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Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mix: Info, Pictures, Facts & FAQs

Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix or Ridgeback Shepherd
Height:24 – 27 inches
Weight:64 – 95 pounds
Lifespan:10 – 12 years
Coat Colors:Gold, black and tan, gray
Temperament:Gentle, independent, energetic, and bold
Suitable for:Active pet owners with plenty of experience

With its powerful physique, strong sense of hunting, and devotion to its family, the Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix is definitely a hybrid dog to consider.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix may have different physical traits depending on which parent has more dominant genes. However, they’ll almost always be extremely loyal, athletic, and loving.

In order to help you decide if this cross is perfect for you, this article will discuss everything you need to know about the Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix.

What Is a Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mix?

Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix sitting outdoors on leash
Image credit: aisforargo / Instagram

The Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix, also known as the Ridgeback Shepherd, is a unique crossbred dog. This mixed breed features the same ridge along their spines that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is known for. Moreover, they take on the cleverness and athleticism of their German Shepherd lineage.

They are ideal companions for active families and individuals, especially those who like hiking. 

Although they are highly loving and affectionate, the Ridgeback Shepherd mix can be challenging for inexperienced owners, especially if this is their first dog.

That said, depending on which parent breed has more dominant qualities, expect your Ridgeback Shepherd’s personality and traits to differ.

Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mix Origin and History

Since a Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mix is an uncommon breed, it is difficult to say when Ridgebacks and German Shepherds were first crossed.

However, by understanding the histories of each of their parent breeds, we may still learn a lot about this designer breed.

The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is a multipurpose canine breed that can be trained to do a wide range of jobs, including herding, protecting, and tracking. 

This dog was created in Germany in the late 1800s for the purpose of herding sheep and keeping predators away. According to pet fanciers, GSDs were also used as parent dogs to develop bear-hunting breeds

They were well-known throughout the world during World War I and regarded as one of the fiercest and most hard-working canines.

Meanwhile, the powerful Rhodesian Ridgeback was developed in Africa. They were also known as “African Lion Dogs” by hunters who used them to locate and take down lions in the wild.

Because they were trained to hunt large wildlife, such as lions, Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a high prey drive.

Today, the Rhodesian Shepherd mix is renowned for its devotion, intelligence, and compatibility with kids and other animals.

With that, the German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback mix may be the ideal breed for you if you’re seeking a devoted and intelligent companion dog.

Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mix Appearance

Ridgeback Shepherd mix with a cute puppy behind
Image credit: theloveofmocha / Instagram

Large and powerful, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mix is an eye-catching canine. The ridge of hair that runs up along the back of this dog is what makes it most recognizable.

A genetic abnormality that enables hair follicles to grow in various directions is the cause of this peculiar ridge of fur. 

Additionally, the Ridgeback Shepherd mix is distinguished by its light or red wheaten-colored, short, glossy coats. But because of its German Shepherd genes, it may also sport a sable, liver, or even a black coat.

In rare cases, there can also be Ridgeback Shepherd mixes with blue, panda, or even isabella coat colors.

They also have a tail that is typically docked as well as long, floppy ears. Their head resembles a wedge shape, similar to that of the GSD. Their eyes are either dark or amber, while their nose is black or brown.

Take note, however, that the appearance of Ridgeback Shepherds may vary from dog to dog. Currently, there are no breed standards for this hybrid dog; hence, their appearance will entirely depend on how genetics play out.

Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mix Size and Weight

Each parent breed is enormous on its own; therefore, when the two are crossed, the result is a reasonably large dog. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mixes typically weigh around 64 to 95 pounds and stand between 24 and 27 inches tall. However, their final size can still be affected by several factors, such as gender and nutrition.

In any case, you should still expect a huge dog. That said, it would be preferable if you have a large place for them to roam around if you are planning to add this mixed breed to your home.

Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mix Temperament and Personality

Young Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix with his tongue out
Image credit: aisforargo / Instagram

It is not surprising that the Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mix inherits the intelligence, loyalty, and gentle temperament of its two parent breeds.

The German Shepherd Ridgeback mix makes a great companion dog since it is affectionate and loving with family members while being timid with strangers.

Due to their high trainability, Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mixes are excellent candidates for agility training as well as obedience lessons.

This breed gets along nicely with other dogs and pets when properly socialized. The Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mix may be the ideal dog for you if you’re seeking a dedicated and loving friend.

Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mix Lifespan and Health Issues

The average lifespan of the mixed-breed Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mix is 10 to 12 years. This range is slightly longer than the lifespan of the German Shepherd and about the same as the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Despite their relatively long life, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mix does not have perfect health. In fact, like its parent breeds, it is also prone to some health conditions.

The following are the health conditions common that may affect German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback mixes:

  • Hip Dysplasia: The Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mix breed, like the majority of large breeds, is typically vulnerable to hip dysplasia. This means that their femur and pelvis grow at different rates, resulting in a hip joint that is too small to fully encase the femur head.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Elbow dysplasia is characterized by a number of abnormalities in growth. The cartilage and surrounding structures around the elbow joint, in particular, formed abnormally for dogs with this condition. Eventually, this causes the elbow joint to develop degenerative arthritis, which results in discomfort and a loss of function.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: The Rhodesian Shepherd mix is susceptible to degenerative myelopathy, a hereditary neurological condition that usually affects dogs eight years of age or older. Dogs with this condition experience gradual muscular weakness and loss of coordination due to spinal cord damage.

Aside from these, watch out for any indications of irritation or infection in certain body areas. Rhodesian Shepherds can also be prone to skin, ear, and eye infections.

Lastly, check to see if the parent dogs have had the necessary genetic testing before buying a puppy from a breeder. These tests are used to detect heritable health issues in dogs.

How to Take Care of Your German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix 

Happy Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix close up portrait
Image credit: theloveofmocha / Instagram

Since a Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix needs constant care from an active owner and occasional mental distraction, it can be difficult to take care of this mix.

However, owning one won’t be as difficult as you might think with the right understanding of feeding, grooming, and training requirements. 

Below are some guidelines for taking care of a Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix.

Food and Diet

The Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix is a large dog. As a result, it needs 3 to 4 cups of dog food to maintain their energy levels throughout the day.

You can give your dog specialized treats or vitamins to ensure that they get all the vitamins and supplements they require. You can include pumpkin puree, raw eggs, and fish oil in your pup’s daily meals.

Observing your dog’s eating patterns and adhering to a regular feeding schedule are also important. In this manner, planning walks and bathroom breaks before and after meals will be simple.

Be sure to see your veterinarian if you’re unsure whether to feed your dog kibble, wet food, or raw food. You can reduce their risk of bloat and keep them occupied by using lick mats or slow feeders to feed them.

Cleaning and Grooming

With the Ridgeback parent’s coat, a Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix will be relatively simple to groom. To maintain a healthy coat and skin, they will require occasional baths and weekly brushing.

For those that inherited the standard short hair of their GSD parent, more frequent brushing is required. These dogs will also shed heavily twice a year, demanding daily brushing and frequent bathing.

Just like with any other dog, regular ear cleaning to remove ear wax is necessary, especially for those that inherit the Ridgeback’s droopy ears. 

In addition, their teeth should be brushed frequently to prevent periodontal disease. Their nails should also be checked each month and clipped if necessary to avoid any nail from getting separated from the quick.

Training and Exercise

Training a Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mix should be done as early as puppyhood. Due to their intelligence and physical build, this hybrid can be trained for dog sports, such as agility.

To integrate well in the household, owners also need to focus on obedience training and socialization. By using positive reinforcement methods, their Ridgeback Shepherd will grow up to be a well-rounded pup.

Meanwhile, In order to maintain their physical condition, they should take a daily walk. They will also enjoy running, hiking, and playing fetch with their owners. 

As intelligent dogs, they will rapidly become bored if they aren’t given anything to do. It’s important to keep them occupied with new activities and mind-stimulating toys.

Watch the video below to see how the Rhodesian Shepherd mix can be easily trained:

Liberty | 5.5 Year Old German Shepherd/Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix | Macon Dog Training

How Much Does a Rhodesian Shepherd Mix Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

The price of a Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd puppy will run you between $500 and $1,000. However, it can vary based on the dog’s age, sex, color, and quality.

For reference, the parent purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback of this mix can range in price from $1,700 to $2,500. A German Shepherd puppy, on the other hand, costs between $800 and $3,500.

The following are the initial costs you should take into account when owning a German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback mix:

Type of ExpenseCost 
Food and Treats$100 – $120
Food and Water Bowls$15 – $35
Bed$50 – $200
Crate$60 – $500
Leashes and Collars$15 – $50
Toys$30 – $50
Grooming Essentials$40 – $180
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$50 – $200
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $300
Initial Vaccine Shots$75 – $200
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Dog License$10 – $20
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$650 – $2,445

Keep in mind that these are only the initial costs. The costs of caring for a Rhodesian Shepherd mix may change as your puppy gets older.

You may also opt to get pet insurance for your dog to avoid paying expensive emergency bills.

Places to Find Rhodesian Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix puppy
Image credit: theloveofmocha / Instagram

Even though Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mixes are wonderful dogs that many pet fanciers love, finding one is not that simple. 

However, if you’re determined to bring a Rhodesian Shepherd mix home, you can look into some of the breeders listed below:

  • Greenfield Puppies – This Better Business Bureau-accredited website, which was started by a family in 2000, exclusively features breeders with the highest standards. In addition, Greenfield Puppies offers a wide range of Rhodesian Ridgeback mixes, all of which are supported by customer feedback.
  • Aariel Ridgebacks – This Florida-based breeder specializes in producing champion and companion Rhodesian Ridgebacks. They might occasionally produce Ridgeback Shepherd hybrids. Through their website, you can easily get in touch with them regarding fresh litter.
  • Infinity Pups – This business primarily serves as a broker, matching pets with their ideal homes. A wide variety of pups and canines are available at Infinity Pups, including purebreds and uncommon mixes like the Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix.

If you’re looking for more choices, you can also look through our extensive list of German Shepherd breeders and Rhodesian Ridgebacks breeders.

You can save a ton of money by adopting, and you’ll also be saving a dog’s life. Just be aware that hybrids between the German Shepherd and the Rhodesian Ridgeback are rare.

The following rescue groups may have Ridgeback Shepherd mixes available for adoption:

  • Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue, Inc. – Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue, Inc. is made up of a network of volunteers from the USA and Canada that are passionate about rescuing Rhodesian Ridgebacks, including Ridgeback Shepherd mixes. By offering knowledge about the breed and helping with training and care throughout a dog’s life.
  • ASPCA – You might be able to locate a Ridgeback Shepherd mix on ASPCA, which provides a variety of available dog breeds for adoption. They have centers in New York City and Los Angeles. Depending on the animal and shelter you choose, the terms and conditions will vary.
  • Petfinder – Petfinder is a searchable online directory of animals in need of homes. It also includes a listing of about 11,000 animal shelters and adoption agencies. You may find any dog breed you like by searching on their website, especially the Ridgeback Shepherd.

In the meantime, if you’re on edge about adopting or it’s your first time adopting a dog, check out our comprehensive guide to dog adoption.

Pros and Cons of Owning a German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix

Even if it’s not your first dog, bringing a Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mix into your home is a significant decision that deserves careful consideration.

If you’re still undecided about owning this hybrid dog, this section is meant to help you out.

Here are the pros of owning a Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix:

  • Excellent watchdogs: As a cross between two working breeds, a Ridgeback Shepherd mix naturally wants to protect and defend its family. They are alert dogs that won’t hold back to warn you of any danger.
  • High intelligence: This working dog has a high level of intelligence and a constant desire to please. Because of this, training Ridgeback Shepherd mixes is simple for an experienced owner, and they won’t easily get bored.
  • Make wonderful canine companions: The perception that Rhodesian Shepherds are aggressive and stubborn is incorrect. If anything, the German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback mix actually makes for one of the best pet animals, especially if socialized from a young age.

Here are the cons of owning a Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix:

  • Unpredictability: The German Shepherd Ridgeback mix is an uncommon crossbreed, and there is still a lot we don’t know about it. It remains unsure if they will develop into exactly the same breeds as their parents or if they are genetically inclined to certain health problems.
  • High-energy level: A Rhodesian Shepherd might not be the perfect dog for you if you have a busy schedule and spend most of your time away from home. Due to their high level of energy, the German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback mix needs a lot of mental and physical stimulation.
  • Prone to destructive behaviors: This breed may have a tendency to bark, get aggressive, or even bite and chew items if it is not properly socialized or trained. A Ridgeback Shepherd mix may not be the ideal dog for you if you are unable to provide the necessary mental stimulation.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of owning a Ridgeback Shepherd mix, you can make a more informed decision if this dog suits your current lifestyle, environment, and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback mix lying on backyard
Image credit: aisforargo / Instagram

Are Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mixes Good Dogs?

Despite their intimidating looks, Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mixes are good and friendly dogs. However, due to their size and build, it’s important to supervise children around these dogs.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd may make a wonderful addition to any family with the right socialization and training.

Do Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mixes Shed? 

The German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback mix sheds its fur, especially if it inherits its German Shepherd parent’s coat. However, they don’t shed as much as other breeds, particularly long-haired varieties.

They may, however, shed more during the shedding season, which happens during spring and fall.

Are Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mixes Hypoallergenic?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix is not a hypoallergenic breed. They tend to shed fur and dog dander all year round, but not as much as other dogs.

Because of this, this mixed breed is not recommended for allergy sufferers. They would be better off choosing from hypoallergenic dog breeds.

Do Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd Mixes Bark a Lot?

Rhodesian Shepherd mixes are not prolific barkers. Due to their natural defensive and territorial instincts, they don’t usually bark much until there is an emergency.

For instance, they might bark to frighten away someone they perceive as an intruder or someone who seems suspicious. But the likelihood of them barking excessively at people or other dogs in the park is low. 

Final Thoughts: Is a Rhodesian Shepherd the Right Dog for You?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback German Shepherd mix can be ideal for you if you’re seeking a big, strong dog. 

These dogs are a cross between the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the German Shepherd, two of the most well-known breeds.

They make excellent household pets since they are robust, vivacious, fearless, and intelligent. They’re not the best option for everyone because they require a lot of exercise and seek an active lifestyle.

So, are you interested in bringing home this mix? Let us know your thoughts about the Rhodesian Ridgeback Shepherd mix in the comments below!