Thai Ridgeback

This Very Intuitive, Independent, Responds Well to Proper Training

Thai Ridgeback

A Raised Ridge of Hair Down its Back Marks this Very Intuitive, Independent Breed Who Responds Well to Proper Training

The Thai Ridgeback is a very old, rare breed, and is known as a "pariah dog," or primitive dog. Isolated and independent, as well as free-ranging in its natural habitat, this dog is intuitively smart.


Experts confirm that the Thai Ridgeback has existed for at least 350 years in Thailand, but the breed itself is thought to be much older. Some believe that the Thai Ridgeback is a descendent of the Hottentot dog, which may have been one of the breeds involved in the development of the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Originally serving to act as a guard to warn of danger, the Thai Ridgeback is a working dog that can also be used to hunt large and small game, and to keep cobras away. The breed is originally from eastern Thailand, but also has lived on the island of Dao Phu Quoc, near Vietnam's and Cambodia's borders. Because this breed has been so isolated, its lineage remains naturally pure since it hasn’t been crossbred with any other types of dogs.

Brought to the United States in 1994, the United Kennel Club has recognized the Thai Ridgeback since 1996. In the initial stages of registration at the American Kennel Club, it has been a member of its Foundation Stock Service since 1997.


Muscular, streamlined, loose-skinned, and covered with dense fur, the Thai Ridgeback gets its name from its place of birth – Thailand – and from the ridge on its back that is formed by hair that grows in opposite directions. Two other dogs are also "ridgeback" types: they are the Phu Quoc Ridgeback, a rare breed from Vietnam and the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Standing 20 to 24 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 51 and 75 pounds if male (females are smaller), this strong, powerful dog is alert at all times. The back of the neck develops extra rolls of skin when the dog is at full attention. The coat is short and smooth and the ears are pricked. There is no undercoat, which means the dog may be hypoallergenic or nearly so for people with sensitivity to allergies. Coat colors are always solid fawn, red, black or blue. A black mask is acceptable on red dogs. White and brindle Thai Ridgebacks also exist, but these are not eligible for show. International showing competition also limits the height, to between 22 and 24 inches in males and 20 to 22 inches in females.

Eight particular ridge patterns have been identified for the dog, and these include: feather, needle, lute, arrow, bowling pin, violin, saddleback and leaf.


Intelligent but somewhat reclusive, Thai Ridgebacks have high energy levels although they can spend most of the day simply lounging around and then getting their activity in occasional, high-intensity bursts. As long as Thai Ridgebacks are properly socialized and bred properly, these dogs can be loving family pets. They are very protective of family and home, although they can be aggressive or shy if they don't get proper socialization. In order to make this dog work for your family, you must be consistently dominant as an owner and you must know exactly what you're getting into with a Thai Ridgeback.

Historically, Thai Ridgebacks did not have a lot of contact with people as a result of their geographic isolation. Because of that, this dog will remain fairly aloof and independent even when it interacts with you.

This is also a breed that likes to test. Not afraid to escape – and in fact loving to do so – this dog will challenge you the entire time you're with it. If possible, it is advised to walk or jog with your dog daily to establish a connection, and don't be afraid to have a pet that may not entirely follow your orders at all times.

Surprisingly, however, if you can establish authority – very important with this dog – your pet will recognize it and respect you. As long as you lead with firm but not harsh guidelines, this dog will be wellbehaved with just about anyone – including children, as long as you raise your pet with children around. Puppy obedience classes work well for this breed, since these dogs are so intelligent. Start training at 10 to 12 weeks of age, as soon as your puppy has had its shots.

A well-trained and socialized Thai Ridgeback will be alert and quiet, not a barker unless there is a legitimate threat. It cannot be stressed enough to make sure you teach this dog acceptable etiquette, because the Thai Ridgeback can be a very difficult and challenging dog indeed if it lacks the proper training. These stubborn and independent-minded dogs have no problem standing up to someone they see as weak.


Although the Thai Ridgeback is largely healthy, hip dysplasia can be a problem as it is with many breeds. In addition, a skin condition called dermoid sinus can develop. Hip dysplasia is hereditary, and is a malformation of the hip socket. In its mildest form, it causes little to no pain. However, when it is severe, it can result in your dog becoming lame often manifested by a limp. You can help prevent this by making sure that your breeder shows you written evidence that your puppy's parents have hips that have been rated excellent, good, or fair by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, OFA. You must do this – vet checking will not suffice – so that you can be sure your puppy does not have hip dysplasia.

Dermoid sinus is a skin condition that appears as multiple or single bumps on the middle of the back. It is a neural tube defect. It can lead to serious and even life-threatening conditions like myelitis or meningitis. Again, your breeder should have screened its dogs for genetic disease and have bred only the healthiest dogs, to help prevent puppies with this condition from being born.


With a short coat that is easy to care for, all you need is a rubber curry brush to keep it shining. Although the Thai Ridgeback sheds year-round, it doesn't do so heavily. Give your pet a bath if it gets dirty, probably once or twice a year. Trim your dog's nails as needed, and keep ears dry and clean. Check them every week for bad odor or redness that could indicate infection, and wipe them out with a mild cleanser (pH balanced). Also start brushing your puppy's teeth with a vet-approved toothpaste as soon as you can, since consistent weekly oral hygiene will help your pet avoid significant dental problems later on.


Pariah dog.

Retrieved August 14, 2015.

Thai Ridgeback.

Retrieved August 14, 2015.

Thai Ridgeback.

Retrieved August 14, 2015.

Thai Ridgeback.

Retrieved August 14, 2015.

Thai Ridgeback (Thai Ridgeback Dog) (TRD) (Mah Thai) (Thai Dog) (Mah Thai Lung Arn).

Retrieved August 14, 2015.

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