Thai Bangkaews may have been around for over a century, but outside of Thailand (and even inside it, for that matter), they’re almost completely unknown. Challenging, stubborn, and with a tendency to dominate, they’re certainly not for everyone, but those with the time and energy to invest in this amazing breed will be well rewarded for their efforts. To find out more, here are 10 things you didn’t know about the Thai Bangkaew.
1. They’ve been around for over a century
Despite the fact that few people outside of their native Thailand have ever heard the name ‘Thai Bangkaew,’ let alone ever seen one, the breed has been around for over 100 years. They were first developed in the village of Bangkaew in the Bang Rakam District in the Phitsanulok Province. Although information about their origins is limited, legend has it that the first litter of four puppies was born at a monastery named Wat Bangkaew. An abbot called Luang Puh Maak Metharee then bred the puppies with the herding dogs kept by the Song community of the neighboring village of Huay Chan. In 1957, a selective breeding program was started to fine-tune and develop the breed into what it is today.
2. They have Golden Jackal ancestry
Although information about the history of the Thai Bangkaew is scant, local legend has always maintained that the first Thai Bangkaew puppies were the result of a mating between a native Thai domestic dog and the Asiatic wild jackal (or the Golden Jackal, as it’s usually referred to), a wolf-like canid found throughout Southeast Europe, Southwest Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Originally dismissed as an urban myth, breeders were shocked to discover that the legend was actually true when genetic tests of several Thai Bangkaew dogs revealed jackal DNA.
3. They’re very healthy
As smartdogguide.com points out, the Thai Bangkaew is naturally a very healthy dog breed. Although they can occasionally develop minor eye problems or hip dysplasia, they tend to be hardy, robust creatures that are free of the genetic health problems that can often occur in other dog breeds. With the right care, diet, and exercise regime, they can be expected to live long, healthy lives.
4. Their coat comes in many shades
The Thai Bangkaew is a very distinctive-looking dog with a thick, double-coated coat that features a medium-length outer coat and a soft, water repellent undercoat. A thick, mane-like ruff envelops their neck and shoulders. Coat colors vary, with some dogs boasting a pure white coat and others having tan, black, grey, red, and cream markings. Their athletic body is well proportioned, with a wide, deep chest and a strong neck. Male Thai Bangkaews usually measure between 19 and 21 inches at the withers and weigh between 46 and 60 pounds. Females tend to be a little smaller, standing 17 -19 inches high and weighing between 35 and 50 pounds.
5. They need daily grooming
The Thai Bangkaew’s medium-length coat sheds regularly – to avoid matting and keep any loose hairs from becoming a problem for your furniture, daily brushing is recommended. As they tend to be a fairly odorless breed, bathing isn’t strictly necessary unless they become particularly dirty. At a maximum, they should be bathed no more than every 6 to 8 weeks – anything more could strip their skin and coat of the essential oils needed to stay healthy. Nails should be trimmed regularly if they don’t wear down naturally. To keep dental problems at bay, twice-weekly teeth cleaning will be needed. Finally, eyes and ears should be checked and cleaned gently once a week to prevent a risk of infection.
6. They’re highly energetic
If your idea of the ideal dog is one that rarely moves from the sofa, the Thai Bangkaew isn’t the breed for you. This highly active, energetic dog requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to avoid becoming bored and destructive. Along with plenty of structured activities and walks, they benefit from having a large yard to run around in. As wagwalking.com notes, although they can adapt to city living, they do best in rural environments where they have a larger environment to burn off steam.
7. They’re not for beginners
As Wikipedia notes, the Thai Bangkaew might be an incredibly intelligent breed, but they’re also fiercely independent and stubborn. Despite having the smarts to be great students, they’re not easy to train, and will easily lose interest if sessions aren’t kept short, sweet, and fuelled with lots of treats and praise. Due to their tendency to become dominant and destructive without the right training, they do best with experienced dog owners who are willing to put in the time and energy to bring out their best traits and help curb their worst. With the right combination of training and socialization, they make good family pets – however, due to their potential for aggression in certain circumstances, they do better with older children than very young ones.
8. They’re great guard dogs
The Thai Bangkaew was originally bred to protect property and people, and they still have all the traits you’d expect of a great guard dog. Naturally suspicious of strangers, their loud barks will always let you know if a guest (invited or not) has turned up. While their protective, territorial instincts can be a great guard against intruders, they can cause problems if left unchecked. Although they’re more likely to threaten than actually attack, plenty of socialization is required to curb any aggressive tendencies.
9. They’re not good with other dogs
If you live in a multi-dog household, be wary of introducing a Thai Bangkaew. This isn’t a breed that mixes well with other dogs, and is more likely to see other canines as threats to their dominance than as potential playmates. Unless you want to spend your days breaking up fights, they’re best raised alone. They tend to fare better with other animals but will need to be socialized around them from a young age to prevent any issues.
10. They’re very rare
If you know next to nothing about the Thai Bangkaew, you’re not alone. This is an incredibly rare breed – even in their native Thailand, their numbers are tiny. Although their popularity outside of Southeast Asia has grown slightly in recent years, they’re still an incredibly uncommon sight.