origin of the breed
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is still a pretty young breed. Until lately it has been the only South African breed acknowledged by FCI. Originally he was bred there for the lion hunt and to guard the farms.
In 1922 Francis R. Barnes founded the Parent club in Rhodesia and the breed standard was established in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Already in 1652, when the South African cape was first settled by white newcomers, they found the local Hottentot tribes had their own semi-domesticated camp dog - small, prick-eared, curled tail and a ridge of opposite-growing hair on its back. Although for the next several hundred years this breed interbred with the settler's dogs, the ridge managed to persist through the generations.
The breed got it's name from the ridge on their back. It's a small stripe on the middle of the back where the hair grows opposite to the rest of the body.
1875 the fist Ridgebacks made their way from South Africa to Rhodesia, owned by the Reverend Charles Helm. There these dogs caught the attention of Cornelius van Rooyen, the famous lion hunter and game procurer.
He was hit by Helm's dogs and asked him for crossing them with the dogs of his own pack. Van Rooyen's pack of hunting dogs originally were mixes of various breeds, including Pointers,Irish Terriers,Collies, Bulldog/Greyhound mixes, Deerhound (Greyhound) and Danes. This breeding resulted in more rigdged dogs closer to the hunting needs of van Rooyen.
Cornelius van Rooyen
1926 the breed has been recognized by the South African Kennel Union (today: KUSA).
In Germany the first Ridgebacks have been registered in the 1970's. But individual dogs have been imported from Africa before.