Thai Ridgeback Dog
Other names: Thai Ridgeback, TRD, Thai Dog, Mah Thai, Lung Arn
This stunning, tough, alert and energetic dog originates from Thailand over 4,000 years ago but has since gained popularity in the Western world. The Thai Ridgeback is fiercely devoted and protective of its family, and so, must be well-socialised and trained to prevent aggressive behaviour towards strangers.
With that said, this breed is loyal, affectionate and loving towards the people it knows and trusts. It makes a wonderfully playful and energetic pet when handled in the right way. Be warned, though - this is a smart, independent breed which can be a little unpredictable. The Thai Ridgeback also has an extremely strong prey-drive and normally can’t be kept around cats or small animals.
Key facts about the Thai Ridgeback Dog
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Playful Hunter
Origins and history
The Thai Ridgeback is the national dog of Thailand and is believed to have originated there over 4,000 years ago. It’s considered a ‘primitive dog’ due to its wolf-like characteristics. The breed is thought to originally have thrived in Eastern Thailand. However, the exact origins of the breed are unknown and still debated to this day.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types
Section 7 : Primitive type - Hunting Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Thai Ridgeback Dog
Female : Between 20 and 22 in
Male : Between 22 and 24 in
Female : Between 44 and 55 lb
Male : Between 55 and 66 lb
The coat is normally black, blue, brindle, brown, red or white. Some dogs have a black mask if they’re another colour all over.
Type of coat
The Thai Ridgeback’s coat is very short.
This breed has a short, hard, fine coat with a distinct, beautiful ridge of hair which runs right along the back - hence their name!
The eyes are mostly brown but are sometimes amber.
This breed is certainly impressive, with a strong, tough, yet elegant appearance. This is a medium-sized breed with a muscular, sturdy, squarish body with long, lean legs. Their skin is visibly loose, especially around the back of the neck. Females are always significantly smaller than males.
They have a distinct ‘wedge’-like head and wrinkled forehead skin. The ears are wide-set, alert and slightly forward, the eyes are expressive and almond-shaped and the nose is black. Often, Thai Ridgebacks have spotted tongues.
Good to know
The defining feature of this beautiful dog has to be the wolf-like ridge of hair running along the back. It grows in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat and has been identified in eight different patterns - feather, arrow, needle, lute, violin, bowling pin, saddleback and leaf.
While the Thai Ridgeback definitely isn’t the most affectionate of dog breeds, they are devoted and loving towards their owners. They tend to have a favourite person, but will still be naturally warm and protective towards the rest of the family. Overall, if trained, socialized and handled appropriately, the Thai Ridgeback will be your best friend.
This breed has an obvious playful side to its personality. They love sports, games, getting involved in family activities, and thrive during one-to-one playtime.
The Thai Ridgeback is often fiercely independent, stubborn, and overly protective around unfamiliar faces. Therefore, they’re not known as a particularly calm breed. However, when matched with the perfect owner and lifestyle, they can be chilled-out, relaxed, and calm, especially within the home environment.
This breed is very intelligent. Nothing will get past a Thai Ridgeback. They learn things fast, but will also test the boundaries - beware!
The Thai Ridgeback survived in the wilds of South East Asia for hundreds of years - so it's not surprising that their prey drive is particularly high. They will chase and may try to kill pretty much any small animal, including cats. A lot of care needs to be taken when other animals are around - invest in a strong harness and lead!
Fearful / wary of strangers
This breed is extremely wary and suspicious of strangers and can be aggressive towards them if not socialized from a young age. A well-socialized Thai Ridgeback may act aloof towards unfamiliar faces but is unlikely to turn aggressive.
This dog is too attached to its owner to be an independent dog.
Behaviour of the Thai Ridgeback Dog
The Mah Thai does not like loneliness, therefore he feels very uncomfortable being alone.
Easy to train / obedience
Looking for an easy-to-train, obedient, calm dog? The Thai Ridgeback isn’t the one! Despite their intelligence and ability to learn fast, this breed is stubborn and therefore, difficult to train. They will (yes, it’s a definite!) test boundaries and behave badly if allowed to get away with it.
We can’t stress enough that intensive training and socialization of the Thai Ridgeback is essential. Without it, they really could be a nightmare pet, through no fault of their own. Therefore, it’s essential that only experienced dog handlers adopt this breed.
The Thai Ridgeback isn’t particularly vocal. However, if someone they don’t know enters their territory, they’ll bark excessively.
Tendency to run away
Because of their strong prey drive, the Thai Ridgeback could run away at any given moment. They’re fantastic at jumping, climbing and digging, so back gardens will need to be thoroughly secured.