The Cambodian Razorback isn’t a dog breed you come across every day. In fact, most of us go our entire lives without even hearing the name, let alone seeing one in real life. Incredibly rare and incredibly distinct, they’re a working breed from Cambodia with a talent for guarding property, a friendly disposition, and a very, very unique appearance. If you thought the Rhodesian Ridgeback was the only dog with a ridge down its back, prepare to be educated as we reveal ten things you didn’t know about the Cambodian Razorback.
1. They’ve got a unique style
The Cambodian Razorback isn’t a dog you’ll easily confuse with any other breed. For a start, there’s its hallmark feature of a ridge of backward-growing hair on its back. Then there’s its short, broad head with its pronounced cheeks, piercing, often blue eyes, and pricked, alert ears. Its body is lithe but muscular, giving them more power per pound than most other breeds. All in all, it’s a unique looking dog with the kind of looks that won’t win them any prizes for beauty, but that will still make you look twice.
2. They’ve got an unusual coat
The Cambodian Razorback is, as you’d suspect from its name if nothing else, from Cambodia. While most dogs from tropical climates have been bred to withstand the heat thanks to short, sparse coats, the Cambodian Razorback has gone the opposite direction. While no one would describe its mane as luxuriant (it’s no Afghan hound, that’s for sure), it’s still much longer and much thicker than that of other dogs from the region. Even so, it’s a robust, resilient dog that doesn’t seem to be bothered by the heat any more than its shorter-haired counterparts. In terms of color, the most common coat hues include white and black, blue, brown and fawn.
3. They’re low maintenance
The Cambodian Razorback wasn’t developed as a show dog – this is a working breed, through and through. Its main function in life is to protect and guard people and property. Like most working dogs, its grooming needs are minimal. Despite its slightly shaggy coat, it needs no more than an occasional brush to remove any dead hairs. Bathing can be forgotten about unless they roll in something particularly obnoxious. Other than that, the same standards apply as to other breeds: teeth should be cleaned a couple of times a week to keep them free from plaque; ears should be checked for infection and wiped to removed any wax build-up, and nails should be trimmed occasionally if they don’t wear down naturally.
4. They make good family dogs
Cambodian Razorbacks are a primitive breed, a class of dog that as couchwolves.com notes, are distinguished by their independent nature, their close resemblance to their canine ancestors, and their purpose – unlike most breeds that have either been bred along natural lines or that have been developed as companions, primitive breeds have been selectively bred to do a specific job, whether that’s herding, hunting, or guarding. While that sometimes makes them less than ideal family pets, the Cambodian Razorback is different, having become as well known for its friendly and good-natured temperament as for its protective, guarding instincts.
5. They don’t like strangers
While Cambodian Razorbacks get on incredibly well with their families, they don’t take kindly to strangers. They were bred primarily as guard dogs, something that’s left them with strong territorial instincts and a fearsome reputation with intruders, would-be burglars, and mailmen. Although they rarely bark if there’s no need for it, anyone who dares step foot on their patch without getting express permission first can expect a volley of barks and quite a lot else besides.
6. They aren’t for novices
Unlike certain other primitive breeds who’ll remain nameless, the Cambodian Razorback is a friendly, good-natured dog with a lot to offer as a family pet. But all of that comes with a caveat. This is a strong-willed, independent breed that was developed to guard and protect, not jump through hoops or do high fives. Without consistent training and early socialization from a young age, they can be a handful, and certainly too much for most novice dog owners to handle. Unless you’re experienced in dog training and are willing to put the effort in, this might not be the breed for you.
7. They can weigh up to 60 pounds
Despite being agile and lithe, the Cambodian Razorback is no featherweight. According to dogbreedinfo.com, males tend to measure around 20 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 60 pounds. Although it varies by individual, females tend to be a little lighter and shorter.
8. They’re adaptable
The Cambodian Razorback isn’t a sedentary dog by nature, and needs plenty of structured walks and runs to keep healthy and happy. They don’t, however, need a huge house to gamble around in or a yard to romp in. Providing their exercise needs are met, they adapt well to most living conditions, and will do as well in an apartment as in a family home.
9. They’re officially weird
Being named as one of the ten weirdest dog breeds in the world by Weird Worm (www.weirdworm.com/10-weirdest-dog-breeds/) and a host of other publications might be more offensive than complimentary, but the Cambodian Razorback probably couldn’t care less. Still, it’s in good company – other breeds to earn the official status of ‘weird’ include the dreadlocked Bergamasco, the bat-eared Xoloitzcuintli, and the monkeyish Affenpinscher.
10. They’re not the only ridgeback in town
The Cambodian Razorback might be weird, but it’s not unique. Although its strip of backward-facing hair is incredibly rare, three other dog breeds in the world share the same characteristic. The first is the Thai Ridgeback, a breed that akc.org describes as highly intelligent and a loyal family dog. Other than their ridgeback, their most distinctive feature is their spotted or black/blue tongues. The second is the Phu Quoc Ridgeback from the island of Phú Quốc in southern Vietnam. One of the rarest breeds in the world, there are only 700 pure bred Phu Quoc Ridgebacks registered with the Vietnam Kennel Club. The third ridgeback is the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Once a noted hunter famed for its skill at tracking lions, today, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is best known as a companion dog and a much loved (albeit incredibly strong-willed) family pet.