Welcome to the website showcasing my beautiful Rhodesian Ridgebacks. My name is Diane Stratton, and I live in the magnificent Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia, gateway to the world renowned Barossa Valley and the picturesque Adelaide Hills.
I first became involved with this amazing breed in the United Kingdom in 1989 when a close friend of mine purchased one. I quickly fell in love with their tremendous character and personality, their strong will and their deep sense of loyalty, and with that first encounter became truly hooked on this fantastic breed. Many years later and after immigrating to Australia I was ready to purchase my first Ridgeback. I was very fortunate to acquire a beautiful foundation bitch, Roedey [Ch Starridge African Dream (AI) ET] from Cyndy Burton of Starridge Rhodesian Ridgebacks in 1998. Roedey, a true ambassador of the breed has brought to Kushika excellent bloodlines from Australia, Sweden and the UK and has been instrumental in its success. In 2001 Roedey produced the first litter under the Kushika prefix and Kierra, [NBISS RUBISS Ch Kushika Desert Orchid ET ROM] one of Kushika's first stars was born.
2003 saw a rapidly growing house of hounds, and from these key dogs I have continued to build on this strong foundation, producing multiple BIS and BISS winning dogs in the process. In 2009, and spurred on by good friends at Bartess Kennels, Ffion [Dual Ch (T) Kushika Tirari Emerald ET] embarked on a career in tracking, which proved very successful with Ffion gaining her Tracking Champion title in 2011 and Track and Search Dog Title in 2013 before culminating in her Grand Champion Track & Search Title. Since this time her son Tiger [Dual Ch TS Grand Ch Kushika Hole In One] has gone on to achieve the same high level of expertise in this discipline. Together with Endurance, these disciplines provide a very relevant functional component to Kushika's breeding. In tracking disciplines, dogs need to be able to think independently and solve problems to identify and track a single scent [often in areas contaminated by other scents], skills which share strong synergies with the work the Rhodesian Ridgeback was originally bred for, thus ensuring the dogs maintain their instincts and natural breed abilities, and that true temperament, type and functionality is maintained in the breeding program. In summary, by ensuring correct conformation and working aptitude, they will remain sound, functional and true to type as well as looking good in the show ring!
I have been a long term committee member of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of South Australia and have served various office bearing roles during my 14 year term including President and Vice President and other Club roles of National Rhodesian Ridgeback Club Inc [NRRC] Delegate, Trophy Officer, Pointscore Keeper and Newsletter Editor, before going on to fill roles of Secretary and Treasurer for the National Rhodesian Ridgeback Council (NRRC).
Whilst sometimes shown sparingly at All Breeds Shows, Breed Specialties are considered very important and on average 1-2 Interstate Specialities are attended per year in addition to local Specialty shows [Hound and Breed]. Over the years Kushika dogs have attended and been very successful in shows in most major capitals, including Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne.
A qualified Winemaker, I graduated from Charles Sturt University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Applied Science [Wine Science] and have worked for many years producing sparkling wines via traditional methods before more recently turning my skills to producing beautiful Barossa Reds and varietal Whites.
I am fortunate to live on a beautiful 40 acre property with my happy packs of hounds where they can run free in the green winter pastures and long summer grasses, swim in the river, and even on occasion chase [and bay!] the kangaroos that frequent the property.