Thai Ridgeback Care

The Thai Ridgeback is a medium-sized, alert, athletic breed that's rare outside its native Thailand. Originally developed for protection and hunting, these dogs are protective and task-oriented, they shed seasonally, and their high prey drives cause them to instinctively chase small animals if given the chance. Overall Thai Ridgeback care and maintenance will take a moderate amount of work, and will need to include a good bit of daily exercise and some early training and socialization.

Below you'll find details on caring for a Thai Ridgeback, including info about puppy development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more. Get answers to your questions about raising a Thai Ridgeback in the following sections!

Thai Ridgeback Breed Development

As a medium-sized breed, Thai Ridgeback puppy development typically spans 17-19 months from birth to full maturity.

Physical Development: Thai puppies grow steadily in height and length for the first 9-10 months, then those growth rates slow while the adolescent "fills out" with muscle and fat. And when do Thai Ridgebacks stop growing? These dogs reach their adult height and weight (an average of 22 inches and 50 pounds) at about 12 months of age.

Social Development: Pups reach adolescence at about six months, sexual maturity at about nine months, and full mental maturity by about 18 months.

For further details on Thai Ridgeback development, see the chart below.

(NOTE: These dogs are very protective and bold, and can be fairly aggressive unless trained from a young age not to do so. To help ensure proper behavior once they're mature, new Thai Ridgeback owners need to begin training and socialization as early in puppies' lives as possible.)

Thai Ridgeback Exercise Needs

As a strong, athletic working breed, Thai Ridgeback exercise requirements are pretty extensive. These dogs are also smart and independent, so they'll need a variety of exercises that both condition them physically (walking, fetch) and stimulate them mentally (games, canine sports). They make good jogging and bicycling companions as well.

Adult Thais, depending on their age and overall activity levels, will need at least 60 minutes of dedicated exercise per day. You can start exercising your Thai puppy when it's three months old by taking it on short walks, then you can increase the walks' length as the pup grows.

Precautions with Thai Ridgeback exercise:

  • Don't exercise puppies too hard before they're nine months old
  • High prey drive means a leash is required when exercising in public
  • Yards must be securely fenced to keep the dog from running off
  • Leash training during puppyhood is recommended

Exercising your Thai Ridgeback every day is a must. These dogs are energetic and task-oriented, and without consistent activity they'll become frustrated, disobedient, and highly destructive. Regular exercise will be great for both the dog's and your own peace of mind! A few exercise ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging/Bicycling: Two 20-minute walks (or 15-minute jogs or bike rides) per day is a good target
  • Fetch/Frisbee: These dogs usually love chasing a ball, stick, or Frisbee
  • Tug-of-War: Great indoor activity; use a rope or old towel
  • Canine Sports: Thais can excel at obedience or agility trials, flyball, and other events
  • Hiking: Excellent bonding activity; bonus if you can find a remote area where the dog can be off-leash

When indoors, giving your Thai access to balls or toys will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also good to have a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks, jogs, or bike rides after breakfast and dinner and playtime in the afternoon.

Thai Ridgeback Maintenance

These dogs will require moderate maintenance overall. Thai Ridgeback shedding is seasonal: fair for most of the year, but heavier during the spring (and possibly fall) shedding seasons. Drooling is a minor issue.

Thais have short-haired, stiff coats that don't shed too much most of the year--but in the 2-3 week period in the spring when they lose their winter coats, the shedding is heavier. (Some Thais also shed more profusely in the fall as well.) Owners can brush their Thais weekly with a bristle brush to keep the shedding to a minimum, and hair cleanup--vacuuming the floors, and lint rollers on clothes and furniture--will only be required occasionally. Of course, brushing and cleanup will be needed more often during shedding season.

And a Thai may drool a bit in anticipation of food, after drinking water, or when especially excited or nervous--but the drooling won't be heavy or frequent like that of a Saint Bernard or Bloodhound. If your Thai Ridgeback is drooling excessively, it might be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is needed.

Thai Ridgeback Diet

The Thai Ridgeback diet will need to include animal proteins and healthy carbs, vitamins and minerals, and omega fatty acids--nutrients every dog needs to maintain its health in the long term. This means the best Thai dog food is premium dry kibble, as it contains balanced portions of the above-listed nutrients.

These dogs do best with food formulated for active breeds. SportMix, Royal Canin, and Dr. Tim's are recommended brands that carry excellent lines of premium high-energy food.

Adult Thais will need about three cups of dry food per day, divided into two meals. Thai puppies will need a bit less: depending on age, about two cups per day, divided into three meals (not two) until six months old.

For more info on feeding a Thai Ridgeback, see the following chart:

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by mixing in adult formula with the puppy formula, in slowly increasing amounts with each meal, for one week.

Try if possible to stick to the above-listed portions. Though these dogs aren't especially prone to obesity, if constantly overfed (and under-exercised) they can become overweight--and a fat Thai Ridgeback will have numerous health problems and a shortened lifespan. You can help control your Thai's weight by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules, by not feeding the dog table scraps, and by not leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time.

If you're worried your Thai Ridgeback is overweight, try this simple test: run a hand along the dog's side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time--which means less food and more exercise!