Big Dogs for Happy, Secure People!


(In Your Care)

Kelli Benn family

"Is the puppy happier or are the owners happier?"

1. Pick-up at my location [this location is owned by THE FATHER and HIS Only Begotten SON, THE CHRIST] or at the airport : Items for you to have in your possession - collar for dog, leash, clean bath-sized towel, non-chlorinated cool water, 'no food', second individual to hold puppy or crate to hold puppy.

a. Airport pick-ups: Leave puppy in crate until you find a suitable area with limited traffic and a grass location. Place puppy in collar and on leash (you do not want puppy running away or into traffic). Walk puppy gently as puppy is not used to a leash! Then offer water. Do not be surprised if puppy does not want water. Do not feed puppy if puppy does not take water! Or feed according to instructions that were verbally given to you. Use your fresh bath towel to wrap puppy if you have a second individual to either drive or hold puppy.
b. If you do not have a second individual, you should leave puppy in the crate. One does not want puppy to distract from driving. One does not want puppy to have an accident or throw-up on automobile interior. Puppies can get car sick on limited occasions.

2. At home: Have a safe area to allow puppy to wander in your yard (fenced yards are best) if you have other animals. Observe the introduction for a good number of days(other animals can be jealous, over-playful, etc. of new puppy).

a. 1st 2 or 3 days - wrap puppy in same bath towel and have puppy spend a lot of time on your lap - this is a 'bonding technique'!
b. Have puppy sleep in it's arrival crate with shipping towel. If a crate and a shipping towel are offered, puppy will usually sleep in it. Some whining can be expected. Comfort and depart.
c. Your Rhodesian Ridgeback is designed to sleep outside to perform it's expected job of watching, protecting, and alerting, if necessary, you the owner. Note: See harsh weather conditions!
d. When puppy is in the house, if not on your lap during first 2 or 3 days, the puppy should be 'in-place' then, and through-out its life. 'In-place' is a designated location with a rug or blanket (approx. 4' by 4' for one dog, and a 5' by 5' for two dogs). Most people will find that it is not profitable to allow a dog of size to wander throughout the home. And, this does not allow for good discipline of your dog.

3. Harsh weather conditions: Usually defined by temperature.

a. Temperatures down to 20 degrees F. I constructed a three-walled (all sides and top/bottom) dog box. Outside wall is wood, second wall foil surfaced insulation, inside wall is wood. The box is raised approximately three inches off surface (concrete surface is best). Dog box is to be located in a 'wind-water protected area'. A dog box 40" width x 40"depth x 36"height will accommodate 2 large Ridgebacks nicely. This works also for 'joint warmth from one dog to another. The 36" height includes the 3 inch bottom spacing (air trap above surface). The box itself is 33" high.
b. In temperatures below 20 degrees F. (day and night) I allow my dogs to sleep in a heated area of the home, always 'in-place'!
c. I live in the mountains of Arkansas, which have rather cold winters. If I am home during this weather, the dogs enjoy a good amount of time in the heated home. However, no matter the weather conditions, if I am not at home the dogs remain outside performing their jobs, always able to access their box located in a 'wind-water protected area'. Their main function is to protect this location. Remember, the dogs are 'out' every night (when I am in bed) unless temperature is below 20 degrees day and night.
d. Your judgment is required for your environs. Your 1st responsibility is for you and your family. Allow your dog the opportunity to do it's primary job! Consider if you are placing human emotions and thought into your dog's head. Your dog is a dog--not a human. Your dog needs to do its 'dog jobs'. Your dog wants to do it's jobs. Allow your dog to be 'all that it can be'!

Panny Lane with Mr. Reynolds



1) Nutrition is paramount to raising a 'proper' Ridgeback. Your puppy has received a very unusual diet when it was under my care! Certain items of nutrition during early weeks are proprietary and I share them only with the most rare breeder. I can tell you that vets whom I have shared this with were amazed. Never has any owner of a Ridgeback litter ever come close to mentioning nutrition at this proprietary level.

a. From the time your puppy has been able to chew it has never been allowed 'demand' (anytime they want) food. Puppies receive 'supply' (when given) food. This is a much more natural method of feeding. Dogs in the wild receive food when they are able to obtain said food. In the long-run this will build a much better dog.
1. Your puppy has received eggs, beef, lamb, sardines, chicken, vegetables, even spaghetti, ground (sometimes) 32% protein/25% fat dog food. My spaghetti sauce is from my grown tomatoes, with oregano, basil, parsley, tumeric, crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper, and plenty or garlic. The eggs, lamb, and beef are raised here. I do not have enough chickens to feed my own two dogs.
2. Your puppy has received and eaten a very good amount of various bones. They love 'em!
3. Your puppy has received 'free' access to lamb, beef, and horse manure. Don't know why; but big dogs seem to want some at times
4. Your puppy has received 'free' access to a variety of grasses which I notice that dogs will choose to eat on a somewhat regular basis.
b. Your feeding basis is up to you once you have your puppy!


2) I continue the above 'supply' food for an additional 4 months until dog is 6 months of age. Then, I switch to a 'demand' food supply of 32% protein and 25% fat dog food with 'supply' food coming from my left-overs. This continued up to 18 months; then the dog food is 26% protein and about 20% fat.

a. Ridgebacks love to eat left-overs. Vegetables with some meat product mixed-in seem to disappear in most all cases. Do not give Ridgebacks eggs in the shell unless you want them to eat all your eggs in your chicken coupe! Your 'supply' food after 18 months is your left-overs. And, if you are a 'softie', like me, I almost always have leftovers unless I am eating cereal that night. ENJOY Your Puppy becoming a 'BIG DOG' !
b. If you do not raise your own meat, visit your butcher. One can purchase an abundance of 'product' at a very reasonable price. Do not forget to purchase, 'on-the-cheap': heart, liver, kidney, tongue, and 'oysters' . And, remember your Ridgeback just absolutely loves bones and likes to make them, the bones, disappear.

3) FIRST WEEK FEEDING: Prepare food according to 'good in / good out'. Place food in 1 bowl with water in another bowl side-by-side. Puppy is outside during preparation and placement. Go outside and carry puppy inside and place in front of food and water. You stand over puppy while puppy is eating and drinking. When puppy is finished eating and drinking, pick-up puppy and carry outside. Watch puppy be a 'good dog' .

4) #1 is nearly a guarantee of housebreaking your Ridgeback within 7 days.

5) I always feed Ridgebacks outside, saves on a lot of mess and teaches the dog the proper 'environs' in which to eat.

6) Since I cannot carry a dozen or so Ridgeback puppies, I feed puppies in a separate horse stall. They have to walk-in and walk-out on their own. They do get 'demand' water due to the intensity of puppy-play. This walk-in / walk-out usually happens about at age 4 weeks.

Call Jerry F. Kirk: 417-943-4177

Penny Lane Reynolds


Your Ridgeback puppy has been introducted to the environs at this location which is not necessarily the same as yours.

1) When at 3 days of age, puppy introduced to grown male with my supervision. I do not allow grown female other than momma dog around during 1st 4 weeks.

2) Supervised visits with chickens begins almost as soon as puppies can get around rather well. Chasing or catching is not allowed!

3) From weeks 6 - 8, puppies are allowed, supervised, into sheep pasture. They learn to not bother and get-the-heck-out of-the- way, if necessary. There is usually a small bull in said pasture which I divert if necessary.

4) I DO NOT introduce puppy in pastures with full-grown cows or any age horse until after 6 months of age. When grooming a tied/standing/good horse, puppy can be around and not under horse at age of 4 months. At 6 months of age, with trepidation, I let puppy into field with me present to the horses or the cows. Time to see what I got! (Adult dogs are in pasture at this time.) 

5) Your judgment is necessary for your introductions.

Call Jerry F. Kirk: 417-943-4177


There are four(4) levels or stages of training available for your Ridgeback. Each individual needs to decide what is correct or necessary for their lives and environs.

1) Obedience/Leash Training: Should be considered mandatory in my opinion, allows owner and dog to really be on the same page, provides 'definitions' for dog to 'know' what is expected.
a. Most 'very happy' owners do this!
b. Most 'very happy' dogs do this!
c. Can be expanded to working fields, herd animals, hunting, etc.
d. In most cases, this is the training of the 'owner' to maintain discipline in their communications with their dog.

2) Protection Training: I have never taken a Ridgeback to this level as this breed has superior intelligence to make great decisions on their own. This type of training can lead to 'over' protection and 'limit' the social settings in which your Ridgeback can be allowed to participate. Only people with 'very' special situations should consider this level of training.

3) Attack Training: This can be a very dangerous level of training.

Usually, only one (1) individual ever handles a dog of this level.

Never would I allow any dog which has this training around my family, friends, or visitors. IF YOU WANT 'ATTACK TRAINING' LEVEL OF DOG, PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE a DOG FROM ME!!!

4) 'Do Nothing' Training: With this type of training you can make a valuable asset into a 'big mutt'; you can wonder why you are not happy; you can wonder why you are the only one who owns a Ridgeback and is not proud to own a Ridgeback.

Obedience/Leash Training can begin as early as 4 months if the owner has already been trained in this level. Otherwise, 6 months is what I suggest. Find a competent professional in your area. Enjoy the learning process of your dog and yourself. Once you are 'trained', you will be able to 'train' future dogs...

The decision which you are responsible for making determines the happiness level which you desire for your family and your environs.

Call Jerry F. Kirk: 417-943-4177



In the past 32 years, I have found the Rhodesian Ridgeback to be an amazingly healthy dog. Rarely has any dog which I owned ever gotten sick, except for rarely some loose bowels, which are over in less than 24 hours. I do notice that Ridgebacks will seek out various grasses at times to 'treat' themselves.

On occassions, my Ridgebacks have been injured. The events which caused said injuries were because said dog protected a human from grave danger or death. The dogs were very resilient and I actually had to spend very little money to repair dog. Some of the things which I have seen and experienced would cause some to think that I was making up 'stories'. And, I assure you that I would not do such a thing.

1) Vaccines: Standard and minimal types as your veternary suggests, after you learn - consider purchasing from your local feed supply store, save money, and learn how to do on your own.

2) Dermoid Sinus(es): This is an incomplete separation of the skin and hair from the skeleton when the dog is in gestation.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback and other breeds of dogs can incur this problem. This problem can appear even when parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents did not have the problem. This does not happen very often. However, if a breeder of Ridgebacks says that their dogs never have Sinus, they have not had much experience or are speaking out-of-turn (maybe like not telling the truth).

I have learned that an experienced individual can 'feel' sinus the first day and the first hour of the dog's birth. Some sinus can be harder to feel in weeks 2 thru 5; yet, easy to feel in weeks 6 thru 8. The 'sinus' which I am talking about is the one from the base of the neck to the root of the tail. There is on very, very rare occasions 'Sinus' in the tail. I can not feel said type; however, this 'sinus' is very easy to eliminate if it is ever detected. And, rarely, is this type of 'sinus' even a problem which is necessary to treat.

I have visited quite a number of litters during my life in which the owners told me that their vet and they examined their dogs for 'sinus' and found none. I have looked at their dog, without touching the dog, and SEEN the sinus, thusly, picking-up puppy and teaching owner how to determine sinus to their chagrin.

As a footnote to this subject, I re-designed the operation for Dermoid Sinus circa1986. I submitted this to a veterinarian who had done this operation. He did it my way. He submitted this operation and the results to the University of Florida Vet School.

I was told that my method was accepted as everything was improved. Age of operation, time to do, wound management, process of surgery, and cost of surgery all were vastly improved. Sinus dogs should never be bred!

3) Hip Dysplasia: Did you know that the word, 'dysplasia' does not exist in dictionaries of 1968 (Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary - Unabridged)? Hip dysplasia is supposedly a displacement of the hip. Many, if not most breeds of dogs in their last days of life, if the dog lives a full life, experience a weakness with sometimes very sharp pain from their hips. This is normal. Relief can be granted for a short period of time through the use of various drugs. I use Prednisone to relieve the pain and condition for up to 6 months. Then nothing works. The time has come. Sad, but part of life. I bless and praise the LORD for allowing me to have had the pleasure having that dog in my life.

I cannot prove that hip dysplasia does not exist, for I have dislocated my finger, my toes, my shoulder, etc.. But, I can tell you what I have learned.

The original 'Blackwind' Ridgeback, named Bantu, was about 5 months of age and began quite suddendly to have strong pain when getting up after sleeping. I took Bantu to my vet. My vet diagnosed hip dysplasia. I said to him, "The pain is in his front shoulders." I went to three (3) other vets and was given the same story. I did not believe those vets. Finally, found a vet of about 85 years of age. He said, "Son, this dog has a bone infection." Prescribed Cephalexin. Problem gone in 3 days with treatment continued for 4 additional days. Short story.

This took a lot of time and money to learn.

Over the years, about 8 other people have contacted me after their vet pronounced 'hip dysplasia'. They did what I did and called me back with their great appreciation and thanks!

What happens to some young dogs is that their 'new' bone growth overgrows the 'old' bone growth before certain sloughing of the 'old' bone occurs. Hence, a bone infection occurs. The disease (infection) has a name about 20 characters long. And, I don't remember it.

That's my story and I am sticking to it. Of course, you may want to contribute to the millions of dollars which are generated by the 'fear' of hip dysplasia. And, then, I do wonder about how a 'word' which did not exist in the dictionary prior to at least 1968 has invaded certain peoples lives. I wonder what people did before there were x- rays and certain words were invented.

4) Dew Claws: (dew - something emblematic of youth) the fifth claw on the front leg of a dog; higher-up, somewhat on the side.

The are people of their own expressed knowledge which cut off the dew claws of dogs. This causes me to ask the following questions:

a) Did GOD create a dog? Did HE make a mistake? I know HE did not as HE never makes a mistake!
b) Have you ever observed a dog use the dew claw to groom, clean, and itch the face? I have on a regular basis!
c) Have you ever watched a dog without a dew claw struggle to take care of it's head and face? I have!
d) Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to have your little fingers on your hands 'cut off' when you were 3 days old? Because someone of 'expressed knowledge' thought they knew more than GOD? Have you wondered how you would feel if someone disabled you for the rest of your life?
e) How much money is spent on creating fear and disfiguring?

I have taken my dogs through the woods, swamps, mountains, briars, rocks etc. for years. Never has the dew claw been a problem. No tearing off!

Could this happen? I guess. But, I have seen dogs break a tail. Should I cut off all dogs' tails because one dog broke his tail?

What about broken legs? Just cut-off the leg in case he might break his leg?

This problem exists because 'breeders' don't have the 'guts' to educate 'buyers' in fear that said education might cost them a sale. This problem exists because some 'expressed knowledgeable' person opened their dumb, uneducated mouth to spread 'fear'. This problem exists because someone thought they knew more than GOD, I guess.

If someone wants to disable their dog by cutting off dew claws (fingers), then please educate yourself before you act. There are plenty of breeders which will tell you only what they think you want to hear to 'make a sale' .

5) Worming: The elimination of worms can be considered necessary.

Various methods are easily available. Since I have Black Walnut Trees in my location, I have found that when the Walnut Pod falls to the ground various animals, including my dogs, will take scraping bits off the outer skin of the walnut.

6) Fleas and Ticks: One of the best methods of flea and tick elimination (control) is to have 'free-range' chickens in the yard area if possible. Otherwise, I use a horse product called Replex. Placed in a pump-spray container, this job is quite easy to do areas and dogs. I do not use once a month, or even once a year products, as there is 'way-to-much-poison' initially on dog.

Common sense with diligent research are the best ways to handle health issues.



Call Jerry F. Kirk: 417-943-4177


'Confirmation' is a very debated issue. The individual's (owner's) needs are the final determinating criteria. Confirmation or standardization allowed individuals, educated and uneducated to agree on what is the 'norm' for a certain breed of dog. It was then employed to allow for 'pricing' advantages or disadvantages. Points or parts of points are used to subtract from a dogs total 'standard' if certain items of confirmation are not up to standard.

I HAVE NEVER seen a Rhodesian Ridgeback demonstrate a higher or lower I.Q., performance abilities, or 'love' it's owner based upon that dog having a little too much white on it's toe or toes. I HAVE NEVER seen a R.R. fail to 'protect' his or her's owner property because the 'ridge' was a little 'out-of-shape'.

Confirmation does allow breeders a method of selling dogs at a higher or lower price. Confirmation may be HIGHLY considered if one wants to become a R.R. breeder. VERY FEW people should become breeders. To do a 'good' job at breeding, one must understand and be willing to dedicate both a LOT of time and effort.

Generally speaking, confirmation with respect to a Rhodesian Ridgeback, is based upon height, weight, amount and placement of 'white' on body, shape and length or 'ridge' on dog's back. In years past, a knowledgeable and true 'lover' of Rhodesian Ridgebacks would absolutely 'gag', 'throw-down-his-hat', and produce a litany of verbage about TODAY'S 'cut-down' standards with respect to height and weight.

Please re-read "LITTLE DOG verses BIG DOG" with respect to the confirmation of the 'ridge' on the R.R. There is a variety of acceptable 'shapes'. The 'white' considered good is somewhat lengthy. The individual should research then decide exactly what they desire.

Call Jerry F. Kirk: 417-943-4177

Jerry F. Kirk, servant to: