History of the breed dates back to ancient times and remains the subject of numerous surmises. It is very difficult to prove the origin of a breed as old as Thai Ridgeback undoubtedly is. First well-founded records of the breed were found in 380-year-old Taiwanese manuscripts. These books describe Thai Ridgeback as "a short-haired dog with a hair ridge on its back, with raised ears and a tail pointed up as a sword." The Thai discovered caves that are called Tum-Pra-Toom. Great number of drawings reflecting a day-to-day life of those times were found in these Thai caves. The dogs depicted in these drawings strongly resemble the present Thai Ridgeback. Experts estimate the drawings being at least 3000 years old. Besides the known Rhodesian Ridgeback, there was a Phu Quoc as well. It is considerably smaller than Thai Ridgeback and originates from the Phu Quoc island lying in the Gulf of Siam about 200 km eastwards from Bangkok. Nowadays the island is a part of Vietnam. The Phu Quoc dog lived by Cambodian border and it unquestionably is the predecessor of the present Thai Ridgeback. 1000-year-old caves with a ridge-back dogs drawn on their walls were discovered in Cambodia too.
Eastern Thailand where this dog originates from was inhabited by very poor people who were kept in isolation. These dogs were the only possessions of most of those people. The dogs meant a certain source of sustenance because Thai Ridgeback was an indispensable help when hunting, merits of the dog being speed, skill and perseverance but first and foremost its excellent sight. The dogs hunting in a pack were capable of bagging a hare, rabbit or even a young boar. When the dog's owner's family were working in the field, the dog stood guard over their home, killing rodents and snakes. The dog also served as a guard of a cart or wagon. The isolation of that part of Thailand protected this breed from crossbreeding. That is why Thai Ridgeback is considered a relatively pure and undoubtedly original breed. However blurred is the origin of Thai Ridgeback, the fact is that the breed is very old, with appearance and characteristics only slightly developing throughout centuries. Asian nations keep their traditions (including dogs) very well.
The mysterious history of Thai Ridgeback is being revealed step by step thanks to the work of archaeologists, anthropologists and zoologists. Since 1975 Taiwanese breeders have been trying to save and stabilise the breeding of Thai Ridgeback. The result of their efforts was the acknowledgement of the breed by FCI on July 28, 1993. TR is enlisted with number 338 in the Group 5 (Spitz and prmitive types), Section 7 (Primitive Type Hunting Dogs with a ridge on the back). The greatest bloom of the breed was recorded between 1988 and 1993. The dog is kept in Taiwan for its oriental appearance as a companion and guard, although there are many breeders who focus breeding on the hunters use of the dog. By now the dog has been used as a fast coursing dog. It is a thoroughbred race with excellent hearing and smell, disposing of an outstanding sense of direction as well.