What will your Ridgeback be for Halloween?


Halloween is coming, and with it two near certainties:


One, your Ridgeback is going to bark his head off with every ding (or dong) of the doorbell. (Unless you’ve got one of the quiet ones – Ridgebacks, not doorbells, that is. If so, consider yourself blessed!)


And two, you will be tempted — if only for a brief, fleeting moment — to dress him (or her) up in a costume.


Why not just give in to the impulse? And if you’re in need of some inspiration, just read on. Whether store-bought or hand-made, there are lots of costume possibilities for your lovable red dog.


The mane event! Photo by Kristie Lee

The mane event! Photo by Kristie Lee


Have you seen my wicked witch? Photo by Bill Kent.

Have you seen my wicked witch? Photo by Bill Kent.

For starters, a popular Ridgeback costume in recent years has been the faux lion mane. Not only is it a not-so-subtle wink at the Ridgeback’s iconic role as a lion hunter – the Ridgeback version of a Dachshund in a hot-dog-bun get-up – but the gold-toned fur matches our dogs’ wheaten coats with eerie precision. The wigs are cheap – less than $20 – and are available on eBay and Amazon, among other places. (Most of the models are, pathetically, Golden Retrievers.)


Arguably the greatest example of come-here-my-pretty Ridgebacks was at the 2013 Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States national specialty in Kansas. The highlight at this annual Ridgeback show is usually the conformation ring, where Ridgebacks strut their stuff for a judge — very serious business. But since that particular year’s show also spanned Halloween, its huge and imposing ring was set aside for one evening to host dozens upon dozens of costumed Ridgebacks. Jockeys, flying monkeys, lobsters, tigers, bumblebees, Minions, even a container of McDonald’s French fries – you name it, our Ridgebacks impersonated it.


Lions, and tigers, and Ridgebacks -- oh my! Photo by Bill Kent

Lions, and tigers, and Ridgebacks, oh my! Photo by Sara Venturelli

Click or tap here to see the parade of dogs, and their equally decked-out handlers. I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it. (Be sure to adjust your volume!)


And click or tap here if you want to see video of the eventual winners out of all those creative and sometimes kooky costumes.


The big winner, Margo, kept with the popular Wizard of Oz theme – we were in Kansas, after all – by dressing as the wagon from Professor Marvel, Oz’s alter ego. Margo was in a doggie cart because she was suffering from degenerative myelopathy, a progressive paralysis of the spine that, while not painful, is untreatable. (Today, thanks to a genetic test, breeders are able to avoid producing this disease.) Margo and her owner Charlene Rabinak are  proof that any Ridgeback is a candidate for costumes, as long you have a little creativity.