Rhodesian ridgebacks carry a regal air you can’t help but love. In time, these handsome hounds have risen from obscurity to recognition by most dog fans, aided by their distinct ridged backs.
But alongside the rising popularity of purebred Rhodesian ridgebacks, several ridgeback mixes have popped up along the way, adding to the breed’s intrigue.
Below, we’ll meet some of our favorite Rhodesian ridgeback mixes and discuss these fascinating four-footers to see if they fit your family.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Basics
Before we meet any mighty mixes, let’s get to know the star of the hour: the Rhodesian ridgeback. He’s a unique doggo with a cool story to explore.
Hailing from South Africa, the ridgeback is commonly called a “lion hunter” due to his use in lion hunts, though he has never been used to kill lions, just to track them with his nose and alert with barks for human hunters.
He was also a jack-of-all-trades around the homestead, guarding the property and providing companionship.
The breed’s name comes from an area of South Africa called Rhodesia and the trademark ridge of hair along the dog’s back. The ridge comes from a genetic mutation, and the breed standard calls for it, though there are occasional ridgeless ridgebacks born.
The ridgeback is a large, powerful member of the hound group that stands up to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighs a maximum of about 85 pounds.
His short coat only comes in shades of wheaten (brown), ranging from light to dark and reddish.
As a hunting dog, the ridgeback has a high prey drive, making a leash critical outside secure areas. Otherwise, he’ll chase anything that catches his eye.
He’s also a natural athlete, requiring daily exercise through a long walk, hiking, or an off-leash run in a fenced area. Mental exercise is important, too, either through training sessions or play.
The breed is highly affectionate with his family and does well with children, though he’s aloof with strangers. He’s not the best with other dogs but can adapt to multi-pup settings with proper socialization. Cats and other small animals are a different story, as his prey drive can be too strong to leave them together unattended.
Independence can be a significant issue while rearing a ridgeback, especially early in training, as your pup follows his nose or eyes instead of your commands. Paired with the breed’s infamous stubborn streak, training sessions can be frustrating, making him a poor choice for first-time dog owners.
Positive reinforcement dog training is a must to keep him on target.
Like most large breeds, hip and elbow dysplasia are concerns with ridgebacks. Thyroid disease is another potential problem, along with eye issues and a congenital problem called dermoid sinus, which is a deep cavity in the skin along the spine prone to infection.
As with all dogs, health testing before breeding is highly recommended to rule out such genetic conditions.
Aside from the defined ridge of hair along the breed’s back, this breed has a short, smooth coat. He sheds moderately and needs weekly brushing to remove any hair or debris, along with baths as needed.
19 Great Rhodesian Ridgeback Mixes!
A wave of Rhodesian ridgebacks has come with the rise in the ridgeback population. Let’s investigate some of our favorites together.
1. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Labrador Retriever
Considering that Labs are one of the most popular breeds today, it’s no surprise that this Ridgeback mix is one of the most commonly seen. His retriever side may result in a boisterous, play-happy hound obsessed with fetch toys, so keep his toy basket well-stocked with options. This playful nature combines nicely with family life.
With both parenting breeds being shedders, you’ll want to invest in a decent brush for short-haired dogs. You should also anticipate daily exercise and interaction with this pup, as he’ll need to burn off energy and prefer to do it with his favorite people versus alone.
2. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Pit Bull
Muscles galore is this mashup’s motto. Pairing the brute strength of the pit bull with the ridgeback’s size may create an absolute unit of a dog that excels in canine sports. Weight-pulling might be a great way to exercise his body and brain – two things requiring daily flexing to keep him content.
Since this pup combines two powerful pups, toys for aggressive chewers are highly recommended. You’ll also want to start proper socialization early to avoid aggression toward other dogs, as both breeds in the blend are known to be dog-selective.
3. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Boxer
All work and no play couldn’t be further from this four-footer’s motto. While both ridgebacks and boxers have working roots, the bouncy boxer side, paired with the ridgeback’s athleticism, will require daily canine enrichment activities to keep him happy. This fun-loving nature lends well to life with kiddos, however.
The mix will likely have a short, smooth coat, making grooming easy. Just brush once a week to remove loose hair and bathe him as needed. Because of the boxer’s propensity to develop health issues, watch his weight and keep up on annual vet checkups.
4. Rhodesian Ridgeback x German Shepherd
This handsome hound has beauty and brains, as the German shepherd is one of the smartest dog breeds. This, along with his tendency to be a people pleaser, makes training this mix easier than your everyday ridgeback. With that in mind, he may also be prone to the shepherd’s separation anxiety, so start crate training early and stick to it.
Daily play with his people is critical for this loyal lovebug, along with runs in fenced areas to stretch his legs. Considering his size and strength, stick to toys for German shepherds and rotate them occasionally to pique his interest.
5. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Beagle
Now that’s a whole lot of hound dog! Pairing the ridgeback with one of the breeds with the best sense of smell is sure to create a super sniffer all too eager to follow his nose to the moon and beyond. Leashing this pup outside fenced areas is essential for his safety, and nosework games are musts for enrichment.
Both breeds are great for family life, so this pooch will likely be no different. He may also be better with other dogs than the everyday ridgeback because of the beagle’s status as a social butterfly among barkers, but early socialization is still recommended.
6. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Mastiff
As massive as he is mouthy, this mix is a lot to handle for the average dog owner. Drool is likely, thanks to his mastiff side, along with shedding a fair amount of short hair around the home. Take heed neat freaks: This isn’t the mutt for you!
Messiness aside, he’s likely to be a loyal, lovable loaf of a dog who functions more like a shadow than a pet.
Both ridgebacks and mastiffs are infamous for independence and stubbornness, so don’t be surprised if this dog doesn’t listen to every command. The secret is to catch his interest with high-value training treats and start obedience training before he’s too big to control.
7. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Husky
Blending two handsome breeds makes for one good-looking growler! This mix may have a short, slick coat of a ridgeback or fluffier fur like the husky, though either way, expect shedding. He’s also likely to chase things as he sees fit, making a secure leash essential during walks.
With the husky being one of the most vocal dog breeds and the daily exercise needs of both parenting breeds, this mix doesn’t mesh well with apartment living.
He’s best suited to an active family with a large yard and lots of time to devote to play and exercise. Hiking, biking, and jogging are likely to be his ideas of fun.
8. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Chihuahua
Look, we don’t know how these things happen, but they do, and the result sure is cute.
Personality likely won’t be lacking in this adorable doggo, unlike your personal space, seeing as both breeds are known to be affectionate. Don’t be surprised if he manages to weasel his way onto your lap at every opportunity.
With both the ridgeback and Chihuahua sounding the alarm at the first sign of something suspicious, this mix is sure to be a great lookout for squirrels and other shady characters around your property. Curb nuisance barking through training and providing lots of one-on-one attention.
9. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Dachshund
This petite pupperino is the definition of cuteness overload. Most likely smaller than your average ridgeback, this short stack of floppy ears and snout may be one of the most affectionate pups on our list.
He’s gonna be loyal, too, as both breeds go gaga for their people.
If your pup has the long, low frame of a dachshund, special care is needed to prevent back injuries, like careful weight management, ramps to get on and off furniture, and avoiding the stairs. You’ll also need a sense of humor and patience in training since both breeds tend to do their own thing at times.
10. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Golden Retriever
Prepare for potential cuddles with this cute combo, as the ridgeback’s sweet side combines perfectly with the golden, who’s beloved as one of the most affectionate dog breeds. The breed may also be playful, thanks to the golden parent. This sweet, fun-loving sniffer may be the perfect match for families with children.
This mix’s coat may be short or long, with both forms likely shedding a fair amount. Keep a good brush and vacuum for dog hair handy. Watch your pup’s weight and keep up on his annual checkups, as goldens are prone to serious health issues.
11. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Cane Corso
This colossal combination of breeds will likely tip the scales over 100 pounds, making early, ongoing obedience a must before he’s strong enough to tug you around. He also needs socialization with people and other pets, though don’t expect him to be a people-pup.
Both breeds are watchdogs at heart and suspicious of strangers.
This barker may look like a badass, but he’s a big softie on the inside, hamming it up with those closest to him for belly rubs. Positive, reward-based training is essential for him, no matter how stubborn he can be. Aversive methods should never be used with him (or any dog, for that matter!)
12. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Boerboel
This mega-sized mutt is likely to weigh more than the average ridgeback and may trade the grace of the breed’s gait for the lumbering of the boerboel. He’s also inclined to be an impressive watchdog, potentially wary of strange people and dogs. Help build his confidence through obedience training and socialization to prevent issues.
Such a massive dog needs gentle exercise and proper weight management to avoid excess joint stress. Joint supplements are also an excellent way to keep his frame moving and grooving at peak performance.
13. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Doberman
Smart and strong are two words that describe this duo of breeds. With both sniffers being brainy, training routines must be engaging to hold your pup’s attention, especially with the ridgeback’s propensity to go rogue.
Dog training games and high-value treats (like hotdog slices) are highly recommended.
Work is the core of his parenting breeds, so expect to provide daily exercise to tire him out, whether it’s a canine sport like Schutzhund or backyard play and walks. Health concerns surround both breeds, with joint issues being a shared problem of both breeds. Considering the deep chest of both, canine bloat is also an emergency condition to be mindful of.
14. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Rottweiler
Working woofs combine in this macho mix. Like the ridgeback, the Rottweiler is no stranger to wearing various hats at work, so versatility is likely to be a high point of this pupper. While he’s happiest with his family at home, he won’t object to a long hike at your side. Encourage daily exercise, as he can be prone to gaining extra weight.
Both parenting breeds may walk all over a newbie owner, so he’s best left to experienced dog handlers comfortable with all aspects of training. Begin training and socialization in puppyhood with reward-based learning to help him be his best self.
15. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Dalmatian
Pairing a duo of affectionate doggos is likely to make a pup who thrives in a family setting. Small kids may not be best, but older kiddos will enjoy this combo canine’s love of play.
Dals and ridgebacks are smart, too, so don’t shy away from letting your kids help with dog training. This smart cookie will likely appreciate the change in routine.
Since both breeds are athletically inclined, this mix needs daily exercise. He may be a prime candidate for jogging, though you’ll need to train your dog to run with you without tugging toward things of interest, like bunnies and squirrels.
16. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Vizsla
Like ridgebacks, the vizsla is known to be lovey-dovey, so it’s safe to assume this pooch won’t mind belly rubs and attention. He’ll likely crave it, needing daily bonding time with his people. He’s a prime candidate for family life, especially those with many members to shower him with attention.
Sporty and sleek, this pupper needs everyday walks, play, and mind games.
An easy way to combine these is through dog walking games, which help transform average walks into more enriched play. He’s likely to be an intelligent dog with a strong will, so start his training early and keep it consistent.
17. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Great Dane
This humongous hound will surely win your heart with his expressive face and potentially goofy nature, as Great Danes never seem to realize how large they are. He’s also likely to be a sweetheart with those closest to him. Families with small kiddos aren’t recommended, as this big fur baby is too clumsy to be around teetering toddlers.
The anticipated size of this blended barker makes early, ongoing training and socialization with people and animals critical. Otherwise, you’ll have an out-of-control canine well over 100 pounds in no time. Keep training sessions positive and reward-based, avoiding harsh tactics that can damage this big baby’s spirit.
18. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Greyhound
Similar to the ridgeback’s maverick ways, the greyhound is one of the most independent dog breeds, so this pup may be quite the free thinker. This can be a joy if you’re not interested in a Velcro dog, but it can also be a handful in training. Some commands may be viewed more as suggestions, requiring patience during training sessions.
The short coat of both breeds will likely leave this mix breed susceptible to the cold. If you live in a colder climate, keep a winter dog coat on hand to help him stay warm during walks or potty breaks.
19. Rhodesian Ridgeback x Staffordshire Bull Terrier
This powerful duo of breeds makes one heck of a strong sniffer together. Brains join this brawn from both breeds, making a quick-thinking canine who thrives with a challenge. A strong need to be with his people may be inherited from his Staffy roots, so don’t expect him to be content when left alone for long hours.
Wrangle the mix’s terrier side early through obedience training, and give him an outlet for all his energy and brain power. Agility is a great idea, or combine walks and hikes with backyard play for at-home enrichment. Impulse control games are a great match for this pup, as he’s likely to struggle with an urge to chase.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Mixes: FAQ
Now that we’ve met our cast of mashup mutts, we can tackle any burning questions you may have about ridgebacks and Rhodesian ridgeback mixes. Let’s get after them!
What are Rhodesian ridgebacks mixed with?
Originally from the Rhodesia region of South Africa, the ridgeback was bred from a dog breed with a distinct ridged back belonging to the local Khoikhoi people and an assortment of breeds imported by Europeans. Many of these breeds are visible in the ridgeback today, including mastiffs and Great Danes for size, greyhounds for speed, and bloodhounds for tracking skills.
How big does a Rhodesian ridgeback mix get?
The overall size of a ridgeback mix depends on the parenting breeds, the sex of the dog, and the size of the parents themselves. Those mixed with breeds smaller than a ridgeback are more inclined to be below the standard ridgeback’s size, while those combined with larger breeds are more likely to be taller and weigh more.
What dog breed is similar to the Rhodesian ridgeback?
Several dog breeds are similar to ridgebacks. The boerboel is often confused with them due to their similar coloring and origins, though the boerboel mastiff is far heavier with prominent jowls. Dogs of similar athleticism and temperament include the Vizsla, Dalmatian, Weimaraner, and black-mouthed cur.
Are Rhodesian ridgebacks aggressive?
No dog is inherently aggressive, but the ridgeback is aloof with strangers. He excels as a guard dog and won’t hesitate to issue a warning bark if people get too close to him, his people, or his property. He’s also not the biggest fan of strange dogs.
Prevent aggression issues by training your ridgeback early, providing proper enrichment, and socializing him with people, dogs, and other pets. Combined, these provide a stable foundation for a well-adjusted, confident canine.
Do you have a ridgeback at home or another Rhodesian ridgeback mix we shared on our list? How about another mix we didn’t mention? Tell us about your ridgeback barker in the comments! We’d love to get to know them!