Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppies FAQ
We currently expect our next litter to be whelped in August 2020, meaning puppies would be ready for collection in October 2020… but that’s not guaranteed yet.
Subscribe to the mailing list (bottom left of this page) for updates – we’ll send a message when the pregnancy is confirmed, and regular updates from then on.
Subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page, and we’ll notify you when we have a litter coming up.
Once a litter is announced, we’ll make a page on this site and update it weekly. When the puppies are two weeks old, we’ll take expressions of interest.
More info on how buying a puppy from us works.
First, you subscribe to our mailing list (bottom of this page). And we recommend you follow us on Facebook.
We send out a message to our mailing list advising the pregnancy is confirmed (typically four weeks before the puppies are due to be whelped), and another message when the litter is actually whelped. We’ll make a page on our site for this littler, and add images and videos regularly.
When the puppies are around two weeks old, we invite expressions of interest in buying a puppy from this litter, by email. Your interest is recorded along with your preferences for gender, colour, and size.
We’ll speak on the phone about your preferences, and some other details.
We tend to get many more people wanting to buy puppies than we have puppies, so we have to make some difficult decisions. We maintain a “wait-list” in case there are potential buyers who drop out at the last minute (if you’re on the wait-list we’ll let you know, and we’ll let you know when all puppies are sold).
We allow visits when the puppies are six weeks old, never before. At this stage, you select your first, second and third preference, from those available (puppies wear collars with numbers, so we can tell them apart).
Puppies are $2,500 each, with an additional $500 sterilisation bond that’s refunded when you provide proof of sterilisation. A $1,000 non-refundable deposit is required by the time the puppy is seven weeks of age.
We’ll provide info so you can prepare to have a puppy – info on bedding and feeding, for example.
Puppies can be collected at 8 weeks of age (never earlier). Remaining payment can be made by bank transfer a few days before collection, or in cash on the day (however, payment must be received in full, before the puppy can be collected).
When you collect your new puppy, we’ll answer your questions and provide more info.
We remain available to support you for the life of your puppy.
We have several conversations with potential buyers to understand how they plan to integrate the puppy into their family, and what they expect their life will be like over the next 15 years, the type of housing of the family and their lifestyle.
From this, we decide how comfortable we are placing a puppy with that family.
People who have bought a puppy from us in the past are given priority.
By appointment, your family can visit when the puppies are at least six weeks old.
We do not allow visitors before six weeks of age, because puppies are at risk of catching a disease like parvovirus, and they are too young to interact with humans to any extent.
The puppies and mother’s health and happiness are our highest priority.
We have fitted out a 10-foot shipping container to be our whelping and puppy-rearing room, about 30 metres from our home. We both work from home.
In the container, we added thick insulation and lined the walls and ceiling. We added adjustable vents top and bottom to allow fresh air to circulate. There’s a heater to keep the room at 24°C, a window to open, a door for humans, soft lights for night time, and a worklight when cleaning. There’s a dog-door, so the mother can go outside to a small fenced yard to wee and poo herself – we clean up the poo every day.
The puppy area is cleaned daily (up to three weeks old, the mother licks the puppies tummies to stimulate them to wee and poo, then eats everything they produce). After three weeks, the mother loses interest in that, so we go through a lot of newspaper each day in an effort to keep the area clean-ish (10 puppies pooing and playing… you can imagine!). We have a set of mats we change out every day as well, wash and dry in the sun. The puppies will get a few baths a week, as necessary.
In the first three weeks, we visit the mother and puppies five times a day, to bring the mother food, and to interact with the puppies. Each puppy gets a few minutes of holding and cuddling, five times a day (at the same time, we check for any genetic defects). As they get older, we provide some stimulation – noises and touching to help puppies get comfortable with their surroundings. From 4 weeks of age, we construct a puppy interaction centre, a range of things for puppies to feel, see, hear, smell and taste.
We take the mother out for short walks and runs in our fenced paddocks once a day – the mother is with the pups 24×7 for the first three weeks, feeding the puppies dozens of times a day.
The mother is gradually removed (“weaned”) – she gets sick of them pretty fast from four weeks, and won’t miss them at all by six to seven weeks. In this transition period, we move the puppies over to solid food.
Yes, all puppies we sell come with “papers”.
Both parents are registered with Dogs Victoria, and before being sold, all puppies will be microchipped and registered.
Most of this comes down to personal preference, but there are some considerations when selecting a gender – note that all of these a tendencies, not guarantees.
- Male dogs “lift their leg” (pee) on most vertical surfaces outside.
- That can be smelly and annoying.
- Female dogs squat to pee.
- Both can be trained to pee in specific places, however.
- Male dogs tend to be more devoted to their owners
- Female dogs are certainly loyal, but unspayed bitches can be affected by hormones causing them to be a little more “hormonal” sometimes (that’s a broad generalisation; all our dogs have excellent temperaments!)
- Male dogs tend to be larger, broader than female dogs, but this is not a certainty
- Male dogs tend to be stronger than female dogs, meaning they can be hard to control when excited. However, good training addresses this.
- Note, male dogs are not more or less aggressive to humans than female dogs (bitches) are
- Male dogs tend to die younger at 10 years, compared to 12-14 years for female dogs 🙁
- Male dogs may tend to drool more when older
Yes, we require that all puppies we sell be sterilised.
Female dogs: Spayed by hysterectomy.
Male dogs: Sterilisation by vasectomy.
Dog breeding is only for experts who are registered with several organisations, passed an exam, and have experience in managing breeding lines for the improvement of the breed.
All our male puppies must be sterilised. The main reason to sterilise a male dog is to prevent accidental pregnancies and “backyard” breeding.
We require a vasectomy. The testicles remain, but he cannot impregnate female dogs once he has had the vasectomy operation. Note that he will still serve (mate with) bitches in heat when vasectomised, but cannot not impregnate them
How it works
- Around 12 weeks of age, you make an appointment at Monash Vet Clinic for a vasectomy
- You’re asked to drop the dog off before 9am, and collect him before 8pm
- We charge a $500 sterilisation bond when purchasing a puppy, refunded when you provide the certificate of sterilisation to us (your vet will provide this)
While it’s commonly believed that castration improves behaviour, there’s no actual evidence of this. Castration is no longer recommended by the Australian Veterinary Association. Castrating after 18 months is acceptable (still not recommended). NEVER castrate a puppy – it can;
- Ruin his growth;
- Give him weak bones;
- Result in a feminine appearance;
- Make him more prone to prostate cancer and hip dysplasia
- Cause ACL ruptures
- All our female puppies must be sterilised, between 9 and 15 months of age
- It’s very unlikely a bitch would come into heat (that is, be fertile) before 9 months of age
- Sterilising females before nine months of age can affect their growth, so is not recommended. It commonly causes incontinence when the bitch is older.
- This operation can be performed by most vet clinics
- We charge a $500 sterilisation bond when purchasing a puppy, refunded when you provide proof of spaying (a sterilisation certificate, that your vet provides)
We’ll be available by email and call to discuss any problems you have with the puppy you purchase from us, for its lifetime.
If you’re unable to keep a dog you bought from us, we’ll always take it back (a partial refund may be offered, at our discretion) and work to re-home it. See re-housing.
There are several approaches to feeding dogs. The three main considerations are cost, time, and suitability of the food.
Historically, dogs in the wild are carnivorous animals – that is, they mainly eat meat and bone. They would catch small to medium animals (often omnivores and herbivores) and eat all parts of them. This means eating the intestines of the animals they caught, full of half-digested grass / leaves. Over time, dogs evolved to become dependant on this mix of meat, bones and vegetable matter.
Emulating this diet in current times is well-proven to be ideal for the long term health of your dog. Our dogs are fed the “BARF Diet” originated by Dr Ian Billinghurst (https://www.drianbillinghurst.com/), a renowned vet from NSW. His book, ‘The Barf Diet’ describes the approach to this diet in detail, but is summarised below. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It’s not a fad.
Dogs do not need, expect, or particularly appreciate variety in their diet – they are quite happy eating the same meals for their entire life.
Never give cooked bones – they can splinter and lodge in the throat. In fact, cooked food of any kind is not necessary for dogs (though, leftover cooked vegetables are fine to give).
Approach 1: Homemade raw food
Homemade biologically appropriate raw food best for your dog, and is cheapest for you. However, it takes time to buy ingredients, prepare and store than the alternatives, and can be a little messy.
Overall, a homemade BARF diet should be:
- 60% raw meaty bones, bones the dog can eat. Chicken wings and necks, lamb ribs –
- Chicken necks are not ideal (too much gristle), but can be used
- Bo preparation necessary, other than buying, dividing into packs and freezing
- Once – twice a week, bigger “recreational bones”
- NEVER GIVE COOKED BONES! They can splinter, and get lodged in their throat, a terrible way to die.
- Bones can be bought in bulk and frozen
- 15%-20% raw leafy green and yellow vegetables, pureed using a blender
- Spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, cabbage, bok choi, carrots, pumpkin, garlic, etc
- And also some fruit, apples (no pips), bananas, etc
- No onions, no grapes
- Best to make in batches and freeze
- Cooked vegetables are also fine, but not necessary
- 10%-15% offal, liver (“lambs fry” from a butcher)
- One lambs fry per week, spread across two meals
- 5%-10% Extras
- Up to one egg a day (raw yolk and cooked white ideally, but you can just lightly cook an extra whole egg when you are cooking yours);
- Wheat germ, yogurt (plain), oils (flaxseed and fish) 1-2 tsp a day, seaweed meal 1-2 tsp a day, Vitamin C (500mg tablets as for humans), Vitamin E (capsules, or oil)
Note that no grain in any form is fed – includes bread, pasta and rice – as they do not suite the canine digestive system.
Most efficient is to make this in bulk – get 10kg of chicken wings and assemble all the other ingredients, and make 30 “meal packs” to freeze in plastic containers. A chest freezer is likely necessary to store them. Feed one meal pack in the morning, and one in the evening, and on each feed, pull another one out of the freezer to start thawing (or if you forget, give a frozen pack a quick blitz in the microwave).
Plus, two or three times a week, give a ~500-gram raw meaty bone. Ridgebacks love these, and keep them amused for several hours – they’ll eat 99% of it, and chew on the remaining sliver for several days.
Approach 2: Pre-packaged raw food
Pre-packaged raw food – we recommend BARF by Dr Billinghurst – is similar to homemade raw food described above, with none of the effort… but more cost.
The food comes in “patties” (kind of like hamburger patties), that come in boxes of twelve 227-gram sealed chunks, and contains a generous mix of meat, shredded bones, leafy green vegetables, and extra minerals.
Available at the PetBarn chain of stores, and some independent pet food stores. It comes frozen, and must be kept frozen until serving – some Ridgeback owners invest in a chest freezer to store BARF, chicken wings, and bones, as the family freezer is not big enough. We typically buy 10 boxes when it’s cheapest.
A box of BARF costs between AU$25 and AU$30 (it’s often on-special), and comes in a range of flavours (beef, chicken, kangaroo, etc).
While BARF can be fed exclusively, it’s best to alternate it like so (assuming an adult dog; growing puppies need up to 50% more):
- One and a half BARF patties
- One hard-boiled egg (uncooked egg white can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B, so always hard-boil it)
- 3-4 raw chicken wings
- Several times a week
- A raw meaty bone, ~500g
Note again that no grain in any form is fed – includes bread, pasta and rice – as they do not suit the canine digestive system.
It’s essential to get the genuine Dr B’s BARF – there are several cheaper knock-offs, that bulk-out the patties with cheaper grain (rice, wheat) which is not recommended. If you’re considering an an alternative to Dr B’s BARF, please send us a photo of the packaging (where the ingredients are described), so we can provide some feedback on its suitability.
Approach 3: Dried food (kibble)
Despite being sold by many vets, dried food is not ideal (vet surgeries get kickbacks for selling it, and ultimately, they’re a business).
However, the more expensive brands (eg, Hill’s Science, Advance) are acceptable. Home-brand and supermarket brands are not acceptable.
Ideally mixed in with homemade or pre-packaged BARF, for example, dried food in the morning, and raw meat / BARF in the evenings.
The importance of frequent raw meaty bones increases if feeding dried food.
Canned wet food
Not recommended, even the expensive ones (Hills Science, and similar).
We microchip all puppies at 6 weeks of age (along with the first vaccination and vet check).
When you collect your puppy, we’ll provide the microchip details, and a form for you to complete so that if the puppy is lost and scanned, the ownership details displayed will be yours.
Yes. There are three types of registration:
All pups are registered with Dogs Vic. We’ll provide documentation (often called “papers”) to indicate this, including a pedigree (details of parents and grandparents).
After puppy collection, you’ll fill in an online form to change the microchip registration to your details.
All councils in Australia require that dogs be registered by three months of age. The fee is usually minimal – $30 a year or so (cheaper when dog is desexed). This is your responsibility.
After feeding well, good socialisation is the single most important thing a puppy needs. “Socialisation” means introducing the dog to a range of people and scenarios, so they develop a well-rounded view of the world.
The more unique situations a puppy is exposed to when young, the better “adjusted” it will be when an adult dog. Some examples include:
- Letting a group of primary school kids pat and play with the puppy
- Introducing puppy to men with walking sticks and hats
- Gradually introducing puppy to traffic – cars, buses, trucks, motorbikes, trams, trains…
- Introducing the puppy to many other dogs, young and old, big and small
- Introducing the puppy to sick people
- An older lady on a mobility scooter
- Introducing the puppy to cats, horses, pet rabbits, birds, etc.
You can think of many more similar situations – puppies should regularly experience as many as you can think of, and more variety more often is better!
At the start of each meeting, squat down to the puppy’s level and provide reassurance, slowly getting closer and more involved. Provide loud, excited, clear praise when the puppy does well (for example, lets the children pat it; licks the leg of the lady on the mobility scooter, etc) – “GOOD girl, Bess! Good GIRL!”.
Everything is new for puppies, and they grow fast. From when they are collected at 8 weeks, to six months of age is the “formative” time – things they learn in this period will stay with them for the rest of their life, and will hugely reduce behavioural issues later on.
A good idea is to take the puppy on-lead, after 12 weeks of age (some vets recommend after 16 weeks), to hang around the entrance of your local supermarket. Most people love engaging with a cute puppy, and you’ll encounter a range of people this way. Doing this once or twice a week for six weeks will hugely contribute to your puppy’s socialisation in a very positive way.
This FAQ has a lot of details on what should be done with puppies, but we need to add a short list of what not to do, thing that others may encourage you to consider or you may not realise could be bad for your puppy.
- If the puppy wees or poos inside, never rub its nose in it!
- This is a common practise amongst older people. While it may work in training the puppy to wee and poo outside, it has strong links to increasing timidity as the dog matures.
- We have a effective plan for “house training” a puppy, described elsewhere in this FAQ
- Keep your puppy away from stairs and similar sharp moves, until 6 months old
- While the puppy is growing fast, the jerks that come from stairs (and rough play) can cause damage to their delicate joints
- This include jumping from anything higher than 50cms (for example a human’s bed)
- Instead, carry puppies up and down stairs, and lift them down from higher places
- After 6 months of age, there’s no problem with these things, puppies can do them on their own
- Children should sit on the floor to play with the puppy, not pick it up
- Never hit / slap / punch / whip your dog
- Remember, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar!
- While dogs can be trained with violence, it’s cruel and unnecessary
- Dogs want to please you; liberal praise and small food treats awarded for good behaviour are more effective and kinder
- The only exception is, if the dog is attacking someone (very unlikely, with good socialisation). However, sometimes an angry voice growling at the pup is appropriate, eg, eg to stop play-biting / nipping which all pups do at first. Children usually cannot stop this, adults must intervene, a time-out room may be necessary (3-4 minutes, must be promptly). Shake the puppy’s head (grab side of face).
Training your puppy not to wee and poo inside is sure to be important to you! The good news is, all dogs can reliably learn this. The bad news is, it always takes longer than you would prefer.
Over time, using the below techniques, your puppy will stand by the door and whine when it needs to wee or poo, wanting you to let it out. Perfect! Typically, this takes around two months, but could take as long as four months if not followed consistently.
In the meantime, expect many wees and poos inside – at 8 weeks of age, perhaps six inside wees a day, and two poos. Keeping puppies off the carpet is recommended…
All dogs want to please you, and will respond to praise. Any time your puppy wees or poos outside, give immediate, strong, and jubilant praise. Be loud, and use your happy voice – exaggerate the happiness, as if this is the most amazing thing the puppy has ever done! For example:
Goood girl, Buckle! Well done! Good girl!
The more the puppy associates weeing and pooing outside with praise, the more likely it is to want to wee and poo outside. Dogs want to please you.
It’s best not to leave the puppy outside on its own for toileting – immediate praise is vital.
Expect wees and poos
It’s likely your puppy needs to wee and poo:
- As soon as it wakes up from a nap
- Directly after eating
- When you wake up in the morning
- Dashing around urgently, away from people, briefly going to corners sniffing
- Sitting by the door (when partly trained)
On each of these occasions, anticipate and take your puppy out, and deliver warm, loud and clear praise.
Always interrupt inside weeing and pooing
If you catch your puppy weeing and pooing inside, never rub their nose in it (this can lead to aggressive behaviour later).
Make a loud noise – a solid clap, stamp your foot, and loudly growl the word “No!”, pick up the puppy and take it outside. Don’t be rough, but it’s essential to do this promptly – during the act (doing it any time after, and the puppy will not associate it with making a mess inside, and the shock will just confuse it).
Possibly the puppy has finished weeing/pooing inside already, or maybe there’s a bit more left so you can praise it for finishing outside.
Crate Training overnight
Crate Training is a useful technique. Dogs generally don’t want to wee / poo where they sleep, so if their sleeping area is constrained overnight, they will resist the urge to wee and poo. Thus, using a crate, a wire-mesh box with a comfortable bed that the puppy can stand and lie down in (but no bigger), is effective.
Younger puppies (8 to 10 weeks) will need a middle-of-the-night outside trip to wee and poo, but after 10 weeks, they should be able to hold it for ~8 hours.
As soon as you wake up, take your puppy directly outside immediately. Best to carry it – if you let it walk, it will wee on the floor as soon as it’s gets out of the crate!
Of course, warm and loud praise while it wees and poos outside.
Use a trigger word
Each time the puppy wees and poos, you can use a “trigger” word as well, for example “puddle”, “toilet”, “business” (best make it a word you can use in polite company!).
Over time the puppy will associate the word with the act, and you can cause the puppy to wee and poo before it realises it needs to. This can be handy in some situations.
When you first bring your puppy home, your family will be excited, but the puppy will be scared – it’s a huge shock to be removed from the only life it has known with many of its littermates.
However, the puppy will quickly adapt to its new pack – your family – and in the course of a few days, the puppy will be playing happily.
Puppies tend to go through a cycle of sleep-toilet-play-eat several times a day – young puppies will need 4-to-5 1-to-2 hour naps a day, as well as a most-of-the-night sleep.
Puppies are delightful to play with at this age, but they have very sharp teeth, so having something to put in their mouth will save you a lot of pain! Biting people – even playfully – should never be encouraged, so when this happens, deliver a loud, firm, growly “No!”, and put something else in it’s mouth.
Puppies will chew and eat most things they find at this age – sticks, cardboard, grass, plastic, etc – so limit their intake of sharp things and string-like materials. The rest will pass through their system in a day or so.
Be careful with common poisons like snail and rat bait – dogs like these, and of course they can kill an adult dog, let alone a puppy!
Plenty of companies will be happy to sell you expensive dog toys, but most of them do not last long, and puppies don’t care about brands!
Simple household objects will be just as satisfying – toilet roll tubes and empty tissue boxes (remove the plastic “lips” first) are always a hit with our puppies. They’ll spend 15 minutes ripping them to pieces, eating some and making a mess, then sleep for three hours.
Thick rope, fabric, old socks tied in knots are simple toys. Plastic jars, a 30cm length of poly pipe, or a simple stick are also cheap and easy.
Commercial toys of value
There are some commercial toys that we have found to be valuable.
KONG make a good line of chew toys, some of which are ideal for leaving with the dog when you depart helping to reduce separation anxiety. One of their toys, a “Kong Classic” can be smeared with peanut butter inside and dogs spend hours trying to lick out all the good bits.
These bumpy balls can have a handful of dried food placed inside, and can be pushed around by the dog. Occasionally dried food leaks out, encouraging the dog to try pushing it around more.
There are several diseases your puppy is vulnerable to before being fully vaccinated, and it can only be vaccinated at certain ages (see below). Diseases can be caught from other dogs’ poo and wee, so don’t risk it.
So, from when collecting the puppy at 8 weeks, to its final in the series of puppy vaccinations at 12 weeks, the puppy must not be taken to any public areas (public parks, footpaths, shopping areas – anywhere other dogs go). So, that period is ideal to focus on internal socialisation with people (or other dogs if you know they have been vaccinated).
|6 weeks (before you collect the puppy – we do this)||Vaccination for Parvovirus, Hepatitis, Distemper. Known as “C3”, the first instance|
|10 weeks||“C5” five diseases; boosters|
|16 weeks||“C5” booster again|
Vet recommendations vary, but here are our guidelines.
|Each two weeks||2wks, 4wks, 6wk, 8wks, 10wks: Worms treatment. Drontal is reliable brand.|
|Each four weeks||14wks, 18wks, 22wks: Worms treatment. Drontal is reliable brand.|
|Monthly||For rest of life:
Worming (Sentinal tablet or Advocate drop on back of neck) when over 20kgs / 5m of age. Intestinal worms, heartworm, mites, fleas, all parasites.
Three times a year, Drontal tablet to suit weight of dog (but, that’s only for intestinal worms). But may have to treat for fleas with other means.
|Yearly||For rest of life:
Kennel cough, heartworm
|Each 3 years||For rest of life:
As puppies grow up FAQ
Like humans, dogs of an ideal weight will be healthier and live longer.
Ideally, when trotting, the dog’s ribs should be just visible.
If the dog is overweight, the ribs will not be visible when trotting. Simply feed less food at each meal, and be sure to follow the exercise guidelines, keeping the balance the same if feeding BARF.
If the dog is underweight, the ribs will show when standing. Increase the food at each meal a little (for example, if giving 1.5 patties each morning, give two patties instead). Over time, this may cause the dog to become overweight, so be sure to monitor closely and adjust to suit.
Some caravan parks and even hotels allow dogs to stay under certain conditions, but we know that travelling with a dog is not always possible.
Perhaps a trusted friend, family member or neighbour can look after the dog for the duration?
Under some circumstances, we can care for your dog when you’re away. More info on our Boarding page. Bookings long in advance are strongly preferred.
Your dog will be sad when a pack member moves out, and will be very excited when they return for a visit, but it won’t do any harm.
Fun fact: dogs don’t sweat like humans do – they pant instead (breathe heavily, tongue out), to cool down.
While technically dogs don’t need to be washed if they are free from fleas, living with an inside dog is much nicer if they are washed at least once every two weeks (we prefer to do around once a week).
We recommend using dog shampoo from a vet or PetBarn, but consider that cheaper brands may cause skin irritations.
Never use human shampoo for dogs.
When washing a dog, our tip is to always wash their head last – water on their head is what causes them to shake and get shampoo and water everywhere.
We find it best to wash the back, sides, tummy and hind-quarters first (lather up, rinse off), then the neck and chest area, and finally the head.
Try not to get water in their ears, as this will irritate them, and can contribute to infection.
That’s a decision for you to make.
Insurance will be a yearly or monthly fee that will cover you for most illnesses and injuries. For example, if your dog was hit by a car and needed $3000 of medical care, insurance would cover that.