The Rhodesian Ridgeback's Origins and History Source: Wikipedia. Country/Region of Origin: South Africa Original purpose: hunting lions Name: nickname: Lion Dog. Historical notes: The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed has roots going back to the early 18th century. The colonists of South Africa took a breed developed by the Khoisan peoples that had a furry-ridged spine. The colonists inter-bred that breed with another breed of dog of the Hottentots. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the only breed aside from the Thai Ridgeback with a ridge of fur along the spine.