If you are considering the purchase of a ridgeback, we hope to provide useful and beneficial information as you search for your companion. Our key goal is education, not mass production of puppies. As said before and worth repeating -- Education is the greatest foundation for dog ownership. Learn about all the unique characteristics of the breed and analyze your lifestyle to determine if RRs are a suitable match. Do your research and your homework to help make informed decisions. These decisions should lead to a sound, healthy companion who has received proper handling, socialization and attention. Continued exposure and proper training should result in a stable adult and a wonderful companion. Puppies should be registered and receive proper sets of first vaccinations (or nosodes, titer testing etc. as per breeder's protocol) and vet checks before going home, as well a written contract and guarantee. Only healthy, sound and good examples of the breed should be bred. Cost should ensure and reflect healthy sound Sire and Dam that have been screened and cleared for genetic diseases (more than a vet check) and registered with a database like OFA or other registry. Both the Sire and Dam should be Registered by the CKC or AKC. Breeders should be involved in conformation and use dogs in their breeding program who conform to the breed standard. If they sire & dam are conformation Champions even better, this shows they have been judged according to breed standard. While a championship is meaningful it is only one factor to assess in a breeding program. Conformation is important because it relates to function - for a dog to meet its function it must have the correct form. If you want do to performance work, or have a dog that is going to be active well into old age, good structure is extremely important. We feel it is important to have our dog’s structure, temperament and type judged by those qualified to do so.
- Take your time and look around, ask questions and never think you have to settle on the first breeder you meet, many Ridgebacks vary in look and size, and many breeders have different ethics. You should find a breeder you feel comfortable with and be able to meet and interact with the Dam. If you find a breeder you like, stick with them, as this will be the start of an important relationship.
- Expect to be placed on a wait list, a good breeder plans their breeding and does not have dogs readily available. If a breeder has pups do not base your decision on impulse. It is worth waiting for a pup from the right breeder as opposed to searching in desperation for any breeder who has pups in a desired month or season. Remember this dog will be with you for many years snf ALL puppies are cute.
- Do not be thrown off by the term "show breeder". It does not necessarily mean that you will be expected to show your dog. Visiting a dog show is one of the best ways to meet breeders. Approach them after they have taken their dog in the ring. Sometimes the people showing are hired dog handlers - not the breeders, and are often busy showing many breeds and may not make the time to talk, but you can always ask them for the contact information of the owner or view a show catalogue for the breeder’s name.
Breeders should breed with a specific goal in mind to their breeding program. Males and females should be both physically and mentally mature before being bred - they must be 2 to be eligible for OFA Hip Certification. It is not necessarily healthy for the Dam to have more than one litter a year or to be bred every year. Question the breeder producing multiple litters every year.
Remember just as there are good sources of information out there for buyers, backyard breeders and puppy mills have access to this info also. Ask to see their dog’s health certificates, pedigree and photos. Pay attention when you hear reference to "Champion Lines" - a past champion in a dog’s pedigree does not necessarily say anything about the present dogs being bred.
Sometimes good breeders are more difficult to find. Be cautious of newspaper or other ads.
A responsible breeder will provide endless support and assistance for the duration of your pup’s life. Even if you just want a "pet" - family companion, and are not concerned about showing/breeding etc. do not sell yourself short, you deserve a well-bred, healthy companion. Responsible breeders belong to their Breeds Club and follow their Code of Ethics. It is the buyer’s responsibility to support ethical breeding practices. It is the 'responsibility' of breeders, club members and owners to educate or assist people interested in a RR, as these people are your best resources for your new family member.