The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix – Is This The Right Dog For You? 

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix is certainly a unique combination of breeds. This is a designer dog that has become more and more popular as time goes on. The mix may be the offspring of two incredible yet different purebreds, but it’s important to remember that the traits a Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix could inherit from either parent are going to be left up to chance.

Luckily, both the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Labrador Retriever are known for being great family dogs. But what other unique traits could you expect when you combine them together?

Today, we’re going to take a look at what you should expect when investing in a Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix.

Let’s get started!


The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix – A Brief Breed Overview

1 a brown Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix
A Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix is a cross between two intelligent and work-oriented dogs.

Type: Crossbreed, Hybrid, Mixed Dog, Designer Dog

Parent Breeds: The Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Labrador Retriever

Height: 22 to 27 Inches

Weight: 70 to 80 Pounds

Temperament: Affectionate, Gentle, Stubborn, Intelligent, Active

Health Issues: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Bloat, Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hot Spots, and Cataracts

Lifespan: 10 to 12 Years

Best suited For: Experienced Dog Owners, Active Families, Active Owners


The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix dog, a designer crossbreed created by American, Canadian, Australian and German breeders, is a relatively new crossbreed that combines the friendly nature of the Labrador Retriever with the ruggedness of the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Because he is a newer generation crossbreed, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), although several other kennel clubs around the world have started to recognize this mix.

This is a crossbreed that has become quite common these days, and he is expected to continue to grow in popularity as time goes on. That said, there has also been a lot of debate when it comes to whether or not this mix is actually a good idea to breed and sell to the general public of dog enthusiasts.

To properly understand this crossbreed and what makes him tick, it is important to take a closer look at his parent breeds.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Meet The Rhodesian Ridgeback

2 a rhodesian Ridgeback
A Rhodesian Ridgeback is an African-bred dog that is fiercely brave and devoted.

The Rhodesian ridgeback is a purebred dog that was originally developed in the province of Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is famous for his agility, intelligence, and ability to withstand the harsh conditions of Africa. Initially developed as a working dog to protect family and livestock from Africa’s most fearsome predators, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is now primarily kept as a devoted family companion. With that being said, there are still many people who rely on this breed for working purposes.

There is no denying that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a beautiful dog. This breed is very athletic, muscular, sleek, and strong. Still, Rhodesians can be stubborn and even develop aggressive tendencies if they are not properly trained and socialized.

They are also incredibly active dogs, so they require loads of exercise in order to stay happy and healthy.

Meet The Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is a family favorite thanks to his perfect mix of enthusiasm, playfulness and gentleness. It’s no surprise that many people are attracted to this dog because of his excellent genes! In fact, Labs are currently considered America’s most beloved dog, according to the American Kennel Club!

Labrador retrievers were originally bred in Canada as water retrieving dogs, and their webbed paws and otter tail helped propel them in Canada’s harsh waters. In fact, Labradors were once considered a fisherman’s best friend!

Their endearing personalities and adorable appearance helped solidify them as winning family companions. Today. Labrador Retrievers are some of the top most sought after working dogs not only in the United States, but also the world.

They serve as search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, serviced dogs, police dogs, and more.

Detangling the Designer Dog Debate – What You Should Know About The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix

3 a brown puppy with a black nose
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix is a popular mix but he is also the topic of controversy.

The crossbreed controversy. Hybrid vigor. Designer dog breeds? It all sounds like nonsense but the terms are real and have been the epicenter of national controversy amongst canine enthusiasts for years.

You might have heard about crossbred dogs. They are the latest trend in the canine kingdom. Crossbreed dogs are believed to have hybrid vigour: An overall fitness and a healthier body than their purebred counterparts.

Hybrid vigor is an age-old concept known as “heterosis” which simply means ‘better than either parent’. And while this concept does seem promising, it is not widely accepted by all experts when it comes to crossbreeding dogs.

Although crossbreeding isn’t anything new, it has recently grown in popularity. Over the last two decades, crossbreed dogs like the Rhodesian Ridgeback have made a breakthrough and are now considered as popular to own, if not more popular to own, than their purebred counterparts.

However, while many dog lovers might fall in love with the physical features of a crossbreed dog like the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix, the health and life expectancy of this type of dog is a real gray area.

Outside of health, earlier generation crossbreed dogs may also be unpredictable when it comes to temperament and appearance.

For this reason, it’s especially important to consider the traits of both of your Rhodesian Ridgeback dog’s parent breeds before you decide to invest.

So, what can you expect when it comes to raising a Rhodesian Ridgeback? Keep reading to find out.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix Temperament

4 a lab mix with a red harness
This is a mixed breed that is known to be friendly and affectionate with children.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix is an eye-catching crossbreed dog with distinctive features and various other traits that make him a wonderful addition to the right household.

However, prior to investing in this mixed breed we recommend owners take the time to learn more about this dog’s temperament and personality.

As a companion dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix is outstanding. They are known to be loyal, obedient, and excellent with youngsters. There are various reasons that people cross-breed these two breeds to create a Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix puppy. So, there are certain key aspects of the temperament you should make sure you’re prepared for.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix can be a wonderful pet to the right individual or family as they are highly trainable and intelligent. If properly raised and socialized, Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix dogs can also make great guard dogs.

Although the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix is a relatively friendly dog, he can also be an independent thinker who will make his own decisions. Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mixes make great family companions, and they even have the potential to do well in apartments or smaller spaces so long as their exercise needs are routinely met.

However, these dogs can have a high prey drive and without early socialization and training they can develop serious behavioral issues like depression, aggressive tendencies, anxiety, and more.

Training And The Importance of Early Socialization For A Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix

5 a lab mix running
As with all dogs, Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix dogs need plenty of training and socialization.

Dogs who have been properly trained and socialized are much easier to live with than those who haven’t. The key to a well trained dog is effective early training and socialization.

When it comes to Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix training, the process needs to begin at an early age to ensure it is most effective.

The good news is that, due to their genetic makeup, this is a mixed breed that reaches full maturity at the ripe old age of two years or so. This means that the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix has a socialization period that is fairly long in comparison to other breeds or mixes.

With that being said, you should never “stop” socializing your dog. This means that socialization should continue on consistently throughout your dog’s life so that he may become familiar with different situations and environments, particularly in the presence of other people or dogs.

Along with socialization, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix will also need to be properly trained at an early age.

The process of training this hybrid should begin very early in its life and will require lots of time, consistency, patience, and attention.

One of the most effective ways to train your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix puppy is to use positive reinforcement training methods. These methods include the use of treats, praise, and patience as opposed to punishments, scolding, or fear.

One of the most powerful tools in positive reinforcement dog training is food. Food is used to celebrate successes and also to reward desired behaviors in your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix. Unlike other forms of dog training methods, food is not withheld from your dog, and it can also help when holding your dog’s attention.

This is vital when it comes to the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix who, by nature, can be somewhat stubborn and hard-headed.

When it comes to choosing the best training treats for your pup, we recommend treats that are considered “high value” to dogs. High value dog treats include treats that are about the size of a pea, and treats that are very smelly and very chewy.

BIXBI Pocket Trainers

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Some of our favorite training treats are BIXBI Pocket Trainers, listed above. These treats are all natural dog treats that include quality ingredients like real meat protein. We especially like the salmon soft dog treats! They are only 4 calories per treat, making them ideal for free or rapid feeding when utilizing them for specific training methods.

We also like that these treats are made without any artificial preservatives, flavors or ingredients like wheat, soy or gluten. They are even ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs or for dogs who struggle with weight or obesity issues.

And speaking of obesity and weight management in dogs, let’s take a look now at how to properly exercise your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix.

How Much Exercise Does The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix Really Need?

6 a lab mix puppy
Rhodesian Lab Mix dogs need consistent exercise beginning at an early age.

A lot of Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix owners might be confused about how much exercise this mix really needs. It’s no secret this mix is an active and outgoing dog, and there are several things a potential owner should know about exercising a Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix before they opt to commit.

Physical Exercise

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix is one of the most active dog breeds in the canine kingdom.

A cross between the herd-working Rhodesian Ridgeback and the water-loving Labrador Retriever, you should expect that the Rhodesian Ridgeback mix will need at least two hours of dedicated exercise each and every day.

There are several forms of exercise you can use to ensure you reach your dog’s exercise needs. Long hikes, jogs, runs, and swims are all great ways to help keep your dog in shape and to reduce pent up stress or anxiety.

Keep in mind that the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix is a powerful, work-oriented dog that needs to be able to move around freely and run regularly. For this reason, he is best suited for homes with securely fenced in yards where he can romp around at his leisure.

However, there is an exception to this rule if you are an especially active dog owner who is able to provide your dog with the amount of proper exercise he needs each day in order to thrive.

PetSafe Easy Walk No Pull Dog Harness

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When you are exercising your dog, be sure you’re using the right equipment to ensure your dog is safe and happy. We recommend using a no pull dog harness when you take your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix out for walks. The above PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness is a safe and effective solution for pulling dogs as it allows you to control pulling by redirecting your dog back to you if he gets ahead.

We like that this product was created by a veterinarian, and that it reduces choking, coughing, or other dangers as it does not put pressure on your dog’s throat or trachea.

Mental Stimulation

Along with proper physical exercise, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is also going to need routine mental stimulation each and every day. Keep in mind that this mix comes from two parent breeds with working origins, and without a job to do the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix could be prone to boredom, anxiety, stress, and destructive behaviors.

Many dog owners wonder how much mental stimulation a Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix needs to be truly happy. Some owners believe that just because their dog loves to run around outside or chew on various toys that they are receiving enough mental stimulation. But to truly understand what your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix needs, you must observe his instincts and breed traits.

Mental stimulation for a Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix is a very important element of pet care. This can make the difference in your dog’s happiness and life satisfaction.

Mental stimulation could include an activity or tasks that stimulates your dog’s mind and keeps his brain active. This type of activity can help to keep your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix happy and healthy for long periods of time, reducing destructive chewing or other behavioral issues in the home.

Classic KONG For Large Breed Dogs

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Along with ensuring your dog has plenty of exercise, attention, playtime, and training, we also recommend investing in quality toys to help hold your dog’ sinterest.

The KONG toy is a classic dog toy that should be considered a staple in your dog’s toy bin at home. This rubber dog toy is excellent for an assortment of games of fetch, or it can be played with and chewed on its own.

The product is made from sturdy, natural rubber, so it is safe for heavy chewers. It also includes a hole on the inside where owners can stuff treats, toys, or dog-safe peanut butter to help hold their dog’s interest while they are away.

How To Groom A Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix

7 a rhodesian Ridgeback lab mix
These mix breed dogs are relatively easy to care for and groom.

Grooming your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix is a job that needs to be done on a regular basis in order to keep your dog healthy and looking his best.

The Ridgeback part of this crossbreed means they’ll be well-covered in fur, which can make them more prone to a buildup of debris and mats in their undercoat.

The Labrador Retriever part of the crossbreed means they may be heavy-shedding dogs that will need routine brushing and combing all year round. To keep your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix looking great and feeling great, we suggest grooming him on a weekly basis, and brushing him even more often during shedding season.

Aside from this, grooming your Rhodesian Ridgeback is relatively simple so long as it is maintained.

Brushing is an absolutely essential part of keeping your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix healthy and happy, and so is proper bathing.

You are probably wondering how often you will need to bathe your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix in order to keep his coat healthy. One of the unique things about the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix is that his coat is weather resistant, making it somewhat self cleaning.

This means that your Rhodesian Lab Mix will only need to be bathed once or twice every six weeks or so. When you are bathing your Rhodesian Ridgeback, be sure to do so using a quality dog shampoo specified for your dog’s coat type.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix dogs should not be over-bathed. They have short hair and only shed once a year. Bathing them often can dry out their skin by stripping it of the natural oils it produces which can lead to itching and skin problems.

Because the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix can be susceptible to hotspots, we recommend a hypoallergenic dog shampoo that is free of dyes, parabens, alcohols, or other ingredients that could strip your dog’s coat of the natural oils it produces that help to keep him looking ship shape.

Dental health is important to your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix dog’s overall health. All dogs can be susceptible to dental disease and should have their teeth brushed once a day, everyday.

By brushing your dog’s teeth daily, you’ll not only help prevent dental disease, but also prevent bad breath!

Vet’s Best Dental Gel Tooth Brushing Kit For Dogs

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Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dental Gel Tooth Brushing Kit above contains a toothpaste that is veterinarian formulated and made of aloe, neem oil, grapefruit seed extract, baking soda, and enzymes. It is safe to use on dogs of all ages and can be used with or without a dog toothbrush to help keep your dog’s mouth, gums, and teeth healthy.

Your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix will also need his nails trimmed routinely. When trimming your dog’s nails, it’s best to use a dog nail clipper or nail grinder. Last, be sure to keep your dog’s ears clean and free of waxy buildup, moisture, or debris. You can stay on top of your dog’s ear cleaning and prevent infections by using a non-irritating liquid ear cleaner for dogs that can help dissolve any wax, dirt or other obstructions in the canal.

If you’re not sure about how to properly keep your dog’s ears clean, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to ensure you do not injure your dog’s ears or use products that could lead to ear infections down the road.

The Health And Average Lifespan Of A Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix

8 a lab mix in water
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix could be prone to suffering from any of the same genetic health issues as their parent breeds.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix can have many of the same characteristics (and health issues) of both its parent breeds, and while these dogs do have a decent lifespan, they may cost owners quite a bit of money in veterinarian bills if owners are not prepared.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Labrador Mix has a life expectancy of about 10 to 12 years. However, as with all dogs, there are certain traits and genetic health issues that could affect the dog’s lifespan.

For the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix, the most common health issues he may be susceptible to include:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Bloat
  • Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hot Spots
  • And Cataracts

It’s not always going to be possible to predict what your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix could be most susceptible to, although there are a few ways you can go about ensuring you start your dog off on the right paw.

Avoid getting your dog from irresponsible breeders, (which we’ll discuss in more detail further down), and make sure you have your dog health screened at an early age.

Routine veterinarian visits are also important for your pets, but they are even more important for dogs. We recommend that dogs under the age of seven be seen by their veterinarian at least once a year, and dogs over the age of seven should be seen at least twice a year.

Diet plays another important role in your Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix dog’s overall health.

Large breed dogs are different from small breed dogs in many ways, including their nutritional needs. But what is the best dog food for large breed dogs?

Large breed dogs like the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix are going to do best on a dog food specified for their age, weight, and activity level. Look for dog foods that contain real animal protein as the first ingredient, as well as dog foods that are rich in fatty acids, healthy carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Avoid dog foods that contain by-products, corn, soy, wheat, or gluten, and look for dog food brands with good ratings.

Wellness Large Breed Natural Dog Food

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Wellness Large Breed Dog Food is an all natural dog food that is ideal for large breed dogs like the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix because it is made with all natural ingredients and designed to support the unique needs of large breed dogs.

It is a high protein dog food that includes glucosamine for bone and joint support as well as natural antioxidants to help boost immune system strength. This dog food also includes life stage specific vitamins and minerals.

Is The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix The Right Dog For You?

9 a rhodesian ridgeback with a red collar
Deciding if the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix is the right dog for you takes time and patience.

Have you decided that the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix is the right dog for you? If so, congratulations are in order!

Picking a responsible dog breeder is the first step in bringing home a healthy Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix puppy.

But what should be considered when finding a reputable breeder? And, how exactly do you find a responsible breeder in the first place? It can be difficult to do if you’re not sure what a responsible breeder even is.

A responsible dog breeder is a breeder who maintains high standards in the ethical and humane treatment of animals. Their dogs are bred to conform to a quality of breed standard, with emphasis on temperament, anatomic structure, color and coat pattern, and congenital defects.

This can be difficult to do when to crossbreed dogs, although responsible breeders will still take care to ensure they are producing the healthiest puppies possible by having them health screened and by breeding only the healthiest of parent breeds.

When it comes to purchasing a Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix from a breeder, you can expect to pay between $750 and $1,000 for a puppy. This price can vary based on your location, the breeder you go through, and the quality of your puppy’s parent breeds.

However, if you prefer to rescue, you could find a dog for a fraction of the cost!

Many Rhodesian ridgeback lab mix pups can be found at shelters throughout the United States. Along with saving money, rescuing a Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix means you will be saving a life and helping other animals in need by opening up space in shelters for these animals to be cared for.

Regardless of where you choose to get your Rhodesian Ridgeback, it’s important you remember that picking the right dog for your family is extremely important and we hope this article has helped you with that process.

Now we want to hear from you! Is the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix the right addition to your home or family?

Tell us in the comment section below.

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