Welcome to Thabatemba – breeder of Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Thabatemba is a member of the Kennel Union of South Africa (KUSA).


The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an exceptional breed.  I breed with Ridgebacks first and foremost because we love the breed.  We enjoy it to raise puppies and extend their special, ridgie-antics and personalities to loving families.  I breed to improve and promote these special, captivating dogs, always striving to breed a better quality dog conforming to the breed standard.   Even though looks and conformation are important, the most important factor to me is temperament. 

I welcome you to our Ridgeback world and hope that you enjoy our stories and pictures as much as we love living with our dogs.


This our story:

Our journey with Rhodesian Ridgebacks started when our children were little and we were looking for a larger family dog to complement our two Jack Russell terriers (Ertjies and Daisy).  However, we were quite prescriptive: we wanted a trusted children’s playmate, a scary watch dog – but not a yapper, an intelligent dog, preferably a dog on the handsome side, a dog that is not shedding too much hair (since I’m a bit allergic ), a dog that won’t be slobbering all over, a dog that will be able to run with us (our entire family are avid runners) and most of all, a loyal friend.  Quite a long list of demands!  We investigated a few larger dog breeds and lo and behold, our paths crossed with the Rhodesian Ridgeback. 


Our very first ridgeback puppy was a ridgeless, unregistered female, which we called Knoffels (meaning Garlic in Afrikaans), keeping in line with our humerous family tradition of giving our dogs food names (mostly).  Knoffels was the most gentle dog and she surpassed all our expectations and requirements.  Her main flaw, of course, like any real Ridgeback, was craving our attention (can that be a flaw?) and becoming moody when she noticed that we started packing to go away on holiday.  She was our motivation to start breeding with Ridgebacks, but since she was not registered and ridgeless, we could not breed with her.  Around the age of 5, she unfortunately got very ill due to some rare blood disease and died shortly after.  We were all devastated – she was a very special dog.


When we started our search for another Ridgeback puppy, we wanted a KUSA registered female to act as our foundation female to start our breeding programme.  Along came Chutney, a beautiful red wheaten female with a black mask and soft eyes, to complement our dog-family, which now consisted of two different Jack Russell Terriers: Peanut and Popcorn (more foodie-dogs!).

In due time, Chutney passed her hip and elbow dysplasia examinations with flying colours.  Consequently, we registered our kennel with KUSA, naming it Thabatemba – meaning Mountain of Hope.  Since then, we have kept two of Chutney’s puppies – Fudge and Lady Butterfly. 

Although we do go to dog shows from time to time, our main focus is not showing, mainly because of time constraints due to other endeavours.  At the moment, we go to shows mainly to be around the Ridgeback crowd, to admire our beautiful breed and to have a fun outing.  I must admit, if I did not have a good sense of humour, our first show outing would have been regarded as quite a disaster, mainly due to my very well trained, obedient, sitting-and-greeting-why-do-you-want-me-to-stand-suddenly dog.  For those who don’t know, show dogs only stand in show stance, they NEVER sit, a fact that I was not aware of at the time!  And of course, much to my dismay on the day, Chutney was trained to fit in with our family, not with a show.

Our dogs are part of our family and we are blessed to have them.  They sleep at my feet when I work on the computer during the day and follow me around the house and garden all the time.  We go for walks often and Chutney is an eager cricket fielder – a skill that Lady and Fudge are not likely to take up, since my son is now spending more time behind maths books than a cricket bat. 


Ridgebacks are my joy and passion.  My dogs are like my children – in fact, now that my kids are bigger, they often accuse me that the dogs are getting more attention than them!  We raise our puppies in a loving home environment and the entire family participate to ensure enough stimulation.  Puppies are occasionally available to approved homes.