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Rhodesian Border Collie Mix: Care, Pictures, Info & More

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

Parent breeds of the Rhodesian Border Collie Mix

The Rhodesian Border Collie is a rare and unique mixed breed resulting from pairing a Rhodesian Ridgeback with a Border Collie. These dogs combine the best and most challenging traits of both parent breeds, making them independent, stubborn, hardworking, energetic, graceful, and gentle guardians. However, this highly active and somewhat difficult hybrid isn’t the right breed for every household.

Read on to learn if a Rhodesian Border Collie will be a good fit for your personality, housing situation, and lifestyle.

Height: 18–27 inches
Weight: 30–85 pounds
Lifespan: 10–17 years
Colors: Red wheaten, wheaten, light wheaten, brindle, silver, black, blue, blue merle, white, red merle, lilac, slate, etc.
Suitable for: Experienced dog owners, active families, households with plenty of space to roam
Temperament: Gentle, devoted, energetic, independent, affectionate

The Rhodesian Border Collie is a mixed breed resulting from breeding the rare South African Rhodesian Ridgeback with the Border Collie. This designed dog can be a little spunky, curious, and highly energetic. It pairs the dynamic, alert, and hardworking personalities of the Border Collie with the quiet, gentle, and caring temperament of the larger Ridgeback.

It’s difficult to predict which parent your Rhodesian Border Collie will take after more. Still, you can rest assured that he’ll be a wonderful, devoted, and loyal companion for you and your family.

Rhodesian Border Collie Breed Characteristics


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Rhodesian Border Collie Breed Puppies

The Rhodesian Border Collie mix is not an easy hybrid breed to find. You may need to do some digging to find a breeder specializing in this unique designer dog, as we could not find any readily available in our research.

With time and patience, you might get lucky and find one available for adoption at your local shelter or humane society. Many well-intentioned people adopt high-energy dog breeds not realizing how demanding they can be. Sadly, this results in the animal being surrendered and forced to sit in the shelter until someone with the time and energy to put toward them comes along. You could be this person for a surrendered Rhodesian Border Collie.

Parent breeds of the Rhodesian Border Collie Mix
Image Credit: Left – Osetrik, Shutterstock | Right – otsphoto, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Rhodesian Border Collie 🧠

The Rhodesian Border Collie takes some of the best personality traits from both parent breeds. He’s active, intelligent, energic, hardworking, and loyal like his Border Collie parent and gentle, independent, and dignified like his Rhodesian Ridgeback parent.

If he takes after his Border Collie side more, he’s likely to be highly intelligent and a quick learner. Border Collies are the smartest dog breed, so they are very teachable and trainable, making your job of training them easy and much more enjoyable.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Rhodesian Border Collie is a great family dog, with a few caveats. These dogs tend to be stable in temperament and not aggressive, especially if trained and socialized properly. They are very devoted and loyal toward their family members and often wary of strangers, making them great watchdogs.

However, if your pup takes after his Ridgeback parent in appearance and size, he may grow quite large. This can present a problem in households with young or small children as he may accidentally knock over your child and hurt them.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Both Border Collies and Rhodesian Ridgebacks have high prey drives, though Collies are rarely used for hunting and Ridgebacks were bred to pursue large wildlife for their owners (not kill them). Knowing this information is important if you have other pets in the household.

Rhodesian Border Collies can typically get along well with cats and other small animals, provided they were brought up together. However, you must realize some dogs will have difficulty controlling their prey drive around small animals. Constant supervision is recommended.

The Ridgeback genes in your dog’s blood may make him dominant around other animals, especially dogs of the same sex. A proper, slow introductory period may be necessary to see if the personality of your pets clash.

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Things to Know When Owning a Rhodesian Border Collie

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Your Rhodesian Border Collie mix will require high-quality food with an increased protein content to support his high energy and busy muscles. You may wish to search for a food high in omega-3s to provide him with the nutrients necessary to keep his joints healthy and coat shiny.

If your pup is on the larger side thanks to his Ridgeback genes, you may consider opting for a large-breed food.

As with all breeds, ensure you’re feeding a diet appropriate for your pup’s current life stage. Puppies have different nutritional requirements than their adult counterparts.

Ask your veterinarian for diet advice if you’re unsure of the best option for your active and busy pup.

Exercise 🐕

Both parent breeds are highly energetic, though Border Collies are one of the most active dog breeds out there so that is something to consider before adopting a Rhodesian Border Collie.

Border Collies are born and bred working and herding dogs, so they typically don’t settle for snuggles until they deem their workday done. They need, at minimum, two hours of exercise daily. However, the more you can give, the better.

That’s not to say the Rhodesian Ridgeback’s energy levels are anything to scoff at. These dogs were born and bred hunters and lion chasers, so they have high energy requirements, too. Their exercise needs aren’t as high as Border Collies, but they still need daily activity to allow them to settle down at the end of the day.

All this considered, you should expect your Rhodesian Border Collie mix to require around two hours of exercise daily to burn off excess steam and energy.

Training 🎾

Thanks to his high intelligence and energy, the Rhodesian Border Collie should be an easy-to-train dog.

If his DNA contains the Border Collie’s working dog instinct and high energy level, you might even find training him fun! Collies catch onto commands faster than any other dog breed, so your pup may thrive with advanced training sessions.

The Ridgeback in your dog’s DNA may give him an innate instinct to protect and guard you and your home. This instinct can sometimes translate to aggression if the dog isn’t trained or socialized as he should be. Unfortunately, Ridgebacks can be stubborn and independent, so if your pup takes after this parent more, obedience training throughout his entire life will likely be necessary.

Grooming ✂️

The Rhodesian Border Collie is an easy dog to groom. It’s likely your pup will shed moderately, so a weekly brushing should be expected. Some extra care may be necessary if he takes after his Border Collie side.

Collies have medium-length, double-hair coats that require regular bathing and brushing to stay clean and mat-free. However, you can easily tackle this at home, so you don’t need to set aside any money for professional grooming.

Health and Conditions ❤️

While the Rhodesian Border Collie is generally considered a healthy and hardy breed, he may develop health conditions his parents are prone to.

Border Collies are predisposed to hip dysplasia when the hip joint ball doesn’t fit into the socket correctly. This can lead to inflammation and eventually arthritis if not caught early and treated.

They are also more likely to develop epilepsy than other dog breeds and a condition known as Collie eye anomaly. Collie eye anomaly can cause eye malformations that may result in vision problems or blindness.

Border Collies can also have a gene mutation that can make them more sensitive to certain veterinary drugs. The Multidrug Resistance Mutation (MDR1) can easily be worked around, provided you’ve done the blood test to confirm whether your pup has it.

Like their other large breed counterparts, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are commonly seen with elbow and hip dysplasia. They may be prone to developing autoimmune thyroiditis, which results in low thyroid values, weight gain, lethargy, and heart issues. They can also develop dermoid sinuses, a skin defect that may cause infections and abscesses.

Ridgebacks may develop eye abnormalities like cataracts or entropion.

Minor Conditions
  • Dysplasia
  • Eye abnormalities
Serious Conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Collie eye anomaly
  • MDR1
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis
  • Dermoid sinuses

Male vs Female

The most significant difference between male and female Rhodesian Border Collies is their size. Males can grow to be between 18 to 27 inches and 30 to 90 pounds. Females typically fall between 18 and 26 inches in height and weigh between 30 to 70 pounds.

There is no concrete evidence that suggests there are personality differences between the genders. However, males may be more prone to bouts of aggression and are more likely to bite.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Rhodesian Border Collie

1. Rhodesian Border Collies are part herding dog, part sighthound, part scent hound, and even part mastiff.

Border Collies are born and bred herding dogs. Herding breeds are lively and intelligent, making them fantastic family pets or great obedience competitors.

On the other hand, Rhodesian Ridgebacks don’t fall into just one category. They display characteristics of three: scent hounds, sighthounds, and mastiffs. Sighthounds hunt primarily by sight and speed, while scent hounds use their nose to track. Mastiffs are any large, powerful dog.

We can’t know which type your Rhodesian Border Collie will be. It could be that he’s a little bit of everything!

2. The Rhodesian Border Collie has a high energy level.

Don’t be surprised if your Rhodesian Border Collie spends his day chasing, hunting, herding, and guarding. This high-energy breed will likely be interested in the above activities, thanks to his unique DNA. Your pup will still be highly loving and affectionate toward you; you just need to let him burn off all his energy before expecting any type of snuggle.

3. The Rhodesian Border Collie isn’t ideal for first-time dog owners.

The Rhodesian Border Collie isn’t a suitable dog for first-time owners. His excessive energy paired with his high intelligence means he needs an owner with some level of experience owning dogs. He will thrive in a home with active families that can keep up with his daily exercise needs.

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Final Thoughts

The Rhodesian Border Collie mix is an active, intelligent, alert, and hardworking dog. He needs a family that can devote much time to providing the proper mental and physical stimulation he needs to stay happy and healthy. This is not a dog that does well in an apartment. In fact, he’ll be happiest living on a farm or ranch where he can appease that Border Collie DNA by doing what he was bred to do: herding.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Left – Nina Quka, Pexels | Right – Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

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