Redbone Retriever

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
fast facts

About Redbone Retriever

22-24 inches
55-65 lb
10-12 years
Not Applicable
Best Suited For
active families with kids and other pets, experienced dog owners, home owners with a fenced yard, those looking for a watchdog
affectionate, loyal, playful, active, eager-to-please
Comparable Breeds
Redbone Coonhound, Golden Retriever
Redbone Retriever Basics

The Redbone Retriever is a wonderful mix of three different dog breeds: the sweet-natured Golden Retriever, the easygoing Labrador Retriever and the friendly Redbone Coonhound. Together, the personalities of these three breeds make for a wonderful four-legged family member that gets along well with kids and, in spite of the high prey drive of the Coonhound, with cats and other pets when socialized – though the urge to chase may present from time to time. Overall, this dog thrives on human interaction and considers himself an integral part of his family, which means he needs to be in a home where he is not left alone for long periods of time. With Goldens known to suffer from separation anxiety, this pooch may pick up destructive habits such as barking, chewing and digging if he becomes anxious, bored or restless.

The friendly Redbone Retriever brings together the sweet-natured Golden Retriever, the easygoing Labrador Retriever and the keen-to-please Redbone Coonhound.


The Redbone Retriever is considered a Designer Dog and likely first appeared in the 1980s when breeders first began crossing two (and in this instance, three) breeds in order to develop a dog that was healthier, sometimes non-shedding, often smaller or even gentler than many of the popular breeds of the day. With the Redbone Retriever, his parent breeds are the Redbone Coonhound (typically 50% of the DNA), the Golden Retriever (25%) and the Labrador Retriever (25%). And while his own history is fairly recent, all three of this dog’s parent breeds have some pretty impressive lineage. The Redbone Coonhound originates from red-colored foxhounds that were brought to America via Scotland back in the 1700s and later crossed with Bloodhounds to ultimately be named for the breeder, Peter Redbone of Tennessee. The Labrador Retriever first appeared in 19th century Newfoundland, Canada where he was used by fishermen to haul their nets to shore and help pull in their haul of fish. The Golden Retriever is another Scottish descendant, developed back in the mid-1800s as a solution to the need for a dog that was adept at retrieving downed waterfowl on both land and in water.


With the American Kennel Club (AKC) devoted to promoting the standards and wellbeing of, pure-bred dogs its not likely the tri-breed Redbone Retriever will ever qualify for membership however all three of his parent breeds are members in good standing. The beloved Golden Retriever was named to AKC’s “sporting” group back in 1925 and is considered friendly, intelligent and devoted. The easygoing Labrador Retriever is also a member of the “sporting” group and he joined back in 1917, being described as friendly, active and outgoing. When it comes to the Redbone Coonhound, we have a much newer addition; he joined AKC’s “hound” group as recently as 2009 and is characterized as being an even-tempered, amiable and eager-to-please dog.


A nutrient-rich diet that is designed to meet his physical needs including size, age and activity level is important for every dog. With your Redbone Retriever being a highly active dog, you’ll want to ensure his diet is rich in proteins versus fillers such as carbohydrates in order to keep him feeling satisfied between meals. Because all three contributing breeds are prone to joint issues later in life, it’s important you establish an ideal weight once he reaches adulthood (work with your veterinarian if you aren’t certain what that weight should be) and take the steps necessary to maintain it for the duration of his life. Particularly with Labrador Retrievers who just love to eat, it’s important you avoid free-feeding but instead provide him with 2 to 3 smaller meals throughout the day. Treats should also be healthy versus carb-heavy and doled out as earned.

Your Redbone Retriever comes from three highly intelligent breeds that are quick to pick up and obey commands.


Your Redbone Retriever comes from three highly intelligent breeds that are quick to pick up and obey commands. He brings an eager-to-please personality that will make him a joy to train however a bit of an independent streak from the Coonhound side of this dog may require attention. Always take a firm, consistent approach that establishes pack leadership, but that is fair and rewards-based to keep your pooch cooperative and engaged (versus distracted by scents). Because he may have a higher than normal prey drive as a result of his Coonhound DNA, start his socialization early to ensure he knows how to play nice with other dogs and family pets. Chasing can be a problem in dog parks and you don’t want him to become persona non grata. And because Goldens are known to thrive on praise, find training opportunities where he can showcase his ability to respond to commands.


When your Redbone Retriever has reached adulthood, he will likely weigh somewhere between 55 and 65 pounds depending on gender and which of the three sides of the DNA pool his genes lean toward. As the Redbone Coonhound comprises 50% of this dog’s make-up, he will likely be somewhat lighter than your typical Golden or Lab.


The Redbone Retriever makes a great family dog that brings together the sweet, gentle and affectionate personalities from all three parent breeds. He loves kids, gets along well with other dogs and with early socialization, can interact with other family pets and smaller animals without the need to constantly chase. Because all three of his parent breeds were developed specifically for use in hunting, you’ll find this is a highly active dog with an eager to please personality and a knack for quickly obeying – in spite of the Coonhound DNA which dominates 50% of this dog and can result in a bit of an independent streak. That said, he is a true people-pleaser that absolutely thrives on human interaction and that, coupled with the Golden’s propensity for suffering from separation anxiety, means the Redbone Retriever’s ideal family would have someone at home during the day. Failure to keep him physically challenged and mentally stimulated can result in him picking up destructive behaviors. While he doesn’t typically bark and makes quick friends with stranger, he is protective of his human pack and will step up to the plate if he feels it necessary – or until he knows a stranger can be trusted – which makes him a great non-aggressive watchdog.

Common Health Problems

While it’s typical for Designer Dogs to be free of many of the health issues that can plague their pure-bred parents, it’s in your best interest to do a little research to better understand what your new family member may inherit down the line – particularly when there are three different breeds of dog adding to the mix. With the Redbone Retriever, health problems can include certain cancers from the Golden, eye issues including cataracts and retinal dysplasia from the Lab and joint issues from all three breeds. Now although this may seem like a daunting and expensive list to have to deal with, rest assured that the Redbone Retriever is considered a healthy breed of dog that may well never experience a health issue throughout his lifetime.

Life Expectancy

The Redbone Retriever is a medium- to large-sized dog with a need to be active and with regular exercise, a diet designed for his age, size and energy level as well as annual check-ups with your vet to monitor his health, he will live a long healthy life of between 10 and 12 years.

Exercise Requirements

Your Redbone Retriever is the product of three highly active breeds so you should expect this pooch to not only love physical exercise but require it in order to remain both physically fit and mentally stimulated. Long walks or jogs are a good base from which to build a daily regimen, but keep in mind that this dog is big on chasing and retrieving so interactive playtime such as throwing a Frisbee or tossing a ball in a fenced yard are great ways to keep him agile, thinking quick and showing off his fetching skills to his pet parent. And because Goldens absolutely thrive on loads of praise, this pooch will always appreciate the opportunity to earn some well-deserved treats for showmanship. With the Coonhound in this dog having a stronger instinct to track and chase than either the Golden or the Lab, it’s important that prior to taking him to off-leash parks, you know that he has been properly socialized. And because no hound has ever met a scent he didn’t want to follow, ensure parks and yards are fully fenced to prevent him from wandering off.

The people-pleasing Redbone Retriever loves kids, other animals and thrives on human companionship, making him a great family pet.

Recognized Clubs

The Redbone Retriever is also known as the Redgold Hound and while this dog’s Designer breed status means he doesn’t qualify to join the American Kennel Club’s purebred dog roster, he is recognized by 2 of the lesser known clubs; the Designer Breed Registry (DBR) and International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR).


The visual joy to the Redbone Coonhound is the rich mahogany color of his coat and to preserve a similarly beautiful tone when crossing the breed, he needs to be matched with dogs having a recessive gene. In this instance, a Golden Retriever and a Yellow Labrador Retriever (versus a chocolate or black lab) will produce a dog with a warm, reddish-gold color and typically short, coarse fur. Regardless of his coloring, the moderate-shedding Coonhound in your dog is no match for the heavy shedding Retrievers and you can expect he will require brushing 3 to 4 times a week to keep him looking his best and his copious amounts of loose hair in check (anticipate daily brushing during shedding season). Because he will undoubtedly have inherited the floppy ears common to all three breeds, you need to be sure to include a quick visual inspection and cleaning once a week using a damp cotton ball. This simple step can help eliminate the dirt and bacteria that can build and result in a smelly and uncomfortable yeast infection common in floppy-eared dogs. If your pooch takes after the Golden and loves to swim, take the time to ensure his inner ears are entirely dry to prevent moisture build-up and infection.


In a nutshell, this little guy comes from three great breeds that are intelligent, easy-going and affectionate. But because Redbone Retriever puppies can inherit the Coonhound’s instinct to chase, you’ll want to train him on the basics of “sit-heel-stay and drop-it” while he is still young and more inclined to pick-up on commands versus be distracted by various smells. It’s also important that this little pup begin his socialization when just a few weeks of age. This should include gentle handling and intentional, controlled exposure to new faces, sights and sounds to help build a comfort level and confidence that will encourage him be more relaxed with new situations. While the Redbone Retriever will undoubtedly be an active little pup who wants to go-go-go, remember that he comes from breeds that can suffer from joint issues later in life. So always take it easy with his exercise and interactive playtime sessions because even minor injury to tiny limbs and joints can come back to haunt him as he ages.

Photo credit: Susan Schmitz/Shutterstock; Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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