Early Registrations of Rhodesian Ridgebacks

The renowned big-game hunter, Cornelius van Rooyen, was one of the first to deliberately breed and use ridgebacked dogs. While registration of dogs was almost unheard of in those days, it is impossible to establish how closely related or similar in type these dogs were.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback was originally known by several names, most notably, the "Lion Dog". It was under the name of Lion Dog that the first noteworthy entry was made in the records of the Kennel Union of Southern Africa on 18 September 1924, when two dogs, Grootedam Given and Grootedam Leo, were registered. A year later, Umvukwe Shumba Ridge was registered as a Rhodesian Lion Dog and dogs were registered in this way until 1926 with the registration of Eskdale Connie.

Mr Francis Barnes, founder of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club, which was also having difficulty settling into a suitable name, suggested that because any hunting dog could justifiably be called a Lion Dog, this particular dog, with its characteristic ridge, should be called a Rhodesian Ridgeback. On 28 June 1928, a dog simply called Jumbo was the first dog to be registered as a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

From 1924 to 1974, just over ten thousand Rhodesian Ridgebacks had been registered with KUSA - not exactly an alarming number, but this was due to the fact that in the early years, a dog was often only registered a few years after birth - after it had proved itself in the show ring or at stud - and not all puppies in a litter were traditionally registered. Francis Barnes' Eskdale Dingo, for example, was registered at the grand old age of 11 years. Since June 1974, when KUSA made litter registrations compulsory within three months of birth, the picture showed a far greater number of registered dogs.


South African Coat of Arms

Eskdale Connie - owned by F.R. Barnes
Exhibited at the Bulawayo Dog Show 1925

Eskdale Leo - owned by F.R. Barnes
(Eskdale Dingo X Eskdale Judy)


Photos courtesy of KUSA

Tau of Voortekkerhoogte