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3 Different Types of Ridgeback Dogs: Pictures, Origins & Facts

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

Thai ridgeback dog running outdoors in the snow

3 Different Types of Ridgeback Dogs: Pictures, Origins & Facts

Among animal species, dogs are unique in the wildly diverse appearance of different breeds. From Toy Poodles to Mastiffs, dogs come in all sizes, shapes, and in some cases, hairstyles. Ridgeback dogs are born with a natural mohawk caused by the hair on their back growing in the opposite direction and feature a one-of-a-kind look that’s sure to impress. Here are three types of Ridgeback dogs you should know about.

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The 3 Types of Ridgeback Dogs

1. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback
Image By: du_weist_schon_wer, Pixabay
Country of Origin: South Africa
Height: 24–27 inches
Weight: 70–85 pounds

The most well-known Ridgeback dog is the Rhodesian Ridgeback, which was developed to hunt lions and guard against animal attacks. Their distinctive ridge results from a genetic mutation in an old native African breed, the Khoikhoi. Greyhounds and Terriers were crossed with these dogs to develop the strong, independent Rhodesian Ridgeback.

The AKC first recognized the breed in 1922. These Ridgeback dogs are found in shades of red, with black or brown noses. Some are born without the ridge, which is not the breed standard. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are serious, intelligent, athletic, and often dominant dogs with a high prey drive. They are most often family pets and guard dogs these days.

2. Thai Ridgeback

Thai ridgeback dog
Image By: Sbolotova, Shutterstock
Country of Origin: Thailand
Height: 20–24 inches
Weight: 35–75 pounds

These dogs are rarely found outside of their native country, Thailand. The Thai Ridgeback was developed as a hunting and guarding breed hundreds of years ago in rural Thailand. Like Rhodesian Ridgebacks, the Thai Ridgebacks are sometimes born without a ridge. They are smaller than their African cousins, with pointed ears.

Thai Ridgebacks can be blue, black, red, or fawn. They typically have spotted or completely blue-black tongues, and some are born with dew claws on their back feet. Bred to be independent and self-sufficient, Thai Ridgebacks are intelligent, protective, and strong-willed dogs with a high prey drive. Most modern Thai Ridgebacks are kept as pets, but in the United States, they’re rare.

3. Phu Quoc Ridgeback

Phu Quoc Ridgeback
Image By: Asia Images
Country of Origin: Vietnam
Height: 19–21.5 inches
Weight: 25–45 pounds

As the smallest of the three Ridgeback dogs, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are among the rarest dog breeds in the world. They originated from a single island in Vietnam and have one of the purest genetic bloodlines of any species. Only a few hundred of these dogs exist, and most are still in Vietnam. Like the other two breeds we discussed, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback was bred for hunting and guarding.

They are highly athletic dogs that can swim well, jump high, and even climb trees. Phu Quoc Ridgebacks come in multiple colors and patterns, including sable, brindle, black, black and tan, chocolate, chocolate brindle, and chocolate and tan. They have spotted tongues and are intelligent, loyal, loving, and protective. They are known for their devotion to their human families.

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Do Ridgeback Dogs Make Good Pets?

All three Ridgeback breeds can make good pets but require more work than others.

Because they were bred to be independent and protective, these dogs, especially the Rhodesian and Thai Ridgebacks, can be strong-willed, dominant, and hard to train.

They are best suited for experienced dog owners. Phu Quoc Ridgebacks tend to have more mellow and sweet personalities than the others. All Ridgeback dogs bond closely with their owners and are naturally protective. Early socialization and training are essential for these breeds; they’re instinctively suspicious of strangers and must learn to respond and react appropriately to unknown people as adults.

Properly socialized Ridgeback dogs generally do well with children, but Rhodesian Ridgebacks may overwhelm smaller kids due to their size. Because of their hunting dog heritage and high prey drives, Ridgeback dogs are not the best with other pets, especially smaller animals. They should be supervised when interacting with other animals.

Ridgeback dogs are energetic and athletic, and they require daily exercise. Although they are independent dogs, they dislike being left alone for too long and are prone to separation anxiety.

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It’s easy to get excited about a pet with a unique appearance, but we should never choose the right dog breed just based on looks. Ridgeback dogs may be attention-grabbers but aren’t the best fit for every living situation. These breeds need firm, patient, experienced owners to ensure they develop into the best pets they can be. Make sure you can provide the exercise, training, and socialization these breeds need before you commit to bringing one home.

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Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

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