Precious little is known about the early development of this primitive breed, although most attribute its origin to the islands of eastern Thailand. With a history that is largely undocumented, the Thai Ridgeback was primarily bred as an all-purpose farm dog, utilised in ridding the homestead of vermin, hunting small game for the farmer's consumption, and guarding the home and possessions from thieves. Dating the origin of the breed is uncertain, although it is thought to have arisen in the Middle Ages, with archeological evidence discovered inside Asian caves indicating it was brought into existence over 3,000 years ago. The National Dog of Thailand, the Ridgeback is highly valued for its speed, sight, perseverance and agility, and has retained these qualities by remaining relatively pure, with cross-breeding being restricted due to the isolation of the islands.
Distinct in appearance, the 'ridgeback' is known as such for its unique coat characteristic, that sees a line of hair along its spine. The ridge is observed in a number of patterns and widths, from a needle or a leaf, to a saddleback. In showing, the thicker the ridge, the better. A distinct trait of the ancient Funan Ridgeback Dog, the breed adopted this trait when selectively bred, retaining it today. Further characteristic to the breed is its solid, athletic build, long legs, a deep chest for aiding stamina, a long, defined muzzle, a low-set, tapering tail, and eyes of a colouration matching the coat. The Thai Ridgeback coat is typically short and close-fitting, usually seen in variations of black, blue, red and fawn. Less than 3,000 Thai Ridgebacks live outside native Thailand.
Whilst being determined on the hunt and fearless in safeguarding its family from potential danger, the Ridgeback is otherwise obedient, calm and loyal, adapting well to the home setting. Possessing a natural authority as the original pack leader, the Thai Ridgeback benefits from firm leadership, early socialisation and consistent obedience training in order to settle well into domestic life. In general, a healthy Thai Ridgeback will weigh 23-34 kg depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years when exercised regularly, given constant human companionship, and mentally enriched.
The Thai Ridgeback is a notoriously healthy breed, only susceptible to hip dysplasia, a common affliction across breeds, and a skin condition known as dermoid sinus.