The Rhodesian Ridgeback descends from crosses between the African Khoikhoi dog and dogs taken to Southern Africa by early European settlers. The KhoiKhoi dog was a small to medium sized dog with pricked ears and a ridge on his back, they were well known to be good hunters and have a natural guarding instinct. The Europeans crossed them with their Greyhounds, Mastiffs, Bloodhounds and Bulldogs and these early crosses were used for farm work and to hunt a variety of game.
In the late 1800’s, many of these crosses were taken to Rhodesia to hunt lions where they became very popular and known as Lion Dogs and African Lion Hounds. At the time there was a lot of differences between Lion dog’s from one region to another and the only real similarity was their function and ridge on their back which was seen as a stamp of quality. In the 1920’s a group of dedicated breeders formally established the breed as we know it today and changed its name to the Rhodesian Ridgeback.