Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix – Ultimate Breed Guide! (2024)


While a lot of people are big on pedigree canines, designer dogs have become quite popular since the 1980s and these hybrids have a massive fan base as well. 

The Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull mix is one frequently misunderstood dog. At first glance, they seem intimidating and aggressive because of their large, muscular appearance and may not seem suitable as family dogs but this is far from the truth! 

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at this fascinating hybrid and clear up some of the common misconceptions surrounding the breed. 

Other articles you would like: Are Rhodesian Ridgebacks Dangerous? and Little-Known (And Surprising) Blue Nose Pitbull Facts

The Rhodesian Ridgeback And The Pitbull Terrier 


Like all mixed breed dogs, understanding the two parent breeds will give you valuable insight into the characteristics of the mixed pup.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are an interesting breed whose origins can be traced back to when European settlers entered Southern Africa, bringing their dogs with them.

These European dogs began to mate with the Khoikhois which were semi-domesticated hunting and guardian dogs.

The result of this is the birth of a new breed of dogs with a trademark ridge down their back, similar to the one the Khoikhois had.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known as the ‘African Lion Hound’ because they were once used to track lions and other big game.

The Pitbull Terrier 

The Pitbull has gained a bad reputation for being aggressive and dangerous. This is because this breed of dog has been used for violent activities in the past such as bull and bear baiting, dog fights, and ratting.

However, with good owners and proper training, Pitbulls can be wonderful companions. They can be friendly family pets, good guard dogs, and are even used to look after children.

Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull Appearance 


The Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix is a good-looking dog. It has a muscular, athletic build which is usually intimidating, causing people to avoid them, thinking they are dangerous or violent.

These dogs have a short, smooth, and shiny coat and may have a ridge running along their backs like their Rhodesian Ridgeback parent.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull can be of many colors, depending on what it inherits from its parents. If it gets its coat color from its Rhodesian Ridgeback parent, it will be wheat-colored because that’s the color of Rhodesian Ridgebacks. 

On the other hand, Pitbull dogs have a wide range of possible colors, including white, black, blue, red, and brown.

They have wide-set eyes which could either be cute and pleading, or intimidating, depending on their mood.

They have large, floppy ears inherited from their Pitbull parents. When Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull mixes smile, their signature large tongue hangs out, making them look all adorable and friendly.

Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull Mix Size And Weight


The size and weight of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix depend on the size and weight of the parent dogs. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are bigger than Pitbulls. 

The adult male Rhodesian Ridgebacks are about 25” to 27” tall at the shoulder and weigh about 85 pounds. The adult female is about 24” to 26” tall and weighs about 70 pounds.

Pitbull dogs are smaller, lighter dogs. The adult male Pitbull is about 18” to 19” tall and weighs about 60 pounds. The adult females are about 18” tall as well and weigh around 50 pounds.

Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull Mix Behavior And Temperament


The size and intimidating appearance of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix can give people the wrong perception that it is an aggressive or dangerous dog.

The fact that these dogs have Pitbull blood and Pitbulls have a reputation for being dangerous also contributes to this perception of Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes.

However, Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes can be gentle, loving, and devoted dogs. The American Temperament Test Society has conducted temperament tests on both parent dogs of the Ridgeback Pitbull mix. 

The Rhodesian Ridgeback had a pass rate of about 85% and the Pitbull had a pass rate of about 86%. A higher percentage means that the dog breed generally has a good temperament and makes for good family pets.

Because both parent breeds have sound temperaments, the Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull mix has no biological disposition to aggression. 

These dogs may be bold and fearless, but they aren’t aggressive. But because these dogs are big and strong, they need to be trained consistently and properly from an early age so they don’t mistakenly knock down smaller children. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull mixes are generally okay with small children, but it’s better to be extra cautious the smaller the children are because these dogs can accidentally cause injuries to smaller children during play.

It is also important that they are properly socialized from an early age because they tend to be uncomfortable around strangers. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull Potential Health Problems 


Many people believe that mixed-breed dogs are healthier than purebred dogs because diseases and genetic conditions can be bred out.

Generally, the Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull mixes are less prone to diseases and genetic conditions. However, there are some health issues that these dogs are a bit susceptible to such as hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, dermoid sinus, and cancer.

Hip dysplasia 

It is the abnormal formation of the hip joint. It is a common condition in medium and large dogs that occurs when the ligaments around the hip joints are too loose.

This disease causes pain, especially when running or walking. When a dog has hip dysplasia, it prevents the hip joint from functioning properly and limits its mobility. 

There isn’t a total cure for hip dysplasia, but it can be managed by controlling the weight of the dog, medication, and exercise.

If the dog is taken to the veterinary hospital for genetic screening, you can be aware of the likelihood of the pup coming down with this disease.

Dermoid Sinus

A dermoid sinus is a skin defect that is caused by incomplete separation of the skin and the neural tube of the nervous system. The neural tube is a tube that runs from the neck, down the back, and into the tail.

Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull mixes are prone to this disease because their Rhodesian Ridgeback parents are genetically prone as well.

Dermoid sinuses are present at birth but are hardly ever noticed until later in life when symptoms become apparent. Dermoid sinuses are not harmful but are at risk of getting infected.

When infected, dermoid sinuses can cause serious pain and health concerns.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix is prone to coming down with this malfunction of the thyroid gland.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland – which produces hormones responsible for regulating growth and metabolism of the body – is not functioning properly.

In dogs with this condition, the thyroid gland produces a much lower level of hormones than it normally should. This causes the dog to experience weight gain, hair loss, baldness, and other metabolic defects.

Mostly, hypothyroidism is caused by an underlying disease in which the body itself attacks the thyroid gland, killing its cells and reducing its ability to produce hormones.

Hypothyroidism can be managed medically by giving your dog thyroid replacement hormones. However, it can’t be permanently cured. These replacement hormones will have to be administered for the rest of the dog’s life.

Canine Epilepsy

Canine epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects dogs. The disorder is characterized by recurrent seizures, which can range from mild to severe. Seizures are often triggered by environmental factors, such as flashing lights or loud noises. 

Canine epilepsy can be a debilitating condition for affected dogs, and it can also be dangerous. Severe seizures can lead to respiratory problems or cardiac arrest. 

Dogs with canine epilepsy require lifelong treatment, which may include medication or surgery. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for managing the condition and improving the quality of life for affected dogs.


Dogs are susceptible to cancer, just like human beings are. The cancer that Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull dogs are more prone to getting is called a mast cell tumor.

This cancer develops later in life, so you may not know when you get your puppy.

To make sure your Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull doesn’t fall ill with any of these health conditions, make sure you get your dog from a reputable breeder. A reputable breeder would have screened the pups for any health conditions.

The average life expectancy of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix is about 10 to 14 years.

Caring For A Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull Mix 


Grooming Needs 

You won’t need to spend so much time or effort grooming Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes because they have a short coat that is easy to care for. Because they don’t have long hair, you don’t have to cut or shape their coat.

To maintain the healthy appearance of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull, you only need to brush their coats once a week. 

These dogs don’t shed so much so you won’t have to keep sweeping up fur. However, they shed all year long, so you are bound to have some fur lying around.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes don’t need to be bathed so often, but it’s best if you introduce them to baths while they are still young so they don’t develop a strong aversion to water.

Your dog should also be introduced to their teeth being brushed at a young age. Brush their teeth twice or three times a week to prevent the buildup of plaque and to remove bacteria that cause bad breath.

In addition, provide plenty of dental bones and chew toys to help keep their teeth clean. 

You’ll also need to clean their ears every week or so to prevent a buildup of wax and prevent ear infections.

This mix isn’t particularly prone to eye infections, but if you see some debris or gunk in their eyes, wipe them off with a vet-approved eye cleaner. 


The Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull mix isn’t particularly known for being a finicky eater. However, they are likely to have high energy levels, so you’ll need to feed them a nutritious diet of top-quality dog food. 

These dogs are likely to overeat, so you have to control the amount of food they eat so they do not get overweight.

Training Of Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull Mixes


Like almost all dog breeds, training and socialization of Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mixes should begin as early as possible to make housebreaking easier.

From the get-go, you should make sure that it is clear to your pup that you are the pack leader. These dogs may not be the best for first-time dog owners because they might have a stubborn streak. 

These are working dogs that were bred to hunt, so they will have a high prey drive and strong scent-tracking instincts, which can get them easily distracted and unwilling to follow commands. 

You have to be firm in their training and employ positive reinforcement techniques which reward good behavior by giving the dogs treats or other rewards.

The Pitbull side of the mix calms their stubborn streak because Pitbull dogs are eager to learn and they love to please their humans.

They should be introduced to other pets early on as well as to other humans too. This makes them less aggressive towards strangers especially considering that these dogs are very territorial and protective of their humans.

Exercise Needs 


Both parent breeds of the Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull mix are active dogs, so it follows that their offspring would result in an energetic dog.

These dogs will appreciate getting one to two hours of exercise a day.

A walk may not cut it for these guys so if you engage in more demanding exercises like hiking, cycling, running, and a vigorous game of fetch, a Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull mix would serve as a great companion.

A bored dog is never a happy one, and this powerful breed can do a lot of destruction to your home by digging and chewing if it is understimulated! 

Conclusion For “Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull Mix”


Rhodesian Ridgeback and Pitbull mixes are great dogs. They can be loyal companions, non-aggressive, and will make a good choice for a family dog. However, they aren’t for everyone, and will not suit sedentary or inexperienced owners. 

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