Mixed Breeds

Rhodesian Labrador Breed Info: Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix

Crossing these two breeds can create a stunning dog, but do you know how it will behave? What health conditions are most concerning? What about grooming? With so many considerations, it would be wise to learn a bit about a Rhodesian-Lab mix before you bring one home.


Last Updated: May 10, 2023 | 12 min read

Rhodesian Ridgeback Labrador Retriever Mix Cross Breed Dog

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix is exactly what it sounds like – a mix between a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Labrador Retriever.

Over the last couple of years, mixed breeds have become increasingly popular. This upward trend is due to the “adopt don’t shop” movement and the creation of designer dogs. With the rising popularity of mixed breeds, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix has increased in popularity as well.

This mixed breed is known for its loyal, affectionate personality. They make good family dogs, especially for families with older, active children. They love to play and enjoy quality time with their family members.

There are a couple of things you should know before adopting this canine, however. They can be stubborn due to their Rhodesian Ridgeback ancestry. Because of this stubbornness, they are best suited for experienced owners who have plenty of time to devote to their training.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix is also an energetic canine. This can be great if you’re an active family but can cause problems for more laidback families. Like every dog, you should research the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix extensively before deciding to adopt one. For everything to need to know, keep reading.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix is a mixed breed. This means they do not have set, predictable traits like purebred dogs do. Instead, they can inherit any trait from either of their parents.

Some mixed breeds might look almost exactly like one of their parent breeds. However, the odds are that they will look like a mix of both breeds.

When you adopt a Rhodesian Ridgeback, you don’t really know what you’re going to get. Luckily, the appearance of the parent breeds does give us a clue as to what this hybrid will look like. Let’s look at each parent breed in turn to give us an overview of how this breed might look.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The most distinguishing characteristic of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the ridge of hair that runs along the dog’s back. This line of hair grows in the opposite direction of all the other hair, making it stand out and look darker than the surrounding coat. As you probably guessed, this is what gave this unique breed its name.

It is believed that this feature originated due to crossbreeding with certain African dogs, which is where this breed originated.

These dogs are considered medium to large dogs. Males are larger than females and weigh around 80 pounds. Females weigh closer to 70 pounds. Males usually stand at 25-27 inches tall, while females stand at 24-26 inches.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are muscular and have a short, sleek coat. They always come in a red color, though the tone can differ from dog to dog. Some also have white markings on their chest and paws. Black masks are also sometimes present, though they are much rarer than white markings.

This dog can have either a black nose or a brown nose. The brown nose is a recessive trait and is, therefore, a lot rarer than the black nose. However, many breeders prefer the brown nose, so it is becoming more common.

Labrador Retriever

The Lab is a medium to large dog and weighs similar to the Ridgeback. Males can range between 65-80 pounds, while females weigh from 55-70 pounds.

They come in three different, solid colors: black, yellow, and chocolate. The ton of the color does range quite a bit for both the yellow and chocolate Lab, though the black is typically very similar from dog to dog. They can have small white markings on their paws, chest, and tail. Rarely, a Lab will exhibit bridling stripes or tan points. These markings disqualify a show dog but are not necessarily negatives for a pet Lab.

Their coat is weather-resistant and is very short and dense. It is naturally oily and dry, which prevents them from getting sick when swimming in the winter.

Labradors were bred to swim, and they have a few different traits to help them accomplish this. Their tail is broad and strong, similar to an otter’s. They have webbed toes, which helps make them excellent swimmers. This webbing in their toes can also help them walk on the snow in colder climates.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix

Now that we know what both parent breeds look like, we can consider what this mixed breed’s appearance might be.  Some of the lighter colored Rhodesians mixed with a yellow Lab, can produce an offspring that’s a reddish color, not to be confused with a Fox Red Labrador Retriever.

This canine will be medium to large. The males can weigh up to 80 pounds, while females will be slightly smaller. Smaller Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mixes do exist. It is not unusual to find one that is closer to 60 pounds. However, because you never know how big a puppy is going to grow, you should not adopt this dog if you cannot accommodate a large dog.

These dogs can come in red, black, chocolate, or yellow. The ton can vary quite a bit. They may or may not have the “ridge” on their back. White markings are decently common, especially on their chest and feet.

They will have short, dense coats. Their coats can be somewhat weather-resistant, but not nearly as resistant as their Labrador Retriever parent’s. This coat will be double-layered and shed regularly. It also has a tendency to be dry and oily.

Their eyes will either be brown or amber, while their nose is nearly always black. They may inherit the webbed paws from their Labrador parent. It is not unusual for one paw to be webbed and the others not.


As a mixed breed, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab does not have set personality traits. Purebred dogs have been bred to have predictable temperaments. Typically, this temperament was chosen to help them achieve success in whatever their job was. Guard dogs were bred to have a protective temperament, for example.

However, Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mixes did not go through this breeding process. Their temperament is not as set as it is with their purebred counterparts.

With that said, while genetics do play a big role in personality, the environment is also a huge factor. How a puppy was raised and socialized affects how they will act when they grow up. Even the friendliest breed can become unfriendly if they are not introduced to new people at a young age.

Still, genetics should be considered when you’re selecting a dog breed. Not all dog breeds are suitable for all families. Some dogs just aren’t good with children, while others need to be the only dog in the household.

To help us understand how the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix might act, let’s look at the temperament of both parent breeds.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are best known for their loyalty. They bond heavily with one person and tend to be aloof with all others. However, this does not mean that they are aggressive. Instead, they simply don’t care much about people unless its THEIR person.

These dogs do need strict training and socialization, however. They have strong guarding instincts and will protect their home and family. They can easily mistake common human actions, such as a handshake, like aggression. To prevent this, it is necessary that they are introduced to a variety of different people from a young age. This will help them learn that not all new people are threats.

This canine is commonly described as stubborn and strong-willed. They do not instinctively look towards their owner for commands or direction and instead need to be taught to do this. They are not necessarily people-pleasers. Because of this, they are not recommended for first-time dog owners.

Labrador Retriever

The Lab is revered for its friendly, outgoing nature. They are excellent family dogs due to their people-pleasing nature and even-temper. They do not have guarding instincts and are not particularly aggressive.  This makes them wonderful family dogs, and also makes them the perfect purebred for other crossbreeds like mixing them with a Border Collie, a Sheprador, or crossing the Lab with a Husky.

These dogs are known to be good with children and nearly every other animal if socialized properly. Like all dogs, though, they will chase cats and other small pets if they are not introduced to them at a young age. They might be friendly, but they are still dogs and require socialization.

They have a “soft feel” to their mouth due to their history as waterfowl retrievers. This means that the Labrador does not bite down roughly unless they feel threatened and are trying to injure someone. During play and other activities, their bite is very light.

These dogs can be quite energetic, especially if they come from a working line. They are fast and athletic. They have a strong sense of smell and can easily become lost on scent trails. They need to be leashed or in a fenced-in area because of this. They are not the type of dog that you can let roam free.

Some Labradors lack fear and are very boisterous, which can lead to problems. It is not uncommon for an over-excited Lab to accidentally knock over small children or break household objects. Training and regular exercise can help keep this excitability in control, however.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix

This mixed breed will likely not be as aloof as the Rhodesian Ridgeback, but also not as friendly as the Labrador Retriever. They will bond closely to their family, though they may or may not have strong guarding instincts.

These dogs are calm and confident. Highly intelligent, they will learn commands easily. However, they can be stubborn, so whether or not they actually follow those commands is a different story. They will need regular training and a strong leader.

They are quiet when inside, which can make them good apartment dogs. Still, they can get quite big and require regular exercise. If in an apartment, they will need a little extra attention compared to other apartment dogs.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix is known to “posture” in an attempt to frighten away potential intruders. In other words, they will try to “bluff” aggression if they feel threatened. This can be quite scary if you’re on the other end of it. They are also known to do this to other pets and dogs. Luckily, this can be curbed with training, though the instinct will never go away completely.

This dog breed loves food and is very food motivated. This makes training simple, as it can often be accomplished with simple training treats. Food is also a great way to cope with this breed’s stubbornness.

However, these dogs can like food a little too much. It isn’t uncommon for them to steal food from the pantry or break into their dog food. Because they are intelligent, simply hiding the food away often doesn’t work. Many owners use child-safety locks to prevent them from opening cupboards and taking the food inside.


In general, mixed breeds dogs are healthier than purebreds. This is because mixed breeds come from a more diverse gene pool and have more genetically diverse parents. This diversity makes it less likely for them to inherit genetic disorders that commonly affect the health of purebreds. This phenomenon is commonly called “hybrid vigor.”

Purebreds are very similar to each other because of their very small gene pool. This makes them very predictable; you know what each purebred dog is going to look and act like. But this makes them vulnerable to genetic disorders that are much rarer in the general population.

Because they are a mixed breed, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix is much healthier than most purebreds. However, they are still prone to a couple of diseases that are important to be aware of before you decide to adopt one.

Canine Hip Dysplasia

This is a common disorder among larger dogs that affects the formation of the hips. Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip does not form correctly. This causes the leg bone to not fit correctly into the joint, resulting in unusual wear-and-tear. Swelling, stretching, fraying, and the rupture of the ligaments can occur. Cartilage is often eroded, and the leg bone can become deformed.

This wear-and-tear leads to pain, arthritis, and even lameness. Moving the hip also causes pain, so it is common for dogs affected to avoid moving the joint, resulting in a “bunny hop” walk.

This is a genetic disorder, but it can be aggravated by environmental factors. Neutering a dog before they have reached full maturity increases their risk for hip dysplasia. Other environmental factors that can increase risk include excessive exercise at a young age, obesity, injury when young, and ligament tears.

Common symptoms include stiffness, difficulty moving, irritability, over-grooming the sore joint (licking, biting, etc.), and pain. Some dogs’ legs will be visibly off-centered, or they might stand in an unusual position to prevent pain. They will often run and walk in an unusual way.

This condition often worsens with age. However, dogs often get used to the pain as they age. If they are not diagnosed early and receive treatment, they will likely not show acute pain.

There is no cure for this disorder, but symptoms can be controlled with medication. For overweight dogs, losing weight has been shown to help reduce symptoms.

Gastric Dilution Volvulus

Also called bloat, this disorder is quite common amongst larger dogs. The larger the dog is, the higher their chance of developing bloat.

Bloat occurs when the stomach suddenly fills with gas and twists. Veterinarians do not have a complete understanding of bloat. It happens suddenly, so it is difficult to study in a laboratory setting. We do not know if the stomach twists and then fills with gas, or if it is the other way around. Either way, this disorder is very serious for any dog who experiences it.

This is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency surgery. The stomach must be untwisted and then attached to the inside of the abdominal cavity to prevent it from twisting again.

If it is not treated, bloat can cause blood flow to the heart and stomach tissues to be cut off. This can cause cardiac arrhythmias and stomach tissue to die. Bloat does not get better by itself. Luckily, surgery is very effective if it is performed in time.

Sadly though, many owners do not recognize the signs of bloat and are unable to get their dog help in time. When your dog has bloat, minutes count, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms if you own a dog that is prone to it, like the Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix.

On the outside, bloat can resemble a swollen stomach. However, outward signs are not always present. Just because your dog is not visibly bloated does not mean they do not have bloat.

Signs of pain, such as panting and pacing, are quite common. It is not unusual for dogs to attempt to vomit. They might gag or make sounds to let you know they are in pain. Generally, dogs just appear to be uncomfortable and in pain for no apparent reason. Anytime your dog shows these symptoms, it is important to get them to a vet.

Males are affected more commonly than females, as are middle-aged dogs. It also tends to occur in dogs who eat a large amount of food at one time or exercise excessively after meals.

DNA Testing For Health

Embark, one of the leading dog DNA testing companies, recently discovered a genetic indicator for Early Onset Adult Deafness (EOAD) in Rhodesian Ridgebacks. By taking the at-home test, you can find out if your dog is at risk for this or 200+ other health conditions, in addition to confirming your dog’s breed makeup.


The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix requires minimal grooming. They do not require regular haircuts or professional grooming in most cases.

They are moderately shedding dogs and require about one brush a week. Some dogs might shed more seasonally depending on their exact genetics and your climate. If you see an increase in shedding, amp up brushing to 2-3 times a week.

These dogs will also need regular maintenance on their claws, teeth, and ears, just like every other canine. They will need their nail’s cut regularly. This can be done at home or very inexpensively at a groomer. Some pet stores will cut your dog’s nails for you as well.

You should also brush your dog’s teeth a couple of times a week. This can be difficult and frustrating at first, but many dogs get used to it in time. Getting a flavored, enzymatic toothpaste designed for dogs can be very helpful.

You should also clean your dog’s ears, especially if they are floppy. If you get your dog’s nails clipped at a groomer’s, they can clean their ears at this time as well.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix will not require regular baths. Their fur might appear oily at times, but this is normal and does not mean they need a bath.


These are very active dogs. They require regular exercise to remain healthy and happy, especially due to their love of food.

However, this does not mean that this dog is not suitable for apartment living. They are surprisingly calm and quiet in the house but can resort to destructive behaviors if not exercised properly.

A few walks a day is all this canine usually needs. A fenced-in backyard can be helpful but is not required in the least. Remember, just because you have a fenced-in backyard does not automatically mean that your dog is getting enough exercise. Walks and play time are still required.

Final Thoughts

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab mix is a family-loving, low maintenance dog that can make a great family dog. They are good with children and other pets when socialized at a young age. Their intelligence allows them to quickly pick up on commands.

But they can be stubborn and do have some guarding instincts. Just because they know a command does not mean they will listen to you, especially if they feel that their family is threatened. Because of this, they are only recommended for experienced dog owners. Obedience classes are a must for these dogs.

Black labrador retriever greyhound mix dog sitting outside watching waiting alert looking happy excited while panting smiling and staring at camera.

Author's Suggestion

Labrador Retriever Mixes: 51 Different Lab Crossbreeds

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.


  1. I just got a rescue Rod/Lab mix. They think he is around 8 yrs old. I am not sure he is that old but he is the best boy. He dosent lick, jump, bark, he.is just such a chill boy. I would definatly get another one of these. I do however wonder if he is too chill not knowing what his background is. I just want him to be happy.

  2. We lost Emma our Rhodesian Ridgeback Lab Mix this summer after 13 amazing years. We would really like to find a Lab ? Ridgeback mixed puppy. A female is preferable but a male would work. If anyone know of a current or future litter [lease make the connection. Thanks, Jeremy

  3. My Drago, now 8, is my service and emotional support animal & best friend. He kayaks with me, either sitting straight staring forward like the captain of the ship, or butt stuffed under the bow of the kayak, head in my lap, while snoozing. That said, he is not a fan of water. He doesn’t like to swim. If there is water in the bottom of the kayak, he hovers his butt just above it. When we go the the river, he stands in the water and waits for crawdads to come to him, the he tries to catch them. Face underwater, blowing bubbles. He just really hates swimming. Is this common for this hybrid or is my dog just weird?

  4. In 2013, my husband & I adopted our 2 labs, Duke & Daisy, ages 5 & 4. They were penmates, & fell in love w/both! Daisy ended up being a Rhod/Lab mix. She was black with a brownish strip down her back. Her back hairs would stand up when she was guarding us. They were our first dogs together, and couldn’t imagine life w/out them! Duke loved everyone!! We live on 11 acres in the boonies, so it was paradise for walk in the woods, and Duke always protected us from copperheads. Daisy didn’t like outsiders. She didn’t bite, but barked & growled. To say she loved food was an understatement! She was also very very stubborn!!! Lol. Getting meds in her was next to impossible!!! No matter what we used to hide her pills, she knew, & wouldn’t eat it! Same w/grinding them up and putting in her food. She drove me nuts w/this!! Lol. She definitely was her mamas’ girl, but loved her daddy as well!! She was an owner relinquish, and had abandonment issues. Both were the loves of our lives!!! ❤️ We lost Duke last Sept, and our Daisy girl just yesterday…😓😓. They, along w/2 of our cats are resting in our backyard. Losing fur babies is a hurt like no other, but worth the years of love spent with them….

  5. Within weeks of getting our RR/lab cross home I was questioning my sanity. “Willful” does not begin to describe the character of this dog. He drove me nuts with his stubbornness and dismissive traits. It took an entirely different approach than with our previous dogs (collies). And his energy was through the roof. But we came to an understanding and he is the most loving, goofy, curious, and loyal friend we could have hoped for. He still drives us a little crazy, but we wouldn’t change him. 🙂

    1. You are so blessed to have your pup for this long. I wish you many more years together filled with happiness and lots of puppy love

  6. We adopted our girl a year ago. Had no idea the breed. Vet said Lab then we started noticing the hair all down her back standing up when she gets excited. Did some research online and she looks just like a golden ridgeback labrador. But the only time we see the “ridge” is when she’s excited. Recently I read that it might be her hackles. Does a ridgeback lab have a ridge that you see all the time or only when she’s excited?

  7. I have a 3 month old black lab and ridgeback mix. She is becoming an absolute nightmare. I know she knows better and she will look at me while she disobeys and doesn’t back down. Obedience training is my only option at this point. I love her. It she has become almost uncontrollable and she destroys my house daily. I’m at my wits end with her. I simply cannot control this dog. I have had large breeds in the past (boxers) and they are so much gentler and tame compared to this breed.

  8. I had a Rhodesian Lab mix he won a trophy at my obedience dog training club he sailed through all the classes. He just wouldn’t fetch a dumbell. He was most loving protective dog I got him at age 2 years till he was 6. I was 10 till 14 then my mom sold our house. Most awesome dog I am 59 now. His name was Jason

  9. Robbin R. Thurston

    We adopted our Shadow from the pound as a rescue pup when he was 10weeks old. they thought he was Lab and German Shephard mix, but he looked a little different to us, and the vet said she wasn’t sure exactly what he was. He has semi floppy ears, dark brown color coat on the sides with a black course hair down his back, and deep brown eyes. He has white on one foot and white patch on his chest , his feet are huge and his nails big thick daggers and weighs a solid 75lbs.
    I started looking up Pics and breeds and noticed quite the resemblance of a Rhode and lab mix. Shadow was aggressive over his food especially if another animal came around. He had a habit of digging and chewing, and oh so stubborn. I have never seen a dog run and fly through the air like a deer and he can run , has caught 2 rabbits in the back yard. Shadow has never played like a puppy , it is almost like he doesn’t know how. His tale wiggles with excitement, when daddy gets home because he knows he is going to the park. He was also very quiet, until he got older, now he barks only when other come around the house or delivery trucks show up, but so good with my grandchildren. He is very protective of us
    . Is it normal for Rhode-Lab mix to not really play? we have gotten down on the floor, tried to shake toys for him to get, but acts like he is in trouble. 2yrs later he still acts that way, He does play a little with the kittens…

  10. Also, can u tell me why my pups sleep upside-down? It’s hilarious to see them do it while their paws are up in the air..
    Also.. spot on with the “loving” part.. when my mom sleeps (because they kept her up in the night.. their fault)they go down the stairs and sleep on the rug.. Mainly Pepper.. Misty is more to herself.. still loving tho..

    1. I bet that is funny to see! My dog likes to do this sometimes too! There are a few reasons your puppies may sleep like this.
      1) To cool off.
      2) They feel completely safe, comfortable, and can fully relax.
      3) It’s their preferred sleep position.
      4) They’re showing that they’re submissive to the alpha (you).

  11. tnx.. i’m a first-time dog owner.. my ones are just 8 weeks old, so can you tell me the feeding and exercise for the both of them? i’m completely at lost and this is the first article that actually made sense!

    1. We hope you’re enjoying life as a puppy parent! This breed loves to be active, but it’s important not to push your puppies too hard as it can affect their growth and development.

      Because their bones, joints, and muscles are still developing, we’d recommend you avoid strenuous walks or activities that have a high impact on the joints. The general rule is to walk a puppy for about 5 minutes for each month of age. However, public walks may need to be avoided until your puppies have had all of their vaccines (roughly around three months old). So when your puppies are four months old, you could do up to a 20-minute walk. However, if you notice your puppies are panting, lying down, or falling behind, then you should end the walk.

      Playtime is the best exercise for puppies who are only eight weeks old, as well as socializing with other dogs and people. We also recommend speaking with the breeder and/or your vet to ensure your pups are getting the appropriate exercise for them.

  12. Hi! I am doing research on Ridgeback mixes and am very interested in a Rhodesian Labrador or Golden Ridgeback if anyone comes across any puppies to adopt!

  13. At 10-years-old, I wanted a Labrador. My older brother, by 10 years, had a friend who was living on a farm. Jason, the Rhodesian Labrador, was killing the chicken, so I got him. We fell in love with each other from the first moment we set eyes on each other. Jason was 2 when I started to train him at the local dog training school. He flew through the classes. I won a trophy at the club. One issue I had is that I could not get him to retrieve. Funny as being Labrador, he should have. He was so clever but at dog competition for obedience, he would never do the stay. Unfortunately, my late mom sold the house and we had to give him up. Well, he didn’t want to stay at his new owners. He managed to find my old house which was very far, saw 2 GSD, and had a meltdown thinking I gave him up. The owners called my brother. I was 14 by then and my brother took him to his in-laws but he found my brother’s home and stayed there until he passed away from cancer. He never forgave me. Two other stories. This dog was so clever. I once told Jason not to let my sister who was 7 years older than me through to her room because she never closed my door. Well that’s what he did. She woke me up, “Derick, Derick, Jason won’t let go to my room,” lol. Another time, my buddy Jeff had this bad way of treating me so I told Jason don’t let Jeff in and I swear Jeff was calling me, “Derick, Jason won’t let me in the gate.” Jason was very protective of me and actually over protective. He loved me. I was his world. Once our house keeper wanted me to walk with her to the shops because she was scared. I told her to take Jason so off the two. Later, she tells me four men tried to sexually assault her. Jason, who was trained in man work (protection work) kept all 4 from touching her with he help of a man who stopped to assist her. Police offered me this was 150 Rand South African in 1975. I would not sell him. Another time, my late dad told me to go switch on the swimming pool filter and put in chemicals. As I did the filter, I saw a man in my father’s car. Now this was in Apartheid South Africa, so I ran out and told Jason to fetch him. There was this man running for dear life in and out of houses with Jason chasing him. I just turned 59 two days ago. I miss him so much.

  14. We just opened our home to six month old Leksi, three days ago — our new chocolate rhodie.

    She is somewhere between pure joy and a bull in an antique shop 😉

    I am a cat person and my wife is a dog person, so we figured why not jump in with all four paws and see how it goes.

    I and our cats are trying our best to adjust, but everytime I look into her amber eyes and see those floppy ears, she melts my heart. Though I am still getting used to a 50 lbs dog charge and then swan dive into the bed, I know it is the biggest compliment this dog can give. Here’s to a new lifelong friend.

    1. Congrats on your pup, David! Sounds like an amazing dog, and I’m sure you will absolutely love her!

  15. Bob Adamowski

    I have a rescue ridgeback/lab just got back from doggie boot camp. He’s a different dog now. He is 8 months old.

  16. I adopted a rescue RR/lab. He does not do well with a man and most anyone that wears a hat. He is so sweet with me and a few others after year and half of having him he seems to be getting more aggressive have to put him in another room when company comes. Sometimes he’s fine, and other times he is not.

    They are very strong and stubborn. Also very smart and loving with me. I just feel like the aggressive behavior seems to be getting worse at times. He plays outside allot with a new friends puppy they do great together but, not an outsider on the other side of the fence. I feel like it’s time for some professional help before he gets any worse. What type of trainer or what should I do?

    1. Hi Jan! Thanks for stopping by to comment. Have there been any changes in the home recently? Sometimes a change in routine can cause animals to start having a different attitude, even when it comes to people and other animals they’ve typically been able to get along with just fine. I would definitely recommend contacting a local trainer to have your pup evaluated.

  17. Our family adopted Hiccup about 4 months ago. He was labeled as a “1-year-old yellow lab mix” by the shelter, but from his build, the black around his eyes, and some of his mannerisms, I highly suspect he is mixed with Ridgeback (though he doesn’t have the trademark ridge).

    He has been fairly easy to train, very loving, definitely food and praise-driven, stubborn, smart, comical, and very loyal. He has been exceptional with our kids and new people, but he is not brave in the least! We have had our moments working with him so far, but overall he has such a wonderful temperament, and has been a great addition to our family!

    1. That sounds like a great dog Krista! Thanks for stopping by to comment and share your story about your pup!

  18. I think we might have a Rhodesian Ridgeback Yellow Lab mix, but I’m not sure. My family recently did a DNA test and we are waiting for the results to come back. Our dog is pretty accurately described by the article, but he has a brown nose, and he is very friendly to strangers and other animals, despite most likely having a bad history with people.

    1. That sounds like a great pup Kat! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment! Good luck with your DNA test. We’ve done two on our dogs and they have come back 100% accurate.

  19. My name was Luther in the shelter and I 22 lbs. with a name I didn’t understand. I had been running the VA woods for days after most likely being thrown out for not hunting properly. My mom and dad showed up one day looking for a good girl and somebody they had seen earlier in the week. After they didn’t have the connection with them I was up for viewing. I licked and licked and she loved it.

    They couldn’t wait to help me. Two weeks later I was home and now my name is MAX and after a whole year, I am 75 lbs. of trimmed muscle from running with my friends daily and planning naps with Dad while Mom is at work. She loves dearly and so does that Chewy place too!

  20. Our Ridgeback Lab mix – Baxter is the best dog. He is light Golden with white tips about 77 lbs. very muscular and very handsome. His color blends in as a natural camouflage almost anywhere. You can tell he has a hunting nature. His has a slight ridge. It appears more at dog parks.

    He is not so friendly with other dogs and plays semi aggressively with intensity. Strange. To others, people see a big muscular and lean guard dog eyeballing them at attention and are somewhat uncomfortable, to us-he is kinda faking his semi-aggression.

    He is definitely a family love cuddling dog, but better suited for older children for sure. He is still very, very fast with tons of stamina at 7 years old. These dogs do need daily exercise for sure. Healthwise, he is very stout and no issues yet. I think he is the best, well-rounded dog for an active family. I already wonder where I find another Baxter when the time comes.

  21. I chuckled so many times during this article because y’all really described my 15-month-old puppy to a T. I especially laughed at the mentions about apartment living because we live in a small studio and she does really well for her size!

    The only thing is that if I’m working from home and she hasn’t been on a long walk or to the park that day, she will grab her toy basket and drag it throughout the whole apartment, weasel her way into the trash or my “pantry” cart for a snack, or she will kick her leash or food bowl across the room to my chair depending on what she wants. She’s incredibly smart and loyal, loves people and animals of all kinds, but still has a great guard dog instinct. I love my Rosie girl!!

  22. Excellent article.

    I am a Rhodesian Labrador rescue from a puppy mill. Yes I am willful, stubborn, and independent thinker. I have failed Good Dog certification 3 times as I don’t see a reason to obey some commands. I know them all. Not food-oriented or ball or frisbee or avian lure etc. My vet recommended socialization by being walked outside matinee cinema pre-pandemic as I was over 6 months and 40+ pounds when I came to live on a farm and puppy classes were a nightmare for me and my human. The only issues have been my love of digging holes/ trenches and tracking.

    Now I am a 80+ pound extremely energetic highly protective maybe 2 years old brown dog with a dorsal red stripe, black mask and yellow eyes with a fondness for young children and alpha serve and protect first responders. Everyone else is suspicious. I get along with all the other farm animals.

    My vet recommended DNA test since I was obviously a mix breed and not a Great Dane Lab mix as the first owner was told. I don’t have a physical ridge dorsally but vet said he thought yellow lab genes masked ridge but when I alert there is a distinct red stripe from skull to tail. Plus I carry my tail like a ridgeback and do the circle wag not the side to side wag. The eyes are distinctive as yellow/light amber is a specific Rhodesian trait. The DNA results were more Rhodesian than Labrador. But it doesn’t matter to humans. I was trained as Lab/Gun Dog as I have no fear and soft mouth.

  23. Georgie Christie

    Hi there, we just adopted a RR X Black Lab. She has had a very tough life, 5 homes in 5 years. Over the last 3 years, she’s been on a bed with a disabled lady keeping her company, then when her home burnt down, the dog and lady were saved, she lived with an elderly man who then had a stroke. She wasn’t exercised either. She then stayed with his friend for 4 months until coming to us this week.

    She is cuddly, super friendly, and the perfect family dog. What concerns me is she’s not socialized with other dogs and I hope its not too late. I’m planning on putting her in daycare for socialization once a week and will look at training. She is so loveable but scared she will react badly with other dogs.

    1. Hi George! Sounds like a beautiful dog! If your pup hasn’t been around other dogs before, heading straight to doggy daycare might be a bit overwhelming. Do you have anyone with a dog who you could test in a controlled setting, that is neutral ground? That would likely be less overwhelming. We just adopted a dog that wasn’t socialized either, and after 10 days, she’s getting along great with our other pups. We did slow intros on neutral ground so that all dogs didn’t feel like it was encroaching on their territory.

  24. Hi, I just read the comment from someone fostering a Lab/ridgeback mix. Not a chihuahua. Anyway we can contact her? Our Rhodesian / Lab mix was also a rescue dog. It just passed away from old age and we really miss her. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Bill! I’m not sure if Lois checks in or not, but if she does, she will see your comment. I think she was having trouble figuring out what mix she has. For specific mixes like this, Petfinder and Adoptapet are both great resources. I’d also suggest checking out Ridgeback rescues (both local and non-local). Good luck!

  25. I foster for a small breed rescue. My most recent foster was supposed to be a Chihuahua mix. Imagine my surprise when she turned out to be a Chocolate Lab mix! She is 14 weeks old now and she has developed a dark stripe down the middle of her back and the very middle stands up like the Ridgebacks.

    Is it normal for a puppy to develop their ridge at this age? I may be fostering a Ridgeback/Lab mix. She’s a beautiful, sweet puppy – weighing nearly 20 lbs already. (#NOTachihuahua!)

    1. Hi Lois! Yes, it’s normal for a puppy to develop its ridge at that age. Sounds like a great pup that’s bigger than you expected! Enjoy her and thanks for stopping by to comment!

  26. My wife and I got a shelter Lab mix 8wk puppy who looks and acts like a RR and not as a lab at all. Our biggest concern was the grandkids and our other dog, another lab mix who looks and acts like a lab. Our older dog has taught our puppy doggy manners, how to play, and how to be a pain in the butt younger sister when the older (5yr) dog wants to take a nap during playtime.

    In the past month our puppy has thrown up 4 times and each time there was a mouse or frog in the vomit and a lack of hunger on her part the previous 12 hours or so. We have quit allowing her out in the backyard during twilight or later without one of us present.

    1. Hey Eric! That sounds like a good idea. I would recommend getting your pup to the vet if possible to have them properly diagnose any digestive issues she may be having. Sounds like a great pup!

  27. Kim Freisthler

    We got Nala from a rescue organization. She is a wonderful dog. She was just a year old. We bonded right a way. We started her in obedience training, but because of illness we weren’t able to continue. My question is this, is it too late to get her back into training?

    1. Hi Kim, I don’t believe it’s ever too late to get back into training. It’s not that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It’s that they have to unlearn the behaviors that became acceptable, are no longer acceptable. Because of this it can take a little more time and patience. But it’s never too late! Good luck!

  28. We had often wondered if we had a Rhodesian Lab mix. The size is there with a more red fox color, but with the white marking on the chest and front feet. There is no distinct “Ridgeback”. However, she has a curly thick tail, which is neither breed.

    1. Hey Ned! Not all Ridgeback mixes will have the ridge. We always recommend a DNA test like we did on our pup if you’d like to know for sure what your mix is made of. Good luck and thanks for commenting!

  29. This sounds exactly like my Frodo. He is 15 yrs 4 months now. Still sprints for the bathroom break. Best pal all these years.

  30. My chocolate lab/ridgeback is 3 and 1/2 months, wow what a handsome stinker. He is smart and so eager to learn, so it all takes time, he is a baby.

  31. I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback Black Lab mix. She is everything described in this article. The only issue is, that she is 13 years old. Sadly, I feel a need to get another one of the same, but don’t know where to look.

    1. Hey Duane, 13 years is a great life for any dog! We always recommend shelters and rescues for mixes first, before going to a designer dog breeder. Designer Dogs of America is a good resource if you are looking for a puppy. Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top