This page is to tell you a little bit about our life with Ridgebacks, and show you some, not all, of the wonderful dogs we have owned and loved. There are lots of pictures, mostly candid snaps rather than show photos, but I think this makes them more interesting to the viewer. If you want any details, you can always me.

At the Hard Rock café, Harare ... Our first Ridgebacks, Fawn and Thika, on one of their favourite spots in the garden

In 1987, just after I was married and went to live in Harare, Zimbabwe, I obtained my first Ridgebacks -- after 6 months of waiting with our name on the waiting list kept by Margaret Wallace at the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club, we got two bitches as pets. We called them Fawn (Mana Inyoka) and Thika (Mana Invusi), and they introduced us to the breed. I was attracted to the breed because it was a local breed, had short hair, a good reputation as a reasonable guard dog and reputed to be a good companion dog with sensible attitudes towards children. These qualities we found described the breed extremely accurately.

Fawn and Thika after a hard play in the garden

They were both born hunters, and apart from energetic chasing games together, would spend hours tracking and stalking mopane squirrels, mongooses (mongeese?), cane rats, neighbours' cats, chameleons, crickets, lizards and the odd brown house snake -- fortunately, harmless. We had a large garden with all sorts of fascinating places for dogs (and children) to explore and play in. Chasing the winter-visiting storks who would forage for crickets in the lawn was a favourite pastime, as was scrambling around on the large doloritic rocks that were found in the garden in abundance -- picturesque, but a headache for gardeners!

Shady, Ranzi and Fawn, again hanging out at the Hard Rock café

Fawn was very wise and sensible, Thika was a bit of a hippie, and always on the lookout for naughtiness. She very quickly learnt how to slide the bolt on her kennel gate, so it had to be wired shut to keep her in at night. If someone forgot to wire it closed, she would let herself out and joyfully let everyone else out too, so they could all go off and raise havoc together.

Fawn in a thoughtful mood

Life in Zimbabwe for a puppy includes an introduction to chongololos -- sinister-looking but completely harmless millipedes. Here is Sarula Azikara observing the sure but slow progress of a chongololo.

Top: Do you ever get the feeling something is creeping up on you?

Middle: I hope it doesn’t touch me!

Bottom: Phew! It’s going!

We soon realised that we were interested in breeding Rhodesian Ridgebacks, so back to the Club again to place an order for another bitch puppy. I had seen a magnificent dog, Ch Toziveyi, belonging to Alf Widdows in Harare, and was happy to wait for his next litter. From Mrs Hangartner’s bitch Makwadiba Pfava, we were able to obtain Munyoro of Sarula. Munyoro means sweet and gentle in the local Shona language, and that is exactly what Shady, as we called her, was. Shady had a devoted fan club, and introduced many visitors very favourably to the breed. Her doting aunt Fawn took her under her wing and the two of them would spend hours snoozing on the driveway in the winter sun.

Fawn and Shady sunning on the driveway.

Shady grew to be a sweet natured and amusing member of the family. She was one of those dogs who would “talk back at you” if you ticked her off, and she had a wonderful smile and great sense of humour. She had one peculiarity unlike any Ridgeback I have had before or since, and that was barking at aeroplanes, usually if they were at extremely high altitude and you could barely see them. She reserved her fiercest barking for hot air balloons (a popular pastime in Zimbabwe during the winter months) and when once a microlight flew overhead, I could see she wished very hard to sprout wings so she could chase it in the sky!

Shady (Munyoro of Sarula)

She enjoyed showing and she particularly enjoyed motherhood. Shady was a wonderful brood bitch and produced some lovely pups, shown below.

Some of Shady’s brood

Sarula Aziko, daughter of Shady, helping out with kitchen renovations in Harare

Sarula Forosi, son of Shady, 6 months, Austria Sarula Azola, another daughter of Shady, Denmark Sarula Barika, son of Shady, Zimbabwe 

Much later in life, Shady went to live with the two Jennys on Kandy Farm in Mazoe. (Black Jenny was owned by Phillip, Brown Jenny was owned by Antonia -- Phillip and Antonia got married. Got it?) You can see that Shady adored life on the farm, and continued to make friends, talk back, and bark at aeroplanes.

Life on Kandy Farm for Shady, 2000 -- old but still sprightly -- with the two Jennys.

Our plan was to have two breeding bitches and we were very fortunate to also obtain Mushana Ranzi of Sarula. She was a very appealing puppy who grew into a striking looking bitch, who absolutely was bored to tears with the show ring! She loved riding around in the car, but never wanted to get out at the other end, no matter where. Talk about a home girl -- she didn’t even like going for walks!

Ranzi preferred being at home, lazing in the garden, more than anywhere else.

Ranzi investigating one of Shady’s pups, held by Winnie (who helped raise children and puppies!)

Some time later I started looking around for a stud dog. There were some wonderful dogs in Harare, but I wanted to get something along the same lines, but just a bit “further away” genetically. I had to spend some time in South Africa, and so visited a number of breeders and viewed various puppies. I eventually chose a pup from Steph Potgieter’s dog Ch Pronkberg Matange and we brought home Rustig Mooketsi of Sarula.

Cradlesnatcher! Ranzi checks out baby Mooketsi

Mooketsi - - standing still...

...and striding out.

Mooketsi in his twighlight years, Harare.

Mooketsi was very much a male Ridgeback -- he couldn’t stand the sight of another male dog, and only had time for his girls, apart from being devoted to his human family. He was a splendid watch-dog, a brilliant companion and a most successful show and stud dog. He and Ranzi had some marvellous litters together, and produced some lovely offspring.

All of the batch below were sired by Ch Rustig Mooketsi of Sarula, from Ch Mushana Ranzi of Sarula.

Sarula Charara with spotty friend, South Africa

Sarula Chikadzi

Ch Sarula Chikadzi, Germany

Ch Sarula Etosha, Zimbabwe

Ch Sarula Ensitha, Colombia, South America

Ensitha in Bogota, Colombia, with some pals on the way to a show ... I’d look embarrassed too!

Sarula Chirapi, Denmark

Ch Sarula Gadzinina, Denmark

It always helps to have helpers! Two of the Mooketsi/Ranzi babies.
We kept a bitch puppy from this pair, Sarula Gukatiwa, whom we called Tiwa.

Three Wicked Sisters -- Gwiza, Gadzinina and Gukatiwa with Michael

Ch Sarula Gukatiwa in 1997. Tiwa and I have had some special moments together.

Tiwa became a successful mother too. One year we took her down to South Africa to be mated to Ch Benji of Cartouche. This was a “fruitful” liaison, and from this litter of pups we kept Sarula Inzila, or Molly as we called her. She was very like her mother Tiwa.

Sarula Inzila, known as Molly


In 2000 we realised it was time to leave Zimbabwe because of the social, political and economic problems there. At this stage we had Tiwa, Mooketsi, and Molly with us. Apart from Shady, who was living with friends on their farm, our other Ridgebacks had passed on over the years and we had these three to think of. We thought hard and decided to put them through the 7 month quarantine period for Australia, and bring them with us, which we did.

It was a very emotional time when they were finally released, although I had visited them from Queensland every month in Perth while they were at the Byford station.

We now live on the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland, Australia. Life has been challenging in many ways for both humans and canines. For the dogs, getting used to the beach was a surprise (the water moves!!!!!!!) and no mongoose to chase, but other furry beasts like possums in trees (who can stay still for a really long time, like hours!) and our feathered friends the brush turkeys, keep the hunting instinct alive.

Molly (left) and Tiwa (right) spying on a possum in the next door neighbour’s garden

We have bred two litters of puppies in Australia, both from Tiwa. One litter was sired by Ch Chilolo Boomerang, and the other sired by a recently imported Zimbabwean dog called Takunda. Both litters produced lovely healthy puppies.

Tiwa and pups 2004

We plan to occasionally breed further litters retaining the African lines of our Ridgebacks.

Linda Costa
August 2004                                                                

[ HOME ] [ Rhodesian Ridgeback Pioneers ]