The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.
The Thai Ridgeback is a muscular, medium-sized dog with a stream-lined body that makes him very agile and a natural athlete. The ridge on his back is formed by hair growing in the opposite direction from the rest of his coat and the breed has up to 8 different ridge patterns. Puppies can be born without this ridge. Coat colors include solid blue, black, red or fawn with a black mask occasionally on the red-coated dogs. Thai Ridgebacks also have spotted tongues and some even come with solid black/blue tongues. Today, most Ridgebacks are companion dogs, but they still maintain many of the same instincts for the jobs for which they were bred: hunting and guarding. They had to be independent, self-sufficient and hunt for their own food, which gave them strong survival instincts, a high prey drive, and a high level of intelligence.
If well bred and properly socialized, the Thai Ridgeback can be a loyal, loving pet. As a guarding breed, they are naturally protective of their home and can be reserved and suspicious with strangers. Thai Ridgebacks will need a patient, consistent, and experienced owner with a good understanding of dog behavior; they are not for first-time dog owners.
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The Thai Ridgeback should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
The Thai Ridgeback’s coat is short, hard, and straight, therefore, occasional brushing to wipe away loose hair is all that is needed. More frequent brushing may be needed when he is shedding, which occurs only once or twice yearly. Due to the absence of an undercoat, people with dog-dander allergies may find that the Ridgeback bothers them less than other breeds.
Beyond regular grooming, the occasional bath will keep your Thai Ridgeback clean and looking his best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your dog. The strong, fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting, and cracking. The ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris, which can result in infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
Options for exercise include play time in the backyard, preferably fenced, or taken for walks several times a day. Exercise can also come in the form of indoor activities, like hide-and-seek, chasing a ball rolled along the floor, or teaching them new tricks. Certain outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, retrieving balls or flying discs can provide a good outlet for expending energy. If you live in an apartment, even short walks in the hallways can give your dog some exercise, especially during inclement weather. Training for dog sports like agility, obedience and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise.
Naturally protective and reserved with strangers, Thai Ridgebacks would do best with proper socialization and training. An experienced owner/handler in dog behavior is required as this breed can be very independent.
Hip dysplasia, though rare, can occur in the Thai Ridgeback. More common is the Dermoid Sinus Cyst. Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Thai Ridgebacks are healthy dogs. Working with a responsible breeder, prospective owners can gain the education they need to learn about specific health concerns within the breed.
The Thai Ridgeback is an old breed which can be seen in archeological documents in Thailand written about 360 years ago. It was used mainly for hunting in the eastern part of that country. People also used it to escort their carts and as a watch dog. The reason why it has kept its own original type for so many years is due to poor transportation systems in the eastern part of Thailand; it had fewer chances to crossbreed with other breeds. Today, the breed is still very rare outside of Thailand.