Rare Breed Profile: The Thai Ridgeback
The Thai Ridgeback dog was introduced to the United States fewer than 20 years ago, but its history in Asia dates back some 2,000 years. Also referred to as Mah Thai Lang Ahn, they were rarely seen outside their native Thailand for centuries, but in recent years they’ve begun emigrating to other countries.
The Thai Ridgeback gets its name from a distinctive ridge of fur that runs along its back in the opposite direction of its other fur. Only two other dog breeds in the entire world, the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Phu Quoc Ridgeback, share this trait.
These dogs are very agile, very athletic and very strong. The males may stand up to 24 inches tall and weigh up to 60 pounds, while the females are generally 22 inches or fewer and weigh less than 55 pounds.
They have low-set, triangular ears. They have a short, hard coat that may be red, black, fawn or blue. The ridges may come in one of eight varieties: bowling pin, lute , arrow, needle, saddleback, feather, violin or leaf.
Thai Ridgebacks are a very smart breed. They enjoy daily mental stimulation and respond well when their owners test their considerable intelligence. They must be well trained, though; otherwise, this breed can become overly aggressive. If they receive proper instruction as pups, they make loving, polite family dogs.
They have a strong urge to hunt. They can be difficult and independent minded, so dog handlers who have some experience with large, difficult breeds are usually best at breaking them. Unlike many dog breeds, Thai Ridgebacks developed in relative isolation in the Thai mountains, so many of them aren’t used to being around people. They can learn to love them, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
The Thai Ridgeback’s history can be traced back to the most recent Stone Age in Thailand. Rock art that dates back to that time shows a dog that resembles the Thai Ridgeback accompanying his master on the hunt.
It’s believed that the breed descended from Pariah-type dogs, which have their origins in ancient times. It’s also believed that the Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Phu Quoc Ridgeback, which is from Vietnam, share some ancestry with the Thai Ridgeback because of the ridge they all share. However, it’s never been determined exactly how they’re related.
These days the Thai Ridgeback is used mainly as a livestock guardian or as a watchdog. They’re not employed by hunters as much, especially in the U.S., as there are already so many other competent hunting breeds. But they’re still admired for their fierce and unusual appearance, which stands out from so many other common dogs.
About the Author:
Adrienne Erin is a dog-loving blogger and freelance writer who writes about everything from breeds of dogs to electronic mice repellent. If you are interested in seeing more of her work, find her on Twitter: @adrienneerin.