The awsome Thai Ridgeback Dog

Author: Richardo ALBERT (Romania)

It is believed that wild dogs became domesticated between 6,000 to 10,000 years ago at a time when man was crossing over from a nomadic hunter/gatherer lifestyle to a lifestyle of harvester/gatherer, a more agricultural way of life. This agricultural way of life allowed for a communal relationship between wild animals and man. The dog in turn was used to assist in the capture of prey and for herding of livestock. Thus it is believed man began to “breed” from the early stages of domestication. The best specimens of dogs available from the very beginning were selected to assist man. This is the true beginning of the relationship of man and his best friend.

It is generally speculated that the Thailand Ridgeback originated in Eastern Thailand. Because of the isolation of the islands in which this dog lived, the type has remained consistent over the centuries. The basic isolation of the dog in Asia protected this breed from crossbreeding.

Thailand is inhabited by people who are kept mostly in isolation due to poor or nonexistent transportation systems. This is why the TRD is considered a relatively pure and undoubtedly original breed. The dog was the only possession of some of the people, thus making the dogs extremely important to their owners. The dog provided a valuable source of sustenance due to its indispensable skills when hunting because of its excellent qualities of sight, speed, agility and perseverance. The TRD was a prized possession. The dogs were more than capable of capturing small animals such as rabbits and small boar. While the family was away or at work in the fields, the Thai dog was a tremendous watchdog and was used to stand guard over one’s home protecting possessions and ridding the home of dangerous pests such as snakes and rodents.

The earliest known areas with the highest population of the breed were the eastern areas of Thailand. There the dog could be found in greater numbers, particularly in the eastern fishing ports, which most likely was responsible for the relatively small expansion of the breed. The breed habitat is not only limited to Thailand. The Thai dog can also be found in a few other small isolated areas in Asia. The Thai dog may also be found in areas such as Kamphuchea (Cambodia), in Indonesia and on the island of Phu Quoc. 

Phu Quoc island in the Gulf of Siam is about 200 km eastwards from Bangkok. Phu Quoc island is the place where the dog was first truly recognized by the Western civilization during colonization of the island in the 19th century. On this island the TRD is believed to have given rise to the Phu Quoc dog. The Phu Quoc dog, obviously named after the island which it inhabited, is considerably smaller than the TRD due in part to the poor conditions on Phu Quoc island. The Phu Quoc dog gradually developed smaller over the centuries. The Phu Quoc dog also possess the ridge on its back. Of the hundreds of breeds in existence today, only three breeds posses the unique “ridgeback”. The Thailand Ridgeback, the Phu Quoc, and arguably the most famous of the three the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Thai Ridgeback is a dog with developed hunting and protective qualities. He was not bred by breeders, and he lives on our planet for quite a long time – about 3-4 thousand years. About so many years ago, the first mentions of the breed appeared. They were presented by ancient drawings that were found in Thailand and Cambodia. There are also references in written sources, for example, in the Ayut manuscript (first half of the XVII century). Dogs similar to modern Thai Ridgebacks are mentioned there. The Thai Ridgeback is characterised by:
Distinct in appearance, the ‘ridgeback’ is known as such for its unique coat characteristic, that sees a line of hair along its spine. The ridge is observed in a number of patterns and widths, from a needle or a leaf, to a saddleback. In showing, the thicker the ridge, the better. A distinct trait of the ancient Funan Ridgeback Dog, the breed adopted this trait when selectively bred, retaining it today. Further characteristic to the breed is its solid, athletic build, long legs, a deep chest for aiding stamina, a long, defined muzzle, a low-set, tapering tail, and eyes of a colouration matching the coat. The Thai Ridgeback coat is typically short and close-fitting, usually seen in variations of black, blue, red and fawn. Less than 3,000 Thai Ridgebacks live outside native Thailand.
Thai Ridgebacks can have eight distinctive ridge patterns: needle, feather, arrow, lute,
violin, bowling pin, leaf, and saddleback. All are allowed in the breed standard as long as the ridge is symmetrical and clearly defined. Puppies are sometimes born without the ridge, and it develops over time.
This breed can also have a spotted tongue (of blue/black pigmentation), and dogs from Northern Thailand often have dew claws on their back feet. The exact origin of the Thai Ridgebacks is unknown. Breeders only suggest that the “Thais” appeared as a result of the union of aboriginal dogs and dingoes. Presumably, the breed originated on the mainland and island parts of Thailand, but there are versions that their first habitat was Indonesia.
Since these dogs were originally wild, the locals had to tame them. People needed the strength, agility and intelligence of “Thais” to help hunt, fish and protect their homes. In the 19th century, Europe learned about an unusual breed of dogs in Thailand. Breeders and cynologists decided to popularize the found representatives. Harsh conditions in Thailand forced this breed to hunt for food, resulting in strong survival instincts. Though most owners keep Thai Ridgebacks as companion animals, they retain an independent, self-sufficient nature.
Hunters at heart, Thai Ridgebacks often stalk or chase smaller animals and may be aggressive toward other dogs. They aren’t overly affectionate, but they do bond with their owners and seek to protect them. For this reason, they tend to be reserved and suspicious around strangers and unfamiliar animals.
Thai Ridgebacks were officially recognized in Thailand and Japan only in the late 80s of the last century. It was not until 1993 that the international cynological organization FCI registered a new breed and approved its standard. Now Thai Ridgebacks are common in different countries. However, world popularity has not yet been achieved, many owners and breeders are still just looking at them.

Thai Ridgeback is a primitive aboriginal pariah dog, undoubtedly an ancient breed, breeders were not engaged in its breeding, but currently the breed itself is in development. The Asian and Oceanian group is comprised of breeds whose origins lie in Asia, which have spread as far as Australia, the islands of the Pacific, and the Arctic. This group is possibly the most ancient of all breed groups and were bred for a variety of purposes, including guarding, hunting, and as draft dogs.


credit: Martsella GOLUBEVA (Et Tar-menel) breeder/owner

Thai Ridgeback – FCI 338.  Primitive type – Hunting Dogs
Origin: Thailand
Character: Protective and dominant Weight: 21 to 30 Kg
Height: 54 to 58 cm.
Life expectancy: 12 – 13 years

Some experts, they maintain that the Thai Ridgeback It is one of the ancestors of many of the current Asian breeds that share some characteristics with it., how are he Chongqing dog, the Shar Pei or the Chow Chow.

It is one of the oldest breeds that exist today.
This currently enjoying more widespread as a pet, although it is virtually unknown outside
its country of origin. And even in Thailand is a rare breed, or little-known.

Type and recognitions:  

  • Group 5: Spitz-type dogs and primitive type.
  • Section 7: Primitive type – Hunting dogs. Without working trial.



  • – FCI – Group 5: Spitz-type dogs and primitive type – Section 7: Primitive type – Hunting Dogs.


Alternative names:

1. Thaï Dog (English).
2. Mah Taï, Chien thaïlandais à crête dorsale, Thaï Dog, Thai Ridgeback (French).
3. Thai Ridgeback (German).
4. Cão-tailandês-de-crista-dorsal (Portuguese).
5. Perro tailandés con cresta (español).

Thai Ridgeback has a medium build with developed muscles. He gives the impression of a balance of strength and elegance with his athletic, harmonious, dexterous and agile structure. The “Thais” have a relatively elongated body, a straight and strong back, the abdomen is tightened. The head is wedge-shaped with on the sides, tilted forward and slightly pointed ears. The jaw is powerful, with strong fangs.
The wool of representatives of this breed is so smooth and short that it feels like a velour. Hairs are from 0.3 to 1.8 cm. With or without undercoat. The standard adopts four colors: light fawn (“izabella”), red, black, blue. Thai Ridgeback has a solid color, but a small white spot on the chest is allowed. The “Thais” have one feature – along the back of dogs there is a “path” on which the hair grows in the opposite direction. It forms a so-called crest. There is a whole group of breeds with this feature. Their name contains the word “ridgeback”: it comes from the English “ridge” (comb) and “back” (back). The Ridge should be clearly visible, but with at least eight main forms, complete symmetry and geometry are not so common.
The character of Thai Ridgeback
This is one of the complex breeds. They have a cautious and often unfriendly attitude towards a stranger, which is clearly manifested, if you do not pay due attention to education and training. Responsible breeders do not allow aggressive or cowardly dogs whose behavior cannot be adjusted to breed. Their task is to eliminate excessive shyness, that is, to demonstrate the elements of “wild” behavior, the very characteristics that can take a decade to correct.
Thai Ridgebacks think, think and worry a lot. For example, if a guest came to the owner, and at the sight of the dog he stopped abruptly and froze, the pet will notice this strange behavior and begin to think about what the person was up to. In order not to provoke a Thai Ridgeback once again, you need to behave calmly and naturally. These are not stupid pets, they will not show enmity for nothing. Especially if they see that the owner is friendly to the stranger.
The main characteristics of the breed include pronounced territoriality, as well as hierarchical behavior dictated by a schooling lifestyle. Despite the fact that the Thai Ridgeback will always try to raise his status, he knows how to obey the strong.


Also, some members of the breed have a fairly pronounced hunting instinct, which, in the absence of proper practice, can fade to a more mature age. Territoriality, alertness, hierarchy and hunting instinct of each representative of the breed is manifested to varying degrees: in some, these features are pronounced, in others less. When choosing a puppy, we recommend looking at his parents, their character and temperament. This way you can guess how approximately the baby will grow up. Owners need to engage in correct and very active socialization, upbringing and training from the earliest puppy age. Then the dog will grow up obedient and will be a faithful friend and companion.
Despite all the features of the breed listed above, the Thai Ridgeback has quite a lot of advantages. They are clean, shed for 3-4 weeks once a year, there is no unpleasant smell (if you keep them clean and bathe periodically), because often they do not seek to lie in every puddle on a walk, but on the contrary, bypass dirty places.
Some “Thais” cannot live without human attention, it is important for them to receive love and affection from the owner every day. However, for the most part, they are unobtrusive and behave like cats: they come and go from the owner whenever they want. Attachment to a person manifests itself differently in everyone. There are cases when, having been on overexposited by other people in more pleasant conditions, the pet no longer wants to return to the owner, because it appreciates comfort very much and likes to be idle. But it happens quite rarely.
Dogs of this breed are distinguished by developed intelligence, as well as observation. As soon as you say the pet’s name, he will begin to look closely at a person to understand what they want from him. They will also be happy to go hiking with the owner, play games, play sports. These are very active pets.
Despite the fact that there are primitive features in the character of the breed, “Thais” can become very convenient companions for humans, exceptionally loyal to their family. Features of the perception of the owner and his teams
As we wrote above, Thai Ridgeback should be brought up from early childhood. And if the owner does not have proper experience, we recommend contacting cynologists and zoopsychologists.


In training, you can’t yell at a dog, scold, beat. However, it is also not worth indulging and allowing constant disobedience. We need to find a line between respect and perseverance. If the “Tay” saw a reliable, fair and authoritative person in the master, he will be infinitely loyal and faithful to him. Thai Ridgebacks are smart pets, dexterous and maneuverable, the main difficulty in training which is the independence of their character and sometimes difficult motivation to learn. However, thanks to the abilities of a strict security guard, excellent instinct, diving and high permeability to where you really want to go, lovers of “Thais” have the prospect of their further improvement and development.
The Thai Ridgeback needs an intellectual load. Team development, as well as various games, are just right for this. They will help to splash out the pet’s energy better than just a long walk. Remember that due to boredom or lack of physical, mental stress, dogs become more emotional and wayward.

Credit: Tawan Namfah
A properly socialized dog makes a wonderful pet for a family with older children, but
puppies who haven’t been trained are likely to be too rough and tumble for families with younger children.

Thai Ridgeback Exercise
These are extremely athletic dogs who require a lot of exercise. Without adequate exercise, these dogs are liable to become destructive. Anticipate at least two brisk half-hour walks a day at the bare minimum although more exercise is preferable. These dogs are excellent swimmers, hikers, and runners. Because of their high prey drive and innate distrust of strangers, this breed does not do well in group play situations with other dogs.
One of the reasons the dog was domesticated in its native Thailand was to pull small carts, so he or she is exceptionally well suited for drafting trials as well as for other canine sports such as agility, rally, lure coursing, and obedience. These dogs also like in-door games like hide-and- seek.
Thai Ridgeback Puppies
Plan on adopting your puppy as soon as it’s been weaned because it’s essential to begin socializing puppies as soon as possible.

Credit: Martsella GOLUBEVA (Et Tar-menel) breeder/owner

Dogs similar to the Thai Ridgeback
Cane Corsos, Australian Cattle Dogs, and Rottweilers all have traits in common with these dogs.

Australian Cattle Dogs: One of the Thai Ridgeback’s most distinctive physical features is its upright, pointed ears. The Australian Cattle Dog shares this trait as well. One reason for this may be that Australian Cattle Dogs are descendants of Australia’s very own pariah dog, the dingo. In the U.S., Australian Cattle Dogs are more commonly known as red or blue heelers.

Cane Corsos: Like Thai Ridgebacks, Cane Corsos are highly intelligent and extremely independent. Neither breed is recommended for inexperienced dog owners. Like Thai Ridgebacks, Cane Corsos are highly protective of their human families and make excellent watchdogs.

Rottweilers: Rottweilers were originally bred in Germany to help farmers drive cattle to market, but in the 19th century, they also began pulling carts for butchers. Thai Ridgebacks pulled carts in their native Thailand.


Thai Ridgebacks vs Rhodesian Ridgebacks
While Thai Ridgebacks and Rhodesian Ridgebacks both have a dorsal crest of hair that follows their backbone down to their tail and rises up when they get excited or agitated, they don’t otherwise look that much alike.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are physically larger and heavier, their ears flop and their personalities are gentler and more affectionate.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks hail from the southern portions of Africa, which are some 6,000 miles distant from Thailand. Genetic studies have proven, however, that the two breeds are distant cousins, descended from a common ancestor who lived about a thousand years ago.

Thai Ridgeback FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How much do Thai Ridgebacks cost to own?
Depending upon their breeding stock, Thai Ridgeback puppies typically bring a price between $1,600 and $3,000. If the breeder’s price is much lower than this, it’s likely that the puppy is missing the distinctive ridge that gives the breed its name.
Although Thai Ridgebacks are a rare breed, adult dogs turn up for adoption at rescue shelters more often than you might think. This is because Thai Ridgebacks are excellent escape artists, and the urge to roam is so strong in them that they will even run away from homes where they are happy. Rescue missions often misidentify Thai Ridgebacks as pit bull mixes. If you file adoption papers at a dog rescue, you may be able to get a Thai Ridgeback for only a few hundred dollars.

Adoption incidentals such as vaccinations, microchipping, neutering or spaying, bedding, toys, food, and crates will set you back another $1,000 to $1,500 during that first year. You almost certainly will require the services of a professional dog trainer, and that will cost an additional $1,200. Thereafter, you can expect to spend approximately $2,000 a year on food, vet bills, and training.

Are Thai Ridgebacks good with kids?
Thai Ridgebacks that have been well trained are good with children older than 10, but they should not be trusted around younger children.
How long do Thai Ridgebacks live?
Healthy Thai Ridgebacks can live as long as 12 or 13 years.
What breeds make a Thai ridgeback? Thai Ridgebacks are purebred dogs, not hybrid dogs.
Are Thai Ridgebacks rare?
Thai Ridgebacks are extremely rare outside of Thailand.
Where do Rhodesian Ridgebacks originate from?
Rhodesian Ridgebacks originated in the southern portions of Africa.
Are Thai Ridgebacks related to Rhodesian Ridgebacks?
Geneticists think that Thai Ridgebacks and Rhodesian Ridgebacks share a common ancestor.
What are the key differences between the Thai Ridgeback and the Rhodesian Ridgeback?
The key differences between the Thai Ridgeback and the Rhodesian Ridgeback are breed origin, appearance, size, hair type and color, and temperament.

Tawan Namfah Sato at My Salim

Features of nutrition
Like any other breed, Thai Ridgeback nutrition should be based on meat. It is supplemented by cereals, vegetables, herbs, vitamin and mineral complexes. All this can be in the form of ready-made feed or natural food. Thai Ridgeback gets used to the diet and rarely arranges “food strikes”. The main thing is to observe the feeding regime and not to give treats from the table
Finding a reputable dog breeder is one of the most important decisions you will make when bringing a new dog into your life. Reputable breeders are committed to breeding healthy, well- socialized puppies that will make great companions. They will screen their breeding stock for health problems, socialize their puppies from a young age, and provide you with lifetime support. On the other hand, backyard breeders are more interested in making a profit than in producing healthy, well-adjusted dogs. They may not screen their breeding stock for health problems, and they may not socialize their puppies properly. As a result, puppies from backyard
breeders are more likely to have health problems and behavioral issues.
This rare breed is thought to be one of the world’s first dog breeds, originating in an area of Thailand known for its isolation. Because of this, the Thai Ridgeback is believed to be one of the few true purebreds.

Credits and thanks for my friend/breeder Martsella GOLUBEVA (Et Tar-menel)

By Richardo ALBERT (Romania)