Purebred Rhodesian Ridgebacks will almost always have the ridge, but they may or may not have the ridge depending on which dogs are bred. It also depends on their genetic makeup. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks have gotten their name from that very unique and most well-known feature.
If you have ever wondered, “do Rhodesian Ridgeback mixes have the ridge,” the answer is both yes and no.
The Origin of the Ridge
The ridge that runs along the back of this magnificent dog is a hairline that runs in the opposite direction from all the other surrounding hair. This ancestral trait can be traced back centuries to burial cave paintings in Africa, where the Rhodesian Ridgeback was depicted with its prominent ridge.
It wasn’t uncommon to find this breed of dog living in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and was a type of wild dog. The Rhodesian Ridgeback was known as the Hottentot dog in the 16th century, and they were widely used for hunting and guarding.
When European Boers began to convert Southern Africa’s wildlands into more productive lands for farming, they were the best adapted to the harsh habitat. Therefore, they were bred with their dogs and the Rhodesian Ridgeback, with their prominent ridge, was the result.
It is uncertain how the ridge came about, but according to legend, it is believed that it is the seam where a higher power sews them back up after they have been created and stuffed.
What it Looks Like
The ridge is much more than an attractive feature and is actually a mark of excellence to many. The AKC (American Kennel Club) won’t even recognize the Rhodesian Ridgeback unless they have the ridge.
It also needs to be prominent, and all of the hair needs to be growing in the another direction from all the surrounding hair.
A Special Trait
A more in-depth answer to the question, “do Rhodesian Ridgeback mixes have the ridge,” is dependent on what they are made of. Not all Rhodesian Ridgebacks are born with the coveted ridge because it is a special gene that needs to come from the parents.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks that carry only one copy of the gene are homozygous, while those carrying two copies are heterozygous.
Heterozygous dogs will always have puppies that have the ridge, but they may not pass down both genes.
If your dog has only one of these genes, it may or not have puppies that have the ridge unless it is bred with a dog that has two of the genes since it will pass it on.
The Downside to the Coveted Ridge
A downside to the Rhodesian Ridgeback having a ridge is that it will sometimes develop a condition known as Dermoid Sinus. A dog with this condition will be more prone to infections that can be present from birth and can cause mild or even severe discomfort.
There really is no cure for Dermoid Sinus, so it will have to be managed unless it is surgically removed.
Surgery is usually successful, and a full recovery can take 12 to 14 days. The good news is that only about 10% of all Rhodesian Ridgebacks are affected by this condition.
Most vets will be able to provide a diagnosis if you suspect that your Rhodesian Ridgeback has this condition, so if you have any suspicions, be sure to schedule a visit.
Avoid it Altogether
It is easiest to avoid Dermoid Sinus altogether and to get your Rhodesian Ridgeback from a reputable and trusted breeder or source.
If you are not planning on registering your Rhodesian Ridgeback, you could also choose to adopt ridgeless or cross-breed puppies. Cross Rhodesian Ridgebacks are less likely than purebred Rhodesian Ridgebacks to develop Dermoid Sinus.
Get Your Dog From a Reputable Seller
Before shopping around for your very own Rhodesian Ridgeback, know what you are looking for. Are you wanting a good family pet or companion or a dog that you are going to register and share with others as a show dog?
Will you be traveling with your furry pal? Depending on what you are looking for, you may need to buy from a seller who can provide specific paperwork, registrations, and certifications.
This will also cost more so if you don’t really need or want it, you can save yourself some money. No matter who you get your dog from, they should be able to answer your questions and be easy to deal with in case you need to contact them for additional information.
A reputable breeder should be able to provide information on your dog’s parents and fill you in on some of your dog’s family history. Buying from a reputable seller will also give you peace of mind knowing that your dog has a very high chance of being healthy and illness-free.
A Wonderful Dog
A Rhodesian Ridgeback makes a wonderful companion and is sure to become a lifelong friend whether or not it has the distinct ridge feature. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a handsome dog either way.
As long as your pooch is happy and healthy, your companionship will be one that you will enjoy for many years to come. Although they can appear to be prominent dogs, they are not dangerous and do not pose a threat to anyone around them in their circle of friends and family.