The Rhodesian Ridgeback ("RR") should represent a well balanced, strong, muscular, agile and active dog, symmetrical in outline, and capable of great endurance with a fair amount of speed. The emphasis is on agility, elegance and soundness with no tendency towards massiveness. The RR's typical behaviour would be dignified, intelligent, aloof with strangers, but showing no aggression or shyness.
Nose: the nose should be black or brown. A black nose should be accompanied by dark eyes, a brown nose by amber eyes.
Muzzle: the muzzle should be long, deep and powerful.
Lips: the lips should be clean, closely fitting the jaws.
Jaws/Teeth: jaws are strong, with a perfect and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.The teeth must be well developed, especially the canines or holders.
Cheeks: cheeks should be clean.
Eyes: should be moderately well apart, round, bright and sparkling, with intelligent expression, their colour harmonising with the colour of the coat.
Ears: should be set rather high, of medium size, rather wide at base, and gradually tapering to a rounded point. They should be carried close to the head.
The hallmark of this breed is the ridge on the back which is formed by the hair growing in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. The ridge must be regarded as the characteristic feature of the breed. The ridge should be clearly defined, tapering and symmetrical. It should start immediately behind the shoulders and continue to a point between the prominence of the hips and should contain two identical crowns (whorls) directly opposite each other. The lower edge of the crowns (whorls) should not extend further down the ridge than one-third of the ridge. A good average width of the ridge is 5cm (2”).
Disqualification - Ridgelessness.
Serious Fault - One crown (whorl) or more than two crowns (whorls).