FAQ - Adoption Process
The first step to adopting a rescued Ridgeback is to submit an application. After we have received, verified, and approved your application, the next step is to perform a home visit. Following a succesful home visit, all that remains is to make a good match for you and the rescued dog, fill out an adoption contract and pay the adoption fee!
Our goal is to provide the best match to both rescue dog and human partners. We are looking to place our rescued Ridgebacks into permanent, forever homes. Because of this, we need to be very thorough in assessing your needs and wants. In addition, we need to verify that your commitment to providing a loving home is 110%. By utilizing a detailed application form, reference checks and home visit, we are able to make a good match, which results in the rescue dog not being returned to us.
During a home visit, you show us where the rescued dog will spend his / her time, inside and outside, where he / she will sleep, and where the food and water will be kept. If you have a yard, we check your fencing and gates. In essence, a home visit shows us that you have placed significant thought into life with a new dog. We talk with you to help prepare for issues that may arise.
The contract contains a lot of legal language that basically says "I will love and take care of my dog. I will provide veterinary care for my dog. My dog will be part of my family. In the event that I can no longer provide for them, I will return the dog to rescue."
Numerous factors influence the amount of the fee including:
- Transportation costs to/from our location
- Veterinary Care
- Spay / Neutering
- Fees incurred bringing the dog into rescue
Absolutely. Rescued dogs seem to sense when they are adopted into their forever home. They feel that they are loved and wanted. They know that you saved them. It can take several days or several weeks for your rescued Ridgeback to settle in to the new routine. We provide foster care for our rescued dogs in our homes. This allows us to get to know them and determine how to help them and you make a smooth transition to the forever home. We rescue volunteers are available via telephone, e mail or live and in person to help any time you need us.
FAQ - Breed Specific
The breed was developed for the dual purposes of hunting game and protecting the family. As such, they must be athletic and sturdy, with a temperament fearless enough to hunt and bay their quarry, yet kind and gentle enough to be trusted with children. The Ridgeback must have adequate bone and substance to withstand their hunting duties, yet not be too bulky that they cannot move swiftly and with endurance. They are fiercely loyal to their families, and may be reserved around strangers. They should not be overly timid, nor should they exhibit aggression toward humans or other dogs. These dogs were bred to work in packs, and as such must be able to get along with other dogs. This is really a young breed compared to some, so it is still evolving. The Standard was only written in the late 1920's. They didn't even arrive here in the U.S. until the 1950's. So many different breeds went into forming the Ridgeback breed, so there is a lot of latitude within the standard for variations in type. There has been an emphasis in the U.S. on outstanding temperaments, and we have done much to smooth out any rough edges that may have been present in the breed many years ago.
The ridge is the hallmark of the breed. The ridge is a dominant genetic feature, and was preserved when European breeds were crossed with the ridged semi-feral South African Hottentot dogs. Early observers in South Africa thought only the ridged dogs were courageous enough to close in on lions.
This is an athletic dog, well-muscled with the ability to chase game at high speed over long distance. They hunt by both sight and scent. There arises some confusion when these dogs are referred to as "African Lion Hounds". People think they are to bring down a lion. It is a rare dog that could accomplish that without being fatally wounded. Rather, these dogs work in packs to distract and tease their prey, possibly disabling them, and containing them at bay until the hunter arrives.
Ridgebacks must be courageous enough to engage in hunting and protecting the family. For the most part, they have a strong prey drive, especially females. They must also be kind enough to humans so as to fit in with the family. They are fiercely loyal, and love being included in family activities. Their personalities blossom when they are part of the family, housed in the home and not kenneled. They are like the Princess and the Pea, preferring to be on the softest bed, sofa, or chair in the house!
These hounds have very strong instincts, which must not be underestimated. They are still keen to hunt by both sight and scent. They are for the most part true to their original functions as hunter and family guardian. A drawback is that, due to their intense prey drive, the leading cause of death in adult Ridgebacks is hit by car. Fencing is an absolute must. If they see something, they will go for it, with no regard to traffic. Natural instinct often overrides sensibility and in a world full of vehicles, this is a problem. Off-leash is most often not an option. Obedience training with an emphasis on recall is crucial. These dogs are not for every American family. They have boundless energy and are by nature in great physical condition. Regular exercise is absolutely necessary to their mental and physical well- being. The nice thing is, once you've worn them out, they'll just curl up and sleep!
Many European breeds were crossed with the scrappy, wirey-haired, rough-coated Hottentot ridged dogs. Many breeds probably entered into the mix: Pointers; Airdales; Irish Terriers; Greyhounds; Bulldogs; Deerhounds; Mastiff.
There are 3 categories of color for Ridgebacks-light wheaten, wheaten, and red wheaten. Both liver and black nosed dogs are acceptable.
Due to the fact they are hounds, they may be aloof. As with most hounds, they are very aware of surroundings but often not immediately responsive. They will usually will stop and think before reacting inappropriately, except when it comes to chasing .prey. such as your neighbor.s cat! Some Ridgebacks are very vocal while others are quiet observers, barking only if deemed necessary. If a Ridgeback barks, pay attention. They are not frivolous barkers.
For the most part they range from affectionate to indifferent, rarely threatening unless they perceive danger to their family.
Trainability is variable. As a rule, their primary motivation is not to please their owners, although for food they'll do almost anything! This is also a hound trait. They are not like a Lab or Golden Retriever, rather they often have their own agenda which could mean going off to hunt something on their own, or simply ignoring you. This is a typical hound demeanor. Not to say some aren't out there getting top obedience and agility honors, just that there are other breeds more uniformly suited for these endeavors. These dogs love their families without question, they just sometimes aren't overly exuberant about finding out what they can do for you all the time.
Incredibly intelligent. This is why they may be considered by some to be difficult to train. They need to understand before doing some things. Heavy-handedness is never the answer, even though they can be frustrating and push some buttons. Their intelligence would never allow them to forgive and forget abusive treatment.
Some are extremely so, others never have you out of their sight.
They are generally tolerant of other pets and children. Their original job was to guard the family so they are very good with children as a rule. If not raised with children, introduce them sensibly. Remember, the Ridgeback may be inclined to chase anything fast-moving and unpredictable, so proceed with caution. They need to have their own "down time", though, and children should not be allowed to abuse or overload the dog with unrelenting attention. Because of their size and strength, they can be very physical dogs. They love to greet people by jumping up on them but this is easily trained out of them. This breed is slow-maturing and as such they may be "puppy-like" for a longer period. They often do not reach physical and mental maturity until 2 years of age or older. Because the Ridgeback's hunting instincts are so strong, prospective owners must always concern themselves with the safety of these dogs and the people around them. They are strong and muscular, and should probably not be walked by children. If they should see something, they may be hard to restrain.
Cats and other pets in the house are fine, but it may be difficult to introduce cats and other small pets after the Ridgeback is an adult. Animals outside, perhaps a cat cruising across the yard, are a different story. Ridgebacks may hunt and kill small prey, such as cats and rabbits. Rule of thumb--if it's outside, moving, possibly also making noise, the Ridgeback is likely going to chase it and may inflict harm.
The need for a secure fenced area is an absolute must. Fence height ideally should be 6ft as some Ridgebacks will climb even a 5 foot fence, and 4 foot fencing is little deterrent at all to escaping in most cases.
These can be very challenging pups to raise. Some are incredibly mischieveous. They are into everything, and can chew and destroy in rapid time. They may also harm themselves if allowed to chew on and possibly consume dangerous things. These dogs are extremely food-motivated and often will eat anything. In fact, most of the mischief involves food. They are renowned counter-surfers and inveterate food-stealers! It is not uncommon to have puppies (and even adult dogs) eat something that has to surgically removed from the intestine. Their mischieveousness often lasts into their second year or so. Some can never be fully trusted. Crates are a must. This breed may be more "mouthy" than others, especially as puppies and often as adults. They may interact by taking hold of their people by the arm or hand. Not meaning to injure, just a possessive behavior.
Ridgebacks are great companions for those who enjoy outdoor activities. An active family with lots of opportunity for the dog to be exercised is ideal. Patient, kind family members willing to take the time to understand and properly train their Ridgeback. Ridgebacks should never be left unattended in strange surroundings as they may jump, dig, or run in order to find their owners.
They love the companionship of other dogs, and do very well in the pack situation and multi-dog households. They often play a bit rough.
These dogs thrive on attention and can develop behavior problems if kenneled for long periods and not an important part of the family. It is not appropriate to have a Ridgeback living entirely in a yard with no time in the house hanging out with the family. Socialization of puppies is especially important. They need to get out and meet people and other dogs.
These dogs can do it all--conformation, lure coursing, tracking, herding, obedience, therapy, and agility. Some are more talented at the different disciplines, but Ridgebacks have participated in all of these activities.
Weekly nail trims are essential. As a rule, Ridgebacks hate to have their nails trimmed, but with patience and kindness it can be accomplished. They grow very rapidly and nail care cannot be neglected. Using a Dremel is a good option to keep the nails short and rounded. Once weekly brushing to remove dead hair is desirable. They have short coats and do not shed excessively, but need to be brushed nonetheless. Teeth brushing every week will help keep plaque at a minimum, and the breath fresh. Occasionally ears will need to be cleaned with an ear flushing solution.
Owners are strongly encouraged to enroll dogs in an organized class as the time spent together is very beneficial in establishing the relationship. It is best to find a trainer who understands the breed and would under no circumstance employ harsh punishment techniques. Positive, positive, positive is the only way to go with these dogs. Certainly a careful and appropriate correction may be necessary on occasion, but not as a primary training technique.
Feed a top quality commercial diet or raw diet. Sometimes these dogs are difficult to keep weight on, and other times they are too heavy. Hypothyroidism is a problem in the breed, and overweight lethargic dogs should be screened for this.
Lots and lots but no road running until the dog is at least a year old. Common sense stuff, no excessive training on unforgiving surfaces such as concrete.
Hypothyroidism, hip and elbow dysplasia, cancer, juvenile cataracts, dermoid sinus.