The Thai Ridgeback is a fairly old breed that originated in Thailand, as their name clearly suggests. It belongs to the primitive, Spitz-type dog breeds and is mostly known for their unique ridge that goes across their back.
These dogs had many jobs and they were mostly used as hunting, guarding, and cart pulling dogs. It is a breed that was relatively unknown outside Asia and was first brought to the US in 1994. Even today, it can be extremely hard to get your hands on a Thai Ridgeback as their breeders have year-long waiting lists.
20-24 in (51-61 cm)
35-55 lb (16-25 kg)
The Thai Ridgeback was first mentioned around 350 years ago and canine historians believe that this breed is actually far older. It is also believed that these dogs are direct descendants of the extinct Hottentot dogs. There is also a theory that says that the Thai Ridgebacks have descended from the Funan Ridgeback Dog and that theory is centered around both breeds having a distinct ridge on their backs.
The Thai Ridgeback is considered to be one of the “purest” dog breeds in the world and mostly because they lived in secluded parts of Thailand that had little to no outside interference. These dogs were rarely crossbred and most of their bloodlines are clean and without traces of other dog breeds.
First specimens were brought to the USA fairly recently and are still considered quite rare. However, the Thai Ridgeback is not a rarity in its native country of Thailand and has become the national dog breed of the country.
Dog Breed Characteristics
The physical characteristics of the Thai Ridgeback are unique and they make these dogs stand out in the crowd. They are noble and elegant with a muscular and well-proportioned body.
These dogs have upright, prickly ears that stand wide apart on their wedge-shaped head. Their eyes are almond-shaped and can be either brown or amber. They have a specific wrinkled skin on their forehead and their tongue usually has black spots on it. They have long legs and their tail should be carried over their back in a sickled shape.
The characteristic that Thai Ridgebacks are most known for is their ridge that goes along their back. The hair in that ridge grows in the opposite direction of the rest of the hair on their back. That is a characteristic they share with the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
This Thai Ridgeback is a fully registered breed that is accepted by the FCI. FCI has a full breed standard in place for the Thai Ridgeback and that standard places these dogs in Group 5 (Spitz and primitive types), Section 7 (Primitive Type-Hunting Dogs). These dogs are not required to undergo a working trial.
According to this standard, male Thai Ridgebacks should measure 22-24 in (56-61 cm) and the females should measure 20-22 in (51-56 cm). The accepted deviation of this requirement is 1 in (2,5 cm).
The Thai Ridgeback was accepted by the FCI on the 26th of May 2003.
This breed is accepted in the AKC Foundation Stock Service.
Coat and grooming
One of the most distinctive traits of the Thai Ridgeback is its beautiful, rich coat. Their coat is short and exceptionally smooth. The ridge on their back is symmetrical on both sides of the backbone. According to the Thai Ridgeback standard, they can be either blue, red, black, or isabella (very light fawn). Red-colored Thai Ridgebacks can have a black mask and a mask is preferred for this color in the show rings.
If you are a type of person that does not like to groom their dog too much then this is a great breed for you. The Thai Ridgeback doesn’t require too much grooming and brushing them once every 10 days will keep dead hair off their coat and keep the coat shiny and healthy. These dogs do not require baths that often and one every two or two and a half months will do. The rest is basic care, check their ears, trim their nails if they get too long, and brush their teeth at least three times a week.
Thai Ridgeback dogs are medium active and they will need a proper amount of daily activities to be happy. Playing with his owner in the house, chasing the ball, or just long walks can all do the trick and keep this dog satisfied. If you provide him with enough daily activities you don’t have to worry that your dog will miss behaving.
Thai Ridgeback temperament
The Thai Ridgeback is primarily a guard dog and that is a role they have been playing in their native country for centuries. These dogs are extremely devoted and protective of their families and have a natural suspicion towards anyone outside their immediate trust circle. They will protect their family and land at all costs.
These are also hunting dogs with a strong prey drive so don’t trust them too much around other, smaller pets. They get along better with older children, but only from their own family.
Training a Thai Ridgeback
The Thai Ridgeback can be a handful to train so they should have a firm owner who knows how to set boundaries and stick to them. These dogs are fairly intelligent so they will question your authority and test the boundaries you will set as their owner.
They react best to positive training methods that involve loads of treats and food. Avoid negative training methods as much as you can and only use “correction” when the dog is doing something they are not supposed to. The “correction” should never be used in a way that dog feels pain or extreme stress, only in such a way that will let the dog know its behavior is unacceptable.
Thai Ridgeback and kids
Thai Ridgebacks are excellent family dogs that will get along with every family member including children. Take note that kids need to be taught how to properly play and interact with a dog so Thai Ridgeback can enjoy their company. If they are raised together from an early age they will be their playing parting and they will enjoy spending time together.
They are best suited for older kids who know how to properly play with a dog and what is the correct behavior around the dog.
Children should never be left alone with any dog, no matter what breed it might be. You should make sure that your children understand how to approach dogs of this breed and understand how to interact and play with them properly.
Thai Ridgeback and other animals
Thai Ridgeback can live with other dogs if they are raised together but in general, they are not fond of other dogs. They will perceive cats as prey so they cant live with them.
However, every dog, no matter what breed they are, should be socialized and properly introduced to other pets. Take your time and even if your dog doesn’t react well on your first try doesn’t mean they won’t get along.
The Thai Ridgeback is generally considered a healthy breed, but they are prone to some health issues and concerns like any other dog breed. These dogs have an average lifespan of 12-13 years.
When getting any breed, the breeder must show you health tests that they have done for their breeding dogs. Dogs must be adequately tested because taking a chance and hoping that the puppy’s parents are healthy is a risk no one should ever take. Only healthy dogs should be bred because that is the only way to assure that bloodlines will remain healthy and without any problems. Health problems associated with this breed are;
- Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
- Skin problems
This dog breed is not for everyone and we advise you that you make your research before you go after Thai Ridgeback. You will need to dedicate your time and energy to training and socialization if you want to end up with a dog you can control. When you decide to search for Thai Ridgeback breeders, always buy a dog from a responsible and official breeder. By doing so, you can be sure that you will get the best possible dog because a good breeder takes good care of their breeding dogs and their puppies. If you have any questions or doubts any good breeder will welcome your questions because they also want their puppies to go into a good home.
Thai Ridgeback is still a rare dog breed and if you are interested in getting one of these dogs you must be prepared that you will be put on the waiting list.
If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.
World Dog Finder team