Do You Know About the Adorable Thai Ridgeback?

Last Updated on April 23, 2023

The Thai Ridgeback dog is an independent breed known by many different names, such as the Mah Thai Lang Ahn, Mah Thai Lung Arn, or simply Mah Tai.

This dog breed came to be for a few different reasons but is more known as a companion dog these days.

Portrait of Thai Ridgeback dog standing outside

What makes the Thai dog so interesting? Read on to learn more about this purebred!

Where did the Thai Ridgeback originate?

Did you know that Thai Ridgebacks have a ridge of hair running down his back, and that’s how they got their name?

It’s not quite sure how the Thai Ridgeback came to be, but it’s believed they might have come from the Mastiff family or the Hottentot dog, which is now extinct.

This dog breed is not to be confused with the Rhodesian Ridgeback, which came from Africa. The Thai Ridgeback originated in Thailand.

Also known as a Pariah Dog, this breed may be much older than we believe, as there were archeological documents about the Thai Ridgeback from 360 years ago.

They were bred mainly for hunting cobras in the Middle East. They were also used as watchdogs and for escorting carts safely.

The hunting dog is rare outside of Thailand. In 1994, a man named Jack Sterling found the breed when he visited Bangkok, Thailand. He brought the breed back to the United States.

The Thai dog was accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the Foundation Stock Service in 1997. In 2008, this pup was able to compete.

Now that we know where they came from let’s talk about the Thai Ridgeback’s appearance.

What does a Thai Ridgeback look like?

Thai Ridgeback dog walking on the snow field
Source: @sky_thairidgeback / IG

This doggo is medium to large with a short coat that forms a distinctive ridge along the back.

According to their breed standard, their head typically has a flat skull with a web-shaped muzzle. When concentrated, wrinkles will appear on their forehead.

Their eyes are almond-shaped with ears that are medium in size. They’re triangular and pointed forward. They have a black nose; unless it’s a blue Ridgeback, then their nose may be blue as well.

What’s unique about this breed is that they have spotted tongues, some with a solid black or blue tongue.

Their neck is medium in length and muscular. It’s slightly arched, holding its head up high.

The back is level with a deep chest and a tail that’s carried vertical and curves just a little.

Its shoulders are laid back with oval front and back feet. Its thighs are well-developed and strong.

Size: how big do Thai Ridgebacks get?

This breed is a decent size, with the males growing as much as 22 to 24 inches (55 to 60 cm) tall and females not too far behind, growing about 20 to 22 inches (50 to 55 cm) tall.

In terms of weight, males can be about 50 to 75 pounds ( 22 to 34 kg), and females can weigh about 35 to 55 pounds (15 to 24 kg).

In addition to the size and weight differences, the males and females can differ through temperament.

For example, males show more affection and need more attention from their humans.

On the other hand, females are more independent but are more patient than males.

No matter its gender, the Thai Ridgeback will be fully grown around one year of age.

Due to their size, they can live in apartments. They’ll do better with a bigger space, but with enough exercise each day, they’ll do okay in apartment living.

Coat: what colors do they come in?

Big Thai Ridgeback dog lying down on the floor

This fido comes with straight hair on a smooth, short coat.

This comes in a variety of colors, as well.

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Fawn/Light Fawn (Isabella)
  • White
  • Chestnut
  • Silver

The rest of the coat can also come in a few markings, such as a black mask occasionally on red-coated dogs, and some have red or fawn coloring with a black mask or simply have a brindle marking.

Ridge patterns

Finally, the Thai Ridgeback comes in a few different patterns, such as:

  • Needle
  • Feather
  • Arrow
  • Lute
  • Violin
  • Bowling Pin
  • Leaf
  • Saddleback

These patterns refer to the ridges of hair on their back. They come in a few different patterns, going in the opposite direction of the rest of their coat.

Temperament: are Thai Ridgebacks good family dogs?

Thai Ridgeback dog with a bone on the top of tree stump
Source: @thairidgeback_ra_and_john / IG

Believe it or not, the Thai Ridgeback can be a hit or miss when it comes to being a family dog. While this breed is more of a companion dog these days, its hunting tendencies from its ancestors can still show.

They will make a good family dog as long as it’s with experienced dog owners. They’ll do well with singles or couples and even the elderly but will do better with older children rather than toddlers.

If you have a family with young kids, it’d be best to give your Thai Ridgeback early socialization and allow them to grow up with the children.

Overall, this dog breed is friendly with its family. They know who their pack is and will be loyal to each member, making an excellent guard dog.

Are Ridgeback dogs dangerous?

No, this breed is not necessarily dangerous. They don’t have biting or attacking tendencies.

Just take a look at this adorable pup excited to play in rain puddles!

However, they can be aggressive. If they’re not trained properly, they will show aggression to protect their owner. When meeting new people and being around strangers, they may show aggression or become shy.

This behavior also goes for other pets, such as other dogs, smaller animals, and cats. In fact, this hunting dog may react so that they will try to hunt smaller animals and cats.

If you have other animals in your home, firm training and proper socialization for your Thai Ridgeback are necessary.

Luckily, they’ll do just fine on their own for a little bit. This fido is independent, so if you leave the house for some time, they can tolerate being alone.

If they’re alone for too long or still a young pup, they may get separation anxiety.

In addition, they may bark. This breed is not typically vocal, but they’ll bark if they feel the need to. For example, if they think something is wrong.

While this pup will do just fine in an apartment, they’ll thrive with a house and a fenced-in yard. They love to roam, so you’ll need to keep an eye on them. They tend to wander and can escape the yard.

However, they love being home, so they shouldn’t go too far if they get out.

One thing to note about the Thai Ridgeback is that they’re smart but are independent and can be stubborn.

While they’re easy to potty train, they’re not as easy to train otherwise.

To properly train your Thai Ridgeback, you’ll need to be firm with them to show you’re in charge. However, they don’t respond well to negative interactions and need plenty of positive reinforcement.

Additionally, they’ll need many repetitive activities and patience from you.

Early socialization is a must if you want them to get used to other people and animals. They have a strong prey drive, so you’ll need to nip any hunting tendencies in the bud.

How to take care of your Thai Ridgeback dog

Portrait of running black Thai Ridgeback dog

Despite their hot and cold temperament, the Thai Ridgeback dog isn’t too high maintenance in terms of care.

They’ll love living in a warmer climate as their short coat can’t tolerate the cold well. This will make a difference when it comes to caring for your fido.

Exercising your Thai Ridgeback

Since this doggo was initially bred to be hunting dogs and for carrying carts, this is a fairly energetic breed. They’re athletic and will enjoy big-game hunting.

Allowing these game hunters some time to get back to their roots will do wonders for their energy levels. Of course, you’ll need to ensure your pooch can differentiate between a game and when it’s not okay to go hunting.

To help keep them fit, you’ll want to take your pup on a long walk every single day. They’ll thrive with an active owner or family.

Grooming: do Thai Ridgebacks shed?

Even though they have a short coat, Thai Ridgebacks do shed quite a bit, and they are not considered a hypoallergenic breed.

They will shed all year round, but it’s not heavy, thanks to their short fur.

However, their grooming needs are relatively low despite the shedding, thanks to their short coat.

To keep their coat looking shiny and healthy (and to keep the shedding at bay), you’ll want to give your pooch a weekly brushing.

Using a curry brush or a glove will do wonders for your Thai Ridgeback’s coat.

With their pointed ears, you’ll also want to keep an eye on their ears and clean them regularly with a pet-safe cleaning solution to keep infection away.

Brush their teeth and trim their nails regularly as well.

The Thai Ridgeback will only need an occasional bath once or twice a year. Bathing them too often can cause a skin infection. When you bathe them, be sure you’re using pet-safe shampoo. 

Of course, this doggo can get smelly from time to time. You can give them an extra bath if they get visibly dirty or begin to smell due to some sort of infection or gas.

Feeding your Thai Ridgeback

Thai Ridgeback dog chewing a huge bone
Source: @gin.dogs / IG

If you have a puppy, you’ll want to feed them about four different meals each day. You can lessen that to three meals per day at three to six months of age.

For your adult pup, six months and over, you’ll want to feed them about two to three cups of kibble between two meals daily.

Since this hunting dog is energetic and athletic, you’ll want to have a protein-based diet for your pup.

This does not include table scraps or human food, as this can cause your dog to get sick.

As always, be sure to talk to your vet, and they’ll recommend proper diet and nutrition for your fido.

Lifespan: how long do Thai Ridgebacks live?

Portrait of curious Thai Ridgeback dog
Source: @sky_thairidgeback / IG

Due to its size, this pup has a shorter lifespan of only 12 to 13 years. This pup is prone to different types of cancer, which usually gets them in the end.

Some other health concerns may include:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Obesity
  • Thyroid problems (Hypothyroidism)
  • Dermoid Sinus Cyst
    • Meningitis
    • Myelitis

Fortunately, you can do various health screenings for your pup to keep an eye on such health issues.

You can have hip x-rays done for the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) through your vet. You can also bring your doggo to the vet at least once a year for a full physical examination.

How much are Thai Ridgeback puppies?

Young Thai Ridgeback dog lying beside the flowers
Source: @puppies_thai_ridgeback / IG

The average litter size of Thai Ridgeback puppies is about five per litter.

Depending on where you get your puppy from, they will typically cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000.

This is partly because Thai Ridgebacks are rare in the United States. There are only about 100 dogs of this breed in the country.

If you do happen to find a purebred Thai Ridgeback, you can expect to spend anywhere up to $2,000 for the first year (aside from the puppy’s cost) and about $500 to $1,000 per year after that.

Some costs to keep in mind are:

  • Various accessories (collar, leash, harness, dog bed, etc.)
  • Dog food
  • Vet check-ups and medical bills
  • Grooming supplies
  • Toys
  • And more

Due to their rarity, you won’t be finding a Thai Ridgeback in a pet store. You might have better luck with a reputable breeder or even a rescue.

Thai Ridgeback breeders

When searching for a breeder you can trust, keep a few things in mind.

The breeder will not allow the puppies to leave their mother before eight weeks of age, they won’t let you buy a puppy until they have met you and you have been able to meet the puppies and at least one of the pet parents.

Additionally, they’ll be well knowledgable about the Thai Ridgeback breed.

You might have to do some digging to find a good breeder for this dog breed since they’re so rare in the United States. 

A good place to start may be the AKC Marketplace, or you can check out Thai Ridgeback Breeder (Schenectady, NY).

Thai Ridgebacks for Adoption

At this time, there aren’t too many rescues catered to the Thai Ridgeback breed.

You can always keep an eye on Puppy Finder to see if any are for adoption in your area.

Alternatively, you can get in contact with your local shelter and ask if they have this breed available.

Thai Ridgeback VS similar breeds

With how rare this breed is and how it’s similar to a couple of other dog breeds, it’s easy to mistake the Thai Ridgeback with the Rhodesian Ridgeback or the Phu Quoc Ridgeback.

Rhodesian Ridgeback VS Thai Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback dog posing on the beach
Meet the charming Rhodesian Ridgeback dog

While both are considered hunting dogs, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is bigger than the Thai Ridgeback, and they are also from South Africa, mainly Zimbabwe (known as Rhodesia, back then).

Also known as the Lion Dog, or African Lion Hound, the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog is a purebred bred for hunting lions and protecting Boer farms.

This pup is another athletic breed and enjoys various agility sports such as jogging, hiking, and lure coursing.

Unlike the Thai Ridgeback, it’s known how the Rhodesian Ridgeback came to be.

This South African dog is made up of a plethora of dog breeds such as:

  • Khoikhoi
  • Bloodhounds
  • Mastiffs
  • Great Danes
  • And European breeds from Dutch colonists such as
    • Greyhounds
    • Boer Hounds
    • Various Terriers.

It was created by a hunter named Cornelius von Rooyen.

While the Thai Ridgeback comes in many colors, Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies only come in one color: red wheaten. They also have a whorl or crown in between their shoulders.

This Ridgeback breed from Southern Africa is relatively popular as there’s even a Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States.

Phu Quoc Ridgeback VS Thai Ridgeback

Phu Quoc Ridgeback dog sitting on the field looking afar
Source: @haleytheridgeback / IG

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is another hunting dog, but it originated in Vietnam.

Also known as the Beautiful Island Ridgeback, this purebred is much smaller than the Thai Ridgeback, weighing 26 to 30 pounds (12 to 18 kg) and growing as tall as 23 to 25 inches (57 to 62 cm).

They have coarse hair as opposed to the Thai Ridgeback’s smooth coat.

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback will make a great guard dog as they are courageous and loyal. However, they too can be aggressive and territorial. 

Who should get a Thai Ridgeback?

Thai Ridgeback dog posing on the autumn field background
Source: @madox_thairidgeback / IG

If you’re an active family with no kids or other pets and have had a dog before, then a Thai Ridgeback might be a good idea for you.

The Thai Ridgeback will be loyal, want to exercise with you, and make a wonderful companion pup.

Will you be bringing a Thai Ridgeback home today?

Leave a Comment