I received an enquiry this morning, that was very different from all the others proceeding it.
It struck me as it was straight to the point…. Hello and can you answer the following 6 questions. Wow! A quiz I thought 😉
But as I read through them, I stopped and thought – yes, I like where they are coming from. Four essential questions about the current litter and then two enjoyable personal questions that were a joy to answer. I don’t know how calculated they were with being included, but they were incredibly important and open ended. Really getting to the root of my love of Rhodesian Ridgebacks and the reasoning behind why I chose to breed them.
The email was so good, I thought that anyone thinking of buying a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy should know all about it.
The essential questions you should ask the dog breeder
1. Have you any boys available?
Yes, indeed 5 beautiful boys available, ranging from a big brown, soft & cuddly bear ‘Mr Brown’ down to other boys with great dark red coats and more bouncy characters.
2. Are they checked for dermoid sinus?
Yes, they are frequently checked for DS by myself and also having had the benefit of another RR breeder friend, who checked them at 3 days when she helped me remove the dew claws. She will also be returning to check the litter shortly to do their ear tattoos and microchips.
3. Is it possible to view both parents?
Yes, it is possible to view both parents but I only have the Dam here with the litter. The Sire (Yogi) is owned by Jackie Ellis of Zejak RR’s. His details are on the Champdogs website – http://www.champdogs.co.uk/litter/32292
4. Are they kc registered?
Yes, all are KC registered and will come with 5 Generation Pedigree certificate
5. What are your favourite things about Rhodesian Ridgebacks?
My favourite things about Ridgebacks, so many things but here goes in no specific order of preference.
Around the house they are a very quiet dog to live with, no unnecessary barking, very settled as being hounds they love to sleep.
They are great family dogs, enjoying attention when given, especially by youngsters.
They are very expressive, playful and motivated by food – so it has great benefits when training them. You can be forgetful and forget a lead every now and then, but as long as you have treats – you always have control!
You can take them anywhere – first one I met was in a local pub years ago, quiet, unassuming, but exuding confidence. Go sunbathe on the beach all day, or go on a 30 km hike – they love it. Have a quick look at this article – Martin Fletcher’s Ridgeback Trek
Short haired – so no bundles of fur everywhere – so a cleaner house with a ridgeback.
Everywhere you go with them, you get stopped by strangers they really are special.
The list goes on……..
6. What are the biggest challenges for someone looking to own a Rhodesian Ridgeback?
Biggest challenges that I have experienced, have all been things that I should have foreseen. Just like a child (well certain ones), if you think they will be fine and there will be no problems – they will prove you wrong! Nothing major, just things like they need lots of mental stimulation (especially puppy months up to around 1.5 years), training and playing with them whilst you are sitting in front of the TV in the evening etc. There is only so much physical exercise they can take when they are young, but they need to be saturated with mental activity – whether its a hide and seek or other games. It will tire them and take out any possibility of them getting into mischief. They do have tendencies to be destructive if not given the stimulation and are left to their own devices.
None of us are perfect and we do over look things at times, this is where I along with other RR breeders advise using a crate as their space, bed and zone where they can be safely placed when otherwise there may be opportunities to get up to trouble. Crates are also good for when you have young children that always want to play with puppy – it gives the pup the opportunity to get into the crate of their own accord ‘their way of saying – I want a rest now’ – ‘Do not disturb!’.
If you have a ridgeback you will soon discover what makes them special, why they were used for hunting and what their triggers are. For instance when I walk them off lead (as I always do, as I love seeing them play, run and explore), I usually see other dogs approaching before they do, if not I see the ridgebacks movement change – as it goes in to a stalking mode. Many dogs do this, but Ridgebacks have a habit to stalk from a distance then rush towards the other dog. No malice is intended – its just a case of running up and shouting ‘BOO’ or their equivalent and seeing if the dog wants to play. Sometimes this is seen by other dogs owners, especially those with precious small breeds that spend more time being carried than walking as threatening, as opposed to a dog, well, just being a dog!
It can also sometimes spook the other dog if they are lacking confidence or frail. So sometimes arguments kick off, always nothing more than verbal displays. All negative outcomes can easily be avoided simply through remembering one thing – A RIDGEBACK IS MOTIVATED BY HIS STOMACH’! You may not have him / her on a lead, but as long as you foresee possibilities of trouble and offer a treat, they are captivated. You can approach any situation with the dog baited with a treat and either walk on by without interaction and then reward the dog, or you can release the dog when they are close (taking the rush out of the situation) and they greet one another, sniff and walk on by. Its very simple and easily achieved through basic dog training and handling.
All these skills will come with regular socialisation and attending at least one puppy training class.
I hope my experience and explanations have been clear and helpful. Have bought you one step further towards loving the attributes of the breed with a feeling that they are the best dog you could ever wish for. Do come down and visit us, it would be lovely to see you and talk more about the breed.
Thank you for putting these great questions forward – I have enjoyed the process of stopping, thinking and reminding myself of how wonderful they really are. I was not bought up with dogs, in fact I was even bitten by a dog as a child, yet these dogs although a fair size are wonderful additions to any home no matter its size. I’ve lived with Maya’s mother in a 5th floor apartment when I lived in Bulgaria and it was no problem – a walk or two a day and a good diet and they are happy, a run along side a bicycle every now and then is heaven, but you are the boss and they take what you have to give – happily!
All the best