The breed, which almost did not "catch" the delights of progress, the Thai Ridgeback is a national treasure of Thailand and one of the most ancient representatives of the canine world. Walking next to a man, the ridgeback retained its primitive essence and appearance. Today, this dog is surrounded by a large number of puzzles related to the origin. It should be noted that over the years there are not less, but more.
For how many millennia the history of the ridgeback breed has been calculated, it is rather difficult to say, according to the generally accepted version, dogs with ridges on their backs (ridge) have existed for more than 3000 years. It is possible that indigenous dogs, which can be counted among the ancestors of the ridgebacks, lived before, but there is no scientific evidence to support this version. A similar uncertainty exists in determining the breed’s homeland. Officially, the main abode of the breed group was mainland and island Thailand, but it is possible that the ridgebacks lived in Indonesia. Most likely the dog of the Thai Ridgeback breed came from an uncontrolled incest of wild Dingo and the native canine population. Dingoes, in turn, are descendants of wolves that lived in Asia. In an analogy to modern times, Ridgebacks would be considered a semi-wild cross between mongrels.
It is interesting! The main concentration of ancestors of Thai Ridgebacks was observed in the east of the coastal zone of Thailand, and the dogs got to the islands, traveling with fishermen and traders.
Climatic conditions forced the animals living on the islands to "get rid" of fur and heavy physique. Generation after generation, nature "mowed" individuals unsuitable for survival. The final type of Thai curs is quite similar to the description of the breed of the modern ridgeback, naturally, if we omit the nuances regarding the uniformity of colors and dimensions. At what stage the incest with Dingo occurred, the story is silent, but a similar morphology (the science of the structure and form) of dogs is obvious. By the way, the remains of dogs similar to Dingo were found both in Vietnam and in Thailand. According to archaeological research, dinghy canids (commonly called wolves) lived in the above territories for 5-5.5 thousand years BC.
It is interesting! The world community recognizes the wild roots of the Thai Ridgeback, as the breed belongs to the indigenous (naturally occurring) group of FCI.
Traveling by sea, half-wild dogs with a fierce, but loyal owner disposition came to Phu Quốc island, located in the Gulf of Thailand (Vietnam). The limited and small area of the territory led to forced inbreeding, that is, closely related mating among dogs. Thus, in an absolutely natural, albeit slightly unnatural way, the islanders acquired a universal working breed.
It is interesting! Historians argue that unlike Dingo, who lived in the western part of the land, wolf-like dogs in the East were domesticated and mated under human control before our era.
The indisputable fact of selection is confirmed both by the ancient finds of archaeologists, and written references that captured the ridgebacks during the initial progress. It is known that the aboriginal ancestors of the breed had a rather serious temper, that is, they could be dangerous for people, most likely for their owners. Against this background, it is described that this incredibly strong, agile, attentive and hardy dog was so faithful that, having caught the game on its own, it always brought its owner. The selection of manufacturers allowed us to reduce the risks of aggression and improve the working qualities of ridgebacks. Judging by the cave paintings and frescoes, even in those days when writing was not developed, tetrapods were used as hunters, shepherds, guards, and draft animals.
It is interesting! The ancient Dingo, who are close ancestors of the Thai Ridgeback, to one degree or another, are considered the ancestors of at least half of the breeds known today.
And they would live the Ridgebacks happily ever after, would lead their ordinary courtyard lifestyle if not for ... progress. In the 19th century, the island of Phu Quoc (Phu Quoc) was liked by the colonialists, and travelers and traders from Europe followed them. Arriving on the islands, lovers of tetrapods, already "savvy" in the basics of cynology, found dogs with a ridge. It is rather difficult not to notice a strip of hair growing in the opposite direction along the entire back. Obvious conclusions caught dog connoisseurs by surprise, for everyone who met Thai Ridgebacks, it was obvious that there were no similar breeds in Europe.
Now you have a very logical question: why are Ridgebacks called Thai and not Vietnamese? On the back of all representatives of the breed there is a ridge formed as a result of gene mutations. There is a theory that the wider and longer the comb of hair in a dog, the more generations of Ridgebacks are “inscribed” in its pedigree. In addition, according to this theory, the number of "crowns" of the ridge also indicates a multi-stage origin. Having studied dogs in the territories of Thailand and Vietnam, scientists concluded that Thai Ridgebacks are older, their ridge affects not only the back, but also the sides. The number of Thai Ridgeback crowns reaches 16, while for dogs from Vietnam, the crest is only on the back, and the crowns are at most 10.
Note! Thai ridgeback is often called Phu-kuok (by the name of the island), which in fact is incorrect. Phu Quoc dogs are lower, more compact and younger than the Thai, although they are representatives of the same breed group.
The initial recognition of the breed occurred at the level of Thailand and Japan, but world experts were not in a hurry with conclusions. Incredibly, almost 5,000 dogs were added to the breed pedigree in less than a year. In the stock of the breed, a noticeable exterior difference was observed. Fortunately, nature made the “half of the plan” on the way to world recognition; all dogs had a breed-determining factor - Ridge. In 1993, FCI (International Dog Training Organization) officially recognized the Thai Ridgeback and its breed standard.
It is interesting! Despite worldwide recognition, Thai ridgeback puppies remain rare to this day. People are intimidated by the close relationship of the Thais with wild dogs. The breed is surrounded by horror and speculation, in fact, the ridgeback is a guard, even a family dog with hunting qualities and needs an experienced owner.
Contrary to progress, the trade routes of Thailand and surrounding lands remained undeveloped for quite some time. The natural "conservation" of the breed and the lack of export of dogs from other regions, allowed the "Thai" to maintain a practically pristine look to this day. Thai Ridgeback is a muscular, hardy, very strong dog of medium size. A distinctive feature noted by the standard is jumping ability. When viewed, body proportions common to individuals of both sexes are strictly evaluated.
Weight is not indicated by the standard, but should be in balance with height:
- Male: preferred height 56-61 cm; allowable growth of 53.5-63.5; weight 23-34 kg.
- Bitch: preferred height 51-56 cm; allowable height 48.5-58.5 cm; weight 16-25 kg.
- Head - classic wolf type. At the frontal examination, the forehead is almost flat, on the side the forehead line is neatly rounded and sloping. The transition to the face is pronounced, but smooth. During work or when the dog is focused, a forelock and eyebrows from the folds of skin appear on the forehead, which makes the ridgeback's facial expressions very expressive. The length of the cranium in relation to the front part corresponds to a proportion of 3: 2. The back of the nose is flat, slightly tapering to the lobe. The end of the muzzle is U-shaped, the lower jaw is powerful. The cheekbones are expressive, the space under the eyes is filled, the cheeks are almost flat. Lips of medium thickness with black pigmentation, “dry”, fit snugly to the jaw, hide teeth, do not form “pockets”.
- Teeth - in full kit and proper bite. In the tongue (sometimes, in the sky and the area under the tongue), regardless of the color of the coat, there are spots pigmented in black.
- Nose - rounded, small with large nostrils, black, regardless of color. It is not welcome, but a blue shade of the nose is allowed if the dog's coat has an appropriate color.
- Eyes - medium size, set at a harmonious width and height, slightly recessed with respect to the back of the nose, the incision is oval. The iris is saturated, brown in color, although amber (orange) pigmentation is allowed with a lightened color.
- The ears - only in its natural form, very mobile, triangular not (!) rounded at the top. Set low and fairly wide, vertically with a slight slope to the muzzle, turned forward.
- Body - slightly elongated format, the total length of the body in relation to the growth at the withers corresponds to a proportion of 11:10. The neck is not too long, wide and almost round in section. The withers are pronounced (especially in males), the line of the back and lower back is flat, and the croup is rounded. The chest is fully developed, oval in section with well-elongated ribs. The line of the abdomen and groin is well tucked up.
- Limbs - with developed muscles, strictly straight, elbows and hocks are directed back. The length of the forepaws is exactly equal to half the height at the withers. All articulation angles are natural, strong and pronounced. The forearms are strictly straight, the hips are elongated and strong. Powerful brushes, fingers assembled, pads strong and densely pigmented. Claws are bent, pigmentation is from brown to black.
- Tail - natural length (to the hocks), strong, resilient, tapering to the tip. It is carried low (alone), vertically or saber.
It is interesting! Unlike the “cousin”, the Rhodesian ridgeback, the Thai ridgeback ridge does not have strict requirements for the shape and number of crowns, most importantly, the crest symmetry.
Type of coat and color
The Thai Ridgeback is a short-haired dog, although in the photo, the four-legged body looks like molded from clay. The breed is characterized by a bright, glossy shine of a densely growing outer hair. There are no downs. The skin is free from wrinkles, very soft, “breathable”. It would seem that the definition of “shorthair” says everything, but the types of wool are distinguished within the breed - short or velor (1-2 mm) and standard (up to 2.5 cm).
Regardless of the length of the spine, all members of the breed must have a ridge - strips of wool along the entire length of the back (from the withers), growing in the opposite direction. The strip should be symmetrical, its width and shape is unlimited by the standard, but when evaluating, preference is given to clear, narrow and pointed ridges. The breed is characterized by only plain colors, without spots and white hairs:
- Brown ranging from fawn to rich chocolate.
- Blue, light, but richly saturated tone is preferred.
- The black.
Note! Thai ridgebacks with a deer (red-brown) color are allowed to have a dark mask on their faces.
Character and training
Extravagant appearance, this is not the last "stumbling point" of the wild roots of "Thais". The nature of Thai Ridgebacks is the true strength and weakness of the breed. Four-legged with an ancient and complex history are distinguished by a serious, persistent and rather stubborn disposition. Ridgeback is almost impossible to “break”, and if it succeeds, then the dog’s psyche will be irreversibly damaged. Such a serious breed should not be considered as a pet for children or inexperienced owners, never and under no circumstances. Also, you should refrain from buying a dog if there are small children or people in the family who cannot communicate with dogs.
Important! Thai Ridgebacks are not a threat to children, since true aggression towards a small "member of the pack" is impossible. However, raising a puppy will take too much time, which is physically impossible to allocate, raising a baby 1-5 years old.
Ideally, an intensive puppy upbringing should start from 1-1.5 months of age, but dogs are put up for purchase at the age of 3 months, so at least 90 days of your ward’s life history you will miss. On acclimatization in the new house, the tailed man is given a day, after, no concessions. The owner must be steadfast, but not cruel, diplomatic skills, but not passivity. Maintaining a balance is extremely difficult, and with any difficulties, you should immediately contact professionals.
Note! Even an adult ridgeback is constantly testing the wearer for strength. This phenomenon has nothing to do with dislike or disrespect, but rather with the wrathful way of thinking of the ward.
The characteristics of the breed describe the ridgeback as certainly the right breed, but the consequence follows this axiom. It is worth taking an indestructible position in the upbringing of the ward - the dog is always right, and the problems that arose during the upbringing are connected with your inability to find an approach. This is a rather difficult position even in theory; living with it every day is even more difficult. Ridgebacks are quite arrogant and prone to begging at the "gene" level. From the first days of life in a new house, it is worthwhile to let the ward understand that you have the right to superiority in eating, without claims to your “piece” on the caudate side. Remember that even a one-time treat from the table will turn into constant and very intrusive begging.
Important! The ritual of begging, in the eyes of the dog, is far from asking for a handout, but defending the leadership position in the pack ... the leader always eats first! Ridgebacks should never be punished for begging, as such behavior is considered the norm for the breed. If you already made a mistake, you will have to reconcile or completely deny the ward the entrance to the food intake area.
Thai Ridgeback training is the study of basic teams taking into account the tendencies of the breed, but the main task is to train the ward to self-control and endurance. Thais cannot be called impulsive if the puppy is in society from an early age and learns to resolve conflicts without fights (or passivity / cowardice).
Important! Never encourage Ridgeback aggression, no matter who it is directed at. Even if the pet has protected you from real danger, your gratitude should be restrained.
Maintenance and care
The dog’s short coat and lack of undercoat presupposes keeping only in the dwelling. In addition, in the cold season, the pet will need warm clothes and hardening. Too strong custody can lead to an aggravation of the tendency to colds, so it is important to adhere to the middle ground. Living in an apartment does not dull the highly developed instinct of guarding the territory, which leads to constant barking under the door. There are special methods for weaning a dog from barking in an apartment, but with a Thai Ridgeback, they may not work, because it is not about incorrect behavior, but about instincts. By the way, the ridgeback barking is quite loud and sonorous. It is acceptable for a Thai to live in a house with a plot if the dog is provided with free entrance to the house. However, there is a nuance, these dogs jump well and high, which suggests a high, strong fence.
The development and maintenance of the physical form of a ridgeback is a vital aspect of care. The breed needs long, serious, but controlled loads. The exhibition photos of the dogs are shocked by the sealed power, but the faces of these animals are months and years of training, intensive work of the owner and the four-legged.Ridgebacks do an excellent job with competitive sports, such as agility. Jogging near a bicycle or even in a team will not interfere.
Thai Ridgeback is a breed that does not tolerate dampness and dirt, is characterized by cleanliness and increased attention to itself. Even in slushy weather, you only have to wash your paws and dogs, because the pet will do everything not to get dirty on the street. The breed has no problems with salivation or profuse shedding, but there is a specific skin odor, or rather, skin secretions. However, it is not recommended to fight with the smell by bathing, the ridgeback should be washed no more than 1 time in 1-2 months. The rest of the time, the coat and skin of the animal should be cleaned with a rubberized massage brush dipped in water.
Eye and ear care routine, standard - clean as needed and inspect daily. The teeth do not need to be cleaned if the dog has the right diet and there are no problems with the digestive tract. Ridgeback claws are quite solid, so with gentle loads, there may be a need for their shearing. It is worthwhile to study in advance how to properly cut the nails of dogs and obtain suitable claws or seek the help of a veterinarian.
Last on the list, but the first in relevance is the issue of balanced dog nutrition. Given the sensitivity of the digestive tract, to feed the Thai Ridgeback with new products, is by analogy with young children. For example, we decided to introduce raw potatoes into the pet’s diet, you need to start with the volume of a teaspoon and monitor the reaction of the animal’s body. However, everything is so complicated only in theory, in fact, there are not many products in the dog’s diet so that intestinal sensitivity becomes a real problem. If you do not want to experiment and spend time preparing natural food for the dog, you always have an alternative - high-quality industrial feed. According to the reviews held by the owners, the Thais are perfectly adapted to both "drying" and canned foods.
Important! Be careful when calculating the daily feed rate, because Thai Ridgeback needs a diet rich in calories and proteins, but not carbohydrates.
Thai ridgeback belongs to the oldest, native breeds, the average life expectancy of these dogs ranges from 12-13 years, which is considered a normal indicator for the canine family. Due to the long and exclusively natural selection, the breed has maintained good health, the diseases typical of the ridgeback are associated with the specifics of its structure. Although it’s worth mentioning that over the years of “exterior breeding”, two hereditary diseases have been incorporated into the gene pool of these dogs:
- Hip Dysplasia - a hereditary age-related disease leading to the destruction of the articular cavity, and after the head of the hip joint itself. It can develop asymmetrically, but more often affects both sides of the pelvis. Given the genetic predisposition, it is recommended that the future owner familiarize himself with the manufacturers' medical records, regularly (at least once every six months) visit the veterinary clinic for a routine examination and introduce vitamins with chondroprotectors into the pet’s diet.
- Dermoid sinus - pathology to which the breed has a genetic tendency. The sinus is a “tunnel” that runs from the surface of the skin (with exit to the outside) to the soft or bone tissues. The diameter and depth of penetration of the sinus, individual indicators. The inner surface of the tube is covered with skin, in which there are hair follicles and sebaceous glands. The main danger of the dermoid sinus is a chronic inflammatory process caused by the ingress of sebum and dust into the "tunnel". In addition, there is a high risk of wool ingrowth into the skin. Usually, the pathology is diagnosed in adult dogs, as the puppy's skin is more elastic and free. The sinus is removed surgically.
- Dermatitis of various etiologies - more common in dogs with velor hair. With quality care and a reasonable attitude to swimming, the risks are minimal. Usually, if a dog is less likely to care for hair and skin, the disease develops from the stages of itching and dandruff, turning into eczema.
- Digestion problems - There can be two possible reasons: poor nutrition or upbringing (if the dog picks up food waste from the ground). Given the natural cleanliness and instincts of the dog, the second reason can be ruled out.
- The tendency to hypothermia and colds - a breed that originated in a humid and hot climate is not adapted to harsh winters and rainy autumn months. The risk of a cold is not a reason for panic, on the contrary, the owner should pay attention to the gradual hardening of the animal. Another caveat that you should pay attention to is the humidity in the home (especially in winter, when heating works).