Sad to say there is and always will be people who are less than honest. Maybe the lie comes from not knowing the truth themselves , or maybe they are just eager to make a sale. There are a few things we hear over and over when meeting people with Ridgebacks so we felt it worth taking time and chatting about them on this page. I asked folks on Line from the American Ridgeback List to contribute and a good friend Chuck opted to send me the following .. I have to say THIS is what we all worry about and think of with every single pup.... Thank you Chuck for saying what we think so clearly !! I do want to say there was not one single thing I would have changed in this contribution. it was Perfect and what we all truly think and understand.
Bonita: Sorry this took so long....I worked on it a bit at a time rather than getting it done in a timely fashion. I will not be upset at all if you choose to not use any or all of it. I'm really a RR lover, so some of my text may not be your style or to your liking.....and I have not problem with any edits, deletions, or changes you might want to make. If you need any help on any other sections, please feel free to email me. You do a wonderful service to the breed through your mentoring and rescue....and many of your stories have warmed the hearts of many readers on RR Folk....including me.
I wish you and your husband all the best......Chuck
Beware of the Jerks who are in it for the money...
Although it's sad to say, there are people who are less than honest when it comes to selling pets. We would like to think that most breeders are ethical and do their very best to ensure that they are placing a healthy and well adjusted puppy in a prospective home, however, unfortunately this is not always the case. There are a few things we hear about over and over when meeting people with Ridgebacks that we will take some time and chat about on this page.
As the media and various documentaries created for the Animal Planet on TV will tell you, there are breeders out there whose only criteria for pet ownership is your VISA, Master Card, or checkbook. In other words, they're in it for the money and could care less if you get a dog that will spend more time at the vet than in your home. This group of folks are known in the trade as "backyard breeders", and they are a primary source for many of the unfortunate dogs you see end up in animal shelters. They are also a source of heartbreak for the good people who buy them and are then stuck with big vet bills when it's discovered that the dog has a serious hip problem or other abnormality which is the result of bad breeding.
Responsible breeders take great pains to produce healthy and socially adjusted puppies by ensuring that the parent dogs are not closely related, (i.e. father/daughter) and are free of issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, thyroid issues, and a number of other problems that seem to crop up in the hound species. Although no breeder can guarantee that your dog will never come down with some unforeseen illness, good breeder to their best to reduce the sorts of problems that are genetically transmitted. Responsible breeders also try to screen their applicants to ensure that the puppies are going to "forever homes" and not some temporary home that will eventually abandon the dog with little or no thought to the dog's love and attachment it has developed for its family.
There are a few things that you might hear from breeders that should alert you to potential problems down the road. One is..."Don't worry the ridge will grow in later" uh.... "No...." We can tell at birth if they have a show potential ridge or a companion's ridge, and the lack of a ridge is a no brainer. If it is not there at birth, it will never be there. And it will not lengthen... aside from some slight refinement it is what it is...and what you see is precisely what you get. Dogs with a noticeable over or under bite will not just grow into their teeth. They may require extractions or actual canine orthodontics to correct bite and jaw alignment problems. That can be expensive.
The Internet is a wonderful source of information on the history and development of the Ridgeback, and you should take the time to do a little research on the breed before you start contacting various breeders. Ridgebacks are not for every family....and you should make sure that this breed is really what you are looking for. For instance, if you want a dog that loves water, you should probably get a lab or golden retriever. Ridgebacks are regal and aloof dogs....very intelligent and eager to please their owners, but they may not have the traits you are looking for...so do yourself and the dog a favor and educate yourself on the breed before you decide. There are people who are taken in by the prospect of owning a "Lion Dog" because the name sounds unique or cool...but these are not designer dogs...they were bred for a particular purpose and still retain some of their original instincts. There are unscrupulous "Jerks" out there who are in it for the money....and "Jerks" just don't get it. Dogs sold to the unsuspecting or to the uncaring will become a problem. Rescue is overflowing with dogs of all breeds who were sold to any one asking or by someone who could care less if that buyer was right for the dog.
You should be prepared with enough information and background on the breed to be able to ask the breeder some relevant and pointed questions....and not simply fall prey to comments like "these are show quality dogs"....or "the puppies come from champion stock". You should know what that means...and know the difference between a show and pet quality puppy. Remember, a Rhodesian will grow into a rather large dog that can weigh between 75 and sometimes over 100 pounds. They are absolutely precious as puppies and can tug at your heartstrings....but make sure that your home is the right place for a large dog that needs exercise and loves to be close to his/her owner.
I can not add anything to Chuck's well written page except the following. I was called this week by a puppy owner who was terribly upset. A Friend of a Friend contacted her to offer a 4 week old puppy. She accepted after being told very little. It was obvious had she not accepted the pup would not survive. The "breeder" bought a male and female RR , after breeding the bitch, which he kept in a pen, he waited for the moeny to roll in from his puppy sales. She whelped earlier than expected without help. Only 4 puppies were born, 3 with ridges and one without.
He went out the day before the pups would be 4 weeks old to feed the Dam to find something had dug in to the pen and eaten the 3 ridged pups. Furious he took the little ridgless pup away to assure the Dam's milk would dry up faster so he would be able to rebreed her sooner. The pup's belly was swollen from worms, she was covered in ant bites and her coat was sparse. She was not able to eat or drink from a dish. Had my Puppy Owner not been able to devote tremendous time and money to help her she would not have survived the first night. She hand fed her with an oral syringe until she had the strength to try the saucer of formula. As soon as possible she will be wormed and thankfully her rescuers will keep her. The "breeder" gave her away as she would have required far more work to keep alive. She could not be sold for a reasonable amount of money as she not only lacked a ridge but has a white blaze on her face. A sure sign she is a mixed bred pup. Although he was adament about her being a purebred Ridgeback. Should you buy a pup from a pet store, a swap meet, on line chances are far better than good YOU are helping to keep people like this poor pup's "breeder" in business. Please think hard before supporting the vile treatment that exsists in BYBs, Puppy Mills and even many Hobby Breeders. Ask quesions, demand to meet the parents and see the facility or home where the pups will be bred and born.