Hottentot Dog

It’s the breed we wish existed now just because we like saying its name: Hottentot Dog.

This old tribal breed is considered the vanished ancestor of the Rhodesian Ridgeback. They were described as having pointed muzzles, ears that sometimes stood up, sometimes drooped, and “hair on its spine turned forward.” Clearly, it was a breed that carried the ridge gene which made its way to today’s Rhodesian Ridgeback.

When the Hottentot people moved south, they encountered their close relatives, the Bushmen, which had no dogs of their own. Goods (and dogs) were exchanged, and some assume that the dogs accompanied Bushmen on their travels. In 1936, a visiting European encountered the dogs and noted that they were close to extinction. Desmond Morris wrote that the last record of Hottentot dogs came from a report that a game warden had shot two of them as pests in the Etosha Game Reserve in southwestern Africa.

Image: Rhodesian Ridgeback by Anne Zoutsos

6 thoughts on “Hottentot Dog”

  1. Many dogs including “mutts” make great family pets! My dream dog was the Rhodesian Ridgeback! I waited many years before I finally realized my dream come true!

    Rhodesian Ridgebacks, there is nothing else like them!!!!!!

    I waited half my life at the time before I finally adopted my one and only Rhodesian Ridgeback. He came from the then well known breeders the team of Kay and Dr. James Fanning of Tawney Ridge Kennels in Beverly Farms Massachusetts.

    It was June of 1975 when I brought buy little buddy (7 pounds) home with me from the #1 breeder around at the time. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Then for ten wonderful years I enjoyed the company of this great breed.

    My one an only Ridgeback. He was my very first dog! He would be the one and only Ridgeback that I would have share my life with.

    After his tragic loss, a major misdiagnosis of his health, he died painfully of liver failure. He was put to sleep and went with great difficulty. He did n to want to go and it took several pairs of hands to keep him on the table, as he kept trying to reach me. I was convinced too leave the room. I was totally distraught. Should have been stronger and held him in my arms as I promised him and he would have gone on his final journey sooner and more peacefully.

    On occasion I through the years to the sound of his cry to me not to leave him to die with strangers. I have since then, stood by my dogs until they passed.

    I was offered three Ridgebacks through the years as I knew haw to train them. I could never take another in. Have had three mutts through the years and they have been great dogs!

    I am hoping to adopt a Rhodesian Ridgeback as my final dog in the future when my current little buddy has passed. I am in no hurry for that to happen. She has been the hardest to train, even compared to the incredible Ridgeback! He died in 1986 after ten of the happiest years of my life! This is my third rescue dog and the m sort challenging of all!

    He was a great challenge for me as he was my very first dog as I stated, but what a dog he was and what an
    amazing companion he became. Was offered three Ridgebacks through the years, but could not take one in. Perhaps before my time is up I will invite a Ridgeback into my home again!

    Dr. James and his wife Kay Fanning have long passed and are missed by those of us who had the privilege of knowing them!. They brought the Ridgeback to the forefront in this area by raising some of the finest of the breed here in Massachusetts. First in to place and win in AKC and other trials in the region.

    They will always be on my mind, memories and in my heart! Their dogs were like their own children and their breeding was tops! My one and only Ridgeback was nearly 30 inches at the shoulder, has a 22 inch neck and weighed in at 115 lbs! We ran 10 miles away together for several years, until I had to give up running, but I taught him to run a head and back and we made it a game that we both loved! Not a day goes by that I wish I could see him frolic around me as we walked the woodlands in my home town. Adopting him was one of the very best decisions I would ever make in my life. Tough to train at times, but he was worth every minute, because I had the most incredible dog ever in. my life. May he rest in peace!

    Keep your furry friends close and in good health!

    • Like you, Richard, we love all dogs, whatever their ancestry, but there’s something special about certain breeds that resonated with us, and clearly you found your perfect match in the first Rhodesian Ridgeback you loved. We wish you the best, and when you finally get your next Ridgeback, we want pictures! Thanks for writing.

    • Good morning.

      I have a ridgeback that really needs a home. We rescued him being told he was a red lab. After a tun of research and though he has been here for a year just does not fit into how we live. Please contact me. thank you

      • Please contact the Ridgeback Rescue Society? You can find them on the web, they will help you.

  2. He looks like a mix perhaps. (?)
    If so do you have any idea what with? Did you happen to see his mother?
    Last but not least,
    No expert here, but a lifetime of observation and experience; If he is being destructive, they usually outgrow this by year two. It helps if he has a buddy to hang out with. And lots and lots of toys, if he is into that. I used to introduce two toys a week, until he had every toy available on the mountain. Then I began ordering off the internet.

    And/or if he’s not left alone for long hours. I used to spend every lunch hour driving home, letting my dogs out for 1/2 hour with excellent one on one time, meaning just me and them, mot phone, texting, etc.

    They get bored, and will often find a way to amused themselves.

  3. Richard
    This is exactly what happened with my Buddy! The only dog I ever owned and I‘m not sure my heart could ever replace him. After living the best life a dog could have, a stupid vet told us the small knot on his belly was just a hernia. Later that night it looked like it busted open but I was thinking Buddy was messing with it, but within a couple weeks it grew to the size of a baseball and our main vet took a sample and it came back as massive cell carcinoma. Dr told me their was nothin we could do just let Buddy be Buddy and I would know when to put him to sllep. I prayed God would take him but on a Saturday he quit smiling and he never use the bathroom in the house and still didnt, it was very painful to get up and go to the door. That following Thursday we put him to sleep.
    I agree 100% that ridgebacks are the best dog ever., but like you I left the room and my husband stayed. I was gonna be the brave one and sing his favorite song. Shit I‘m crying again and its been 3 yrs!

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