The peculiarity of the 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 escutcheon of the breed. The ridge must be clearly defined, tapering and symmetrical. It must start immediately behind the shoulders and continue up to the hip (haunch) bones, and must contain two identical crowns only opposite each other. The lower edges of the crowns must not extend further down the ridge than one-third of the length of the ridge. Up to 5 cm (2 in) is a good average for the width of the ridge.
The Ridgeback should represent a strong, muscular and active dog, symmetrical in outline, and capable of great endurance with a fair amount of speed. Movement should be similar to the Foxhound’s gait.
Head and Skull:
Should be of fair length, the skull flat and rather broad between the ears and should be free from wrinkles when in repose. The stop should be reasonably well defined, and not in one straight line from the nose to the occiput bone as required in a Bull Terrier. The nose should be black or brown, in keeping with the colour of the dog. No other coloured nose is permissible. A black nose should be accompanied by dark eyes; a brown nose by amber eyes.
Should be moderately well apart, and should be round, bright and sparkling, with intelligent expression, their colour harmonising with the colour of the dog.
Should be set up 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 muzzle should be long, deep and powerful, jaws level and strong, with well developed teeth, especially the canines or holders. The lips should be clean, closely fitting the jaws.
Should be fairly long, strong and free from throatiness.
The shoulders should be sloping, clean and muscular, denoting speed. The forelegs should be perfectly straight, strong and heavy in bone; elbows close to the body.
The chest should not be too wide but very deep and capacious; ribs moderately well sprung, never rounded like barrel-hoops (which would indicate want of speed). The back powerful and loins strong, muscular and slightly arched.
In the hind legs the muscles should be clean, well-defined and hocks well down.
The feet should be compact with well-arched toes, round, tough elastic pads, protected by hair between the toes and pads.
Should be strong at the insertion and generally tapering towards the end, free from coarseness. It should not be inserted too high or too low, and should be carried with a slight curve upwards, never curled.
Should be short and dense, sleek and glossy in appearance but neither woolly nor silky.
Light wheaten to red wheaten. Head, body, legs and tail should be of a uniform colour. A little white on the chest is permissible but excessive white hairs on chest, belly, or above paws should be penalised. White toes, are undesirable. Dark muzzle and ears are permissible.
Straight forward movement, free and active.
Weight and size:
The desirable weight for dogs is 36.3 kg (80 lb) and bitches 31.7 kg (70 lb), with a permissible variation of 2.2 kg (5 lb) above and below these weights. A mature Ridgeback should be a handsome upstanding dog; dogs should be of a height of 63 – 68 cm (25 – 27 in) and bitches 61 – 66 cm (24 – 26 in). Minimum bench standard is dogs 63 cm (25 in) and bitches 61 cm (24 in).
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.