Species group: Mixed Breeds
Other name(s): Rhodesian Labrador
RightPet does not advocate the intentional cross-breeding of purebred dogs. But the reality is that most dogs available for adoption at shelters and rescues are mixed breeds. We think it might be helpful to hear from owners of these mixes to see what traits can be found in these dogs who are desperately needing homes.
The first generation Rhodesian Labrador is a cross between a pure Rhodesian Ridgeback and a pure Labrador Retriever, although subsequent generations may have different proportions of the two breeds in the mix. While the precise traits of a mixed-breed are never guaranteed, the pairing of these two large, energetic breeds is almost certainly going to create a dog that wants to get out and exercise. Couch potatoes need not apply for ownership of this animal.
Appearance / health:
While the appearance of the Labrador Retriever / Rhodesian Ridgeback can vary quite a lot, expect a large, active animal that thrives on exercising with you.
Behavior / temperament:
The personality of a mixed breed can never be guaranteed. In the ideal world, the lovable Labrador and the determined Ridgeback would donate the genes for a truly superior pet. In the real world, you will want to be sure you have time and the experience required to train and socialize this large, active dog. If you're too busy, you could have an escape artist or a destructive chewer on your hands.
• Saved my Rhodesian Ridgeback/Lab from almost certain death
She was originally adopted from a rescue in New Orleans. A two and a half year old Rhodesian Ridgeback/Lab mix, she spent the first year and a half of her life with a lady whom apparently married a man that abused her and the dog. Baby got out of her yard and was hit and dragged by a car. She learned not to like strangers. When her recent humans first met her, she ran up and jumped and barked. The lady of the house thought she was going to bite her. She did the same thing to her husband when they first brought her home. She barked at them and tried to bite other peoples' hands as well. They contacted me to ask for help rehabilitating Baby. We spoke numerous times by phone and email and I taught them how to be solid leaders as the Rhodesian is known to be a very outgoing hunter of lions by genetic make-up, reserved and often put off, even aggressive with strangers. These are great traits in a watch dog, not so good in a pet. I taught them that a weak or mild mannered human will have a hard time controlling this breed, and may actually lead to furthering the aggressive nature with other dogs as well as humans. They should never be treated as humans, as some do with smaller dogs. Rhodesians are not recommended for less than solid, assertive, firm but fair, consistent leaders. They must be given rules to follow. Not a dog for beginners. The humans began to have reservations about whether they were the best ‘parents’ for this breed and verbalized that.
During our behavior therapy discussions the couple learned that the lady had developed mold toxicity, and they had to move out of their home immediately, and get rid of all of their possessions, including their dogs. Baby was such a challenge that local shelters would either not take her, or she would go directly onto a euthanasia list. They were devastated. They contacted me asking if I could help find a way to get her to the death row dog rescue I am associated with. I told them that I could try to find transport for her, but that it often takes a few weeks to do so. Baby had two weeks before she would be put down. The couple asked if there was any way that I could come get her in St. Louis, and offered to send money to cover the trip. Shortly, I was on the road from Denver to Missouri to save Baby. She was placed into a foster home where they could hold her until I arrived. The fosters reported the exact same behavior of barking, lunging, trying to bite.
When I arrived she lunged at me, tried to bite my crotch and hands, very dominant behavior, indeed. I held my ground, showed no fear. Within about half an hour, she became somewhat subdued around me. The family was amazed at the difference. As we sat around talking she would occasionally attempt to intimidate me, I ignored her and she lay down at my feet. This is where she was when the previous owners arrived to say goodbye. They, too, were shocked at the difference in her demeanor.
The next day we drove to Colorado and Baby joined the dogs at our rescue. Her aggressive tendencies reemerged due to her ‘incarceration’, and she was on a list to be deemed unadoptable. I was asked by the shelter owner if I would be willing to take her in as a permanent foster, or keep her as my own. As I had recently lost my elder female, and had an opening in my permit to have six, I agreed.
I introduced her to my pack one at a time, on the sidewalk in front of my home, in neutral territory while retaining my strong, firm, solid leadership at all times. That was two months ago, and she is now enjoying a place within my balanced pack and learning what is acceptable behavior and what is not..
From LeadDog Feb 8 2014 11:41PM
A great dog with a little maintenance
Belle was the best dog I've ever owned and possibly will ever own. In 1998 and 1999, I begged my parents for a dog. They kept saying no, dogs are a lot of work and they would end up taking care of it. The first part was true, and the second part became true when I went off to college, but they both agree that Belle was the greatest dog we could have owned.
Let's go over the bad parts first. When you first get a dog, especially a puppy, you will see the bad parts immediately. In the first six months we experienced:
Kennel Cough (A bad illness dogs can get from other dogs. Belle had it when we adopted her. The vet fixed her right up, for a price.)
Vomiting and diarrhea all over the house (Symptoms of Kennel Cough)
Lots and lots of shedding
Lots and lots of chewing everything up
Peeing in the house
Digging out of our backyard and us having to chase her down countless times.
So yes, there was a lot of bad to owning Belle in the first 6 months, and some of this went on for 2 years until she got out of her puppy stage. We were always afraid of her digging out of the yard, something she eventually stopped after about 3 years old. We once lost her for 4 hours because she dug out and we couldn't find her.
Because Belle was a yellow lab mix, she also shed her entire life. Belle broke many vacuums with her coarse hair all over the house, and a year after she died, we were still finding it around the house.
So those were the bad moments of Belle, now let's get to the great moments. She was the most loving dog I've ever known. She would lay at your feet for hours, only stopping to lick or paw you when she felt she didn't have enough attention. She loved to play and fetch and wrestle her entire life. She was attached at the hip to each member of the family and we would often pass in the hallway and she would have to decide who to follow, sometimes she would just lay down there and watch both people. She loved laying in her bed by the fire on cold nights.
Belle was the perfect dog. She sadly developed cancer at 11 years old, and it broke all of our hearts. She survived 9 months and one last Christmas before having a very bad day and it was obvious to us all that it was time to be put to sleep. We stood around and hugged her while the vet put her to sleep and we still miss her everyday.
If you are thinking about a labrador or lab mix, I would highly recommend it, but only under these conditions:
1) You have a big yard that they can run around in, but you also have the ability to take them for daily walks.
2) Someone will always be around to play with the dog. They are very much people dogs.
3) The dog will always sleep inside.
4) If you are planning on getting a yellow lab, be prepared for a lot of shedding.
5) Be prepared for a lot of love and good years.
6) Bigger dogs have a shorter lifespan, and when they go it will be heartbreaking..
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