Ridgeback as soon as we got back from our honeymoon (eons ago!!). I wanted a Golden, he wanted a Rottie & she was our compromise. I'm SO glad we got her!!! My husband is a contractor so she went everywhere with him. I hadn't got back into riding yet, I had a professional job that I needed to look nice for, so had LOTS of shoes..guess where I'm going with this? We left her alone for about 6 hours for the first time ever to go to a Red Sox game when she was almost a year old. When I came home she had chewed ONE each of a 1/2 dozen different shoes. I swear she picked the most expensive ones too! She also went into the bathroom trash, got a tube of old mascara and chewed it up all over my light beige couch. She let us know in no uncertain terms that she did not appreciate being left alone.
                                        They DO love their food. My current Ridgeback insists quite frequently that he's being starved to death. He'll stand at your feet and moan, sigh, put his head on your lap and stare at you mournfully to let you know that he's SO hungry. It's really pathetic since he weighs 120 lbs and is wide as a house. He would never eat food off the counter, but I can't seem to break him from getting into the trash if the kids leave the closet door open. Both of our dogs have been trained to not touch food unless we say it's ok, they're so good about it that my husband can leave food in his work truck right out in the open with the dogs and they won't eat it. They did have to have a few "Come to Jesus" moments in the beginning to get that way though.
                                        "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville