Breed of the Week - Thai Ridgeback

by Stephanie Teed

The Thai Ridgeback has been around since antiquity. Images of this breed have been seen in archeological writing in Thailand and Cambodia, which suggests that the Thai Ridgeback is quite old. Still uncommon outside of its homeland of Thailand, this Royal Dog of Thailand first came to the United States in 1994. It is believed that roughly 1,000 Thai Ridgebacks live outside of Thailand, and only about 100 of them live in the United States.

They are a primitive breed, which evolved from the Asian wolf and were originally used as guard dogs, carting dogs and even used to hunt small vermin and snakes. Today they are primarily used as companion dogs and guard dogs. They are one of the three pure bred dogs which have a ridge going down their back where the hair grows in the opposite direction. They are also one of three breeds that have a bluish-grey tongue. Their colors come in chestnut, fawn, blue and black – with an occasional black mask. They are strong, powerful, fearless and extremely versatile. With their guarding background, they can become very territorial around strangers but they become very affectionate with their family.

The Thai Ridgeback has been accepted for recording in the AKC Foundation Stock Service, which allows purebred breeds to develop while allowing them to maintain their records. Although, they are not eligible for AKC registration, they are allowed to compete in AKC Companion Events.

The Thai Ridgeback is a short-coated breed, which makes grooming a snap. They do not require a lot a grooming; a little brushing to help remove dead hair and skin (especially during the shedding season), and the occasional bath will do them just fine. Although, bathing a Thai Ridgeback has been compared to bathing a cat – they usually do not enjoy bodily contact with water. They are also known to be extremely sensitive to cold weather, so during the chillier months – a canine jacket is necessary.

Thai Ridgebacks are known for being almost too smart for their own good. They are full of energy and must be kept active or they can become bored and destructive. They should have plenty of proper mental and physical exercise in order to keep them happy and healthy

In 2007, the Thai Ridgeback was approved by the AKC to compete in Lure Coursing Events as well as in Companion Events. Thai Ridgebacks are known for being great climbers and jumpers, which allows the dog to excel in agility trials

They can sometimes be dog aggressive (especially if not probably socialized at a young age) as well as stubborn and sometimes difficult to train, but as long as they have a dominant owner who is confident and consistent, tricks can be taught and any unwanted behaviors can be fixed. The Thai Ridgeback is a breed that is known to respond well to clicker training.

The Thai Ridgeback is roughly a very hardy breed, living an average 12-14 years with few genetic diseases. How ever, they can develop dermoid sinus (a neutral tube defect), which is a genetic disease in the breed. Although this has appeared in several other breeds of dogs, Thai and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the ones primarily affected. A dermoid sinus can occur anywhere along the dorsal line of the dog and they are not necessarily life threatening. Many can be surgically removed. Puppies are born with dermoid sinus but because of the size, it may not become fully present until the puppy has grown. It is always important to seek out a knowledgeable breeder and/or veterinarian to check the puppy or adult dog for a dermoid. Although less common, hip dysplasia has also been seen in the Thai Ridgeback.

For more information about the Thai Ridgeback visit the Association of Thai Ridgeback Owners & Fanciers.

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  1. Thank you for spotlighting our breed. One correction to your info is that Thai Ridgebacks are used for hunting all sizes of game and most commonly used to clear trails of Cobras for hunters.
    Mary Ann Nemisz
    Urban Legends Thai Ridgeback Dogs


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