Mixed breed dogs have become increasingly popular in recent years, selected for shining compatible temperaments and appearances.
One example is the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix! Here’s what you need to know about the breed.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is commonly referred to as a Renaissance hound, alternatively called an all-purpose dog.
The breed originates from Southern Africa and is well-known for its fierce protectiveness, tracking ability, and powerful prey drive mixed with independence and watchfulness. You can tell a Ridgeback from the stripe of “ridge” hair that grows backward on its back.
With an even temper, dignified personality, and highly affectionate temperament, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is endlessly loving to its owners and is great with kids.
They’re extremely protective dogs with moderate energy levels and are quite easy to train and quick to adapt to various situations. They love work and mental stimulation, though they’re not too active and aren’t hard to care for in terms of grooming.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks have powerful, fast builds, with an 85-pound breed standard weight for males and a 70-pound breed standard weight for females. Their breed’s standard height is from 25 to 27 inches and from 24 to 26 inches for males and females, respectively.
They come in a color called “wheaten”, which essentially includes many different shades of neutral browns you’d see in a field of wheat.
This means that their short, smooth coats can go from pale beige to dark red. There may also be patches of white on their toes or chest.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are often tough dogs for first-time owners, as they require stern but gentle guidance. They’re not fond of strangers or other dogs, either! At the same time, they can be sensitive and, like all dogs, must not be treated roughly.
The Pitbull Breed
There is no single Pitbull breed, and the word “pitbull” originated as a slang term for dogs forced into the cruel world of pit fighting and bull-baiting.
Now, the term describes a category of dogs of a medium build with short hair, bearing the features of various “bully” breeds. The Pitbull term also covers many unique, non-formal breeds, as only about 2% of “Pitbull” dogs are truly purebred.
Four formal breeds fall under this umbrella. There is the American Pit Bull Terrier, of course, which is the only formal breed with the “pit bull” phrase in its name.
There is also the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bully. But it is the American Staffordshire Terrier that bears the features that most closely resemble the “pitbull” as we imagine it.
Of these, only the Staffordshire breeds are recognized officially by the AKC, with the other two falling under the UKC.
For this article, we’ll be using the American Staffordshire Terrier as our primary example of a Pitbull. These dogs, like other Pitbulls, have a lot of stigma surrounding them, namely that they’re aggressive due to being bred for fighting.
However, this is not necessarily the case. Pitbulls are known for their intelligence, confidence, and good nature, with a lot of courage and heart to go with that!
Pitbulls have a muscular build and are quite stocky, measuring between 17 and 19 inches in height depending on gender. Female Pitbulls of the AmStaff breed weigh between 40 and 55 pounds while males weigh between 55 and 70 pounds, which is quite a notable difference.
These dogs are low maintenance in terms of grooming thanks to smooth, short coats. They’re average in trainability, energy levels, mental stimulation needs, playfulness, and adaptability.
Pitbulls are very loving and loyal to family members, with a very strong tendency for guarding and protectiveness. They’re not the best with other dogs or small children but can be friendly with adult strangers.
Coat colors vary, ranging from black-and-tan to liver, but the breed standard dictates that no more than 80% of their fur is white.
How These Breeds Mix Together
Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Pitbulls are mixed in what is known as a designer breed. This means these dogs are purposefully mixed to create a specific result in terms of appearance, temperament, and physique.
As with all mixes, these dogs can be a combination of any features of their parents. This means they may have any combination of colors from wheaten to black, or even with some splotches of white.
Still, most commonly seen Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes tend to appear a tan or brown color, with white or lighter patches on the stomach or paws. Solid colors are also more likely than patterns.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes can be any size within the standard of their parents. They are typically medium to large dogs, with a weight or height anywhere between the breed standards of their parents.
This means males can range from 55 to 85 pounds and 18 to 27 inches in size, while females can range from 40 to 70 pounds and 17 to 26 inches.
Do note that smaller Pitbull breeds exist that can change these ranges, so it’s a good idea to know the specific Pitbull breed involved if it’s not going to be an AmStaff.
1. Fur Care
Both Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Pitbulls have short fur that isn’t too hard to maintain. Most of them will shed throughout the year, but that’s not too much of a problem as long as you’re cleaning your house regularly.
All you really need is a soft bristle brush and a once-a-week grooming. This maintains the mix’s smooth, glossy coat by distributing oils while also getting rid of dirt and tangles quickly.
An occasional bath is important for Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes. This helps to keep fur clean and reduces any odor.
It’s only really necessary when a dog starts to develop a bad smell or has just gotten dirty from rolling around outdoors. Other than that, you won’t need to bathe a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix often.
With that being said, it’s a good idea to get Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes used to bathing as early on in life as you can.
These stubborn, independent dogs will kick up quite a fuss if you don’t get them used to bathing and may run away and try to avoid the whole ordeal!
3. Nail Care
All dog breeds require regular nail trimming, and the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix is no exception. Too-long nails will lead to unbalanced gaits when running or walking and may cause discomfort.
Quite a few dogs of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixed breed aren’t fond of nail clipping, so you may need to opt for a grinder for something less stressful and intimidating for them.
4. Other Cleaning
Once again, as with all dogs, a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix needs to have their teeth, ears, and eyes regularly cleaned.
Chew toys for dental cleaning or tooth brushing with flavored doggy toothpaste both work for teeth care, while regular eye and ear wipes are needed to reduce the risk of infections.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes are strong, muscular dogs with sturdy bodies and admirable resilience. They take after both of their parents in this characteristic, which is why they’re so athletic and filled with energy.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes can be fast, but this is mostly due to the strength of their leg muscles.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks can run at a top speed of 25 miles per hour, and Pitbull usually runs at a top speed of 30 miles per hour. Accordingly, a mix of these two breeds will likely be able to run between 25-30 miles per hour.
Are They Good Family Dogs?
Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Pitbulls alike are very family-oriented, and the mix of these breeds is similar in temperament. As such, the mix makes a good family pet, but this can depend on your exact situation.
A home with older children or just adults is preferred, and preferably with no other dogs. They can also be tough first-time dogs, so take that into account when considering one.
Both Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Pitbulls are at risk of similar diseases, and these risks can be passed on to their children of mixed breed.
Mutts often have stronger defenses against these diseases, but that’s not a guarantee and responsible pet owners will be aware of the potential health risks each dog faces.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is at risk of:
- Dermoid sinus
- Elbow dysplasia
- Eye anomalies
- Hip dysplasia
- Thyroid issues
The Pitbull, specifically the AmStaff, is at risk of:
- Cardiac disease
- Cerebellar ataxia
- Coat allergies
- Hip dysplasia
- Skin allergies
Responsible breeders will typically screen for any of these risks before puppies are bred and distributed. Still, speak to your vet about concerns for your Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix.
You may be interested in scheduling tests like:
- Cardiac exams
- Elbow evaluations
- Hip evaluations
- NCL DNA tests
- Ophthalmologist evaluations
- Thyroid evaluations
The lifespan of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix is relatively long, especially for a bigger dog. You can expect yours to live for between 12 and 16 years, towards the latter if you ensure their health and take good care of it.
The strong temperament of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix means that they requires early socialization and training for the best temperament results later in life.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be quite headstrong and require a firm but gentle hand, while Pitbulls tend to be more eager to please. These traits combine in the mix of the two for a slightly challenging but mostly trainable breed.
Consistent, regular training with positive reinforcement and firm boundaries is important, especially for controlling prey drive and managing more protective tendencies.
As of the time of writing, the AKC does not officially recognize the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix as a breed. The organization instead recognizes four breeds of Pitbull and the Rhodesian Ridgeback as separate breeds, but not their mixes.
Both Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Pitbulls are highly athletic dogs. Pitbulls tend to have less energy, but Rhodesian Ridgebacks more than make up for that difference.
Both breeds combine in the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix to create an energetic, athletic, and exercise-loving dog!
In most cases, a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix will appreciate very regular moderate-intensity exercise sessions and a good number of play sessions in between.
Long walks and hikes are ideal, as are training sessions, games, or “work”-like tasks that provide mental stimulation alongside the physical. These mixes can also be good companions for joggers, runners, and cyclists!
It’s important for Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes to get a lot of exercise time with their owners, not just alone out in the yard. They’re affectionate and need that social and human interaction to thrive as they exercise.
More intelligent members of this mixed breed will also enjoy agility courses and more challenging games and tasks.
How Popular Is The Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix?
The popularity of this mixed breed is hard to measure. This is because usually breeders don’t intentionally breed to create this mix. Normally a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix is the result of an accidental mating.
Also, since both breeds are popular as purebred dogs (with the Pitbull being more popular), more breeders are focused on maintaining the purebred breed standard.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes are amazing dogs, with fierce loyalty, great intelligence, and loads of love for their families.
They can be somewhat challenging to train, especially with their high energy levels and need for mental stimulation, but they’re lovely dogs that will fill your life with love and protection.