FCI group: Primitive Hunting Dogs
AKC group: AKC Foundation Stock Service
UKC group: Sighthound & Pariah
Average lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Average size: 35 to 55 pounds
Coat appearance: short, hard, and straight
Coloration: solid colors of blue, black, red or fawn with a black mask being acceptable on reds
Best Suited For: Families with older children, active singles, experienced owners, houses with yards
The Thai Ridgeback was first noted more than 350 years ago
in Thailand, but he is thought to be far older. One theory suggests that he is a descendant of the now-extinct Hottentot dog, which may have played a role in the development of the Rhodesian Ridgeback
Ancient artifacts show that the Thai Ridgeback originated in the isolated islands of Eastern Thailand an estimated 4,000 years ago. Because this area was secluded from others, with poor transportation methods, this dog breed has remained very pure with little to no crossbreeding.
The Thai Ridgeback was an all-purpose dog, kept to guard property and serve as an alarm dog, escort or pull carts, hunt small and large game, and keep cobras at bay. He lived mainly in eastern Thailand, as well as on the island of Dao Phu Quoc, near the border of Cambodia and Vietnam. His relative isolation ensured that he maintained his distinctive look.
Today the Thai Ridgeback is considered a very rare breed
outside of Thailand, with only an estimated 300 in the United States. The breed has been in the United States since 1994. The United Kennel Club recognized the Thai Ridgeback in 1996, and it was recorded in the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service in 1997.
Thai Ridgebacks are an intelligent breed. The energy level is typically medium to high, with most of the day spent lounging and activity periods occurring in sporadic bursts. Well bred and properly socialized Thai Ridgebacks make loyal, loving family pets. They are naturally protective of their home and family and can be aggressive or shy when not properly socialized.
They are best kept by consistent owners who have a thorough understanding of dog behavior. Because of prior geographic isolation and lack of human contact, the Thai Ridgeback remains independent minded and much of the original natural instinct and drives remain intact, particularly prey drive. Due to its nature, the Thai Ridgeback is not recommended for the novice dog handler. They have an excellent jumping ability and may seek to roam if not properly contained.
Thai ridgebacks are a hearty, overall healthy breed with few inherent health issues. The breed has reproduced in Thailand almost exclusively by natural selection until the very recent past. The domesticated population is small. Inbreeding depression has not been observed in the breed. Thai Ridgeback Dogs are prone to dermoid sinus. Modern lines of Thai Ridgeback, resulting from interpopulation crosses, may also be prone to hip dysplasia and other genetic disorders.
Because this dog breed originated in a tropical climate, the Thai Ridgeback generally does not do well in colder climates and should be kept as an indoor dog. The coat of a Thai Ridgeback requires little maintenance, however daily exercise is suggested to keep a healthy lifestyle for this breed.
Thai Ridgebacks will do okay in an apartment if it sufficiently exercised. These dogs prefer warm climates and cannot withstand the cold.
An independent breed, the Thai Ridgeback requires an experienced owner who can assert himself to be the leader of the family. Manhandling and harsh discipline is counter-productive to training this breed. The Thai Ridgeback responds well to positive training methods and learns rather quickly when delectable treats are involved. Repetitive training sessions will prove to be worth the time.
One of the things that the Thai Ridgeback was bred to do was to pull carts in Thailand. Nowadays, he is well-suited for draft trials, obedience and agility. Of course, the Thai Ridgeback can be an incredible watchdog.
Thai Ridgebacks were bred to work and they require a lot of exercise. Long walks or jogs are great but this breed also needs room to stretch out and run. He can tolerate living in condos or apartment buildings provided there is a dog park nearby that he can use.
Without enough exercise, the Thai Ridgeback can become incredibly destructive and disruptive. Although not a barker, the dog will become frustrated and try to communicate his need for activity vocally. He will also tear up furniture and chew whatever he can get his teeth on if he is bored. Exercise is essential to living peacefully with a Thai Ridgeback.
The Thai Ridgeback has a short coat that is easily cared for with a weekly brushing. Use a rubber curry brush to keep it gleaming. He sheds year-round, but not heavily. Give him a bath when he is dirty, maybe once or twice a year.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Keep the ears clean and dry, and check them weekly for redness or a bad odor that could indicate infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball moistened with a mild pH-balanced cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. Brush the teeth regularly with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath. Introduce your puppy to grooming from an early age so that he learns to accept it with little fuss.
Is the Thai Ridgeback the Right Breed for you?
Low Maintenance: Infrequent grooming is required to maintain upkeep.
Moderate Shedding: Routine brushing will help. Be prepared to vacuum often!
Difficult Training: The Thai Ridgeback isn’t deal for a first time dog owner. Patience and perseverance are required to adequately train it.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.
Did You Know?
The Thai Ridgeback can have as many as eight different ridge patterns formed by hair growing in the opposite direction of the rest of the coat. Patterns include whorls, circles, and even the shape of a guitar.