The Rhodesian ridgeback is a dog breed developed in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Its European forebears can be traced to the early pioneers of the Cape Colony of southern Africa, who crossed their dogs with the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the Khoikhoi.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback has also previously been known as Van Rooyen's lion dog or the African lion hound or African lion dog—simba inja in Ndebele, shumba imbwa in Shona—because of its ability to keep a lion at bay while awaiting its master's arrival to make the kill.
The original breed standard was drafted by F. R. Barnes, in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, in 1922. Based on that of the Dalmatian, the standard was approved by the South African Kennel Union in 1927.