One of only three types of dogs with a distinctive ridged back, the Thai Ridgeback is a large, short-haired dog originating from Thailand. Similar-looking dogs can also be found in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The dog is still relatively unknown outside of Asia, although it is growing in popularity is countries such as the United State. The Thai Ridgeback is not currently found in Australia.
The appearance of the Thai Ridgeback
Thai Ridgebacks are a medium-sized dog, and are very muscular in appearance. The body is usually tapered, and the breed has high-set ears that are triangular in shape. The dogs have a very short coat that is hard and straight. Due to its tropical origins, the breed traditionally has only a thin undercoat. However, recent breeding practices have done away with this undercoat altogether. The coat, which is solid in colour, is usually one of four colours: blue, black, red, or silver, although white coats are also possible. The most distinctive aspect of the dog is the ridge on its back. This ridge occurs between the withers and the hips, and can occur in eight different varieties, including the “needle” pattern, the “feather pattern”, and the “saddleback” pattern.
Health issues relating to the breed
The Thai Ridgeback is known to regularly suffer from three main health conditions. The first of these is what is known as “patellar luxation”, a condition where the kneecaps become locked into position. The second issue is hip dysplasia, where the hips of the dog become affected. Another common issue is “dermoid sinus cysts”, where cysts develop between the skin and spinal column. These cysts can become inflamed and infected when the dog sheds.
Nature & temperament
Thai Ridgebacks are highly intelligent, and are also energetic in nature. They tend to be active in bursts. They can be highly protective of their family and home, and are known to be aggressive, particularly when they have not been trained or socialised, or when around new people.
The Thai Ridgeback has a highly independent personality, and is for the most part undomesticated. This is because the breed has historically had very little human contact. This lack of human contact, as well as the “outcast” treatment the breed has usually received, means that Thai Ridgebacks can often be cowardly and cringing around humans. They often avoid human contact where possible. This is true of the domesticated variety as well. Some dogs habitually cringe and flee when approached by humans. In its native Thailand, the Thai Ridgeback is what is known as a “Pariah” dog. These dogs are those that have their origins as scavengers. Pariah dogs are usually disliked, and are considered to be vermin rather than pets.
Keeping a Thai Ridgeback
Due to their personality, a mix of the shy and the aggressive, the breed is not currently recommended as a companion dog. Owners of Thai Ridgebacks should be experienced dog owners, and must be ready to embark upon a rigorous training regimen. They should also ensure that their home is adequately dog-proofed, as Thai Ridgebacks are prone to jumping, climbing, and digging. Thai Ridgebacks are known for hunting, and are best kept away from other pets or small animals.