7 things to know before buying Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix
This dog breed is a cross between a Pitbull and a Rhodesian Ridgeback. These mixed dogs tend to be very energetic and need lots of exercise. Being large and powerful, this mix can also look very intimidating. Most Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes inherit the Ridgeback’s wheaten coloring and short furred coat, although different coloring can be inherited from the Pitbull too.
1. The Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix isn’t any more “inherently aggressive” than any other dog breed
Many people worry that aggression may be a problem when two powerful breeds get mixed. This relates to the negative stigma of Pitbulls that some people will breed them solely to cultivate aggression.
Dog breed temperament testing data gathered in a study by the American Temperament Test Society says that 84.2% of Rhodesian Ridgebacks passed the test, as did 85.5% of American Staffordshire Terriers.
Not only do these results demonstrate that associating aggression with a dog breed is purely down to stigma, but they also show that there is no biological reason for a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix to be aggressive, other than poor training and not being socialized well enough to nurture a good temperament.
You never know what you’re going to get in a dog, of course, and Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes are a good example of this.
So, what will your puppy's temperament be like? What will your dog look like?
This is usually completely random. Obviously, you have a choice over the color of your dog, but temperament is a totally different concept altogether. A lot of this will depend on training and the way that you bring up your dog.
Even then, different dogs’ personalities can vary greatly. For example, my friend has two dogs from the same litter. They have been together their entire lives and were brought up in the same manner.
One dog is incredibly friendly and smart. The other dog is a lot more timid, takes time to open up, and her training was a long and difficult task as she is not as smart as her sister. Despite coming from the same litter and having been raised together, they bear very few similarities in their personality.
2. Training this breed requires some experience
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix tends to do better with confident and firm owners who also know when to be soft, gentle, and loving. These dogs can grow to be large so if you are not sure you can handle or correctly train a large dog, please think twice before purchasing or adopting one.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix can grow up to 24-27 inches or 60-70 cm and weigh as much as 90 pounds or 40 kg.
Training a large, powerful dog such as the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix is not an easy task or for the faint-hearted. These dogs will require consistent training from a young age to ensure that they have a good temperament and can be controlled. Otherwise, you could find yourself facing some tricky problems involving your dog in the future.
Training your dog is also important to increase good behavior traits and decrease unwanted ones. There are many ways to train an animal, but one great tried and tested method is positive reinforcement training.
Here, at Ridgeback Planet I am a strong advocate of positive reinforcement training. This involves rewarding wanted behaviors with treats and praise but ignoring unwanted behaviors. This means no punishments for your dog, which really helps to nurture the good nature of your dog and you will see the results!
However, if your dog is doing something naughty, maybe a short timeout is what your dog needs to learn its lesson. For example, there is a person who comes to my house and my dog does not like them. She will bark and bark until my ears are ringing, so when this friend of mine comes over, I wait to see if my dog would bark. If she lasts more than 30 seconds without barking, I give her a treat and praise. If she barks too much, I lock her in a room until the person leaves.
Also note that this person has tried on multiple occasions to get to know her, give her treats, and prove they are not a threat, but my dog is having none of that. So, I have resorted to positive reinforcement training to help with this behavior. She is only 8 months old and already improving. Consistent training is key to a well-behaved and good-mannered dog.
3. Socialization is key
All dogs are social animals and require a lot of attention to keep them happy and make them feel loved. This is especially true for a dog such as the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull cross who could be predisposed to aggression if it’s not raised adequately.
Socializing your dog can be as simple as petting them and playing with them. You should also introduce them to strangers and other dogs so that they won’t perceive these things as threats in the future. If you plan on having kids in the future or having guests with kids from time to time, socializing your pup with babies and kids early on is also a must. The same goes for other smaller dogs or even cats, although socializing your dog with a stranger’s cat is obviously a challenge.
4. While typically a guard dog, this mixed breed also has a very strong prey drive
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix inherits its prey drive from its Rhodesian parent. This means that like many sighthound breeds, this mix will have the urge to lunge at anything that moves. Whether a car, a squirrel in the park, a stray cat, or a small child running down the street – everything can be viewed as prey to an untrained Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix.
There are a few niche training concerns to consider for this breed. Introducing your dog to small children and animals from a young age will help to negate this prey drive. Even then, keeping your dog on a leash when outside is generally a must. Fencing your yard properly is also advised as all dogs with strong prey instincts are prone to some pretty extraordinary feats of escapism.
Another example, my friends’ dogs live in harmony with a cat and have done since they were just 3 months old. Now, when they see cats, they do not try to chase them. However, they never spent time with small children, and do try to chase them when the prey drive mentioned before kicks in.
These dogs are Thai Ridgeback crosses, with a similar inbuilt prey drive to that of a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Ridgebacks are also strong-willed and flourish with owners who are confident and firm. If this is not your personality, you can work on it and practice being firm with your dog from the get-go.
5. This is a highly intelligent breed
Dogs of this mixed breed are smart and eager to please their owners, which makes training them quite an easy task if you know what you’re doing. This high intelligence also makes them fantastic pets as they are dogs you’ll be happy to play with, train, and interact with.
However, high intelligence has its drawbacks too, namely – boredom. As with people, a smart dog that doesn’t get enough mental stimulation can quickly get bored. And when that dog is also very energetic, this can spell bad news for your furniture!
More importantly, if you let your dog get bored consistently, day after day, your dog can also start experiencing anxiety, disobedience, and even depression. Separation anxiety is an especially big problem for dogs of owners who work long hours away from home.
How can you avoid this?
There are several possible solutions so you can pick any or all of them:
Try to spend more time at home or take your dog out with you when possible. Generally, a social dog like the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix will be happiest when your work from home.
Make sure that there’s someone with your dog for most of the time you’re away. If you have a large family with kids, this can help negate the problem. If not, hiring a dog sitter or a dog walker can also be a good idea.
Give your pup a ton of attention and exercise before you go out. This will both satisfy your dog’s need for fun and socialization for a while and will also leave your furry pal exhausted and sleepy.
Get your dog lots of toys. More complex puzzle toys are a great way to keep your dog engaged and mentally stimulated, for example. Just make sure that any toy you get is strong and durable enough as this mixed breed loves to chew!
Get a second dog! Yes, this can sound a bit much – twice the dogs, twice the trouble, right? Not really. While a second dog means twice as much food and twice as many vet visits, it also means that the two pups can play with each other and keep each other company – this is a great benefit for both you and your dog.
6. The Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix is very energetic and needs lots of exercise
Pitbulls and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are both active dogs and require a lot of exercise. So, you can expect the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix to be the same.
These dogs can make excellent companions for those of you who enjoy biking, hiking and running. Active and involved owners are the best for this type of dog, as they love to get involved in playtime sessions with their humans.
Agility classes and obedience trials can also be a great activity for this smart and energetic breed of dog. Active adults and families with older children are an excellent choice of home for the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix.
7. Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix’s health
As mentioned before, both parent breeds of mix are predisposed to a few health conditions such as hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, dermoid sinus, and others. Since your Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix will also be predisposed to such conditions, it’s important that you work with reliable and experienced breeders who test their dogs for any genetic conditions before breeding, to attempt to eliminate any possible health problems.
How do you know if the breeder you choose is responsible and reputable? First off, you should avoid purchasing your puppy from an online advertisement or a retail pet store. Many dogs from places that advertise and sell dogs in this way come from for-profit breeding operations known as Puppy Mills, which, if you don’t already know, offer awful living conditions for the mother and father dogs, which suggests that these dogs are not screened for any possible genetic defects.
Once you find a breeder who can prove that they test their dogs for genetic conditions, all results should be shared with clients and filed with a canine health registry, so you know it’s legitimate if they can show you these things.
You should also make sure that you’re taking the best possible care for your pup. Here are a few pointers:
Feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet to make sure that its always getting all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to stay healthy
Make sure that your dog gets enough outdoor exercise every day
Good grooming is very important too. This includes:
- Baths after long outdoor hikes
- Weekly brushing of your dog’s coat
- Brushing your dog’s teeth once or twice a week (chewable toys also help with dental hygiene)
- Eye and ear cleaning with damp cotton slabs when needed
- Nail clipping from time to time, especially if your dog doesn’t get enough outdoor time
Doing these things will prevent various additional health complications such as skin infections.
If you get a healthy Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix puppy and take good care of it, chances are that your dog will live a healthy and happy life for as much as 10 to 16 years which is quite a lot for a large breed!
Adopt, Don’t Shop
Have you ever heard that saying? This was coined by animal activists who are actively trying to shut down the awful puppy mills that I mentioned earlier. And, yes, it is possible to adopt a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix.
Check your local shelter and dog rescue groups to see if they have dogs of this breed under their care and available for adoption. Shelters do their best to fully identify the breeds of the dogs in their care, however, without DNA testing this can sometimes be difficult.
You can also contact breed-specific organizations such as the AmStaff and the Ridgeback.
But do keep in mind that adopting a dog such as this can come with its downfalls, as you do not know the past of this dog and what sort of temperament this dog may have. Only adopt a breed such as the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix if you are sure you can provide the training and care that it will require.
Breeds Similar to the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix
Do you like the way that the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix looks, but you are a bit worried about whether you can handle such a large, powerful, and active dog? Why not consider some lookalikes, such as the Vizsla or Weimaraner?
How about breeds like the Pitbull, such as the American Bulldog, Boxer, and Bull Terrier? There are also similar mixed breeds such as the Bullmastiff Pitbull Mix, who all look like this mix but are a lot smaller.
I hope that you enjoyed this article and that it helped you with any queries you have about being a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix owner. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me! Are you already a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix owner? Let us know more in the comments below!