Thai Ridgeback is Pronounced:   TIE Ridgeback

Also Known As:  Thai Dog ~ Siamese Dog ~ Mah Lung Ahn ~ Mah Thai Lung Ahn ~ Thai Ridgeback Dog



The Thai Ridgeback is considered  a Pariah-type dog, being of medium size, very muscular, having loose skin, a wedge-shaped head topped with triangular prick ears and a short, dense coat.  The outstanding feature of this breed is a ridge of hair  on their back, formed by hair growing in the opposite direction.  This ridge runs from behind the withers to hindquarters.  Puppies are occasionally born without the ridge, and are considered of pet quality. 

The over-all impression is that of a dog which is very agile, powerful and alert.  Their heads are carried high atop a strong, firm neck, and the muzzle is wedge-shaped and very powerful, the jaws having retained a trait common to eastern breeds called “scissor jaw,” where the teeth interlock when the jaws are closed.  Their tongues are black, blue or bluish-gray, and their eyes are dark (or amber in blue dogs)  and almond shaped.  The nose is black.   The body is comprised of a strong back, strong and broad loin, a moderately round croup, and a chest deep enough to reach the elbows.  The ribs are well formed and the belly is tucked up.  The tail has a thick base and tapers gradually to the tip, and is carried vertically and curves like a sickle when the dog is moving, but should be long enough to reach the hock joints when the dog is idle.  All of the legs are straight, strong and well muscled.

The coat of the Thai Ridgeback is short, hard, straight and dense with no undercoat.  Approved colors include solid black, blue, red or fawn, with dark masks being acceptable on red colors.  Eight distinctive ridge patterns have been identified:  needle, feather, arrow, lute, violin, bowling pin, leaf and saddleback.  All patterns are acceptable, and must be clearly defined and symmetrical, with the broader ridges being more highly prized.  The males are from 22 to 25 inches in height at the withers and bitches are slightly smaller and more feminine, standing 20 to 23 inches in height.  Weight averages 35 to 55 pounds in bitches and 40 to 60 pounds in males.


The Thai Ridgeback was developed primarily in eastern Thailand, and rock art indicates they were present over 2,000 years ago.  Because of the isolation of Thai villages, the breed developed uniformly and without crosses to other breeds for centuries, resulting in a robust dog that have eliminated lethal traits by natural selection.  The breed was mainly used for hunting and guardianship of the villagers possessions.

The breed is extremely rare and was introduced in the United States in 1994.  They have been accepted into the Foundation Stock Services of  the American Kennel Club and may participate in companion events such as obedience, agility, and rally.

An Example of One of the Eight Ridgeback Patterns


While this breed makes a good companion, he is not far removed from his traditional duties as a hunter and watch/guardian dog.  They can be aloof with strangers, but when well bred and properly socialized, they make loving, loyal family members.  They are naturally protective and can become aggressive or shy when not properly socialized.  The Thai Ridgeback remains independent in his thinking and his original instinct and prey drive remains intact, making him not suitable for novice owners.  Suitable for a dominant owner, a Thai Ridgeback that is improperly or poorly raised can be aggressive.  These dogs are extremely athletic and have great jumping ability, so a safely fenced area is recommended for them to exercise in at will.


Due to their harsh beginnings and natural selection carried out over generations, the Thai Ridgeback is a hardy and healthy breed with few inherent health issues.  The breed is subject to Dermoid Sinus, a condition that occurs when the skin is not completely closed along a dogs spine.  It is hard to detect, and if dormant, it causes no problems, but it doesn’t often remain dormant and they can become inflamed and infected.  Surgery is required but it not always successful.  Some modern lines may also be prone to hip dysplasia and other genetic disorders.

A Typical Thai Ridgeback Puppy


The average life span of the Thai Ridgeback is between 12 and 15 years of age.


The Thai Ridgeback will do fine living in an apartment provided he has ample exercise.  They prefer warmer climates and should not be left out in cold, inclement weather. 

These dogs are very active  and tough, requiring plenty of exercise.  Vigorous daily walks are recommended, and caution should be taken when letting them exercise off leash, using only safely secured areas. 


The Thai Ridgeback’s short, dense coat requires very little care other than a weekly combing or brushing to keep it healthy and shining and free of dead hair.

The Expressin of A Mature Thai Ridgeback


American Thai Ridgeback Association: