both parents registered with the American Kennel Club?
The American Kennel Club is a registry for purebred dogs. Having AKC
registered parents should ensure you are buying a purebred puppy but
you should realize that the AKC does not generally police breeders and
"AKC" should not be considered a recommendation of a breeder. Backyard
breeders and puppy mills can have AKC registered dogs, too..
Be wary - ask
Reputable breeders - and those who are RRCUS members - breed ONLY AKC
registered dogs. Some like to show at UKC (United Kennel Club) shows
and may have dual registered dogs for showing or performance events..
The UKC is the only other legitament registrating body in the US. Dogs
"registered" with Canine Kennel Club or such are indicators of
puppy mill activity.
Do you own Sire and Dam of litter?
A conscientious breeder will have put a great deal of effort and
planning in this litter and the best Sire may not necessarily belong to
them nor even live in the area. Having a male dog in the house doesn't
make him a great stud dog or the breeder reputable.
Other questions to ask is where does the mother dog spend her day?
Where does she sleep at night? Beware those who live in pens or
kennel runs all the time. Great companion dogs are raised around
people. They do not live all their lives in the backyard, in a pen or
in a run. They are members of the family and when the family is home,
the dog is with them in the house.
Ridgebacks are great "people" dogs.... they want and should be with the family.
What is temperament of mother? Father?
This should be of utmost concern. Happy, well adjusted, non-aggressive
Ridgebacks are a pleasure to own. Aggressive Ridgebacks are dangerous!
Claims of overly protective dogs or a tough nature should definitely
set off alarms.
Have Sire and Dam been x-rayed free of hip and elbow dysplasia? What
were their ratings? Can I see the certificates?
Radiographs of hips and elbows should have been taken anytime after 2
years of age and submitted to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals .
A young pup or dog under 24 months cannot have an OFA number. They can
have preliminary OFA X-rays though and the owner will have a copy of
the findings for you to see. Dogs will only receive a number from OFA
if their hips can be rated as Excellent, Good or Fair. Dogs
with varing degrees of hip dysplasia will not get a number..
Elbows receive a pass or fail rating. It's perfectly fine to ask to see
certificates and if they have not been done it's best to pass on a
puppy from this litter as surgery for hip replacement can be upwards of
$1000 to $3000. Beware of answers such as "Oh, our dogs don't limp and
we can tell their hips are fine." Only Superman has X-ray vision!
Why did you breed this litter?
reputable people who show and/or compete with their dogs breed a litter
to have something for them to show and/or to continue to improve their
line of dogs. They do not breed a litter because they wanted
the children to witness the miracle of birth or because their dogs are
so wonderful that everyone wants one or to get their purchase price
back on their female! There are far too many wonderful dogs in rescue
or in shelters to be frivilously breeding and selling to anyone with
It is not unusual for a well-bred litter to have champion
parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents,
etc. A handful of champions a couple of generations back on a pedigree
is really not impressive. If the dogs aren't being evaluated by outside
unbiased individuals, as in conformation showing, why are they being
Most reputable breeders can supply you with a 3-4 or more generation
pedigree of the litter beforehand.
other health or genetic testing/screening was done before breeding?
The RRCUS recommends breeding stock be tested for hypothyrodism - a
problem in the breed - and have their eyes certified free of problems
by a veterinary optamologist. This is commonly referred to as CERF.
Both CERF and thryoid testing should be done every 2 years until the
dog is over 6 years of age.
All puppies should have been checked for Dermoid Sinus as well. DS is
an inherited condidtion in the Rdigeback breed. Claims such as " Oh,
our dogs never have that problem" should be suspect as the dermoid
sinus and the ridge factor are related. Until there is a
DNA test for DS, all puppies should have been checked!
How big are the sire and dam?
Bigger is NOT better.According to the standard in ALL the
world's RR club standards, a Ridgeback should generally weigh
between 65 and 85 pounds. More than this is incorrect and dangerous to
the future of the breed. This dog was used for speed and agility - not
for killing lions. 120 pound Ridgebacks should not be used for breeding.
How many litters has she had?
A responsible breeder will often breed a female twice,
once in a while 3 times. If she is on her third litter and 4 years old
then she is being used as a commodity. Beware of numerous litters!
How often does this person breed a litter?
Correctly raising a litter of Ridgebacks puppies is all
consuming and should not be undertaken lightly. One litter every 1 - 3
years is often the most that a responsible breeder can do. Numerous
litters per year should raise a red flag.
Is breeder a member in good standing
of Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States (RRCUS)?
breeder aware of the RRCUS Code of Ethics and does he/she agreed to up
hold it?The breeder of a litter of Rhodesian Ridgebacks should
member of RRCUS and be familiar with the Code of Ethics. This is a
correct step in weeding out
unethical breeders - it is no guarantee, but definitely a positive
Does Breeder offer any health
When all good intentions fail and a puppy is genetically
inferior - what guarantee will the breeder offer? Money returned,
replacement puppy, etc.? Discuss this and make sure you are comfortable dealing with the breeder..
If for any reason you might have to give up the dog, will the breeder
take the dog back and provide it with a home?
All reputable breeders will take back their dogs, regardless of age,
and either find them a good home or keep it themselves.
Is Breeder involved in purebred rescue?
All reputable breeders should be
willing to rescue their own puppies - forever!
This is a must!!! If a breeder is putting puppies in
over-crowded world, they should be making every effort to make certain
ALL Ridgebacks have good homes. This should include their own
puppies throughout the puppy's life.
How many years experience does Breeder
have in Conformation Showing, Lure Coursing, Obedience, Agility,
Therapy, Herding, Breeding?
It goes without saying, the more varied experience the
more dog knowledge the Breeder should have. However, everyone has to
start somewhere and that usually is done with the guidance of a mentor.
If this is their first litter or so, who is their mentor and what are
Will Breeder be available for questions and
assistance throughout this dog's life?
As a minimum this should be required. When you get a puppy, you should
purchasing the expertise of your Breeder and should be able to have a
Does Breeder require spay/neuter agreements?
In an effort to control pet over-population, a
breeder should require spay/neuter agreements on puppies that don't
meet breeding criteria and/or are going to a pet home to be a companion.
Does Breeder make efforts to ensure good homes for
puppies prior to breeding?
A responsible breeder will only bring pups into the
there are sufficient suitable homes for the litter. Most well bred
litters are tentatively spoken for long before
their 8-week birthday. You should also be asked numerous questions
about your plans for the care of the puppy, fencing, indoor/outdoor
plans, pets owned in the past, etc. The breeder should show as much
interest the type of home as you are showing in the puppy.
If they are only interested in how you are going to pay for the dog,
When will the puppies be able to go to new homes?
Most people grade their litters at about 8 weeks of age - an optimal
time to assess stucture. So, around 8 weeks or afterwards is the normal
time. Puppies are not neurologically compete until the 49 th day - 7
weeks, so under no circumstance should a puppy leave it's litter before
then! There are things a puppy learns from it's mother and it's
siblings before that time that you or I can never recreate!
Where were puppies raised?
Great companions are raised in the house with people, not out in the
yard in a dirt pen! The places they are raised shows the effort made
to properly socialize the puppies. This breed can be aloof,
so great efforts
made by a breeder in the first 8 weeks to introduce puppies to as much
as possible - dishwashers, T.V., vacuum cleaners, children, numerous
people, cats, loud noises, etc. Being kept in an 8X10 outside
run or in a
garage does nothing for the temperament of your puppy.
Have puppies be checked for Dermoid
This is a problem in the breed and should be of utmost
concern to a breeder. Anyone who doesn't know what that is or
says "Oh, our dogs don't have those" is either a liar, a fool (or
thinks you are) or doesn't have Ridgebacks! The Ridge and DS are
genetically linked, so all RRs have the chance of producing puppies
21.. How are Dermoid Sinus puppies dealt with?
D.S. puppy should either be humanely euthanized or may
possibly have D.S. surgically removed and be placed in a spay/neuter
pet home for a nominal cost. Puppy should not be sold at an inflated
price. An experience veterinarian will properly remove the DS and once the healing is over, there are no after effects.
22.. Have puppies been checked for worms or been wormed?
Worms are common in puppies and control and eradication
should be expected from a conscientious knowledgeable breeder. Most
puppies will have been wormed at least once and in my part of the
country will have been started on a preventative. You should receive a
heatlh record with your puppy that has the dates of the vaccinations,
wormings and future dates for vaccinations.
23. Have puppies had any inoculations?
By 8 weeks pups should have had 1 or 2 of the puppy
24.. Will I be able to pick out my puppy?
Since the breeder has the luxury of watching these
interact with each other and humans on a day to day basis, a
responsible breeder will have a better idea of which puppy should work
best in which home. You may have choice between a couple of puppies going to pet hoomes, but
don't expect a good breeder to allow you to come in and pick any puppy
you want. For example, a bold and headstrong puppy could be a disaster
in a home with a more retiring family.
25. May I come and visit to see the puppies or adult
Ridgebacks you own?
Absolutely! It would be the perfect opportunity for both the new owners
and the breeder to met. You can see first hand how the pups are raised,
how the older dogs interact with company and the condition they are in.
Remember that between birth and three weeks is a critical period
and has potential danger to the pup from outside sources. If the
breeder doesn't allow visitors during these early days, then don't be
upset, they are only tryong to protect the pups. Four to 8 weeks is
usually the best time and also when the pups are more mobile and ready
to meet people.
Sometimes an offer to deliver a puppy to you should send up red
Why should you buy a puppy from someone who's willing to meet you at a
rest stop or pop it on a plane? This might show an urgency to gets puppies placed
quickly without a great deal of concern for the home. A responsible
breeder spends a great deal of time visiting with prospective owners
and educating them on the special characteristics of the Ridgeback. A
visit also gives you an opportunity to see the environment where the
puppies were raised. Visitation with the breeder at a pre-arranged time
shouldn't be an inconvenience.