What makes a Ridgeback a “quality pet”?

There are several cosmetic issues that automatically remove a newborn Ridgeback from consideration as a show dog. None of them have any impact on the dog’s health or lovability.

First and foremost is the lack of a ridge—ridgeless dogs cannot be shown, as the lack of a ridge is a disqualification in the AKC standard.

Even if a newborn Ridgeback has a ridge, it might not be the “right” ridge. A “show-quality ridge” consists of two crowns, or swirls, located opposite one another in the upper one-third of the ridge. (Though the standard asks that the crowns be symmetrical, crowns that are slightly offset, or not perfectly aligned, are considered acceptable by many breeders, this one included.) Dogs that have more or less than two crowns, or crowns that are too offset (perhaps an inch or more) are pet quality.

The presence of too much white, for example, a white “sock” on the front leg that extends to the elbow, is another cosmetic reason for “pet” status.