Thai Ridgeback


Height: 18 - 26 inches.

Weight: Females: 37 - 55 lbs.; Males: 51 - 75 lbs.

Life Span: 8 - 12 years.

Litter Size: Relatively small litters, but the average is 5 puppies.

Country of Origin: Thailand

Activity: Medium. They have considerable stamina; they are very active and agile. They are more tentative around strangers.

Watch-dog: High

Guard-dog: High. This breed has been used in the past mainly as a guard and watch dog.

Description: The Thai Ridgeback is found mainly in Thailand. They are very intelligent dogs, which tend to have a mind of their own. Thai Ridgebacks are independent, somewhat undomesticated, and naturally protective of their own. The Thai Ridgeback is very intelligent and tough. Unfortunate to some, they can often be aggressive with other dogs and with strange people. The Thai Ridgeback is a medium sized dog, it has a wedged-shaped head, pricked ears with a short coat. It’s one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Thai Ridgebacks have an interesting look to them, looking almost like they have been pushed back into their own skin, making it wrinkly around the neck and face. The Thai Ridgeback can be a variety of colors, being chestnut, red, blue, fawn or black. Some have been white as well, but it is rare. Thought to be the perfect mix of a spitz-type dog and a primitive breed, the Thai Ridgeback is a classic example of the results of isolated breeds. They are only one of three breeds every discovered to have a ridge of hair growing in the opposite direction on the back: the Rhodesian Ridgeback of Africa, and the Phu Quoc Dog of Vietnam. Thai Ridgebacks have up to eight different types of ridges along their backs, and some Ridgebacks are actually born without ridges or with plush coats! With a spotted or completely blue or black tongue, the Thai Ridgeback is truly a unique breed.

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Other Names: Mah Thai Lung Ahn, TRD

Colors: Light chestnut, red, black, fawn, silver or blue. Some have been recorded as white. All solid colors.

Coat: Very short, smooth and soft, with a ridge of hair growing in the opposite direction along the back.

Temperament: Intelligent and protective dogs, the Thai Ridgebacks have primitive instincts. They can be wary with strangers, and are not averse to a scrap with their fellows as well as people they do not know. They are tough as well, being somewhat undomesticated for many years. They have been known to kill cobras. They are independent. They are excellent jumpers and exercise this trait. They are excellent guard dogs and excellent watch dogs. They do well at hunting as well as simply being a companion. They can be difficult to train, are very active and lively.

With Children: Yes, they are good with children.

With Pets: May be dog aggressive.

Special Skills: Hunting and watchdog. They are very tough and active with excellent jumping and climbing skills.

Care and Training: Daily exercise with little grooming such as brushing occasionally will keep the coat looking smooth and remove dead hairs. Gentle and consistent approach with a dominant owner is needed. This dog can turn aggressive and unmanageable if not raised correctly.

Learning Rate: Medium. They are moderate learners. Obedience - Medium. Trainer should be firm; obedience training is strongly recommended while they are pups. Thai Ridgebacks can be somewhat difficult to train and require a strong leader.

Living Environment: The Thai Ridgeback loves to run around in a secure yard, but also enjoys indoor life, making them an excellent choice for a housedog. They do not like cold weather, however, and much prefer warmer temperatures. An apartment is okay as long as they get enough exercise. The best owner for this breed would be a dominant, attentive, experienced owner living in a rural or suburban environment.

Health Issues: Prone to allergies, ear infections and obesity. Some common diseases and disorders are hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, osteochondrosis, dermoid sinus, and gastric torsion (bloat). Bloat is a deadly health issue to most dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs other than cancer. It is also known as twisted stomach, and dogs with deep chests are more susceptible to it.

History: Thai Ridgebacks got their name by a ridge growing in the opposite direction to the rest of their coat. They have also been known in Thailand for at least 350 years. They were used by farmers for hunting and as a guard dog, and were once called the "cart-following dog". They are most common in Eastern Thailand, and have rarely seen outside of Thailand. They were kept pure by isolation, and are thought to be related to the Rhodesian Ridgeback of Africa and Phu Quoc Dog of Vietnam. DNA research is being done to determine this. Only until recently did American dog enthusiast Jack Sterling stumble upon the breed in Bangkok and exported a few to to America, more specifically California. Today they are still extremely rare outside of Thailand, and have been placed on the Foundation Stock Service list since 1997. The Dog Association of Thailand is now trying to ensure that the breed will continue to thrive in years to come. They are slowly becoming more common in the United States.

First Registered by the AKC: FSS (Foundation Stock Service - not yet eligible for the AKC)

AKC Group: Hound

Class: Miscellaneous

Registries: UKC on January 20, 1996 as Sighthounds and Pariah Dogs, FCI (Group 5)