Health Screening

Congenital Problems

Ridgelessness and dermoid sinus are the two most common congenital conditions seen in the newborn Ridgeback puppy.

Because of the manner in which the ridge is inherited, some Ridgebacks are born without the escutcheon that gives the breed its name. From a health standpoint,  puppies born without a ridge are no different from their ridged brothers and sisters. But because they lack this trademark, ridgeless puppies cannot be shown in conformation events, nor should they be bred. Many breeders will sell their ridgeless puppies or“slickbacks” as they are often affectionately called, as pets on limited AKC registrations and should mandate that they be spayed and neutered.

When a new puppy comes into the world, the ridge will already be distinct. A reputable Ridgeback breeder will never tell you that a ridge will “grow in later.” It is simply impossible for a ridgeless puppy to develop a ridge. In ridged puppies, the ridge that is present at birth is the same ridge that the dog will have its entire life. From length to width to the placement of the fan and crowns, the ridge will grow proportionately as the puppy grows up.

Dermoid sinus is a dermatological defect in which a tube-like opening onto the skin will become repeatedly infected and abscessed unless surgically corrected. The best practice is to have a vet experienced in the procedure to remove the dermoid when the puppy is 8 weeks or older.

Some people believe that Breeders should have dermoid surgery performed on affected puppies before they go to their new homes, but this isn’t a necessary requisite as long as the prospective puppy owner keeps the puppy from hard playing and rough housing with other animals so as to keep the stitches from being disturbed for a couple of weeks.

Once the stitches are removed, it is unlikely that anyone would ever notice the animal was affected by a dermoid, as scarring is minimal, or non existent once the coat hairs grow back.