The Thai Bangkaew Dog (TBD) or simply Bangkaew is a Spitz type working dog that originated in the Bangkaew, a small village located in the Bang Rakam District, Phitsanulok Province in the Tha Nang Ngam area in central Thailand. Local folk tale says the breed actually traces its ancestry more than 100 years ago in a monastery called Wat Bangkaew near the Yom River. Third abbot of this monastery, Luang Poo Mak Metharee, was a true admirer of nature known for giving care to various animals. One day an old Bangkaew villager called Tah Nim granted him a native black and white female dog, which was pregnant at the time. However, since there were no other male dogs in that area, they believed her mating was either a Dhole (Cuon alpinus) or a Golden jackal (Canis aureus) – both of these wild predators inhabit forests surrounding this monastery. Latest chromosome study of the TBD confirmed the breed indeed being a cross between a jackal and a domestic dog. This native Thai bitch of Luang Poo Mak Metharee produced the litter of longhaired, black and dark brown puppies. Those were the first Thai Bangkaew Dogs, which soon afterwards became very popular and prized among locals.
However, the Thai Bangkaew Dog‘s genetic pool was further altered when the Song, another Thai folk, arrived and settled close to the Bangkaew village. The Song people were herders and farmers, always accompanied by their herding dogs. So, the Bangkaew dogs started interbreeding with these newly arrived dogs and thus the breed got its modern appearance. Since 1957, TBD has been selectively bred from single litters, but during the 80s the breed faced total extinction due to the lack of interest. Thankfully, Dr. Nisit Tangtrakarnpong, a veterinarian from Phitsanulok Province, together with the group of breed admirers from the Chum Saeng Songkhram community, started the “Bang Kaew Khuen Thin” (Bangkaew Goes Home) project to save and promote the breed. Today, these dogs are regarded as the precious heritage of Phitsanulok Province. The Thai Bangkaew Dog is by the FCI included in the group 5: Asian Spitz And Related Breeds in the category of primitive dogs. However, this is the one of two provisionally accepted breeds (the other one being the Taiwan Dog, although this breed has been recognized on a definitive basis in 2015), which means that they are not eligible for the CACIB (the FCI-sanctioned World Dog Show).
Thai Bangkaew Dog Personality And Temperament
The Thai Bangkaew Dog is an intelligent and dominant breed that is primarily known after its incredible loyalty and protective nature. This dog is very brave, fearless, hardy, resourceful, clever, determined, and more than eager to please his master. However, at the core this is a breed with lots of primitive and wild traits, which means that you will have to dedicate a lot of time to your Bangkaew in order to properly socialize him. In Thailand, TBD has been prized primarily as an outstanding working dog often used for guarding and hunting, but also as a wonderful family companion. Indeed, this is a type of dog that will enjoy and cherish every moment spent with his family. He will be loyal and affectionate to all family members, but will usually be unquestionably devoted only to one person – his primary owner. While in the company of family members, Thai Bangkaew is usually gentle and cuddly, but can sometimes be very cheerful and playful. So, make sure you never leave your dog alone for a stretch of time, or at least buy him some toys to have some fun while you’re off.
The Thai Bangkaew Dog can be a lovely playmate and companion with your children, but only if he is raised or socialized with them. You see, this is a very dominant and pack-oriented dog with the strong sense of hierarchy. As such, he will always strive to attain, if possible, a more dominant position in the pack (family), which cannot only cause him to sporadically test the limits in relation to the grown up members of the household, but to generally perceive children (especially small one) as lower ranked in the hierarchy. It is needless to say that abusing or annoying such a dog by the kids can bear serious consequences (unpleasant nip or even a bite), since he won’t tolerate such behavior from less important members of the pack. That’s why it is mandatory that you socialize your Thai Bangkaew Dog with children at an early age. And not just that, you will also have to teach your kids how to properly treat your dog with respect. Once a TBD gets used to your kids, he will always be eager to play with them and will usually be very gentle and dear.
The Bangkaew is quite aloof, suspicious and wary with strangers. Although this dog is not considered overtly aggressive or dangerous, he can be very intimidating, threatening and downright scary, especially to the people who are, for some reason, afraid of dogs. On top of that, Thai Bangkaew is by nature very alert, territorial and incredibly protective of his family, so you can rest assured your property will be safe and sound with this dog around. With that being said, it is perfectly clear that the Bangkaew is an excellent watchdog and guard dog. In fact, guarding nature of a Thai Bangkaew Dog is one of the main reasons this breed has been highly favoured among locals in its native country. Indeed, this dog will always be on the look out and will instantly react to anything unusual in his surroundings. TBD can be very loud and vocal whenever somebody comes near or at the owner’s property, but is not prone to obsessive barking. Every stranger that, despite the warning, enters the property will “face the wrath” of this dog, which can sometimes end up badly. So, it is recommended to socialize your dog with different people of all ages. Also, put a proper ‘beware of dog’ warning on your front gate.
The socialization from a very young age is also very important when it comes to other pets and dogs. Thai Bangkaew Dog has strong hunting instincts and won’t miss a chance to chase and catch any smaller (furry or feathery) pet or domestic animal he spots, including cats, chicken, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc. They are all too tempting for him and considered a nice, tasty prey. So, apart from socialization, you will have to raise your dog with them. However, even then you won’t be 100 percent sure he won’t try to “exercise” his hunting skills on them – especially endangered are the pets from the neighborhood. In fact, hamsters, guinea pigs and similar animals will never be safe with a Thai Bangkaew Dog around, doesn’t matter what you do. So, if you intend to or already own some of these pets, it’d be best that you avoid this breed. TBD is also very aggressive, dominant and tough with other dogs, especially with those of the same sex or those that enter his territory. The best way to deal with this is to raise your Bangkaew with other dog(s). Also, just in case, you will have to train your dog in obedience as soon as possible.
To successfully train a Thai Bangkaew Dog, one has to know a few things beforehand. This dog is, in fact, often not very trainable like some other breeds bred to work with humans. It is true that this is a very smart dog with good memory, who can easily understand and remember even the most demanding commands. However, on the other hand, TBD is also a very primitive and independent dog that can be very stubborn and hard to get motivated for the training. In other words, he demands a professional approach, and that’s why this dog is not recommended for inexperienced, novice owners. Ideally, an owner of this dog should know how to establish himself/herself as a dominant and firm leader with gentle hand. You will have to be consistent and confident, but at the same time calm and relaxed. You should start with the training in puppyhood. Positive reinforcement methods work best with this dog, so make sure you reward him with praise or treats for the job done right. Lessons should always be short (around 30 mins), but never repetitive. This way your TBD will easily learn all the commands and, in fact, will enjoy his training a lot. Keep in mind that only a well-trained Bangkaew should be allowed off-leash outdoors, so do your job well.
Other Characteristics And Traits
Main Thai Bangkaew Dog characteristics are high intelligence, great loyalty, protective nature, agility, strength, independence, tenacity, alertness, stubbornness, resourcefulness, boldness, curiosity, playfulness, and endurance. This is a very agile, active and hardy dog that is always on the move. His levels of stamina are simply incredible and he will always be willing for some action, doesn’t matter what. In other words, he requires a plenty of daily exercise both mentally and physically. As such, Thai Bangkaew Dog is particularly recommended for active and outdoorsy people, who like to spend a lot of time in nature. Usually, you should look to take your dog for a long walk, jog or hike once or twice a day, but sometimes that just won’t be enough. So, you should also mix things up by playing some games with him (fetch game, tug of war, find the treat) or by giving him some fun job to keep him occupied. It is very important that you keep your Thai Bangkaew Dog busy as often as you can, especially if you keep him indoors. Otherwise, you risk him becoming bored, which can often lead to destructive behavior.
Bored Thai Bangkaew Dog is truly a walking chaos. He can literally destroy your interior or exterior with ease. Your pillows, blankets, flowers, or anything else can be instantly turned into junk by your little friend. To make things even worse, he is well known as an obsessive digger, who can wreak havoc around your yard in no time. If you’re unable to correct him on this, you should definitely consider putting a fence around your garden (if you have one) as a sort of prevention. Also, keep in mind that he can easily dig his way out of the courtyard, so make sure that the fencing is placed deep into the ground, and not just that. You see, TBD is also an excellent climber, who can easily scale over a moderate wall or fence. In other words, Bangkaew can easily become an escape artist more than eager to explore your neighborhood. Such behavior can often get him (and you too) in all sorts of trouble, which is why it is of utmost importance to prevent his escape any way possible. So, the fencing around your yard should not only be placed deep into the ground, but high enough (6-feet at least) as well.
The Thai Bangkaew Dog is definitely not an ideal breed for people living in an urban area or an apartment. That is not to say you cannot keep him indoors – in fact, with the proper amount of exercise this dog can be a wonderful and gentle indoors pet since he has no doggy odour, he is very clean and relatively easy to housebreak. However, an urban environment hold many risks for a Bangkaew – there are literally hundreds of ways he can get into trouble. That’s why you will be forced to constantly train him as well as keep him on a leash almost all the time, which can make him feel miserable and restricted. If you are a caring owner, you certainly wouldn’t like your dear pet feels this way. So, to all the people living in an urban area, I think it’s probably better that you find another, more suitable, breed. An ideal living place for a Thai Bangkaew Dog should be a farm or a house with large and securely fenced yard in the countryside or some suburban area. It would be even better if there is a forest or a river close by. This way you will be able to, for the most time, let your dog off-leash without too much worry.
Thai Bangkaew Health
The usual lifespan of a Thai Bangkaew Dog is around 12-14 years. Thanks to its natural isolation, the genetic pool of this breed left relatively pure. This is the main reason these dogs tend to be very healthy and until now, there have been no evidence of susceptibility to some specific congenital or hereditary health problems. However, they can suffer, although rarely, from some common dog diseases, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, cryptorchidism, chronic ear infection, etc. With proper diet and adequate exercise, almost all of these health issues can be easily prevented. Physical and mental exercise should always be combined for the overall good health of your Bangkaew. Since this breed can be prone to serious ear infections, you should definitely inspect and clean your dog’s ears once or twice a week. Also, you should regularly inspect his eyes, trim his nails once a month, and brush his teeth from time to time. As usual, chocolate or any other food with sugar should be always avoided in the TBD‘s diet.
TBD Physical Characteristics And Appearance
The Thai Bangkaew is a medium-sized dog of square shape – the proportions of body length and height at the withers are identical. His body is well defined and compact, covered with thick, medium in length double coat. The undercoat is dense and soft and the outer coat is coarse and straight. The hair is visibly longer on the neck (forming a ruff, which is more prominent on male dogs), cheeks, tail (plumed), back of forelegs (feathering to pasterns) and hind legs (feathering to the hocks). TBD can equally well withstand cold or hot weather. The grooming requirements are minimal since Bangkaews are low shedders – brush your dog once or twice a week and that’s it. Regular daily brushing is only required when the dog sheds. You should bathe your TBD once (or at most twice) a year. Main Thai Bangkaew colors are white, red, black, tan, gray, and fawn. The color pattern is the same for all dogs – predominant white with patches of gray, black, tan, fawn. The placement and shape of patches is not that important (they just have to be clearly visible), but preferred are the dogs with symmetrical markings on both sides of the head and white marking around the muzzle.
The Thai Bangkaew Dog has a wedge-shaped, broad head with the medium-length, tapering muzzle and massive skull. The lips are tight with good pigmentation and the nose is black and broad. The teeth usually meet in a scissors bite, but a level bite is also acceptable. The rather small, almond-shaped eyes are black or dark brown. The triangular, erect ears are small in proportion with the head. They are placed high and are leaning slightly forward. The strong and muscular neck is proportional with the head. The chest is wide and deep (reaching the elbows), with well-sprung ribs. The stomach is nicely tucked up and the loin is broad and strong. The back is straight and level with moderately sloping croup. The moderate, feathery tail is usually carried nicely curved over back. The forelegs are straight, strong and parallel, with short pasterns. The hind legs are strong, well-muscled and slightly angled. The catlike feet with arched toes and hard pads are rounded. With such physical characteristics, it is clear that the Thai Bangkaew is a very athletic and swift dog with flexible movement, capable of crazy direction changes and high jumping.
Thai Bangkaew Dog Size And Weight
– Height between 19 and 21 inches (48-53 cm)
– Weight between 44 and 57 pounds (20-26 kg)
– Height between 17 and 19 inches (43-48 cm)
– Weight between 35 and 44 pounds (16-20 kg)
Fierce Property Guardian
To make it straight and clear – if you are looking for an excellent property guardian, then look no further than the Thia Bangkaew Dog. In their native country, dogs of this breed are known and praised as outstanding family and property guardians. In fact, beside hunting, Bangkaews have always been primarily used for watching and guarding. They are by nature incredibly tough and bully dogs with fierce fighting spirit, who won’t let any stranger enter owner’s property uninvited. Indeed, TBD is all the time watchful, alert and on the lookout. There is literally no way anybody can sneak onto your property unnoticed. So, you can rest assured he will notify you with loud bark if there’s anything suspicious going around. On top of that, Bangkaew is fearless, protective, territorial, headstrong, intimidating, and, if provoked, very violent and dangerous. In other words, if a stranger ignores him and enter the property, then all hell could break loose. This dog will definitely make that person regret their decision! It would not be surprising even if your dog attacks or bite a stranger. So, to avoid such scenarios, it would be necessary that you put your Thai Bangkaew Dog through extensive socialization and training in obedience.
The Thai Bangkaew Dog is a versatile working dog breed that has various other uses other than watching and guarding. As I already said, Bangkaew has often been used as a hunting dog, especially in the hunt on large and small game, such as wild boar, deer, badger, weasel, squirrel, etc. A properly trained TBD has a great recall and is an excellent tracker and retriever both on land and in water (he really enjoys swimming). Also, these dogs proved as very reliable vermin exterminators as well as efficient snake killers. For this reason particularly, they are highly valued and respected in Thailand, since there cobras, kraits and other venomous snakes often crawl in homes causing a lot of trouble. Bangkaews have been also used as very reliable police and army dogs. So, as you can see, this is truly a unique and special working dog of many qualities. Yes, he can be really stubborn and difficult to handle from time to time, but there’s no denying he is a very dedicated and loyal companion. Unfortunately, Thai Bangkaew Dog is extremely rare and hard to come by, especially abroad. However, if you’re looking for an excellent watchdog, or if you’re just an outdoorsy person, then you should definitely try to get one of these, no matter the cost.