The Thai Ridgeback

Quick Facts

- Only for experienced owners
- Best with older children
- Good with household dogs and cats when raised with them
- Medium size
- Medium exercise needs
- Low shedding
- High guard dog abilities
- Low-medium ease of training

The Thai Ridgeback is also called the Mah Thai Lang Ahn. They are a very old breed, dating back to at least the 17th century and were once used to hunt deer, boar, tapirs and birds. The breed originates from Thailand and gets its name from the ridge of hair that runs down the center of their back in the opposite direction than the rest of their hair. They are one of three ridgeback breeds; the other two being the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Phu Quoc Ridgeback.

Until, recent years the breed was virtually unknown outside Thailand; the first Thai Ridgebacks were exported from Thailand in 1990. Today, they are recognized by many of the major kennel clubs worldwide and are slowly gaining in popularity in Europe and North America.

The Thai Ridgeback is a very primitive instinctive breed. They are intelligent, independent and dominant, and require an experienced owner who knows how to be a solid pack leader. They require early and thorough training and socialization to help them become well-balanced trustworthy adults. Training should be firm and consistent, yet always fair; positive reward focused techniques work best.

Thai Ridgebacks are naturally suspicious and wary of strangers. They make excellent home watchdogs and guardians, but can become overprotective and territorial; proper training and socialization are essential in ensuring they do not become aggressive and dangerous. Due to their dominant nature, Thai Ridgebacks are better suited to all adult homes or homes with older children, than homes with young children. Most can peacefully cohabitate with other dogs and cats when raised with them. However, they tend to be aggressive with strange dogs and due to their natural hunting instincts are not trustworthy around small pets like rabbits, pet rodents and birds. Early and thorough socialization with other dogs can help decrease canine aggressions problems.

Thai Ridgebacks are active athletic dogs that require at least an hour or two of exercise each day. They make fine city dogs and can happily adapt to apartment living as long as they get adequate daily exercise. When ill exercised and bored, Thai Ridgebacks can become very destructive and aggressive. They love to run so make excellent jogging, bicycling or rollerblading companions. Due to their natural hunting instincts, care should be taken when allowing them off lead, as they could be off in pursuit of prey in seconds. They are excellent jumpers, and can jump all but the tallest fences. Most Thai Ridgebacks enjoy participating in obedience and agility trials, lure coursing, flyball and conformation shows.

When adequately exercised and properly trained, Thai Ridgebacks make a calm quiet companion. They are stalwart and loyal, and like to spend time with their human family. They are not dogs for everyone as they take serious dedication and work, but with the right owner, they have the potential of being fantastic companions and lifelong friends.

Appearance and Grooming:
The Thai Ridgeback is a medium sized athletic pariah-type dog. They measure 20-24 inches at their withers and weigh 35-60 pounds when full grown. Their short smooth coats are available in a variety of solid colours ranging from shades of black, blue, red or fawn; reds and fawns may have a black mask. Down the center of their back, from their withers to their hips, they have a pronounced hair ridge. They are very clean dogs with virtually no odour. Their grooming needs are minimal, only requiring a quick wipe down with a damp cloth once a week.

The Thai Ridgeback is a hardy breed prone to minimal hereditary health issues. Owners should watch for dermoid sinus and hip dysplasia. To help prevent hip dysplasia, perspective owners are best to buy from a breeder who offers puppies from OFA registered parents. Thai Ridgebacks are far more comfortable in warm climates and do not take well to cold weather; they should not be left outside for extended periods during cold weather and should have a coat to help keep them warm when outside during the winter. Their average life span is around 12 years.


Located in: Sighthounds