If you are looking for a guard dog for your family, the Rhodesian Ridgeback might just be your best bet. But what happens when you mix this breed with a Pitbull?
At first glance, a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix seems like the dog you don’t want to mess with. Because of their intimidating appearance, many people would think that they are unfriendly and aggressive dogs.
In this article, I’m going to assess how true this assumption is by breaking some myths and giving you more information about this designer breed.
What Is a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix?
A Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix is a crossbreed produced from a purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Pitbull. From this powerful combination, one can expect a large and energetic dog that exhibits devotion like no other.
Some shortened versions of their name include Pitbull Ridgeback mix or Ridgeback Pitbull mix. Although, Rhodie Pit sounds like a good name idea as well.
Because of their size and strength, it can be quite challenging to train them, coupled with the fact that they can have a stubborn streak. But of course, it all comes down to proper training and treatment for your dog.
You should also pay attention to their active lifestyle. As vigorous dogs, Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes need to engage in physical activities and even sports.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix History and Origin: Where Does the Pitbull Ridgeback Mix Come From?
Crossbreeding dogs is not a new practice but it’s hard to exactly pinpoint when people started breeding Ridgebacks and Pitbulls.
However, we can still understand a lot about this designer breed by knowing the history of each of their parent breeds.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks, for instance, have an interesting origin. European settlers first brought a breed of dogs to South Africa and Zimbabwe to be crossbred with a native dog called Khoikhoi.
The dogs inherited the distinctive ridge on their backs, thus, the breed name. Back then, they were also called the ‘African Lion Dog’ by hunters who used them for tracking and hunting lions in the wild.
Pitbulls, on the other hand, have a sad and complicated history. They descended from a large, muscular breed of dogs that were used for illegal fighting.
The term ‘Pitbull’ actually describes a type of dog descended from bulldogs and terriers. Because of their background as a fighter, Pitbulls have been stereotyped as dangerous dogs and were often avoided by many.
They were once used for dogfighting and bear-baiting for several years. Over time, these unspeakable games were eradicated, and they were finally bred to be companion pets.
It’s safe to assume that Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbulls were bred to combine the positive traits of their parents.
They are not heavily stigmatized like purebred Pitbulls but due to the controversy around crossbreeding, there is still a debate whether or not it is beneficial to have one as a companion.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix Appearance: What Does a Pitbull Ridgeback Mix Look Like?
Because of their appearance, many dog lovers often distance themselves or are hesitant to pet a Pitbull Ridgeback mix when they encounter them.
Since both Ridgebacks and Pitbulls are strong and muscular, their combination is expected to bear the same traits. They are medium to large-sized dogs with a brawny build and athletic stance.
Their wide-set eyes can either show an intimidating glare or a pleading look that their owners can’t resist. They also have adorable ears that flop to the side.
When in a friendly mood, they will flash you a big, friendly smile with their huge tongue hanging out, like in the photo above.
Depending on their dominant gene, your Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix can or can’t have a ridge along their back. However, it is guaranteed that they will have a short and glossy coat.
They can inherit the solid wheaten color of the Ridgeback or have a combination of colors and markings like the Pitbull. Some of the common coat colors of Pitbulls are red, buckskin, black, and brindle.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix Size and Weight: How Big Will a Pitbull Ridgeback Mix Get?
As mentioned, Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes are often medium to large dogs. Their height and weight will fall anywhere between the range of their parents’.
The expected height of a male Ridgeback Pitbull mix is around 25 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder while their weight is roughly 85 pounds.
Female Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes stand between 24 and 26 inches tall and weigh approximately 70 pounds.
A slight deviation is also acceptable but be mindful of the signs of being overweight or underweight.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix Temperament: Do Pitbull Ridgeback Mixes Make Good Family Dogs?
When getting a dog, breed temperament is another factor to consider. With a large and powerful dog like a Ridgeback Pitbull mix, it’s easy to be skeptical about their behavior. Nevertheless, looks can be deceiving even in dogs.
Because of their Pitbull blood, there is also a negative stigma around Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes. However, they are exactly the opposite of the vicious creatures they are seen as.
According to various dog breed experts, a Pitbull Ridgeback mix can either be a calm and gentle dog or a more energetic pup that is devoted and protective of each family member.
They make really good family pets due to their playfulness and affectionate personality.
However, families with small children should be cautious since these large dogs can accidentally knock them over. But generally, they are very tolerant of them.
They can also be wary of strangers due to their prey drive so it’s best to socialize them early by going to public parks or letting them be handled by visitors.
Furthermore, the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) reported the temperament scores of both breeds.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks had a passing rate of 84.2% while Pitbulls got 85.5%. A higher percentage means that the dog has a sound temperament and that it can be a great family pet.
READ NEXT: Male vs. Female Pitbull: Which Is Better?
Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix Lifespan and Health Problems: Are Pitbull Ridgeback Mixes Healthy Dogs?
Large dog breeds often have shorter lifespans than smaller dogs. This is because they are more prone to certain health problems as they get older.
For Pitbull Ridgeback mixes, the average life expectancy is between 10 and 16 years.
You need to watch out for the following health conditions that your Pitbull Ridgeback mix can suffer from:
- Allergies: Pitbulls, in particular, are prone to having dog allergies. Thus, your Ridgeback Pitbull mix can also be predisposed to have them. Certain allergens can be found in plants, insects, other animals, and food. When you observe symptoms such as intense itching, it’s best to avoid exposure to the possible cause and restrict consumption of specific food products.
- Hip Dysplasia: Since they are large dogs, they can develop hip dysplasia which is the abnormal development of the hip joint. This condition is accompanied by pain and discomfort. When neglected, it can progress to arthritis in later life.
- Hypothyroidism: This condition occurs when the thyroid gland becomes underactive, and your dog’s metabolism slows down. As a result, your pup experiences weight gain, lethargy, baldness, and high cholesterol levels. The common cause of hypothyroidism is a type of auto-immune disease that targets the gland.
- Dermoid Sinus: Dermoid sinus is a skin defect caused by incomplete separation of the skin and the nervous system while the dog is still in the womb. Your Pitbull Ridgeback mix can inherit this condition which has varying levels of severity.
- Cancer: Like humans, dogs are also susceptible to having cancer. The most common type of cancer in dogs is hemangiosarcoma. The cancer cells target the blood vessels that can cause internal bleeding without treatment. This mostly affects middle-aged and elderly dogs.
With these health conditions in mind, you can be aware of how you can better take care of their health. Regular check-ups should be done to monitor your mix’s health condition, especially when they reach old age.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Breeding Pitbulls and Rhodesian Ridgebacks Together
Crossbreeding dogs is an old practice that led to the breeding of many purebreds today. However, many skeptics still believe that mixed breed dogs are just mutts and don’t deserve the same recognition.
To break some common misconceptions, let’s take a look at some of the known advantages and disadvantages of crossing dogs, especially in the case of Pitbull Ridgeback mixes.
Here is a list of some advantages of breeding a Pitbull Ridgeback mix:
- Unique appearance: Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes will have a combination of their parents’ physical features. Since both breeds are muscular, you can also expect a muscular dog. They can inherit the coat color common to Ridgebacks or Pitbulls.
- Improved temperament: The friendly nature of the Pitbull can balance the more independent behavior of the Ridgeback. Furthermore, since both of these breeds are strong and dignified, this increases the intimidation factor of the Ridgeback Pitbull mix. This makes them even better guard dogs.
- Lowered risk for congenital disease: With selective crossbreeding, the probability of passing a hereditary condition decreases. This applies when only one parent is the carrier so breeders must really ensure that they have healthy dogs.
Meanwhile, here are several disadvantages that you also need to be aware of:
- Hard to predict their size: There is quite a difference between the height and weight range of Ridgebacks and Pitbulls. This makes it hard to tell their final adult size. They can be either small and bulky like Pitbulls or tall and athletic like a Ridgeback.
- High-risk deliveries: Due to their size difference, the smaller female dog can have a hard time delivering the puppies. This can be very painful, and depending on the size of the puppies, a C-section might be required for safe delivery.
- Much more expensive: Designer breeds are typically much more expensive due to the selective breeding process that most breeders follow to produce Ridgeback Pitbull mixes. The price range for these puppies will be discussed below in this guide.
Before you pay for a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull reservation, make sure you have weighed these pros and cons. There’s no turning back when the puppy is already shipped to your doorstep.
How to Take Care of Your Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix?
Every dog deserves only the best care and love from its owners. If you are planning to own a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix as a pet, you need to keep in mind some tips and reminders when taking care of your dog.
Feeding and Diet
While your Ridgeback Pitbull mix is still a puppy, it’s important to feed them adequately with high-quality dog food. Give them three meals a day following the same schedule.
When they reach adulthood, meals should be lessened to twice per day. This is because their metabolism starts to slow down, and they also become less active.
If you decide to change dog food brands, slowly introduce it to your dog’s meal by mixing it with the old brand and increasing the portion until they get used to it. Water should also be available all day to keep them hydrated.
Cleaning and Grooming
Ridgeback Pitbull mixes have short coats with a shiny appearance. To ensure that they are well-maintained and healthy, grooming should be done regularly.
They shed very little all-year-round but you should still be able to give weekly brushing.
Brush your dog’s teeth at least two or three times a week to prevent tartar buildup and remove bacteria causing bad breath.
Nail trimming should be done once or twice a month to keep the feet in good condition and prevent the nails from tearing carpets.
These grooming practices should be introduced to them as a puppy so that they will get used to them early and avoid violent reactions.
Training and Exercise
Early training and socialization are needed to easily housebreak your Ridgeback Pitbull mix puppy.
They should be introduced to small children and other pets in the household. However, owners should be mindful of their stubborn streak.
These dogs need owners with a firm hand but use positive reinforcement and reward systems during training. First-time owners might have difficulty if they can’t show that they are the leader of the pack.
If you are able to facilitate proper training, you can be certain that they will be the most protective and loving dogs you can have. Their energy level is suitable for indoor activities.
Here is a video of a Ridgeback Pitbull mix undergoing a training program:
How Much Does a Pitbull Ridgeback Mix Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses
Aside from the mental and emotional preparation of owning a dog, you should also prepare your finances.
You should expect to pay around $1,500 for a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix puppy. The price can increase depending on the pup’s pedigree, health records, and breeder.
Dogs from a superior bloodline or a champion breeder are often priced as high as $3,000.
If you can’t shell out this amount, you can always visit your local shelters or connect with rescue groups. The important thing is to ask about their health.
The typical adoption fee for this mixed dog breed is between $150 and $350. You just need to be patient in finding available dogs for adoption.
However, the initial purchasing price is not just the only thing you need to think about.
You need to consider the cost of buying essential items once your puppy gets to its new home. These include food, bedding, toys, and others.
The table below shows the list of different dog items you need to buy before bringing your puppy home:
|Type of Expense
|High-Quality Dog Food
|Food and Water Bowl
|Collar and Leash
|Total Initial Cost
For those who are planning to be a Pitbull Ridgeback mix dog owner, you need to prepare at least $282 aside from the cost of buying the puppy from a breeder or paying for the adoption fee.
The indicated prices are just average costs which means you can definitely find cheaper or more expensive options.
Places to Find Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix Puppies for Sale or Adoption
Fake advertisements and scams are also abundant in the designer dog breed market.
The safest way to purchase a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix puppy is through a registered breeder. They can ensure that you are paying for a healthy and well-adjusted dog.
The list below consists of breeders and other platforms where you can find Ridgeback Pitbull mix puppies for sale:
- Greenfield Puppies – This is an advertising website that features different designer breeds including Ridgeback Pitbull mixes. They make sure to filter the breeders during registration and flag them for poor breeding practices. They have been placing puppies in new homes since 2000.
- Aariel Ridgebacks – This is a breeder from Florida that specializes in breeding Rhodesian Ridgeback companions and champions. Occasionally, they might breed Ridgeback Pitbull mixes. You can easily contact them about new litters through their website.
- Malvin American Bully Home – This breeder is committed to producing Pitbulls that are well-socialized and with sound temperament. From time to time, they might have Ridgeback Pitbull mixes available for purchasing.
If you see adoption as a better alternative, reach out to these rescues for a chance to bring home a Ridgeback Pitbull mix puppy or adult dog:
- Angel City Pitbulls – This is a rescue from Los Angeles that rehabilitates and rehomes different breeds that fall under the Pitbull category as well as mixes. All of their rescued dogs are spayed/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, and crate-trained.
- Pacific Coast Dog Rescue – This is another kennel facility that is dedicated to helping stray dogs and mixes find forever homes. They have saved over 2,000 dogs since their operation started over 10 years ago. All available dogs for adoption are listed on their website.
- Last Hope K9 Rescue – This rescue consists of volunteers from Central Arkansas who have committed their special time to provide medical treatment, assistance, and fostering to abandoned and neglected dogs. Since 2012, they have rescued over 9,800 dogs including Pitbull Rhodesian Ridgeback mixes.
Whether you choose to buy from a breeder or adopt from a shelter, you always need to ensure that the dog is healthy and well-suited for your lifestyle.
You should be prepared for the lifetime responsibility of owning a Pitbull Ridgeback mix.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Rhodesian Ridgeback a Pitbull?
A Rhodesian Ridgeback is a purebred dog that originated in the Southern Africa region. They are not classified as Pitbulls.
Because of their ability to hunt primarily through sight, they belong to the hound group. Before they were popularized, they were referred to as the “African Lion Hound.”
Are Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mixes Aggressive?
Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes are definitely not aggressive dogs. This belief only stems from the negative stigma around Pitbulls in general.
These dogs can either have the calm and dignified temperament of the Rhodesian Ridgeback or the more active and affectionate behavior of a Pitbull, which makes them perfect family pets.
Is a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix More Expensive Than Other Mixes?
The price range for Rhodesian Ridgeback mixes is higher than other Pitbull mixes. A Ridgeback Pitbull mix from a reputable breeder usually costs around $1,500 to $3,000.
However, Basset Hound Pitbull puppies only cost between $800 and $1,500 while the more unusual mix of a Pitbull and Poodle costs anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500.
Final Thoughts: Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix the Right Dog for You?
If you are looking for the perfect guard dog with an active, friendly, and loving temperament, the Rhodesian Ridgeback mix is the most suitable dog for you.
This combination produces a strong, intelligent, and highly trainable dog that is perfect for any family with or without children.
The existence of this designer breed only further debunks the baseless controversies surrounding Pitbulls.
They are quite far from being aggressive dogs. All they need is a dedicated and patient owner that can train them to be the most loyal dogs.