Welcome to our website, showcasing our beautiful Rhodesian Ridgebacks. We are Diane Stratton and Matt Mifsud, and we live in the magnificent Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia, gateway to the world renowned Barossa Valley and the picturesque Adelaide Hills.
Diane first became involved with this amazing breed in the United Kingdom in 1989 when a close friend of hers purchased one. She 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 she was ready to purchase her first Ridgeback. She was very fortunate to acquire their 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 their 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.
Matt joined the rapidly growing house of hounds in 2003, and together they 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, Matt and Ffion [Dual Ch (T) Kushika Tirari Emerald ET] began tracking and together they have proven very successful with Ffion gaining her Tracking Champion title in 2011 and Track and Search Dog Title in 2013. They are now working towards her Track and Search Dog Excellent title. Together with Endurance, these disciplines provide a very relevant functional component to Kushika's breeding and they have continued their successes in these disciplines with their up-and-coming dogs Tiger and Nia. 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!
Diane has been a long term committee member of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of South Australia and has served various office bearing roles during her 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. Matt has previously served on committee in an executive role as Treasurer.
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, Diane graduated from Charles Sturt University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Applied Science [Wine Science] and has worked for many years producing sparkling wines via traditional methods. Matt is also heavily involved in the Wine Industry, and has developed a successful business providing technical support to the industry with his specialised work with screw cap closures.
They are fortunate to have a beautiful 40 acre property on which to exercise their 6 ridgebacks, where they can run free in the green winter pastures and long summer grasses and swim in the river, and even on occasion chase [and bay!] the kangaroos that frequent the property. Currently living in a pretty little 2 bedroom cottage built by Matt, they are both now working as owner-builders to build the main house "The Grand Design" where they hope to enjoy many future years with their happy hounds.