As a family and growing up we had always had large breed dogs and competition horses Dog wise we sought a breed of dog that had a steady temperament, a history of being good with children, with a low maintence coat, no real breed health problems and longevity. The Rhodesian Ridgeback seemed the perfect choice.
Prior to returning to Australia, after some twenty years in sunny England, we started looking for suitable Queensland breeders. After tralling the net for many, many, hours I came across Starridge. Not only were we extremely impressed with Starridges dedication to the breed, but also in the obvious quality of her dogs.
In particular Australian Grand Champion Bearstar Ko (Mister Ko), drew our attention. He was such a proud handsome looking dog with very kind eyes. So we contacted Starridge to be placed on a wating list for any future pups. We were informed that Starridge had planned a litter the following year from Mister Ko and the pups would be available around May/June 2006. This fitted in perfectly with our return to Australia.
Unfortunately the planned litter was postponed for another six months. So our details were kindly passed on to Fiona of LaSimba RR whom were using Australian Grand Champion Riginal Lightnin Jack (Jelani), a Mister Ko son, as the Sire of there planned litter. From then on we kept in regular contact with Fiona via email as we were still in the UK. At this point my family and I were not interested in showing we just wanted a male family pet, to be called 'Rocky'.
On the 10th of May 2006, we had an exciting email from Fiona stating that the pups had been born and they were all male!! Some three weeks later and only several days after our arrival in Australia we went to visit the pups. We visited them regularly and had our eye on the largest male, whom had been selected as a potential show pup. Only a few days before we were going to collect our new pup, we were told he had been chosen by another family. We knew all along that this was a possibility as they had been promised the pick dog.
The offer was kindly still open for us to have a pup so off we went. Strongly believing that all thing happen for a reason we decided that the first pup to come to us that wasn't already homed would be our 'Rocky'. On arrival 'Rocky' was actually the very first pup to come to say hello, he was waiting by the gate when we got there, and I had to pick him up so we could get into the puppy area. Fiona knew that we weren't interested in showing, but really wanted our new choice to be shown. So we gave her our word that we would give it a go.
We kept in regular contact with Fiona, and by a fortune of fate I happened to call her one day in November 2006, and was informed that she had not long had a 15month old female, bred from a previous litter (not related to Rocky), returned to her due to social circumstances. Rocky had already ensured our total addiction to the bred and we were thinking about getting a female in the not so distant future anyway. So we had her on a weeks trial. Once home she stole our hearts, and thats how we came to owning Pebble.
With only a couple of shows left in 2006, due to the time of year and family commitments, we didn't really start showing until February/March 2007. With the best will in the world and help from other breeders our first few shows were disasters, we worn the wrong clothes, ran round the ring the wrong way et cetra, et cetra, it was extremely funny. But I was determined to crack it.
Our first win came in March 2007, Rocky won Best of Breed and Pebble Runner Up Best of Breed. Then due to work commitment I had a forced break. On my return to the show world Pebble and Rocky were awesome. Our winning increased and we made some really good friends which caused us to become well truely hooked.
By the tender age of only just 15 months after minimal showing, Rocky was awarded the title of Australian Champion. So far he is the only dog from his litter to gain his title. Pebble too has gained her Australian Champion title after minimal showing. Both Rocky and Pebble gained their Endurance Titles during 2008 with a grueling 20km test, (we were allowed to cycle!!).
Their daughter 'Aura', born late November 2007, has also gained her Australian Champion Title, again after minimal showing. Our latest addition Maebe, born May 2011, is a gorgeous pup from Aura and Sieges first litter, due to time constraints will only occassionally be shown.
From a breeding point of view our ethics are simple, we only use the best examples of the breed in heath, temperament then aesthetics, we only breed when we are in a position to keep or place a pup, and never never just for the sake of breeding.
After many absent years I have returned to the world of dressage with my trusty spanish warmblood Dali. Not only am I an EA competitor but also a dressge coach for further info, please visit my site www.jorussellequine.com .
But enough about our horses...... From the heart, not only is the Rhodesian Ridgeback the most loving, trusting, loyal family addition you can have, the versitility of this breed is never ending. There really is no end to what a Ridgeback can do, and the time spent doing it with your family, is likely to be the most enjoyable rewarding experience you will ever have.
Mans best friend really is the dog....... well a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog anyway.