Wheaten is the coat color of Rhodesian Ridgeback. All shades of wheaten are equally correct, from lighter golds to richer reds. Wheaten is a banded or variegated coat, not a solid color. The hair is lighter at the base and darker at the tip.
Dogs may have masks or be clean-faced. Both are equally correct. A darker mask is often accompanied by a darker ear. The mask should not extend above the eyes, as in a Great Dane.
The coat is short, dense, sleek, and glossy. It is neither woolly nor silky.
Black hair (or, in the case of brown noses, dark-brown hair) may be interspersed on the neck, head, and chest area, including in a “widow’s peak” or bibbing.
Excessive black, including saddles or sabling, is unacceptable.
Black hairs should not interfere with the overall wheaten impression of the dog.
Black and tan is a historically incorrect pattern. While it is unlikely that a dog with this pattern will enter your ring, it should never be awarded. Instead, it should be excused for lack of merit.
Small socks and white on the chest on an otherwise typey, sound dog should not eliminate it from consideration.
Some Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs exhibit a pattern of lighter cream-colored coat on the underpinnings, neck, and bottom of jaw. This is acceptable.
The correct, round and dark eye gives the breed its intelligent expression.
The color of the eyes should harmonize with the color of the dog: This is a reference to skin pigment, not coat color.
Black-nosed dogs should have a dark eye (as deep a shade of brown as possible). Yellow eyes are undesirable.
The Scale of Points allows 3 points out of 100 to Coat and Color. Emphasis should be placed on the general conformation.
The above was written and approved by our Education Committee to be used in our Judges’ Education Seminars.
Coat and Pigment Color in the Rhodesian Ridgeback by Mary Lynne Elliott, Featured image by AKC.