The Thai Ridgeback originated in Thailand but the exact details of the origin of the breed are undocumented and hence murky. They are one of the three dog breeds having a ridge of hair running along the back in opposite direction of the hair growth. While extremely popular in Thailand, the Thai Ridgeback is a rare breed in the United States and Europe. Let us study some interesting facts and characteristics about the Thai Ridgeback.
Facts about the Thai Ridgeback
- Thai ridgebacks are an extinct breed; very few numbers exist in the United States
- Other names for the Thai are TRD, Mah Thai, and Mah Thai Lang Ahn.
- The Thai is the National Dog of Thailand. They have even enjoyed the status of being the royal dogs.
- According to some rock/cave paintings, the Thai may have existed nearly 3000 years ago. Dingos might have been one of the ancestors of this breed.
- As stated before, this is one of the three ridgeback breeds. The other two include the Rhodesian ridgeback and Phu Quoc Dog.
- This is a muscular, medium sized dog.
- They have a short smooth coat that comes in six solid colors like blue, fawn, red, Isabella or light fawn and black. Many breeders are experimenting in developing different coat colors for the Thai.
- They have muscular thighs and a curved, sickle like tail.
- Thai Ridgeback size – Height at withers for males is between 22-24 inches and weight is between 19-24 kilos or 42-53 lbs. Females are slightly lighter and shorter.
- These ridgebacks come in many distinctive ridge patterns including the needle, feather, arrow, violin, saddleback etc. The broader the ridge, the more highly it is prized.
Differences between various Ridgeback breeds
The Phu Quoc ridgeback is from Vietnam is slightly smaller than the Thai ridgeback. Based on early records, the link between the Thai ridgeback and the Phu Quoc is the Funan era ridgeback that may have existed thousands of years ago. The Hottentot Dog or Ari dog from Africa who is the ancestor of the Rhodesian ridgeback may have had a link with the Funan ridgeback. Thus, the relation between the Thai and the Rhodesian ridgeback is unclear but may have been through the Ari or Hottentot.
Where to find a Thai Ridgeback
The best place to get a Thai Ridgeback puppy is from reputed breeders who are genuinely concerned about the welfare of the breed. Good breeders can be found on the TRD Club of America website. Look for breeders who have pedigree dogs and are willing to prove it. They should have pictures of their dogs and especially of their puppies. Most importantly, they should have pictures of their breeding facility. Top breeders usually have websites that include information like breed’s history, nutritional information, and common health problems in the Thai ridgeback.
Always get your Thai ridgeback from a local breeder or at least someone in the United States. There are many health and behavioral issues in pups shipped from Thailand. If you insist on a perfect blue or red Thai, then you might have to pay anywhere between $1500 and $2000. On the other hand, if you are willing to take any pup, male or female, fawn colored or black colored; then the cost would be lower. A pedigree Thai ridgeback could go anywhere between $500 and $700. Note that costs vary greatly from breeder to breeder.
Thais are intelligent energetic dogs. They are a hunting breed and hence need a lot of exercise. Ridgebacks make loyal, loving pets and, as long as they are socialized and trained, they get along well with kids and other pet animals. This is a protective dog that tends to be wary of strangers. Many pups imported from Thailand are known for behavioral issues like aggression and shyness. All these problems can be prevented with early socialization and obedience training. Thai ridgeback isn’t a pet for everyone. They need a strong, consistent owner who knows a thing or two about dogs. Many people want to know if the Thai ridgeback is an aggressive dog. The answer again depends on whether the dog has been trained and socialized or not. Untrained dogs could show signs of aggression. Also they have a very high prey drive and natural hunting instincts. So always keep your pet on leash or inside a fenced yard. Thais are prone to running and they are excellent jumpers too. So secure your yard properly.
The Thai was bred to be a hunting dog. So this is an energetic breed that needs daily activity. In Thailand, this dog was made to pull small carts, chase away rodents, and protect the family and village. This high energy dog will make an excellent biking, trekking and hiking companion to an active owner. They make great guard dogs as well, owing to their excellent hearing and eyesight. So give him plenty of work to do or at least exercise him twice a day for 45 minutes to an hour. These dogs can get bored if not kept stimulated physically and mentally.
Due to its need for strong human relationships and high intelligence, the Thai ridgeback responds well to training. However, training should begin early on; as soon as your pup comes home. You will find that your ridgeback responds quickly to basic commands. Establishing immediate dominance and trust are key to training your ridgeback. Be patient, gentle and consistent with training and soon your ridgeback will be the ideal household companion or working guard dog that you want him to be.
Thais are inherently clean dogs. Their short coat hardly sheds. You can still brush it once a week to keep it healthy. Regular brushing also stimulates natural oils in the skin and keeps the coat parasite-free. These grooming sessions will also help you bond with your pet. Bathe your ridgeback once a month or as required. You must inspect your pet’s ears from time to time; any sign of odor or gunk needs to be checked by the vet. Also clip your pet’s toenails. Daily brushing of teeth is recommended to prevent dental issues.
The Thai ridgeback is a generally healthy dog with very few inherited issues. They are prone to dermoid sinus and hip dysplasia is also common. Average lifespan of this breed is between 10 and 12 years.