African Dog Breed Used To Hunt Lions – Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog
The unusual name of this breed is derived from the raised line of hair along its back, which forms two whorls or crowns just behind the shoulders. The Rhodesian Ridgeback evolved in southern Africa, and this characteristic pattern reflects an ancestry that extends back to an old breed known as the African Hottentot Hunting Dog. The Ridgeback was bred by European settlers who were seeking a dog that could survive in the harsh and often inhospitable African climate. For a period, they were used to hunt lions, and so became known as the African Lion Hound.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks enjoy human company and are affectionate by nature, but they will not tolerate trespassers on their property. Although not common, the breed still enjoys a dedicated following. These are truly unusual dogs with an interesting history, and while they may sleep longer than other breeds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks will spark into life when out for a run. They are an attractive shade of wheaten colour, and may also show traces of white on their chest and toes.
The most generally accepted view is that this breed is the product of the Cuban Bloodhound and the Hottentot Hunting Dog, the latter supplying the characteristic ridge of hair that grows in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. The work for which they were originally intended was the tracking and bringing to the bay of lions. It was essential that they should be strong and fearless.
- Height 25-27 in (63.5-68,5 cm), bitches 24-26 in
- Weight 85 lb (38.6 kg), bitches 75 lb (34 kg)
- Coat type/colour Coat short and dense, sleek and glossy, but neither woolly nor silky. The ridge should start immediately behind the shoulders and continue to the hip bones and should contain two identical crowns opposite each other. The lower edges of the crowns should not extend further than one-third of the length of the ridge. Colour light to red wheaten.
African Dog Breed That Doesn’t Bark – Basenji Dog
These unusual dogs originated in Zaïre, in Central Africa. Here they were kept by native tribes, remaining essentially unknown elsewhere until a pair were imported to Britain in 1936. These were exhibited at the famous Crufts Dog Show the following year and caused a sensation.
The breed was seen in the United States shortly afterwards, with the Basenji Club of America being formed here in 1942. Egyptian rock-carvings of 4,000 – 5,000 years ago depict dogs very similar to the Basenji of today. The Basenji has many relations, similar in general build, scattered through Sudan and Upper Nile, and has often been confused with them. The Kiljongo natives use them for hunting antelope and beating big game from their hide-outs, tying bells and gourds filled with pebbles around the dogs’ necks in order to make as much din as possible.
The Basenji is sometimes described as the Barkless Dog, but although it lacks the vocal range of other breeds, it is certainly not mute. It has a variety of calls, including a distinctive yodel, also described as a chortle. Basenjis should be offered green vegetables on a regular basis in addition to their normal diet, and will also eat grass. For this reason, you must avoid using potentially harmful chemicals around the garden if you decide to keep this breed, they are very active dogs and need plenty of exercise, otherwise, they will soon start to become obese.
In spite of coming from a tropical area, they are quite hardy. Their short coat, which can be red, black or black and tan, offset against white, is easy to keep in good condition with regular brushing. Alternatively, a hound glove can be used to give a good gloss to the coat. Basenjis will groom themselves rather like cats, licking their coats repeatedly.
Unfortunately, although Basenjis will live well alongside other pets, including cats and horses, they tend to disagree among themselves and may have to be watched, at least until an order of dominance is established. Their breeding behaviour is different from that of other breeds because bitches only come into season once rather than twice a year. This is usually between August and November, which means that puppies are only likely to be available in the spring.
- Height about 17 in (43 cm)
- Weight 21-25 lb (9.5-11.3 kg)
- Coat type/colour Coat short and smooth; tail curled tight. Colour bright red, pure black or black-and-tan with white markings.
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