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|Worth while knowing about the Thai Ridgeback Dog|
A Thai Ridgeback Dog (TRD) spontaneous gets your attention. At the first
glance the breed
apparently seems to be a quite good mongrel between Basenji, Pharaoh
Hound and Rhodesian
Ridgeback. Nothing could be more wrong. The TRD is probably one of the
oldest dog breed in the
The breed is an elegant, strong and muscular dog. It is a middle size dog breed; the males 56-61 cm, and the females 51-56 cm at the withers.It has a dense, short coat with a ridge on the back (which is formed by hair growing in the opposite direction to the rest of the coat). The ridge is an important mark for the breed, and this peculiar characteristic appears elsewhere but with the breed Rhodesian Ridgeback. TRDs can have eight different kinds of variation in the shape of the ridge (see figure). It is very important that the ridge is clearly defined and symmetrical.
The coat should be very dense and the colour always solid. TRDs can appear in four different colour; light chestnut, blue, silver or black. The eye colour should match the coat colour, in blue and silver dogs amber coloured eyes are permitted, but in the other colours the eyes should be dark brown. The nose should be black and dark markings on the tongue is characteristic for the breed. The ears are neat and firmly picked. The head and the tail should be carried high and with
proud. The gait should be long and powerful, though the angulation is moderate. The general appearance should be an elegant, athletic and alert dog which is suitable for activities.
A TRD is a gentle, charming but indomitable and independent pet dog. The breed is well known for being an one man type of dog and it is very devoted to its family, but its strong loyalty embraces all people which are well known. The dog is easy to take care of and require no special treatment. The breed is healthy and its agility and resilience provide good resistance to injury. The TRD rarely barks and only if it is necessary. Some individuals rather often enjoy "talking" with a growling sound, and this might be misunderstood by other people.|
The breed has a stable temperament and enjoy relaxing. The dog may seems to be placid and sluggard, but do not misjudge a TRD. The breed was originally kept for mainly two purposes, as a guard dog and as a hunting dog. The temperament is adjusted for these purposes, and a TRD never misses anything in the surroundings! However, this watchfulness should not be mixed up with nervousness. A good tempered TRD is always alert but also sensible and steady. The breed can also combine, in a charming way, a curios attitude with a large portion of self esteem.
By nature a typical TRD is friendly and tolerant towards both humans and animals. However, the breed can be standoffish and even rejected towards strangers. For that reason it is extremely important that the puppy gets an early, proper and adequate socialization among people. In general a TRD enjoy the company of other dogs, but if the breed gets unjustly provoked it can be stubborn, fearless and show great eager to defend himself (or its owner).
When it comes to education, the breed is either fussy or difficult to deal with. The dog has an eager to please but you can never demand a complete resignation by a TRD! Heavy handed methods does not work and a repressed TRD is an unhappy dog. If you want a dog which never question your orders, you will presumably be more pleased with another dog breed. Because if you do not have patience and flexibility when training your TRD, you will have a difficult time adjusting to the breed. But if you do train this way, you will find this intelligent dog breed responsive and suitable for all kinds of training and a TRD is in general very adaptable and easy to train. You probably get the best results in events where the dog can practice and develop their quickness, jumping ability and excellent sense of smell (for example agility, obedience and all kinds of tracking).
Because of the temper, the breed is not the right dog for everyone. Earlier experience of dogs and special understanding may be required. But if you decide to buy a TRD, you will find out that the devotion and affection the dog shows towards its master is remarkable and worth while waiting for!
No one knows exactly when the first TRD appeared, and different theories about the origin have been suggested... Because of the unique ridge characteristic, which is only shared by two recognized dog breeds; the TRD and the Rhodesian ridgeback, it is very tempted to believe that there is some connection between the breeds. The question is only how? The Rhodesian ridgeback is an African dog breed and the TRD´s origin is in Asia. Some people think that the TRD is an ancestor of the Rhodesian ridgeback. The reason for this is the fact that dogs from Asian are supposed to be ancestors to all the domestic dogs in Africa. If this is correct the origin of the ridge should be Asia.|
Other people instead believe that the ridge first appeared in Africa and dogs with this characteristic coat returned to Asia together with traders. If this theory is correct, the joint ancestor of both of these two breeds with the ridge should be the extinct African Hottentott Hunting dog (the distinct characteristic of this dog was a ridge at the back).
Another theory is the one which believes that the TRD is a pure, but domestic dingo. You can probably exclude this idea. For example, studies on the inheritance of coat colours in canids indicates that the colour "diluted black" (blue) comes from domestic dogs, because the colour does not occur among the dingoes. The fact that TRDs do have this coat colour indicates that there have been some crossbreeding with domestic dogs. How, if and which kind of dog this could be, is still a well kept secret.
This wild dog/dingo(?) show a great similarity with a TRD but it is without a ridge. It was living at the beach in Thailand and the picture was taken by Katja Ranocha.
The Phu Quoc Dog is another present Asian dog type with a ridge. The Phu Quoc Dog bears a strong resemblance to the TRD, but the size is a bit smaller and the colour differs in some way. There are some people who think that the Phu Quoc Dog is a local representative of the TRD and that the TRD is the oldest of the two dog types, but other thinks the opposite... Today there are no real proof of any relationship between the TRD and this dog type, but the close geographical position speaks for a close relationship between them.
This Phu Quoc dog is born at the island Phu Quoc. Her name is Lyly and she lives in the Netherlands. Picture taken by R. Mersmann.
The origin of the TRD is being the subject of research. For this purpose both modern technique, by genetic analysis of blood, and more "classical" genetic studies (for example studies of the ridge shape) are being used. Still there is no scientific evidence for, or against any of the theories, but we do hope that we in the future will find out more about the origin of the TRD.
One thing we do know fore sure; the breed has been kept pure for a long time. Because of the poor communication in this part of Asia, large areas in Thailand were kept isolated in centuries, which gave the breed less chance to intermix with other dogs. Even if there are no complete documentation of the origin of the breed there are some support that the TRD is an very old dog breed. In a Thai cave some dog drawings have been found, and these look just like TRDs. The drawings are more than 3,000 years old! But there is real evidence that the breed is at least 350 years old. According to an over 350 year old Thai manuscript, which describe the breed very well, the TRD was already common in Thailand!
|Around 1975 a serious efforts were made by breeders in Thailand to save the TRD. The breeders did a successful work to get a acknowledgement of the breed by different Kennel Clubs around the world. In 1993 the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) did recognize the TRD. The breed was admitted into group 5; Spitz and primitive dog types .
Today the TRD is very popular in Thailand and you can find the breed in every dog show. In 1994 there was over 5,000 TRDs registered in Thailand and the number is increasing every year. The breed is still rather frequent at the countryside, and no one knows for sure how many TRDs there are in Thailand. Even if the TRD is an old breed, the dogs was earlier rather unknown outside Thailand. Today the rest of the world is showing a great interest in the breed. A restrict export of dogs have occurred from Thailand to Europe and the USA. The number of TRDs in these countries are still quite small, but it is increasing rapidly.
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