Friday, September 2, 2011

Unusual Breed: Thai Ridgeback

A Thai ridgeback in red
A "violin" ridge
This is one of a small number of dog breeds that have ridges of hair growing in the opposite direction along their backs. It comes in several colors and the ridge can vary greatly in size and shape. Unlike the Rhodesian ridgeback, which has only one accepted ridge shape, the Thai has eight, including "needle," "arrow," and "lute" among others.As the name suggests, they are native to Thailand and they are considered to be one of the primitive breeds, often called pariahs.

The breed has been used for such things as hunting and as watch dogs and even as carting dogs. They are known for being capable of killing cobras. Their temperament is typical of the pariah breeds, and reminds me very much of the basenji in the descriptions of its character.

A blue Thai
Thai ridgebacks are very active dogs with strong hunting instincts. They are very intelligent, independent thinkers and can be very challenging to train. Often destructive when young, they need exercise and are best behaved when kept active. They generally hate being bathed but they are also quite clean dogs, so baths are probably not often needed. They are sensitive to the cold and do very well in the heat. Though they are generally very quiet, but make good guard dogs. They can be very territorial around strangers. Tenacious in character, they will hunt anything small and are most likely not the sort of dog to have around cats.

As mentioned on Dogs 101 on Animal Planet, there are few outside of their native Thailand and, though mostly a very healthy breed, they are prone to dermoid sinus.  

Main source is the Association of Thai Ridgeback Owners & Fanciers. Images are from Wikimedia Commons under creative commons incenses: one, two, three.


  1. Indeed they are. The ridge is especially pronounced in a dog with longer hair!

  2. This describes our ridgeback exactly.I wish we would have know that they are not really family dogs prior to getting him. He is currently two years old and extremely quirky. We love him but he is alot of work!

  3. Anonymous, yes they are! I adopted one that was a stray. Not knowing anything about the breed or what the dog was. I have had a Doberman, so thankfully also a bit of training that helped me to prepare. I won't allow her around a 4 year old grand child. Mostly unsure of behavior, yet. Older children yes. Ours seems quite loyal to us & I've worked a lot with her. Stubborn as they can be & dominate also. I love her dearly, even tho she is a handful. It did make me get up off the couch, so that is a good thing.

  4. Though very territorial, our TRD is not destructive (and was not as a pup either), easy to train (food motivated), doesn't mind water/baths (doesn't enjoy baths, but will comply. Loves mud and rivers), surprisingly can tolerate the cold for a tropical breed, and is very good with our family (young and old alike). Of course, this IS a breed for people experience in dog behavior and positive training methods. They DO require regular exercise and mental stimulation. When looking for a pup, please research your breeder! Do beware of those wanting to make a buck off of this breed. Health and temperament are important! Also, it is a good idea to have a knowledgeable trainer lined up for puppy classes and any assistance you might need later (ask how familiar they are with hounds, nordic breeds [e.g. huskies] and the Nihon Ken [native Japanese breeds, e.g. Shiba or Akita]).

    1. Yes, My dog was never destructive since 8 weeks. Easily potty trained, quiet until on guard. He doesnt get thrilled over baths, but tolerates them well. Very agile, I once drove my car around the perimeter of a football field. He chased me at aprox 36 MPH. He once ran into the center of a herd of wild mustang horsed and dodged all their kicks .. I was sooo scarfed..But he came out ok, ..Very hard headed and stubborn at times.. Thats just their wildness.