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Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix: Combining Power and Grace From Two Sides

Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix

What do you get when you cross a lion-hunter with a dog that runs down and confronts boars? When you talk about a Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane mix, the answer may underwhelm you.

Most often, you will get a large pet. As glorified as a massive lion dog or an agile boar hunter may sound, mixing two breeds that were fine-tuned for generations will likely create a general hunting dog at best. However, several attributes make them great family companions.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane mix is a large- to giant-sized tall dog with a level-headed temperament. With a combination of friendliness, courage, and wariness of strangers, the Ridgeback Dane makes an extroverted house greeter and effective watchdog.

It is speedy and surprisingly agile, making it a suitable dog for outdoor activities. Most Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Danes have a ridge along the back, floppy ears, and a short fawn or red coat.

They are easy to groom, but their size, strength, and independent ideas cause difficulties to arise during training.

Determining if a Ridgeback Dane Is for You

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Get a Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix

  • Very large and as puppies, rambunctious
  • Not good with young children – large enough to knock children over and may not be tolerant of the antics and exuberance of youth
  • High activity levels and exercise needs
  • A few serious health concerns and sometimes short-lived
  • Too strong for many individuals
  • Not easy to train

Reasons Why You Should Get a Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix

  • Loyal
  • Loving – many think they are lap dogs
  • Impressive and beautiful to look at with grace
  • Often great watchdogs
  • Minimal grooming requirements

Appearance, Personality, and Traits of a Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix


Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Danes will not be an exact 50:50 blend of their parents, but most will be an approximately even mix.

Those that look like purebred Ridgebacks will have a flat skull that looks triangular because it is broader at the ears and eyes and tapers to the muzzle. The ears are high-set and medium-sized and cling to the sides of the head.

Puppies that more closely resemble Great Danes have large, chiseled heads and angular jaws. Their ears are high-set, thick, and held forward towards the cheeks.

Other than differences in the head, ears, and size, the Rhodesian Ridgeback and Great Dane are remarkably similar and produce consistent characteristics in the body.

  • Lifespan – 7 to 12 years
  • Size: 27 to 30 inches tall, 100 to 150 pounds
  • Long neck well-arched into the head
  • Long sloping shoulders
  • Lines of the hindquarters are long and powerful, with moderate angulations in the hocks and stifles.
  • The body is slightly longer than tall.
  • Chest deep – broader and more muscular in the Great Dane, the Ridgeback is narrower.
  • Firm powerful back, level topline
  • Croup slightly sloping – wider in Great Dane
  • The tail comes naturally from the croup and curls slightly upward; Great Dane will hold its tail straighter and higher but never above the level of the back.


Not every Rhodesian Ridgeback has a ridge, but it is a dominant trait. If your pup’s Ridgeback parent has a ridge, your puppy will as well.

This ridge is a patch of hair along the spine growing in the opposite direction of the rest of the dog’s coat. It is pronounced and usually lies along a two-inch path from the shoulders to the hips.

It is symmetrical and tapering and has two cowlicks or whorls that are oriented in opposite directions.

Otherwise, your mix will have a dense, very short double coat. The undercoat is not thick like it is in many of the herding and Spitz breeds.


Most Rhodesian Great Danes are solid yellowish-brown or wheaten like the Ridgeback or fawn like the Dane. Other possible colors are merle (charcoal with torn black patches), white, black, or black & white.


Great Dane Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a calm and level temperament as well as other desirable personality qualities.

  • Loyal
  • Affectionate
  • Reserved but friendly with strangers
  • Confident
  • Gentle with maturity
  • Noble
  • Full of mischief


  • Fast – can run 35 mph or faster
  • Protective
  • Sensitive
  • Knows own mind – decision maker
  • High drive to pursue and attack

Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix Puppies for Sale

Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Danes are not the more common mixes, but you can find them among breeders and occasionally at shelters or rescues. Often a shelter dog has a dubious background.

However, a ridge along the back will give away at least part of its lineage.

If you go through a breeder, the key is to find a reputable one. You may not find a seller who has performed OFA certifications on their breeding dogs’ hips and elbows, but they should at least get wellness checks and the first series of vaccinations and deworming on their litters.

If you can visit a prospective puppy, you can assess for yourself the level of care, cleanliness, and apparent health of the puppies.

You can also get a first impression of what a pup’s personality will be like. The breeder may suggest a particular puppy based on your lifestyle and what she sees in the pup’s disposition.

If you are looking at a litter, pick puppies according to a set of criteria.

  • No ocular (eye) or nasal (nose) discharge
  • Bright-eyed and alert
  • Outgoing and curious
  • No signs of discharge

Grooming Your Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix

Grooming any dog involves more than just her fur. You will need to clip your dog’s nails every six to eight weeks.

Since she will probably have strong, thick, dark claws, you might do better to enlist the help of a professional such as a groomer or veterinarian.

At the very least, you need the proper equipment to get through the tough nail without accidentally cutting the quick (the central part of the nail where the blood vessels and nerves run).

Ideally, you should also brush your dog’s teeth multiple times a week, although there are several chews on the market that address healthy gums and teeth. Your mix will tolerate your attempts at oral hygiene if you start training her at a very young age.

As far as your Ridgeback Dane’s coat goes, you only need to brush it once a week. However, you should not neglect the task as it provides important stimulation to the coat and skin.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix Health Problems

Your mix can suffer several health issues that are hereditary in the Ridgeback or the Dane.

Crossbreeding may decrease the incidence of a few problems, but many experts do not notice an appreciable difference in the health of purebreds versus dogs with mixed ancestry.

Nevertheless, your Great Dane Ridgeback mix will enjoy a larger gene pool. He may never struggle with any of the following health conditions.

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Wobbler’s – spinal problem in the neck
  • Hypothyroidism – low thyroid hormone
  • GDV or bloat – the stomach swells to several times its normal size and then rotates Gastric dilatation and volvulus) compromising healthy tissues and the dog’s fluid balance
  • Epilepsy – seizure disorder
  • Dilatative cardiomyopathy – the heart dilates because of inefficient contractions secondary to a genetic weakness of the heart muscle; the left side is affected worse than the right, and the disease process can lead to congestive heart failure or sudden death; once prevalent in Dobermans and other large-breed dogs, cardiomyopathy has been associated with some diets in more recent years.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix Food Requirements

While you may think your Rhodesian Great Dane will eat a lot, she will require fewer calories per pound of body weight than a smaller dog.

That may not be much consolation when you are giving your pet upwards of five to nine cups of kibble a day. Nevertheless, it emphasizes the importance of not overfeeding your dog as giant-sized as she is.

Have you ever noticed the labels on dog foods that detail whether it is suitable for large-breed puppies?

Overnutrition and unbalanced vitamins and minerals may predispose your pup to orthopedic developmental problems such as hip dysplasia.

You must feed your mix a diet formulated specifically for puppies that will be 70 pounds or over at maturity.

In this way, you will ensure your pup gets the appropriate balance of phosphorus and calcium and eats food that does not have excessive nutritional density.

Appetites, growth rates, activity levels, and metabolism vary from one puppy to the next, but your Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane will need about 38 to 42 calories per pound of body weight up to a year and a half years old.

As your dog matures, his caloric needs will decrease until it is generally between 18 and 23 calories per pound every day.

Adults require at least 23% protein in their diets compared to about 30% for puppies. Protein should come from animal sources.

A raw diet may be cost-prohibitive for such a large dog as the Rhodesian Ridgeback Dane mix. If you decide to make your dog’s meals at home, consult with a veterinarian or nutritionist to ensure balance.

Take the proper precautions if you handle and feed raw meat and bones.

Bones should never be cooked and should be the appropriate size for your dog. Despite the purported benefits of raw and holistic meals, you must make yourself aware of the risks of bacterial contamination with salmonella, listeria, or campylobacter.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix Exercise Requirements

Since the Rhodesian Ridgeback is such an intense and high-energy dog, your Dane cross will require 60 to 90 minutes of daily exercise.

Immature dogs under 18 months of age should replace strenuous activities with training and socialization. Overexertion in growing puppies can be hard on their joints and growth plates.

A grown Ridgeback Dane mix has the potential to be great at tracking, RALLY (obedience competition), agility, and luring.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix Training

Both the Rhodesian Ridgeback and Great Dane are smart dogs, with the former above average in working intelligence.

However, Ridgebacks are independent hunting dogs and very strong-willed. When you add these qualities to the Great Dane’s stubbornness and occasional resistance to training, you can have a challenge with your cross.

If you are inexperienced with training dogs, you may need a professional to help you communicate effectively with your dog.

Like all dogs, your Rhodesian Ridgeback Dane mix will respond negatively to harsh verbal reprimands and forceful training methods.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix and Families

Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane hybrids do not usually fit into families with extremely young children.

Reaching and grabbing hands can make this mix anxious or irritated which, in turn, can lead to aggressive or unpredictable behaviors.

Dane mixes prefer older children that cannot be easily knocked over. Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Great Danes can be protective of their families, especially of the kids. Therefore, your mix will make an excellent watchdog.

Several experts discourage training hunting dogs like the Rhodesian Ridgeback to be guard dogs because of their high prey drive.

Moreover, with the difficulties posed in training your Rhodesian Dane, you are likely to end up with an overprotective dog without much discriminating ability.

It is much safer for you and your family to cultivate the even-headed tendencies of the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the friendliness of the Great Dane.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Great Dane Mix and Other Pets

The predatory instincts of the Rhodesian Ridgeback come up again when discussing other pets because it will cause your crossbreed to chase everything from squirrels to cats to small dogs.

Another issue that can arise is that Great Danes can be somewhat territorial with strange dogs. Moreover, Ridgebacks often show same-gender aggression against other dogs they do not see as prey.

Every dog is unique, and each owner-pet bond is different, so you can best gauge your mix’s likelihood of getting along with other dogs.

If you expend a lot of effort on socialization, your dog can be the popular boy or girl at the dog park. At the least, your dog can easily coexist with other dogs in the household.

You should always be wary of mixing your Rhodesian Dane with small dogs.

Other Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix

Bullmastiff Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix: Meet the Affectionate Brave Dog

Rottweiler Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix: Unlikely Family Champion with a Crest

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