The Vizsla Ridgeback Mix Dog Breed: What To Expect

By: Rachel

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Wondering if a Vizsla Ridgeback mix is a good cross breed dog? Or perhaps you just want to know what a Rhodesian ridgeback vizsla mix looks like?

Both the Vizsla and Ridgeback dog breeds share a hunting heritage with some similarities in personality and appearance too. But there are also some differences that make this a unique mixed breed dog.

So if you are considering a Vizsla Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, or you’re rescuing a Rhodesian Ridgeback and Vizsla mix and want to know more about this mixed breed dog, read on. We take a look at the appearance, temperament and exercise needs for the vizsla ridgeback cross to help you decide if this is the right mixed dog breed for you.


This article is based on research and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, breeder, Vet or dog behaviourist.


Introduction To The Vizsla Ridgeback Mix

A Hungarian Vizsla Ridgeback mix dog is a crossbreed of the purebred Hungarian Vizsla and the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breeds.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Vizsla cross is a high energy and intelligent dog who is also a loyal and protective companion dog.

Unlike other vizsla mixed breed dogs like the vizsladoodle, this vizsla cross breed doesn’t have a unique (marketable) blended breed name.

  • Also Known As: Rhodesian Vizsla mix or the Hungarian Ridgeback
  • Likely Weight: 45-85 lbs (20-38 kgs)
  • Likely Height: 21-27 in (53-68 cms)
  • Likely Size: Medium-Large
  • Energy: High

Both purebred Vizslas and Ridgebacks have hunting bloodlines. While the Vizsla originated in Hungary as a bird dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred in Southern Africa to track and hunt large game, including lions.

And while there are similarities in the breed personalities and appearance, there are also some significant differences.

So let’s take a closer look at this strong vizsla mix dog to see what you can expect from the Vizsla x Ridgeback.

Crossbred vs Purebred Dogs

A mixed breed dog usually refers to the deliberate cross breeding of two different purebred dogs.

They are not to be confused with mongrels or mutts, which generally have three or more different breeds combined and are the result of natural dog breeding without human intervention.

For generations dog breeds were cross bred to enhance their working purpose. Crossbreeding led to the creation of new purebred dogs like the Golden Retriever and the Weimaraner.

Crossbreeding has had more attention in the past decade or so as more breeders mix dog breeds primarily for appearance and not a job. As a result, crossbred dogs are also sometimes called hybrid dogs or designer dogs.

This guide outlines the possible traits of a Ridgeback Vizsla dog based on the official standards for both the Hungarian Vizsla and the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breeds.

It is important to note that first generation cross breed dogs are genetically diverse and there may be little consistency in temperament or appearance.

We aim to provide information about the two purebred dogs and the Ridgeback and Vizsla mix so you can make an informed choice about whether it is the right dog for you and also to better understand their personality and needs.

Rhodesian ridgeback and Hungarian vizsla with tartan scarves on sitting in field.

Origins Of The Vizsla Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix

There is no official history of the Vizsla Ridgeback mix breed being created as a hybrid breed.

While hunting dog breeds have been continuously refined over centuries through cross breeding to enhance their hunting skills, the Vizsla Ridgeback cross is more likely the result of accidental or designer dog breeding.

Despite the fact this mixed breed was not bred for a specific working purpose, the Ridgeback Vizsla mix is a wonderful cross of two active hunting dogs with plenty of lovable traits.

Short History Of The Vizsla

Hungarian vizsla dogs were bred in Hungary to work closely with their owners to point and hunt small game including birds and rabbits.

While pointers are evidenced in Hungary’s hunting history over many centuries, the Vizsla breed as we know it today most likely traces back to the early 1800s.

The breed’s popularity waned in the late 19th century, to the point of virtual extinction, before it was revived in the 1920s.

Thankfully the breed survived and was officially recognised by the AKC in the United States in 1960.

Hungarian vizsla dog in woods with collar and leash on.

Short History Of The Rhodesian Ridgeback

The history of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, also known as the African Lion Dog, begins in Southern Africa in the 17th century.

Dutch settlers, impressed by the guarding and hunting abilities of the native African dog with a distinct ridged back, began breeding their European hound dogs with the native dog.

By the 19th century, a big game hunter by the name of Von Rooyen began breeding a fearless dog breed to help hunt and quarry lions on the hunt. It was this breeding that was saw the evolution of the current day Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed.

In the early 20th century the ridgeback dog breeding continued to be refined as a big game hunter and livestock defender.

But there was still a great deal of genetic variation in the ridged back dogs and little consistency in their appearance and temperament.

So in the 1920s Ridgeback fanciers began to refine the standard for the breed into what it is today and it was formally recognized by the AKC in 1955.

Two Rhodesian ridgeback dogs playing.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Vizsla Mix Appearance

Hungarian Vizslas and Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a similar appearance which makes it quite easy to predict the appearance of a Ridgeback vizsla mix.

Both have a muscular frame with deep barrel chest and shorthaired coat. Both breeds have large floppy ears that frame the face and a long thin tail (sometimes docked on the vizsla but never on the Ridgeback).

Whilst similar in shape, Ridgebacks (particularly males) are larger in height and weight than Vizslas, so the size of a Ridgeback and Vizsla mix will be less predictable and vary for each puppy.

Your Vizsla Ridgeback mix is highly likely to adopt a similar look to this, ranging in size from 21-27 inches (53-68 cms) and weigh 45-85 lbs (20-38 kgs).

There will be some variation in their color depending on their parentage, but most Ridgeback x vizsla dogs are a solid brown color.

Interestingly, some Ridgeback vizsla mixes are a dark brown instead of the wheaten brown within the standard of both vizslas and ridgebacks and reflects the unique genetic combination of these two breeds.

There will be variation in the face colors, as Ridgebacks usually have a black nose and muzzle whereas vizslas are self-colored. Some mixes will have a black muzzle, others won’t.

And the ridge? Well most ridgeback cross vizsla dogs have the characteristic ridgeback ridge, but not all.

In fact a Ridgeback cross Vizsla rescue can often be mistaken for a purebred vizsla if they have a ridge less solid dark brown coat and face.

The best way to know the likely size and color of your Vizsla x Rhodesian Ridgeback is to see the parents. Your pup will inherit a combination of their appearance traits.

Vizsla Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix Temperament

Vizslas and Ridgebacks have many similarities in temperament that makes the vizsla x ridgeback a relatively predictable cross breed when it comes to personality.

Both are renowned as loyal and affectionate dogs who love being around people, so there is a good chance your cross will have these characteristics too.

Ridgebacks and vizslas are also both intelligent and highly trainable, so training your dog is not as difficult as it is for other mixed breed dogs.

Both breeds need plenty of mental stimulation and can be troublesome when bored so you will need to keep your mixed breed dog busy when you are out.

Despite their similarities, there are also differences in temperament that make a mixed breed dog less predictable.

While vizslas are always eager to please and don’t like being left alone, Ridgebacks are far more independent and strong willed.

This stubbornness can make training more of a challenge, but their intelligence means they can excel at obedience training with a positive approach.

And while both dog breeds are loving towards their owners and families, Ridgebacks tend to be more aloof towards strangers and other dogs than the effervescent vizsla.

Both breeds require plenty of early socialization and training from an early age. Vizslas benefit from socialization to reduce timidity and ridgebacks to tame their domineering tendencies.

Vizsla And Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix Grooming

One of the best features of the Magyar Vizsla Rhodesian Ridgeback mix is the low maintenance grooming.

Both breeds have a short single layer coat that is super easy to maintain and requires minimal brushing.

Based on this genetic similarity, you can be confident your mixed breed vizsla will also have a smooth short coat that:

A weekly brush down with a rubber curry glove or brush is all you need to do to keep their coat looking great.

Nail trimming will be important for your cross breed, as both purebreeds have a short, upright and compact foot pad that tends to result in long nails if not trimmed regularly.

Vizsla Ridgeback Cross Training And Exercise

Both Vizslas and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are high energy dogs so you can expect your cross will be super energetic too!

As intelligent hunting dogs, both have a strong prey drive and enough stamina to be out in the field for hours.

However purebred Ridgebacks are not as high energy as vizslas and don’t require as much running as purebred Vizslas, so the energy levels in your cross may differ depending on the puppy’s genetic makeup.

Nonetheless this Vizsla mix is best suited to active dog owners who are prepared to spend at least an hour a day exercising your dog.

Both breeds are intelligent dogs, so you should include mental activities in their daily routine too. Your mix will love scent work, games like hide and seek and learning new tricks.

In terms of training, while the Vizsla dog breed is biddable and eager to please, the Ridgeback can be more strong willed and independent.

So while your mix may have either of these traits, training is absolutely essential to ensure they grow up to be well mannered dogs.

This is particularly the case if your cross inherits the larger Ridgeback size, as they can be difficult to handle if not trained well.

Neither breed responds to harsh training methods and so positive reinforcement, gentle and calm training and persistence are advised for your dog.

As both dogs also have plenty of prey drive and intelligence, your vizsla cross ridgeback is likely to excel at canine sports too. Sports like agility, lure coursing and obedience are great options.

Vizsla x Ridgeback Health And Lifespan

Vizslas and Ridgebacks are both relatively healthy dog breeds with some genetic disorders known for each breed.

Vizslas have an average lifespan of 12-14 years and Ridgebacks have a similar life expectancy of 10-12 years.

So the life expectancy of your Ridgeback vizsla cross is likely to be in the range of 10-14 years.

It is recommended Vizslas and Ridgebacks are tested for hip dysplasia and eye health. In addition, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of America has additional health tests recommended for Ridgebacks.

This includes tests for elbow dysplasia, eye screening and hypothyroidism.

Both breeds are at risk of bloat due to their deep chests. Owners of these dogs should be well versed with the symptoms and know how to reduce the risk of bloat occurring.

Note that with a Vizsla x Rhodesian Ridgeback the possible health issues are more of an unknown.

Some research shows crossbreeding reduces the risk of genetic disorders found in purebred dogs. But there is no way of knowing what health issues your crossbred dog will have during its lifetime.

If the purebred parents have been tested for known issues as outlined above, you should continue to monitor your pet’s health throughout their life.

Is A Vizsla Ridgeback Mix A Good Family Dog?

The Hungarian Vizsla cross Rhodesian Ridgeback is an excellent family dog for active families.

They are loyal, affectionate and playful dogs who can be good with kids (with supervision of course).

If your family loves the outdoors, the Ridgeback and Vizsla mix dog will fit in just perfectly.

However if everyone works out of the house full time and/or you have young children who need all of your attention, this may not be the best choice of dog for you.

Their need for attention and regular exercise may make it too challenging for a young family.

Either way socialization is key to raising a well adjusted pup who can cope with the day to day of family life.

Is A Vizsla Cross Ridgeback The Right Dog For Me?

If you love a strong, intelligent and energetic dog, the Vizsla cross Rhodesian Ridgeback is a great cross breed dog.

You will need to devote time and energy to their physical and emotional wellbeing. But you will be rewarded with a loyal and devoted dog by your side.

If you’re curious about other vizsla mix breeds, here are some more comparison guides:

More Vizsla Breed Information

Want to find out more about the Hungarian Vizsla dog breed? You may like:

Or, browse all the vizsla breed guides here.

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Rachel

Rachel is the founder of It's a Vizsla. She is a Hungarian Vizsla owner and general dog enthusiast! She loves to research and share practical tips to help other vizsla owners care for their dogs.

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