The Thai Ridgeback is a very old breed and is thought to be one of the world’s first domesticated dog breeds. Although these dogs are believed to have been around for thousands of years, they were relatively undocumented until about 400 years ago. While there are some breeders that believe that their isolation has led to them be one of the few true purebred dogs, there are others that believed that they are descended from the Hottentot Dog, a now extinct breed. The Thai Ridgeback is one of only 3 breed that have a distinct ridge of hair along their spine that runs in the opposite direction from the rest of the coat. The other two breeds are the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Phu Quoc Ridgeback, but it is unclear if the breeds are related since they exist in different parts of the world. The Thai Ridgeback was mostly used by farmers as guard dogs and hunters. They hunted both small and large game, and also worked to keep cobras at bay. In addition to these duties, the dogs sometimes pulled carts or followed along beside them. Although these dogs have been confined to Thailand for many years, they are slowly spreading throughout the world. They are very rare in the United States and have not yet been officially recognized by the AKC. They are recorded in the Foundation Stock Service, which is a preliminary step to full AKC recognition. The purpose of this service is to keep records and information on breeds that rare or still being developed.
The Thai Ridgeback is a medium sized breed with a muscular body. They stand at about 20 to 24 inches tall at the withers and they usually weigh between 35 and 55 pounds but there are not weight standards set according to the FCI. The head is flat with a wedge shaped muzzle that has a moderate stop. The nose is usually black, but in some dogs it may be slightly bluish. The eyes are medium sized and almond shaped. They eyes are usually dark brown in color, but amber is permitted as well. The medium sized ears are set on the side of the head and are triangular in shape, facing forward. The ears should never be cropped. The long tail is thick at the base at tapers to a point. The Thai Ridgeback has a coat that is short and smooth, with hair along the spine growing in the opposite direction of the rest of the coat, giving them their unique ridge. The ridge is very well defined and there may a crown or whirl at the head of the ridge. The coat color may be black, blue, light fawn, or red. The red dogs usually have a black mask. The short coat is easy to groom and should be brushed about once a week. These dogs shed regularly, but not heavily. Bathing only needs to be done whenever necessary. The nails should be kept trimmed, and the ears and teeth should be kept clean as well.
The Thai Ridgeback is mostly a working a guarding breed, but they can be a companion breed for the right owner. These dogs are naturally alert and make excellent watchdogs and even guard dogs. This is not a breed that is particularly friendly with other animals, but they can be if they are properly trained and socialized. Obedience training should begin as early as possible, and needs to be very firm and consistent. These dogs can be somewhat difficult to train, so it is important that the owner is a strong pack leader who can command the obedience of the dog. Being a strong pack leader means being able to be naturally authoritative. Meek owners will have trouble controlling these dogs, and they are not for the first time owner. It is also very important to socialize these dogs early on. They should be taken out and exposed to new people, places, and situations. This helps them to be more friendly and less timid with strangers.
The Thai Ridgeback is a fairly active breed, but they can live happily in an apartment as long as they are getting enough exercise outside. They also prefer warm climates since they don’t do well in the cold. Ideally these dogs will be taken out for a long walk or jog every day. Without enough exercise they will be more likely to become bored and destructive.
Although Thai Ridgebacks are known to be a generally healthy breed, there are a few health issues to be aware of. Like many breeds they may suffer from hip dysplasia. Dermoid sinus is a skin condition that may affect these dogs where the skin can get loose or form bumps on the back. A healthy Thai Ridgeback will live about 12 or 13 years.
Overall the Thai Ridgeback is a rare breed that is just making its way throughout the world. They are a somewhat difficult to train breed, and they need an owner that has experience being a strong pack leader and training dogs. This healthy breed has an average exercise need.