After you have thoroughly researched the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed and before getting in touch with any breeders, you need to ask some questions of yourself.
You need to ask: Am I (we) prepared to:
• Always keep this dog safe by providing a safe, fenced area where it can exercise. Never permit it to run loose, never permit it to ride in the back of an open pickup truck or be chained or tied up outside, permit no teasing or abuse by children or others when the dog is playing in its own yard (or any other time) - such as poking sticks through the fence, yelling at it, tossing things at it.
• Give this dog enough attention and exercise and firm but loving discipline as is given to human children? Puppies need a lot of TLC each day and as they grow they also need exercise along with the TLC and firm discipline so that they may learn right from wrong and become good canine citizens.
• Live with shedding (although Ridgebacks don't shed as much as some long-haired breeds), and the small amount of grooming needed for a Ridgeback - such as nails, brushing, baths, cleaning of teeth, ears, etc., and keeping it parasite free for the next 10 to 15 years?
• Spend the amount of money required to provide proper veterinary care, including but certainly not limited to: vaccines, heartworm testing and preventative, spaying or neutering, annual checkups, and any medications required for any illness the dog may contract? Or the surgery required if the dog swallows something that could injure its internal organs? Or hip and elbow x-rays?
• Keep the breeder informed and up to date on this dog's accomplishments and problems?
• Take questions to the breeder or other appropriate professionals before they become problems that are out of hand?
• Have the patience to accept (and enjoy) the trials of Ridgeback puppy hood which can last for up to two or three years, and each stage thereafter? To become educated about the proper care of the breed and correct training methods?
• Continue to accept responsibility for the dog despite inevitable life changes such as new babies (human), kids going off to school, moving, etc.?
• Resist impulse buying, and instead have the patience to make a responsible choice of a puppy?
If you can answer "yes" to ALL of the above you are ready to start seriously contacting breeders. Start early because most responsible breeders have a waiting list ranging from a few months to a couple of years.
Remember, the right puppy or adult dog IS worth waiting for!
Rescue dogs may or may not be responsibly bred. However, since in many instances they are adults, or older puppies, it is easier for rescuers to evaluate them for any signs of a problem before you fall in love with one of them - something that can't be done with a puppy. This is only one of the many advantages to adopting a Rescue Dog!