AKC Dog Breeds: Thai Ridgebacks

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Foundation Stock Service® Breed
Height: 20-24  inches  Weight: 40-60 pounds  Color: red, blue, black and fawn

The Thai Ridgeback is an ancient breed of dog. The breed was formerly unknown outside of Thailand, but is gaining notice in the western world. The breed is still very rare outside of Thailand. There are less than 100 Thai Ridgebacks registered with the United States parent specialty club, the Thai Ridgeback Club of the United States. However, more than 50 thousand are registered world wide, the vast bulk with the DAT in Thailand. The Thai Ridgeback is one of only three breeds that has a ridge of hair that runs along its back in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat. The others are Rhodesian Ridgeback and Phu Quoc Ridgeback. The Thai Ridgeback is also known as a Mah Thai Lang Ahn. Thai Ridgebacks are medium-large sized short-haired dogs of high intelligence and great jumping ability. The Thai Ridgeback has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 1997.

General Appearance
The Thai Ridgeback has a loose-skinned, muscular body. Its back is strong, firm, and covered with dense hair. Coat colors include: chestnut, black, blue, and silver. It has a ridge on its back, formed by hair growing in opposite directions which forms whorls and circles. Thai Ridgebacks can have up to eight different ridge patterns. The shoulders are strong and muscular. The head is carried high on the firm, strong, clean cut neck. The muzzle is wedge-shaped and powerful looking. The tongue should be blue or bluish gray. The ears are large, high set, triangular, pricked and inclined forward. The top of the skull is flat and slopes gently to the stop. The dark-brown eyes are almond-shaped with an alert expression. The nose is black and the tail is thicker at the base tapering to the tip. The ribs are well sprung with no hint of a barrel appearance. The hind legs are long and moderately lean and bend slightly to the stifles. The back of the neck has extra rolls of skin when the dog is alert. This is particularly noticeable in puppies. Thai Ridgebacks have spotted tongues. Some even come with solid black/blue tongues.

Thai Ridgebacks are an intelligent breed. The energy level is typically medium to high, with most of the day spent lounging and activity periods occurring in sporadic bursts. Well bred and properly socialized Thai Ridgebacks make loyal, loving family pets. They are usually gentle with their families and with people their families introduce them to, but are excellent watch dogs if people they do not know appear or sounds they don’t understand occur around the house. They are best kept by dominant owners who have a thorough understanding of dog behavior. Because of prior geographic isolation and lack of human contact, the Thai Ridgeback remains independent minded and much of the original natural instinct and drives remain intact, particularly prey drive. Due to its nature, the Thai Ridgeback is not recommended for the novice dog handler. They have an excellent jumping ability and may seek to roam if not properly contained. They do not drool, except occasionally in anticipation of food. They are generally easy to house break. They will take over the furniture unless their owners discourage this habit from puppy hood. Their upright tails wag in a short radius, not knocking over your house plants or coffee table glasses.


The Thai Ridgeback does not need a lot of grooming. An occasional combing and brushing to remove the dead hair will do.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
Thai ridgebacks are a hardy, overall healthy breed with few inherent heath issues. The breed has reproduced in Thailand almost exclusively by natural selection until the very recent past. The domesticated population is small. Inbreeding depression has not been observed in the breed. Thai Ridgeback Dogs are prone to dermoid sinus. Modern lines of Thai Ridgeback, resulting from inter-population crosses, may also be prone to hip dysplasia and other genetic disorders.

Activity Level

Like any medium-large dog, Ridgebacks need exercise - a daily romp in the backyard or park and a couple of long trips should be sufficient. Ridgebacks love to run. More exercise would be better but Ridgebacks do adapt to their people.


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