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AnswerDear Zena,
Is there a purpose for the ridge on a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Kahlo (Appleton, Wisconsin)


Dear Kahlo,

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is only one of two recognized breeds that possess a distinctive ridge of hair running the length of the back. The other ridged breed is the Thai Ridgeback. In both cases, the ridge is comprised of hairs that grow in the opposite direction as that of the rest of the coat. The ridge starts just behind the shoulders with two symmetrical crowns or swirls of hair and continues straight down the back to the hipbones where it tapers to a point.

The ridge has survived many generations of dogs that originated from the ridgebacked "jackal-like" African Hottentot Hunting Dog. When the European settlers colonized southern Africa, their hunting dogs most likely interbred with the native ridgebacked dogs creating the ancestors of today's Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Contrary to popular belief, Rhodesian Ridgebacks were never bred to attack and kill lions. Instead they were used to trail the big cats, then harass and preoccupy them until the hunters could shoot them at a close range. The size and strength of the loyal Rhodesian Ridgebacks provided the hunters with protection and companionship.

Sincerely Zena & Zippy


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