History of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

There were several different kennels that were first recognized as breeding KUSA certified Rhodesians. By the end of 1928 there were about a dozen different kennels worldwide that were recognized for breeding these dogs. The most popular ones however, were the Eskdale, Viking, Thornburry and Lion’s Den, just to name a few. When buyers purchase these austere hunting dogs now, some of their bloodlines can be traced back to these original kennels.
During the year of 1928 the Rhodesian Ridgeback took the stage for the first time at a dog show. The dog was shown in Britain, by a famous dog handler named Mrs. Edward Foljambe. The dog would still have to wait over 30 years, until 1955, before it would be honored with admittance to the American Kennel Club (AKC). The dog was recognized as the 112th to be added to the AKC’s list of recognized breeds.

Although this legendary dog today is firmly established as an AKC certified hound, it almost went extinct during World War II. Most of Africa was shut off from exporting the breed, though there was a demand. Some smaller kennels continued breeding, but mostly as a maintenance measure so that the breed wouldn’t die off.  In 1960, a debt of recognition goes to the efforts of two women who took on the task of returning the Rhodesian Ridgeback to its former state of glory. Irene Kingcombe and Mylda Arsenis both teamed up and accepted the challenge of making the breed popular once more.

Many dog enthusiasts will note that during the time frame after World War II, the dogs lost popularity in Africa, but gained it in other countries. A number of this breed was being imported into the United States, Canada, and England. These dogs were much appreciated in these foreign countries when it came to hunting bobcat, mountain lion, deer, coyote, wild boar and raccoon.  Some were trained to be used in a more traditional hunting roll of gathering game and fowl once it has been shot by hunters.