Monday, January 10

Africa's "Lion Hound"

Rhodesian Ridgeback  (image courtesy of camelotrr.com)

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an impressive beast, capable of withstanding extreme temperature fluctuations, foregoing water for extended periods, and serving as a great hunting companion for big game hunters (read: they don't freak out when elephants charge). Initially bred in Rhodesia -- the former name of Zambia -- they are a motley blend: Greyhounds, Terriers, Danes, Bloodhounds, as well as a unique ridge-backed dog used by the Hottentots, all went into the mix.

Easily identified by the distinctive ridge running along their spine, male RRs stand 25 to 27 inches high and weigh around 85 pounds, according to the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the U.S.. However, I remember a bitch in The Hippo Hide, a great hostel in Durban, SA, that was easily 32 inches tall and weighed well over 100 pounds. The reason they were preferred by big game hunters is simple: they are big game! Despite their size, though, they are loyal, gentle animals, and I would love to play with one right now.

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