The Ridgeback is a fast-growing, large dog and it is vital
that they are correctly fed and exercised in their formative years.
Currently in Australia the breed average is 7 (combined score
of two hips out of a possible combined score of 106). To lessen your risk
of having a pup with CHD ensure that the parents of the pup have been hip scored
and that the score is within breedable limits. It is generally accepted
that breeding stock should not have a hip score higher than 10 and the lower the
score the better.
The following quote is from Malcolm B. Willis, BSc, PhD:
Dr. Willis is a visiting senior lecturer (semi-retired) in Animal Breeding and
Genetics, Faculty of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, The University,
Newcastle upon Tyne. He is an Honorary Associate of the Royal College of
Veterinary Surgeons and analyses hip score data for the British Veterinary
you must not breed only by the numbers. A good breeder goes about the job with a
set aim of trying to produce functional dogs that approximate to the ideal. I
see breeders who cannot see beyond a head or a light eye or a good set of hips.
Such breeders are doomed to failure because they do not look at the whole dog.
And you've always got to try to select stock that is not only much better than
the breed average, but much better than your kennel average. If you breed from
parents that are better than average, their progeny will be better
than average, but not, on average, as good as their parents. If you breed from
parents that are worse than average, their progeny will also be worse than
average, but not, on average, as poor as the parents. There is, in effect, a
pull towards the mean. And that's why it can be so hard to improve the breed.
Finally, all breeders will produce defects if they breed long enough. Those who
tell you that they do not produce defects have either stopped breeding, breed
hardly at all or are being economical with the truth. There is no crime
in producing a defect. The crime, if any, lies in what you do about a defect. If
you bury yours quickly and keep quiet about it, and I do the same with mine,
then sooner or later we may use each other's dogs and pay the penalty
for not having been honest with one another and with the breed we probably
profess to love.
In simple terms, breeding is all about selecting the best and then mating the
best to the best. "Best" is a relative term and to a great many breeders best is
what they happen to own. Sometimes they are correct in that assumption but
more often than not they are wrong because they are not critical enough of their