The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog breed developed in the Southern Africa region. Its forebears can be traced to the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the Khoikhoi, which were crossed with European dogs by the early colonists of the Cape Colony of southern Africa. The original breed standard was drafted by F. R. Barnes, in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), in 1922, who named the breed the Rhodesian Ridgeback. The standard was approved by the South African Kennel Union in 1927.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback has also previously been known as Van Rooyen’s lion dog or the African Lion Hound or African Lion Dog—simba inja in Ndebele, shumba imbwa in Shona—because of its ability to keep a lion at bay while awaiting its master’s arrival.