Finding the right breeder can seem like a daunting task. Where do you start?

The first step is to find a breeder who is reputable. One good launching point is the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States, or RRCUS. This is not to say that membership confers instant credibility, but the vast majority of breeders who have taken the time and effort to join their national breed club have done so because they care deeply about the breed and want to be part of its stewardship. The more activities a breeder is involved in, the better: Participating in not just dog shows, but also performance events such as lure coursing and agility, therapy-dog work and initiatives within the breed club all demonstrate that a breeder is committed to the "big picture."

Most people start looking for a puppy right before they want to acquire one. If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be: Start six months, or even a year, before your target date of bringing a puppy home. Many Ridgeback bitches cycle every 8 or 9 months, which means there is often a wait for litters. And having a long lead time gives you a leisurely opportunity to meet breeders and make an intelligent decision without the emotional tug of a newly born litter to contend with. A breeder does not have to have puppies on the ground for you to call and say: "I am interested in the breed. May I come and meet your dogs?"

I prefer to meet puppy buyers before the litter arrives -- if possible, months before the breeding takes place. Getting together in person lets you meet and interact with my dogs . And it permits both of us to decide if we are "right" for each other.


I put a great deal of time, effort and love into my puppies. They are truly home reared, raised in my home -- not a garage or a basement -- and they interact constantly with children of all ages, including my three youngsters.

I want potential puppy owners to consider their puppy to be a new family member, not a possession to be acquired and then discarded when it is no longer novel or "exciting." I am not impressed a flashy car, or a rare-metal Amex card. Platinum, shmatinum. What I care about is on the inside.

In turn, I am there for my puppy buyers through the entirety of their dog's life for questions, concerns, and, of course, brags.

What makes a pet-quality puppy? In Ridgebacks there are several cosmetic factors evident at birth that eliminates a puppy's show potential: One of the most common is an incorrect ridge -- one that has more or less than the two crowns, or whorls, required by the standard, or whorls that are incorrectly placed and not symmetrical.

Other factors are excessive white, or a kinked tail. As a puppy grows older, an incorrect bite can also eliminate it from show-prospect status.

Some puppies are born with a congenital defect called a dermoid sinus. Breeders can palpate for these at birth, though some, especially those on the tail, can be hard to detect. Some breeders choose to have surgery on dermoid puppies; others decide to euthanize them. Many breeders whose dermoid puppies successfully heal from surgery sell them for the cost of surgery.

you'd like to inquire about an upcoming litter, or would like to talk about whether a Ridgeback is right for you, please email, or call evenings between 8 and 10 p.m. EST at (516) 676-3398.