Thai Ridgeback

The primary Junction of this multi-purpose dog is to protect the homes of its peasant owners. Known in its homeland by the name Mah Thai Lang Aan, it is now recognized as the National Dog of its country and has been given the official title of Royal Dog of Thailand.


It has been claimed that the Thai Ridgeback is depicted in Cambodian and Thai cave paintings that are at least 3,000 years old. For centuries it had stood guard over the peasant homes in the remote, isolated villages of eastern Thailand. The villagers hardly ever visited the urban centres of the country. Had they wished to do so, the journey would have taken them many days. As a result, the Thai Ridgeback has remained largely undiluted by other dogs, making it one of the purest breeds in the world. Then, in 1975, the Dog Association of Thailand was formed and the Ridgeback suddenly gained the international recognition it deserved. Even now, however, it remains an extremely rare breed that is seldom seen in the West.

In addition to its primary role as a guard dog, it accompanies local hunters and helps to track down quarry such as rabbits and deer. Packs of Ridgebacks are also used to corner wild boar. They are not trained to hunt — the young dogs simply learn from the old ones. When the peasants set off on a special journey, the Ridgebacks accompany their carts as escort dogs.


This is a fierce, proud, powerful animal, weighing about 50 lb (23 kg). The height at its withers should be about 23-26 inches/58-66 cm. Its body should be rectangular, well muscled and with good bone. The head is wedge shaped with hooded ears. The coat should be smooth, fine and glossy, and the skin very fine. Its color should be black, gray, blue or shades of clear red. A remarkably athletic dog, it is capable of jumping 6 ft (1.8 m) into the air. The Thai Ridgeback has a short, smooth coat bearing its extraordinary, trademark ridge of hair down the middle of the back -hair that grows in the ‘wrong’ direction — which gives the dog its distinctive appearance. This curious marking stops short of both the tail and the nape of the neck, and experts have identified several different shapes of ridge. They have given these various names, such as Needle Pattern, Lute Pattern, Violin Pattern and Arrow Pattern. The most favoured one is the Arrow Pattern. The Thai Ridgeback is claimed to be the ancestor of the African breed known as the Rhodesian Ridgeback as a result of examples having been taken from Thailand by trading ship in ancient times. Future DNA tests may settle this matter.

Gallery of Thai Ridgeback