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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Thai Ridgebacks Breed-FAQ
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:23:21 GMT
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 03 Mar 1998
There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article
is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp
to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via
the Web at http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/lists/faq-list.html, or=20
via email by sending your message to firstname.lastname@example.org with
in the body of the message.
This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.=20
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed. =20
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s). =20
This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other=20
documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is"=20
without express or implied warranty.
This material is Copyright 1996 of the Thai Ridgeback Club of the
United States Inc. and written and provided by: Merle Wood (Legal
Council) for TRCUS and Merle Hidinger, email@example.com,
(Secretary) of TRCUS.
Table of Contents
* Table of Contents
* Characteristics and Temperament
* Frequently Asked Questions
* Special Medical Problems
Characteristics and Temperament
Traditionally, the only other Ridgeback dog beside the well known
Rhodesian Ridgeback has been the Phu Quoc Dog. Pho Quoc Island, now a
part of Vietnam, is the major isle in the Gulf of Siam, about 200 km
south of Bangkok. The ancestry of the Phu Quoc dog is undoubtedly the
Thai Ridgeback which has existed in eastern Siam (near the Cambodian
border) for at least four hundred years . Ridgeback dogs in cave
paintings dating back 1000 years have been found in Cambodia and
These Thai Ridgebacks were used for hunting (they are keen sight
hounds) deer, tapirs and birds in dense jungle, as guardians for
family homesteads and as companions for carts, the traditional mode of
transportation in these areas. As a result of the isolation of the
area, Thai Ridgebacks have retained their unique type and traditional
usage until recently. However, today civilization has come even to
these isolated areas. Roads have been built and autos have replaced
carts as the major mode of transportation. Intense deforestation
throughout Thailand has destroyed most hunting habitat. Thai
Ridgebacks today are primarily kept as companions or guards for the
family homestead and have been adopted by many Thai dog fanciers.
Thai Ridgebacks are medium-large sized short-haired dogs of high
intelligence and great jumping ability. Males measure 22 to 24 =BD
inches at the withers and weigh from 42 to 60 pounds: female measure
21 to 23 =BD inches and weigh from 37 to 50 pounds. The short coat ,
ranging from brush to horse coat comes in four colors, black, red
(ranging from deep mahogany to light chestnut), blue (or silver) and
fawn. The ridge pattern on the back comes in eight different patterns.
Thai Ridgebacks bred by Thai fanciers are often kennel raised. Further
few Thais keep house pets as do Americans. Accordingly, few Thai
imports are well socialized. This is especially true since pups must
be at least four months old (and have their rabies shots) to be
imported into the United States. However, litters bred by American
breeders and hand raised in households according to our traditional
American socialization methods are very good people dogs, bonding
closely to their families. They are usually gentle with their families
and with people their families introduce them to, but are excellent
watch dogs if people they do not know appear or sounds they dont
understand occur around the house.
Frequently Asked Questions
_Does AKC recognize this breed?_
No. However the breed is shown in ARBA (American Rare Breed
Association) shows in the US and FCI shows throughout most of the
_So this means I can't show this dog in conformation or obedience in
This is correct. However ARBA has obedience as well as confirmation
and there are efforts underway to get the breed recognized by SKC
_Are they easy to train? _
In Thailand there are frequent obedience shows run by the DAT, the
Dog Association of Thailand, whose current standard abbreviation is
AT. The agility and obedience requirements are extensive,
equivalent to the Master Agility Excellent and Obedience Trial
Champion titles in the US.
_Would they make good watch dogs? Guard dogs? _
The Ridgeback is an excellent natural watchdog and family
protector, requiring only that the owner has control over it.
_Are they noisy? Do they have any bad habits? _
Ridgebacks tend to bark only when there is something unusual about
(unless one has fallen into bad habits out of boredom). They are
very athletic, easily able to clear high fences unless the owner
has taken proper precautions to see this does not occur. The
Ridgebacks love to run. This can be a good or bad habit depending
on the owner.
_Is the Ridgeback a good house-dog? _
The Ridgeback is an extremely clean dog with no odor due to its
short tropical coat. As tropical dogs they do not tolerate cold
weather well, unless they are adapted to it. They do not drool,
except occasionally in anticipation of food. They are generally
easy to house break. They will take over the furniture unless their
owners discourage this habit from puppy hood. They are well sized,
not so small as to be underfoot, yet not so big that they are
constantly in the way; yet big enough to intimidate a prowler.
Their upright tails wag in a short radius, not knocking over your
house plants or coffee table glasses.
_Are there any special feeding problems? _
Ridgebacks are true omnivores. In Thailand an ancient text says
they are able to feed themselves digging the earth in search of
small prey. Along the beaches they actively forage for small crabs.
They will inhale their food enthusiastically. Consequently
Ridgeback owners need to monitor their dogs weight and cut back to
_How much exercise does a Ridgeback need? _
Like any medium-large dog, Ridgebacks need exercise - a daily romp
in the backyard or park and a couple of long trips should be
Again, Ridgebacks love to run. More exercise would be better but
Ridgebacks do adapt to their people.
_Are they a rare breed? _
Yes, there are less than 100 Thai Ridgebacks registered with the
United States parent specialty club, the Thai Ridgeback Club of the
United States. However, more than 50 thousand are registered world
wide, the vast bulk with the DAT in Thailand.
_Does this mean I will have trouble finding a puppy? _
Yes. You may have to wait some time for a litter and you will
likely have to have it shipped across the country to you. Litters
in the United States are few (there are currently only four
breeders) and demand for the puppies is high. While many dogs exist
in Thailand, they are kennel raised and no puppy can be imported
into the United States until it is at least 4 months old and has
its rabies vaccination.
Some material in this section is excerpted from Laurie Corbett: _The
Dingo: in Australia and Asia_, Copyright Laurie Corbett 1995.
An ancient manuscript of the period of King Songthan of Ayuttaya (1611
to 1628) describes the Ridgeback as follows:
The dogs are big. They are more than two sawk tall (one sawk is a
traditional measurement which equals the length from an adults
elbow to his finger tips). They appear in a variety of colors. And
each dog has a ridge on the back.
They are fierce. They are loyal to their masters. They are able to
feed themselves, digging the earth in search of small prey. They
like to follow their owner, to hunt in the wood. When they catch an
animal they will bring it to their master. They are loyal to the
entire household. They love their companionship. They go everywhere
with their masters, even as far as the big yang tree. They are
powerful and fearless.... Their ears are pointed erect and their
tails stand like the swords of tribesmen...
However, the earliest development of the breed is lost in the times
before recorded history. But the works of archeologists,
anthropologists, paleontologists and zoologists provide irrefutable
evidence that the origins of the pariah type dog extend back to the
origins of the dog itself as it evolved from wolf to dingo to our
Dingoes began and evolved in Asia. The earliest known dingo-like
fossils are from Ban Chiang in north-east Thailand (dated at 5,500
years BP) and from north Vietnam (5,000 years BP). According to skull
morphology, these fossils occupy a place between Asian wolves (prime
candidates were the pale footed (or Indian) wolf Canis lupis pallipes
and the Arabian wolf Canis lupis araba) and modern dingoes in
Australia and Thailand.
The Thai site at Ban Chiang is one of the earliest known sites that
indicates that people changed their nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle
to a sedentary and agricultural subsistence. This sedentary life
allowed communal relationships between wild animals and people. The
start of domestication of wolves into dingoes and other dogs began,
fossils show, between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.
Dingo evolution in western Asia diverged sharply from dingo evolution
in eastern Asia. The earliest records of the domestication of wolves
from Israel to domestic dogs (e.g. Canis familaris poutiani,
Canisfamiliaris, matrisoptimae) suggests that these early primitive
canines were subjected to intense artificial selection by mankind from
the very beginning. Cave paintings, etchings and frescoes in tombs,
pyramids and middens suggest that the major reasons for selective
breeding were to improve the characteristics of dogs for hunting,
herding, hauling , guarding, scavenging and fighting.
The ultimate outcome of the many mechanisms of domestication is the
immense range of sizes, shapes, colors and temperaments found in
modern breeds of dogs. What is often forgotten is that this doggie
plethora of about 600 true breeding types was derived from a single
uniformly structured canine, the dingo, via founder effects, selective
breeding and genetic drift.
The evolution of early canines in eastern Asia contrasts starkly with
the events in western Asia. Although human societies in east Asia
acquired the early canines for food, hunting, alerting and perhaps
other cultural reasons, it seems they were never subjected to
selective breeding or other artificial selection pressures.
Morphological comparisons between the skulls of the early canines
(dated 5,500 years BP) modern dingoes from Thailand and Australia and
modern dingo-like domestic dogs show a great similarity between the
dingoes and early canines but a clear cut difference between them and
domestic dogs. The dogs, although closely resembling dingoes in size
and conformation, are distinct. It is to this group of pariah dogs
that the Thai Ridgeback belongs.
The evolution of the Thai Ridgeback from the pariah dog cannot be
precisely determined. The place of origin cannot be precisely located
since the breed habitat is not only Thailand but also Vietnam,
Kamphuchea (Cambodia) and Indonesia. The breed is only found on the
islands of Vietnam (including Phu Quoc), Kamphuchea and Indonesia,
however, while it is found on both the islands and mainland of
Thailand. Phu Quoc, an island in the Gulf of Siam, was where the
western dog fanciers first encountered the breed and obtained the dog
in the 19th century when the island was colonized.
A study was undertaken, according to Dr. S. Wannakrairoj to locate the
place where the breed first appeared. To determine the place of origin
without any historical record the genetic analysis of the Ridgeback
was performed using reported survey data. The width of the ridge and
the number of crowns on the body which are controlled by the number of
additive alleles were used since the dog with the higher number of
mutant alleles has the longer history.
According to genetic theory the dog with the broader ridge or more
crowns results from the accumulation of more (recessive) ridge genes.
The Thai Ridgeback in Thailand has a ridge much wider than its back,
sometimes down its flank, with a maximum of 14 crowns. The closest
competitor from Vietnam, including Phu Quoc Island, has a ridge only
on its back, not down the flank and a maximum of 10 crowns. Thus the
Thai dog must have evolved for the longest period. Hence, the
Ridgeback must be of Thailand origin. This justifies the name Thai
Ridgeback. The areas with the highest population of the breed were the
eastern areas of Thailand and particularly the eastern fishing ports.
Thus it was probably Thai fisherman that took the dogs to the islands
of Thailands neighbors. Whether east Asian explorers took the dog to
eastern Africa cannot be known. However it is clear that the Phu Quoc
dog is simply the same breed as the Thai Ridgeback but named after the
place it was first sighted by Western dog fanciers rather than its
place of origin. Its current size, considerably smaller than the Thai
Ridgeback is a commentary on its meager environment on Phu Quoc
The present bloodlines were collected by Thai fanciers over the past
few decades. The breed was first recognized by the Dog Association of
Thailand, then the Japanese Kennel Club, and the Asian Kennel Union
and finally, as breed number 338 by the FCI in 1993.
THAI RIDGEBACK DOG
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD
Group 5 Spitz and Primitive Types
Section 7 Primitive Type-Hunting Dogs Without Working Trial
BRIEF HISTORY SUMMARY
The Thai Ridgeback Dog is an old breed which can be seen in
archeological writing in Thailand which were written about 350 years
ago. Mainly in the eastern part of Thailand, it was used for hunting.
People also used it to escort their carts and as a watch dog. The
reason why it has kept its own original type for years is poor
transportation systems in the eastern part of Thailand; it had fewer
chances to crossbreed with other breeds.
Medium-sized dog with short hair forming a ridge along the back. The
body is slightly longer than its height at the withers. Muscles are
well developed, and its anatomical structure is suitable for
Length of body: size (height at the withers) 11:10
Height of chest: size (height at the withers) 5:10
Length of the muzzle: length of the head 2: 3
Tough and active with excellent jumping abilities.
The crown is flat and has a gentle slope toward the stop. Stop:
Clearly defined, but moderate. Inclination is not abrupt.
Nose: Color is black.
Nasal bridge: Straight and long.
Muzzle: Wedge-shape. Dogs with fawn coat have a black mask.
Mouth: Black marking on the tongue.
Jaw: Upper jaw is thick enough, and lower jaw is strong.
Teeth: White and strong with scissors bite.
Eyes: Middle size and almond shaped. The eye color is dark brown. In
blue and silver, amber-colored eyes are permitted.
Ears: Set on either side of the crown, which is slightly broad between
the two ears. Rather large triangular, inclining forward and firmly
picked. Not cropped.
Neck: Strong, muscular, holding head high.
Loin: Strong and broad
Croup: Moderately round
Chest: Deep enough to reach the elbows. The ribs are well built, but
Lower line: The belly is tucked up.
Tail: It has a thick base with gradual tapering toward the tip. The
tip reaches hock joints. It holds up vertically or curves like a
Front legs: The forearm straight
Hind legs: Well developed thighs and slightly bent stifles. Hocks are
tough. The nails are black or light through brown.
Stride with no pitching nor rolling of the body. Track in two parallel
straight lines. When viewed from the front, the forelegs move up and
down in straight lines so that the shoulder, elbow and pastern joints
are approximately in line with each other. When viewed from the rear,
the stifle and hip joints are approximately in line. Move in a
straight pattern forward without throwing the feet in or out; thus
enabling the stride to be long and drive powerful. The overall
appearance of the moving dog is one of the smooth flowing and well
Soft, tender and tight skin.
Hair: Strong and smooth. The ridge is formed by the hair growing in
the opposite direction to the rest of the coat, starting from slightly
behind the withers and extending to the point of prominence at the
hips. It should be clearly defined from other parts of the back,
tapering and symmetrical.
Color: Solid color, light chestnut red (the deeper the better), pure
black, blue (silver), and fawn.
Height at the withers:
Dogs 22-25 inches (56-63.5cm)
Bitches 20-23 inches (51-58.5cm)
* Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a
fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded
should be in exact proportion to its degree.
* Any bite other than scissors bite
* Unbalanced ridge
* Dogs without ridge
* Long hair
N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully
descended into the scrotum
Dog Association of Thailand
Asian Kennel Union
American Rare Breed Association (ARBA)
Special Medical Problems
This condition occurs when the skin is not completely closed along the
dogs spine. While hard to detect at puppyhood it can be done by those
experienced in the breed by palpating along the spine. If dormant this
condition causes no problems and the dog and lead a normal life.
Unfortunately, these sinuses or cysts dont often remain dormant. They
become inflamed and infected. The surgery to correct this sinus is
expensive, painful and frequently not successful.
Another genetic fault, some Thai Ridgebacks are born without ridges.
Many breeders euthanize these puppies but more enlightened breeders do
not. The puppies are designated pet quality and require a spay/neuter
At present there are no books, publications, videos or anything else
in English although many such publications do exist in Thai. Plans are
underway to translate selected publications.
Blanch- O Kennels 1119 West Farms Road, Howell, N.J. 07731
Fairtex Kennels 327 South 4th Street, Bangor, PA. 18018 (610)588-6932.
Thai Silk-United States Kennels 2357 W. Sumaya Pl., Tucson, AZ.
The Thai Ridgeback Club of America and the Thai Ridgeback Association
of America are merging to form the Thai Ridgeback Club of the United
States, Inc.. Its address is: 2357 W. Sumaya Pl., Tucson Az.
85741-3708. Its telephone number is 1-800-234-2531. John Caponetto is
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Maureen Pinto is President and
Merle Chip Hidinger is Secretary.
The club may be contacted at:
Merle Hidinger: Secretary
2357 W. Sumaya Pl.
Tucson, Az. 85741-3708
Please contact the Thai Ridgeback Club of the United States for
further information and club newsletter.
Web sites include:
Thai Ridgeback FAQ
Merle Hidinger, firstname.lastname@example.org