Ushamwari Rhodesian Ridgebacks, New York
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Ushamwari (you-sham-wary) in the African Shona dialect means friendship and that is what we hope to engender with our dogs and their progeny. Our Ridgeback journey started 35 years ago with Bob and his Simba. I married Bob and Simba 28 years ago and life has taken on new dimensions. When Simba passed there was another male companion from Kay Fanning’s Tawny Ridge kennel. We developed an interest in confirmation showing and breeding due to the ownership of Samara’s Fabu (pictured at left, dog on right) who was the son of African imports and a dam with a true blue American pedigree. This 50% import “puppy” earned his American and Canadian conformation championship in 1991 after being in 10 shows. Due to the African side of his pedigree our breeding was to be an outcross and with an eye towards the future of Ridgebacks, we looked for a complimentary female.  

Puppy & Savannah

This female was Kimani’s Savannah (pictured above) with a strong pedigree and a perfect female Ridgeback personality. By 1995 she was bred and we had 3 littermates who were a perfect set of mischievousness and personality. These also achieved conformation Champion status. From this point choosing studs for our girls has led to a delightful connection to the stud dog owners. This has been one of the best reasons for us to breed, (other than breeding to acquire a new dog!). Discovering the breath of knowledge, care, enthusiasm, breeding philosophy and pride, stud dog owners have in their dogs has been an education for us too. As we bred and showed our dogs in conformation events we developed an interest in certain physical traits that we preferred in the Ridgebacks namely large heads, good bone density, nice compact feet and a nice neck to carry a beautiful large head. We look to traits that epitomize what Ridgebacks have become based on their history - using scent and sight as working dogs - speed for the chase and finally temperament to make them excellent companion dogs. To this end we’ve been fortunate to find excellent stud dogs with these traits that also have risen to the top of the conformation achievement list.


Our kennel is located in rural East Hampton & Amagansett, New York.

We usually breed one litter a year and try to be as thoughtful with regard to the selection of the male but equally to any and all medical clearances and checkups to ensure a healthy litter and an equally healthy dam. We strive to preserve the uniqueness of the Rhodesian Ridgeback. We strive to breed for quality , health and disposition and all breeding stock have acquired conformation championships and acceptable clearances of hip, elbow, eye and thyroid testing.


Typical Ushamwari puppies


For us to then place the pups becomes another adventure. We believe that each dog has its destiny and while we match the pup to the owner, we believe in what was meant to be! The owners have become extended family and we hear about births, school, parties - whatever includes human and canine relationships in these families. Some of the best news is when one of our pups becomes a conformation or performance Champion. We have been fortunate to have very devoted owners who have given back to the breed and made us feel as if we contributed to the breed and to the personal happiness of a family.


Uhamwari Rhodesian Ridgebacks Co-Breeders - Janice and John Paolicelli

Ushamwari Rhodesian Ridgeback at Westminster  

Six years ago Janice called to say she was looking for a female pet Ridgeback and she came to see Ushamwari’s Uptown Girl who was soon to be whelped. After leaving a deposit from her “stop smoking” jar she and John came to see the puppies and John picked their puppy who was soon named Nori to honor one of Charlie’s other daughters who became Number 1 female in the country in 2002. Always a quick thinker, Janice further added to her name the location of our fish farm which is named for an historical place in Amagansett history, promised land. Janice started immediately with handling classes from an experienced Golden handler and has made a recognizable presence in the Ridgeback ring along with her show girl Nori. Janice made it into the top 25 ranking of Owner-Handlers in Ridgeback standings for that year.

Photo above: Ch. Ushamwari's Catch The Wind, aka "Mariah" being shown at the 2008 Westminster Dog Show by breeder, owner/handler Janice Paolicelli.

John took his interest in a slightly different direction, though he’s also in the conformation ring, to lure coursing and choosing the direction of the show careers of the dogs. We co-own and co-breed based on a common philosophical goal to make and/or leave Ridgeback world better for our participation.

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