Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix Guide!

Hi, my name’s Irena and I live with Sherlock, my crazy dog and three cats, Hammie, Dimitris and Ebony on the beautiful island of Crete in Greece.

Today I will be talking about the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix.

Introduction to the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix

Mixed breed dogs have become popular in recent years. Some, including the Labradoodle, which is a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle, has been officially recognized.

Many people believe that mixed-breed dogs can be healthier than purebred because health problems can be bred out of them.

I have always had mixed breed dogs and they have been healthy and lived long lives.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is also called the ‘African Lion Dog’. In the past, these dogs were used in tracking and hunting lions and other big game animals.

European settlers brought dogs with them when they emigrated to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa and crossed them with native dogs called Khoikhois.

This produced the breed we now know as Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  They have a ridge of backward growing hair on their back, which is a trait in Khoikhois.

The Pitbull

Pitbulls are muscular and strong dogs like the Rhodesian Ridgeback, but they are smaller.

They were used in the past for bull and bear-baiting which has given them a bad reputation as dangerous dogs.

However, this is far from the truth. They can make very laid-back family pets. It’s only bad ownership by people that have used them for dog-fighting that has given them a bad name.

Most dog breed experts say Pitbulls are a breed type, not an actual breed. The American Staffordshire Terrier is the AKC-recognized breed that most closely resembles Pitbulls.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mixes have two very handsome parents so you can expect to get good looking dogs.

They are strong and powerful, so they need a firm hand while training them as puppies.

These dogs are loyal and brave companions and make great family dogs. They can be guard dogs, but they are equally happy as pets.

How Big do Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mixes Get?

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes are medium to large dogs. They have strong muscles and an athletic build. Their height and weight can come to be anywhere in the range of their parents.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the largest of the two dogs.  Adult males are 25” – 27” at the shoulder and they weigh around 85 pounds. Females are 24’ – 26” and they weigh around 70 pounds.

The height of male Pitbulls is 18” – 19” at the shoulder and they weigh 55 – 70 pounds. Females are 17” – 18” and they weigh 40 – 60 pounds.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mixes – What is their Temperament?

A pitbullThese dogs look strong and even intimidating, but they’re not. There’s just this negative stigma around Pitbulls.

Some people train these dogs to be aggressive which has given them bad press. Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes are quite the opposite of being aggressive.

The only problem is that they are big and strong so they need to be trained at an early age otherwise accidents could happen.

For example, they might knock down small children and injuries could happen. It wouldn’t be their intention to cause pain, but it could still happen.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes need owners with a firm hand, but who are also able to be gentle and loving when the time is right.

If you are a first-time dog owner, these dogs might not be for you.  You need to feel confident enough to train them as they are too strong to be allowed to run riot.

However, with good training, they will become loving dogs who are devoted to their families.

They can be a little wary with strangers so it’s a good idea to socialize them with other people at an early age.

The American Temperament Test Society has done tests on both breeds of dogs. The Rhodesian Ridgeback had a pass rate of 84.2% and the Pitbull, 85.5%.

There is no biological reason that either breed is aggressive and that therefore goes for Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes as well.

Training Your Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mixes

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes need consistent training from a young age. You need to be sure that you can control these large and strong dogs.

They also need early socializing which can be as simple as petting or playing. They should be introduced to other people and other dogs.

Cats may be more of a problem as the Rhodesian Ridgeback part of the mix can see cats as prey.

If you already have cats and they get to know your dogs at a young age, there is a good chance that they will accept each other.

My Sherlock gets on fine with my cats, but if we see a cat on our walks, he has to chase it.

Mind you, a lot of the cats around here don’t run away and when he catches up with them, he just sniffs them and then goes on his way.

Small children can also be a problem as your dogs might see them as prey. This is another reason why good training is needed.

I think that the best training method is positive reinforcement. This involves awarding treats for good behavior when they do what they are told.

However, if they behave badly, just ignore them. This helps to nurture a good temperament.

The Pitbull side of this mix makes training easier as Pitbulls like to please their humans.

However, they are strong and like to dig and chew which is again a reason for training. You don’t want them digging up your yard or pulling you over on a walk.

It is also a good idea to get your Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix used to being groomed from a young age otherwise they might not take to being brushed.

Get them used to bathing, brushing, ear cleaning, teeth cleaning, and nail cutting.

Exercising your Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mixes

Both Pitbulls and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are active dogs and it follows that if they are bred together, the result will be energetic dogs.

They need plenty of exercise every day, not just a quick walk. If you enjoy cycling, running or hiking, Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes will love to accompany you.

Also, obedience trials and agility classes are great activities for your dogs to take part in.

Are Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mixes Prone to any Health Conditions?

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes can have any illnesses that their parents are prone to, although sometimes these diseases are bred out of them, making them healthier.

You should buy your puppies from a reputable breeder who will have screened them for hereditary conditions.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are prone to hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, and dermoid sinus.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip joint. It can lead to painful arthritis and lameness. There isn’t a complete cure although controlling the weight of your dogs, exercise and medication can help.

In addition, you can consider surgery to repair or even replace the hip. This is costly so you will have to consider this before you get these dogs.

Pitbulls can also get hip dysplasia which makes it more likely that your Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix will also get it.

Thyroid Problems

Hypothyroidism is also a common problem with Rhodesian Ridgebacks. It can cause both hair loss and weight gain. However, once diagnosed, it is easy to treat with daily medication.

Dermoid Sinus

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Dermoid sinus is a neural tube defect that is found along the back, tail, and neck. The purpose of these tubes is to drain out dead cells, hair, and tissue.

When they aren’t formed properly, they can cause an infection and even produce an abscess. Medication is possible in the form of antibiotics, but surgery is better.

If the sinus hasn’t attached itself around the spinal cord, surgery is easy, and it can be removed. In this case, recovery is easy.

However, if it has attached itself to the spinal cord, the sinus will have to be tied off and then recovery is long and can be painful.

However, if this isn’t done, your dogs may die because the sinus is so near to the spinal cord.

Puppies can be screened at birth so make sure that your breeder has done this. Any dogs who have this condition should be spayed or neutered to breed out this trait.


Rhodesian Ridgebacks can get cancer, in particular, mast cell tumors. This will probably be a disease that is seen later in life, so you won’t know when you get your puppy.

However, it is worth asking the breeder if the parents or grandparents of your puppies suffered or died from cancer. A reputable breeder will tell you the truth.


Both Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Pitbulls can suffer from bloat which is serious. This is a condition in which the stomach distends with gas and can even twist on itself, cutting off blood flow.

It can strike very quickly and a dog who is fine when eating can be dead a couple of hours later. There are signs that your dogs have bloat so keep an eye on them after their meals.

Watch for pacing and restlessness, lip licking, drooling, pale lips and unsuccessful attempts at vomiting.

Bloat requires an immediate visit to the vet where surgery will be performed. Unfortunately, if your dogs have had bloat, they might get it again.

However, there is a procedure called gastropexy which connects the stomach to the body wall so that it doesn’t twist.

One good way to help reduce the chances of bloat is to feed your dogs little and often. I do this with Sherlock and have done it with all my dogs.

Gulping a lot of food down is one of the reasons why dogs can get bloat.

Other Conditions

They can also suffer from cataracts which can lead to impaired vision and even blindness, and allergies.

With allergies, it is a good idea to give your dogs a nutritionally rich diet with plenty of protein and no empty fillers like wheat, corn, and soy. A limited ingredient menu is recommended.

What do Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mixes Look Like?

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes have a short and glossy coat just like Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Pitbulls.

They can come in many different colors and markings. Many inherit the solid wheaten Rhodesian Ridgeback coloring that can range from buff to reddish gold, but other colors are possible.

Then, of course, there is the ridge along the back which stands up. This is usually inherited from the Rhodesian Ridgeback parent.

How Much Grooming do Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mixes Need?

It isn’t difficult to groom Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes because they have an easy-care short coat, unlike my Sherlock who has lots of hair. I have to keep cutting mats off from underneath his ears.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes shed all year round, but they don’t shed that much so you won’t have to be cleaning up two or three times a day, unlike me.

All you have to do is brush your dogs once a week, more if they like it. They only need to be bathed if you think that they need it.

You do need to start bathing them when they are little pups, otherwise, they might run a mile from the bath as my Sherlock does.

It is also good to get them used to having their teeth brushed, although there are also chew toys that you can give them that dispenses toothpaste. You can get dog toothpaste from your vet.

Clean their eyes as well to stop infections occurring and trim their nails. If you’re not happy to trim their nails yourself, take them to a groomer.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix – Are they Good with Families?

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes are large dogs, but with good training, they can make great family pets.

However, they are more suited to a family with older children. One of the reasons for this is that they need lots of exercise and playtime which older children will enjoy.

The other reason is the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes like to chase small animals and they might consider small children as prey.

Of course, you can train your dogs not to do this, but accidents can happen, and they are big dogs.

How Much do Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mixes Cost?

A pitbullTo buy a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix you will be looking at paying around $1500. The price will depend on the bloodline of the parents, so you need to check out their health records.

It is a good idea if you can see the parents so that you can see that they have a good temperament and that they don’t have any major health issues.

However, if your puppy comes from a world-class breeder you might end up paying more than $3,000.

If you are looking for an older Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix why not visit your local shelter.

It isn’t unusual to find them there as they are often adopted by people who don’t realize how strong these dogs are.

You could get a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix for between $150 and $350 at a shelter and also, you will be giving older dogs a home instead of them being euthanized.

How to Pick the Right Dog Breed for You?

Are you thinking about getting a dog? Believe me, they are the greatest companions in the world, but you still need to consider if you are ready for this commitment.

Have you got the time to spend with your new addition to the family? Are you prepared to have your furniture and shoes being chewed?

Have you got the money to give them yearly injections, get them spayed or neutered and pay for any illnesses they might get?

Family Requirements; Young, Old or Allergic?

The first things to consider are the needs of your family. If you have children, for example, you will have to see that the dogs you adopt are family-friendly.

The same goes for older relatives, make sure that the dogs aren’t too exuberant. If you have other pets, make sure that the new dogs will get on with them.

You don’t want to get dogs with a strong prey drive if you have cats unless you have the time and energy to train them properly.

Another thing to consider is if anyone in your family has allergies and could perhaps be allergic to the dogs.

There is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog, but some dogs shed less than others, so it is worth going for those dogs, rather than ones that shed continually or shed heavily twice a year in the spring and the fall.

Big Dog, Small Dog?

The next things you have to consider are the ideal size of the dogs, their energy level and the age of your new dogs.

If you want to get puppies remember that you must train them, including house training. Be prepared to find messes on the floor.

You will also have to accept that they chew, and you might lose one of your favorite shoes!

If you can’t decide on the size of your dogs, why not go for a medium-sized dog?

Some small dogs are delicate and vulnerable so they might not be right for a family with small children who might be a bit rough with them.

If they are stepped on, injuries could happen. Also, small dogs can develop ‘tough dog’ attitudes’ to compensate for their smaller size so you need to prepare for this.

If you want to go for larger dogs, remember that they will need more space to move around in. It’s not a good idea to get large dogs if you live in an apartment.

Another consideration with a large dog is the expense. For a start they will need more food than smaller dogs and medical treatments can be more expensive.

You need to remember that the lifespan of bigger dogs is shorter than that of smaller dogs and they are prone to more illnesses earlier in their lives.

With larger dogs, training is also important otherwise they can drag you along when you are walking them and can run riot at home.

Time for Walkies…again!

You will have to consider the energy level of the dogs you adopt. Every dog needs exercise, regardless of size or breed, but some dogs need more than others.

If you can only commit to one walk a day, you are going to have to look for a dog with a low energy level such as a Bassett Hound. They won’t mind just short walks.

If you are looking for a dog that can be a jogging partner, consider a dog like a Border Collie.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix breed is also a good choice as they love to exercise. They like nothing better than going for a long jog with their owners.

You need to be prepared to adjust the amount of attention you give your dogs. If your dogs bark all the time, destroy your home or dig up your yard there is something wrong.

They need more attention and playtime with you. Many behavior problems with dogs are because they have excess energy and they need to expend it.


A Rhodesian RidgebackPhysical maintenance is another factor that needs to be considered when choosing your dogs. Have you enough time to groom your dogs?

If not, then you should choose dogs like the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix. They have very short hair which doesn’t need much grooming.

If you have dogs with hair that keeps growing, then advanced grooming is necessary. Be prepared to learn how to groom your dogs.

A lot of short-haired dogs are major shedders, which sounds a bit strange and doesn’t refer to the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix.

They don’t shed a lot, but other short-haired breeds do. So, you will have to do a lot of sweeping up and grooming. I am continually sweeping up after Sherlock.

The Mess

Other things to consider are the ears. Dogs with long floppy ears, like Bassett Hounds, need to have regular ear cleaning sessions as they are more prone to ear infections.

Some dogs do a lot of drooling, for example, Bulldogs and Bloodhounds so be prepared to do plenty of cleaning up as they will probably drool all over your furniture.

Puppies need the most amount of work and it’s not good to get one if everybody is out at work all day.

The first six months are the hardest as you need to train and housebreak them. Puppies need to go to the toilet every two to three hours and they need to have three to four meals a day.

Be prepared for accidents around the house, even while you are in. Also, you will have to expect to have your furniture chewed while your puppies are teething.

It took me ages to housebreak Sherlock, and he was a big chewer as a puppy.

Luckily, he is over all that now and the majority of your dogs will be too if they are given good training from a firm, but calm person.

The Advantages of Adoption

Perhaps you are thinking of getting an adult dog? Shelters always have plenty of adult dogs looking for good homes. Adopting adult dogs has advantages.

For a start, you will know what their energy level is and also their temperament. It takes time to find out what your puppies will be like as adult dogs.

In addition, most adult dogs have been trained and housebroken, but you still might have to do a little training yourself.

Then, of course, there are senior dogs. Many older dogs are left at shelters and they are often confused and unhappy that they have been abandoned.

What is better than giving these dogs a loving home where they can live out their golden years in comfort.

If you are looking for dogs with low energy levels, then senior dogs should suit you down to the ground.

As I get older, I am thinking that I might adopt a couple of older dogs. There are so many of them out there.

Of course, you have to expect that they’re only going to be with you for a few years at the most.

In addition, you have to understand that they might cost you more money as they are more prone to illnesses than younger dogs. They will need regular health check-ups at the vet.

Purebred Dogs

If you are interested in taking on purebred dogs, it is a good idea to do plenty of research on the breed to find out their temperament, their energy level, their grooming needs, potential health problems, and so on.

The good thing about having purebred dogs is that you will know in advance what to expect. You will be able to tell if they will be a good fit for your family and lifestyle.

The next thing to do is to look for responsible breeders Find out as much as you can about them.

It is also a good idea to see the parents of your potential puppies as this will give you a good idea of what your new family members will be like.

The combination of two breeds like the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull could be your choice.

Combining two breeds often balances out their personalities and physical characteristics. Again, it is easy to research these designer breeds which are becoming very popular these days.

Finally, there’s your complete mutt and you’ll find many of these at a shelter, often neglected. I have adopted a lot of these dogs, most just dumped near to my house.

Many years ago, I adopted a dog who was giving birth to puppies in the olive grove next to my home. I took them in, and she gave birth to six healthy puppies.

I only found a home for one, so I kept the rest and their mom. They all lived healthy lives until they were 14 or 15.

That is the great thing about adopting mutts. They seem to have a long lifespan. Sherlock was also dumped when he was just 3 weeks old.

Overall, mutts tend to be good-natured and just think, you are saving them from years in a shelter or even from euthanasia.

Final Thoughts: Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix Guide

A pitbullI hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and finding out more about Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes.

They are great family dogs although they need to be trained as they are big and strong dogs. They would suit a family with older children that has the time to exercise the dogs.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes have masses of energy so are great if you want to go hiking or running.

A walk will do although it should be a long walk. They enjoy playtime so if you have a large yard all the better.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback part of the mix has a strong prey drive so it’s probably better not to get one if you have cats, rabbits, and even small children.

There are several health issues these dogs can have, some of which can be detected at birth.

Make sure that you go to a reputable breeder who will tell you if there are any health problems. Training is very important with these dogs as they are so strong.

You need to establish yourself as the leader of the pack. Dogs do like to know who is in charge.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes are easy to look after as they don’t shed a lot. They only need basic grooming, but still, this shouldn’t be neglected because if you don’t, you will have hairs all over the place.

I hope that this article has helped you to decide which sort of dog to get. There are so many different breeds out there as well as mixed breeds and mutts making the choice more difficult.

You do need to consider all the factors when choosing your dogs. Don’t rush into a decision as you might regret it later and it isn’t fair on the dogs.

I hope that you have a great time with the dog you choose. Perhaps it might be a Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull cross.