The litter is unusual in that all were born naturally with no need for a Caesarian section and all have survived.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a hunting dog originating from Zimbabwe and it was originally bred to help hunt lions.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog breed developed in Southern Africa where it was used (amongst other things) to hunt lions. This is most likely why this dog is known for its bravery. Its European forebears can be traced to the early pioneers of the Cape Colony of southern Africa, who crossed their dogs with the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the Khoikhoi.
In the earlier parts of its history, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has also been known as Van Rooyen’s Lion Dogs, the African Lion Hound or African Lion Dog—Simba Inja in Ndebele, Shumba Imbwa in Shona—because of their ability to distract a lion while awaiting their master to make the kill.
The original breed standard was drafted by F.R. Barnes, in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (today known as Zimbabwe), in 1922. Based on that of the Dalmatian, the standard was approved by the South African Kennel Union in 1926. This dog is now used to help athletes train.
The breed’s history dates back to early in the 18th century, when the first European settlers found dogs domesticated by Khoi-khoi tribes with the hair on the spine turned forward.
In the late 19th century, big game hunters needed a hunting dog that was tough, resistant to disease, and intelligent enough to avoid crocodiles and snakes, but brave and fast enough to face a lion. Also important was a tick-repellent smooth coat and tight paw pads to protect against thorns and rough terrain. Cornelius Van Rooyen of Plumtree, Rhodesia, was the main person behind the development of the breed.
The history of the breed is disputed. It is commonly accepted that Van Rooyen used two ridged, rough-coated bitches from the Swellendam district brought to him by the Rev. Charles Helm in 1879.
Van Rooyen crossed these bitches with members of his pack, noting that their ridged progeny excelled at lion huntingThe breed took a further step in its formalization in 1922 just prior to the formation of the independent crown colony of Southern Rhodesia, when a group gathered at a farm in Bulawayo to set out the basic standard for ridged dogs that included the selection of the red wheaten to become the ‘son of Africa’
The Breed Standard is loosely based on that of a slightly enlarged Dalmatian and was first registered by the South African Kennel Club, SAKU (now KUSA) in 1924. At that time KUSA was the only Kennel Club in the territory. Ridgebacks were first brought to the United States by Col. Morris DePass and his wife Maj. Ruth DePass who raised the breed in Kiln, Mississippi.
The breed was admitted into the American Kennel Club in 1955 as a member of the Hound Group. The first ridgebacks in Britain were shown by Mrs Edward Foljambe in 1928.
As hunters, Ridgebacks were sent out in packs of two or more (usually twenty) to track down, then corner and wear down a lion by taunting and goading it into confusion, a tactic known as keeping the lion "at bay". The dogs, working in revolving groups, kept the lion at bay until the hunter arrived to dispatch the occupied lion with a well placed rifle shot from relatively close range.