Interview with Deb Ahern-Ridlon, Breeder of Adwera Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: I live in Carver, Massachusetts. I have 21 years in Rhodesian Ridgebacks. I bred my first litter in 2007.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: My kennel name is Adwera Rhodesian Ridgebacks. There are five adults and seven puppies in the kennel.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: My most noteworthy winner is CH Bandari’s Mukhtaar Chigani.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: The most influential have been GCH Adwera’s Kamili Obi of Shabani and Adwera’s Saffron of RidgeKrest.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: Our puppies are raised in our home kennel. Our kennel consists of three main rooms in a renovated, heated area in our basement that is fully set up as a grooming room with a full-size/elevated washing tub, a grooming table, hot and cold running water, and areas for towel storage as well as a cabinet for cleaning supplies.
The whelping room is roughly 10×10. My husband built a heavy-duty whelping box that we set up prior to the pups’ arrival. We also keep a 42-inch crate in there in case mom needs to escape.
The main kennel is around 15 ft. wide and around 30 ft. long. That room has a couch, chairs, and elevated dog beds. Our pups are royalty in our home. They receive the best available food, care, and medical attention. Potty training starts as soon as they can walk. The pups are highly socialized while they are in our home. We have visitors almost every day when we have pups. We focus on getting children in to visit the puppies.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: When I am trying to select a show puppy, I usually invite other breeders to come and evaluate my litter. After I gather other opinions, I try to make the right decision. This is a step in the process that I’m always nervous about.
Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: We compete in Conformation and we lure course our dogs.
Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: I do not focus on performance, but I prefer to keep my dogs within the Breed Standard and feel that this is of great benefit and advantage when Lure Coursing.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: Conditioning is crucial both in Conformation and Lure Coursing as well as in maintaining general overall health. I condition my dogs by providing high-quality, balanced food and daily off-leash activity. While I feel that on-leash walks are important, I feel that off-leash group runs provide better muscle development and overall toning.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
There are health-related issues that our national club suggests we test for:
- hip and elbow dysplasia
- heart anomalies
- degenerative myelopathy
As far as nutrition goes, I always suggest that my puppy people feed what I feed. When the pups leave, they go home with enough food for a week.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: I hope so, but I am worried about this.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: I can’t speak for others, but I focus on placing my dogs with families with kids. Ridgebacks are a versatile breed, and therefore, suited to different environments. I do not suggest that this breed is for just anyone. The best homes are those with active lifestyles that allow interaction for both owner and dog together. Consideration for age and strength must also be made when selecting a forever home.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: The biggest misconception is that people always think Ridgebacks are high-energy. As for their best-kept secret, these dogs are the secret! They are wonderful, loving, dedicated, and protective. They are quiet and have extremely short hair. Their independent nature and decision-making ability make them pretty unique.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: I wish that the judges would carefully read the Standard. The breed is getting too big.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: The longer you breed, the more you see and learn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take your time and learn as much as you can.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
Deb Ahern-Ridlon: I’ve had Ridgebacks on the second floor, first floor, and basement—all howling in unison!
Are you looking for a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder?
Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed Magazine
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