We breed Ridgebacks with really outstanding temperaments – it’s as simple as that!
Who we are…
I thought that it was time to write a new introduction to our website. It has been up and running now for well over 10 years and has become one of the most visited Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder’s websites in the UK.
Of this we are very proud, because it has enabled us to communicate with a large proportion of the Rhodesian Ridgeback community. We mainly want to inform you about Ridgebacks, but of course some information is relevant to many breeds.
We have been devoted to the Rhodesian Ridgeback since 1984, when we met our first pair owned by a friend of ours. We admired them so much that we bought a puppy from her, and we were very fortunate that she turned out to be a very well bred, good example of the breed. But of course her main asset was her fantastic nature. Our daughters were babies then, and Ellie looked after them, played with them, and gave them their first taste of caring for another being.
By the time our eldest daughter Amy was seven, she could walk with Ellie between our home and my parents’ house half a mile away in total safety. Ellie, I am sure, was very proud to walk along with her small owner.
Having Ellie bought a new dimension to all of our lives. We went along to dog training (not the most successful exercise, as Ellie would rather play than train!) but it did have a ‘ringcraft’ show training element and we found that she enjoyed that part, so we took her to meet the breeders of her Sire, Alf & Joan Coventry (of Wiljoe kennels). They had Ellie’s sister, Lass, and they were going to show her too. They approved of Ellie, and it turned out that they had to toss a coin to decide whether to take Lass or Ellie from the litter!
Joan won, and Lass went home with them. She was a beautiful light wheaten bitch, so correct, and again with a lovely nature. She was very quiet, and did well in the show ring. With Alf & Joan’s encouragement we started to show Ellie, and to our amazement qualified for Crufts quite early on. She went on to have quite a successful show career.
Because we had a young family, we never had the time to really campaign her, or in fact any of our dogs, so dog showing has never been a big part of our lives. We occasionally show one or two of our dogs just to meet up with friends and have an interesting day out admiring lots of lovely Ridgebacks.
Because our Ridgebacks spend their life meeting visitors here, they usually enjoy a day at a show, and sometimes do quite well! Most years we take one to Crufts, just for the experience. Over the years we have had a Best of Breed and usually a class win or place. That’s enough for us, as dog shows are not our main activity, and anyway it is very subjective, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…” and all that!
To us, our Ridgebacks are much loved family members and need to fit in with our activities. We have horses and compete with them so usually a couple of our dogs will come away with us to shows throughout the Summer. We have a caravan so they get used to camping and busy show grounds. It is excellent for their socialisation, and it enables us to find out about their temperament too. Plus they end up with a huge fan club, with lots of Ridgeback converts!
Because we started with a Ridgeback as our first dog, it did focus our concentration on the breed. I have never wanted any other, and with working at a dog food company I meet masses of breeds, yet I always come back to the qualities of a Ridgeback.
Our daughters as I said were babies with Ellie, and were, as they are with all parents, very precious to us. At the time there was a lot of bad press for Dobermans and Rottweiler’s, so the focus of the 1980’s was very much on how dangerous a large dog could be. We chose a Ridgeback for its size and temperament, and were very, very lucky to start with Ellie (Ellie of Wiljoe at Zejak). She mothered the girls and anything she could get her paws on – even an orphan kitten, which made the local news!
Ellie was responsible for focusing our attention on temperament, and from our first litter with her we chose a Sire with a wonderful disposition. He was Champion Matabelle Marksman, or Merlin to his friends & admirers! We later honoured him by using his name for our first male Ridgeback. From that very first litter in 1989, we were hooked on breeding Ridgebacks with excellent, kind temperaments. It takes a huge amount of time and effort to produce a litter of puppies, and certainly isn’t for the faint hearted!
Because back then, and now, we have children in our house (we now have our youngest daughter Hannah’s boys, Jake age 8 years and Sam age 7, Tabitha age 18 months & Ellie 10 months!! ) we have always prioritised temperament. We will not compromise, as every Ridgeback we breed will go to live with a family, or have to mix with people at the very least.
We love the fact that we can sell Ridgebacks to families, as we are confident that over the generations our Ridgebacks have always been lovely! We never breed from anything that is not ‘soft’. Ridgebacks have to fit into family life, and accept visitors, family, friends etc in their lives. That is not to say that they won’t chase rabbits or guard you if they have to – after all they are still Ridgebacks!
If you would like to meet our lovely dogs in the flesh, and have a chat about them, please call me for an initial chat and to arrange a visit.
What we do…
We only breed from Ridgebacks that have the ‘soft’ nature that is needed to fit in with family life. This, we feel, is a prime requirement in today’s society. So for this they need to be very tractable. Our Ridgebacks fit into family life very well, and this has been confirmed by the praise owners of our puppies have given them (check out our Testimonials page).
We feel that the main requirement for owning a Ridgeback is time. Time to spend with your dog, socialising it for its life ahead, and time to appreciate its unique character, and of course love! These are never ‘outdoor dogs’, please do not think that they are suitable to be kept outdoors because they are not – they don’t have the temperament for it, or the coat either! Ridgebacks can and do guard, but on their own terms, they would much rather be your personal friend/guard than the “guard dog on a chain”.
We always recommend that you buy an indoor kennel, which is a wire mesh crate with a door so that the puppy can have its own safe place to sleep. The advantages are many with a crate, as Ridgebacks like to have a den that is warm and secure – and we like to know where our puppy is if we go shopping!
We only breed from hip scored parents with a nice nature, one that will allow them to fit in with a family. You can always see the bitch here, but sometimes we use a dog that doesn’t belong to us. We always match dog to bitch, and not use what is here just because it is convenient. Our puppies are born just off the kitchen, so experience ‘life’ from the start. We are NOT a kennels, all our Ridgebacks live in our house with us. We feel that it is a vital requirement for Ridgebacks as they are such people lovers. We provide life-long help and support for “our” Ridgebacks so, if ever one of our dogs is in need of a new home, we will always help.
We do not sell puppies with the aim that they are bred from. Our Kennel Club registration certificates are endorsed “progeny not eligible for registration”. Breeding healthy puppies with excellent temperaments does not come easy, and to get to know the breed and bloodlines, and correctly choose a suitable breeding pair takes time, patience and knowledge. A lot of people think it would be fun to breed a litter, but in reality if you did this and had 10 unsold puppies at 8 weeks old…would this be a fun situation to be in? If you did sell them all would you take an adult back that you had bred for re-homing if there was a problem? What if your bitch was in labour and there was a problem – would you know what to do? Can you recognise a Dermoid Sinus in a newborn puppy, and continue checking and recognising them until they are 7 weeks old? Breeding a litter really isn’t a decision that should ever be taken lightly. It will change your life…
Why buy a puppy from us?
It’s simple – people buy Ridgebacks from us because of our reputation and the temperaments of our dogs, something we have been researching and perfecting for over 25 years. And the proof is in the pudding…people come back to us time and time again, because we do what we say we do – breed dogs with truly outstanding temperaments. If you’re still not sure, read our Testimonials page to hear direct from our owners! We had two litters last spring, and 8 pups went to people who had had one or two RRs from us before!..
I know that you could go and buy a cheaper puppy from someone else, and all I will say is that “You get what you pay for” It is a false economy to buy a cheap dog. You could be buying more expense in the long run, than if you spent the initial money on a good quality, healthy, well bred and raised puppy. Vet bills for a sickly puppy will soon add up to more than you have saved, and that is just if the pup has worms and an infection when you buy it. If over its lifetime it is un-healthy then it will cost you many many times the amount you initially saved…….I do not like to talk about the price of a puppy because we charge what we consider a fair price for our puppies, there is an awful lot of work that goes into producing outstanding animals of any type.
Your priority should be to the buy the best you can afford, & not make false economies. I have sometimes had people say to me that they “only want a pet” Well, that is what we breed; good, sound healthy handsome pets, that will be your friend for life!!
ADVICE FOR POTENTIAL OWNERS: –
Come and visit us – if you don’t like the look of our Ridgebacks(!!) then visit other breeders. Go to visit breeders with an open mind, make up your own mind whether they are breeding nice sound tempered dogs, if the dogs are happy to come and meet you and the bitch is happy for you to see her pups. Dogs should be friendly to strangers a short while after they have been introduced. Trust your own opinions, not other peoples.
Make sure both the bitch and dog look healthy and happy, and are happy to meet you and your family. (do not buy if you are not allowed to be introduced to the mother)
If puppies are available for viewing i.e. from 4 weeks old, make sure they look round and healthy and are in a clean environment, with toys to stimulate them.
Make sure that the pups are friendly and want to meet you.
Check that they have been wormed at 2, 4 and 6 weeks old with a preparation from the vet. The bitch should have been done at the same time as well. Please make sure that the litter have been thoroughly checked for “Dermoid Sinus” by a competent person. (Not all vets are good at this)
Don’t be put off by being questioned by the breeder – in fact if you weren’t “grilled” I would know that they didn’t care where their puppies went. If a breeder turns you down for a puppy, try to understand that they have the best interests of the puppy at heart and there must be a very important reason for them thinking you’re unsuitable. Perhaps reconsider whether a Ridgeback (or any dog) is suitable for you!
LASTLY AGAIN – GO WITH AN OPEN MIND, MAKE YOUR OWN MIND UP!