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Labrador Retriever vs. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Labrador Retriever on the left with a Rhodesian Ridgeback on the right, meeting in the middle on the diagonal with the letters VS for versus in the middle

Labrador retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the United States for the past 3 decades. It has retained its first rank among 196 AKC registered dog breeds. However, these sociable pups can’t be used to protect your property. This is where Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be ideal because of their inherent watchdog abilities. Keep reading to get a complete comparison between Labrador Retriever and Rhodesian Ridgeback.  

Labrador Retriever

Portrait of a Black Labrador Retriever outdoors

This breed was developed in the 1830s when St. Johns Water Dogs were mixed with indigenous hunting dogs of Canada. Labs have a muscular build with medium stature. When fully grown, they weigh between 55 and 80 pounds and can grow up to 21-24.5 inches.

The compact physical structure of this breed makes these pups very athletic. Hence, they can do quite well in several dog sports. Labrador Retrievers generally come in three colors, black, chocolate brown, and yellow.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Portrait of a Rhodesian Ridgeback outdoors

This breed originated in Rhodesia, which was the older name of Zimbabwe. The purpose of its development was to come up with an agile guard dog who could keep the intruders away. Although they are very intimidating for strangers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are loving and loyal to their pack. They are also known as the African Lion dog.

These large canines are athletic and alert because of their sleek but sturdy body. When fully grown, a Rhodesian Ridgeback will stand between 24 and 27 inches and can weigh up to 90 pounds. This breed comes in three colors, red wheaten, light wheaten, and wheaten.

Differences Between Labrador Retriever and Rhodesian Ridgeback

Some of the major differences between these breeds are mentioned in the table below.

CharacteristicsLabrador RetrieverRhodesian Ridgeback
OriginCanadaZimbabwe
Height21-24.5 inches24-27 inches
Weight55-80 pounds80-90 pounds
SheddingMedium-HighLow
Exercise RequirementsVery highModerate
ColorsYellow, Chocolate, BlackRed Wheaten, Light Wheaten, Wheaten

Similarities Between Labrador Retriever and Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback outdoors laying in grass

The following are some features that are common in Labradors and Ridgebacks.

Life Expectancy – Both these breeds have asimilar life expectancy of 10-12 years.

Playfulness – Both breeds are highly energetic and require a lot of exercise. Hence, these dogs love physical activities, like playing fetch, jumping, or running.

Suitable for Kids – Both dog breeds are amiable and affectionate towards children. They love to be around them and become good playmates. But as these dogs are large, they should be kept away from smaller kids.

Suitable for Senior Citizens – These breeds are excellent for older people because they are obedient and can serve as dog assistants.

Trainability – Qualities like obedience and intelligence make both these breeds easy to train. They always stay focused on the task assigned to them and learn things quickly.

Adaptability – Both breeds can adjust well to the changes in living conditions. Hence, they can do well in hot as well as cold weather conditions.

Apartment life – Both these breeds don’t prefer to live in an apartment because of their large size. They need a lot of space to roam around and play. However, Labs can adjust to apartment life if you can take care of their rigorous exercise needs.

What is Better about Labrador Retriever?

Chocolate Labrador Retriever outdoors on a wooded trail

Labrador Retrievers are the least aggressive and highly amicable canines. Their active and playful demeanor won’t let any family member get bored. These dogs are highly sociable and love to see new faces and interact with them. You can really brag in public about the social skills of your Lab.

If you like to contest in dog shows and sports, this family dog will make an ideal choice. These pups can sprint, jump, swim, and do well in intellectual games. Moreover, this breed is among the least hypoallergenic purebreds.

What is Better about Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Rhodesian Ridgeback outdoors laying on a patio

Rhodesian Ridgeback is a confident and independent breed but at the same time obedient and loving. They are great guardian dogs and have all the abilities to protect their pack and territory. These dogs are brave and alert and won’t allow any intruder to invade your house.

These dogs have short hair and will require minimal grooming. Similarly, their exercise requirements are much less intense than Labradors. Therefore, they won’t exhaust you as much as a Lab will do.

Who Should Get Labrador Retriever?

Chocolate Labrador puppy sitting in tall grass

If your family is active and has kids, Labrador is an excellent option for you. They are also suitable for families with a large social circle because they like to socialize.

Labs require plenty of space to play freely. Although they can adapt to apartment living, you will have to take care of their exercise needs. Therefore, be prepared to take them for long walks to keep them happy and healthy. On the positive side, you can take part in all sorts of dog competitions with this breed.

Who Should Get Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy sitting in grass with trees in the background.

If you are looking for an ardent hunting mate or an alert guardian dog, Rhodesian Ridgeback is your breed. These dogs also make great pets for people who have packed routines. This is because they won’t need a lot of your time for grooming and exercise. These independent dogs are only recommended for experienced owners because they like to assert their dominance. Hence, you should be strong-minded and have the experience to become alpha and make them obey you.   

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