Thai Bangkaew Dog

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Thai Bangkaew Dog

A medium-sized Spitz type dog with a thick, dense coat, the Thai Bangkaew Dog is a handsome canine; though probably knows it too! Fearless and confident, this breed is known for their dominant nature and the loyalty that they show towards their owners.

Developed roughly a hundred years ago within Thailand, the Thai Bangkaew Dog is popular in its homeland, but rarely spotted anywhere else in the world. While most often seen as a family pet, they are also used extensively as both watch dogs and very successful guard dogs.

About & History

A dog with an intriguing history, the Thai Bangkaew Dog is thought to have originated roughly one hundred years ago in Central Thailand. The legend goes, that a monk in the Wat Bangkaew (Bangkaew temple) was known to care for animals and was given a pregnant female by a local villager. Due to the seasonal flooding in the area, it was thought that there were no male dogs with access to the region, and so the locals presumed that the litter was the result of a mating with another species, such as the Asiatic Wild Dog or a Jackal (a wolf-like dog). While readers may scoff at this assumption, the fascinating thing is that the DNA of the breed was recently tested and was found to be a mix of the domestic dog and the Golden Jackal!

Not long after, the dogs produced from this unusual mating began to mate with local shepherding dogs, brought to the area by the ‘Song’ people, altering their physical appearance. While breed numbers declined over the decades, they saw a revival in the 1980s thanks to the interest of a veterinarian called Dr. Nisit Tangtrakarnpong, who was instrumental in founding a Thai Bangkaew Dog programme, aimed at preserving the breed.

The FCI have provisionally recognised the Thai Bangkaew Dog under the category of ‘Spitz and other breeds’, but they are not registered with any official kennel club and are very rarely sighted outside of their native Thailand.


Thai Bangkaew Dog Large Photo

A Spitz type dog, the Thai Bangkaew Dog has a robust and squarely-proportioned body with a deep chest. Their skull is broad and wedge-shaped, on top of which stand small, triangular ears. Their almond-shaped eyes are brown or black and neither too big nor too small. Their limbs are muscular, though should allow for a flexible gait. Their tail should curve moderately over their back.

There is a sexual dimorphism within the breed, with males having a more noticeable mane of fur, and being larger in size. Males measure between 46-55cm, while females stand at 41-50cm. Females will weigh between 16-18kg, while the larger male weighs 18-20kg.

Their coat is a plush double-coat, thickest around the ruff of the neck and on the abundantly covered tail. Their coat is shortest on the front of their limbs and on their head. Their overall fur colour is white with patches of red, fawn, brown, grey, black or lemon. While all fur markings are accepted, those that are symmetrical are preferred.

Character & Temperament

The Thai Bangkaew Dog is a dominant and protective breed that requires a lot of training and socialisation to become a well-rounded and mature family pet. Bonding strongly with their family, often with one member in particular, they are known to be affectionate and loving when at home. They are exceedingly brave, and due to the dedication that they feel towards their owner, will always be protective of them and their property. Coupling this with their inherent distrust of strangers and potential to become hostile if threatened, they make superb guard dogs.

Care must be taken when in the company of children as the strong Thai Bangkaew Dog can be over-powering and is not always aware of its might. It is vital that the breed is introduced to the family children from puppyhood and is taught how to interact with them appropriately. Supervision is required at all times, as even when playing they can be a force to reckon with. Additionally, the Thai Bangkaew Dog has a reputation for being aggressive with other dogs and cannot be trusted with smaller animals, as they have a strong hunting instinct.


Photo of Thai Bangkaew Dog puppy

The Thai Bangkaew Dog has a tendency to strive toward being ‘top dog’. They are constantly questioning the authoritative figure in the house and will gladly assume the role of alpha male (or female) if it has not been filled. Due to this, a confident owner is a must when it comes to the Thai Bangkaew Dog in order to keep them from developing bad behaviours.

Intelligent though stubborn, they can be tricky to train, and undoubtedly require an experienced trainer who is used to dealing with such a head-strong breed. Their natural independence does not lend itself to traditional training methods, so trainers will have to think outside the box, using positive reinforcement and varied, fun techniques.


While thought to be a relatively healthy breed, often living to the age of 12, there are a handful of conditions that the Thai Bangkaew Dog owner should be on the lookout for, including:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is caused by a mixture of both genetic (inherited) and environmental factors. A relatively common condition, it is mostly medium and larger-sized dogs that are affected. Initially, dogs may not show any symptoms, but as the condition worsens, owners will notice that they become increasingly stiff, lame and uncomfortable. As the dog ages, the joint will inevitably become arthritic. The pain may cause an animal to lick or chew the hip region. Medications and/or surgery may help to improve quality of life.

Elbow Dysplasia

The condition Elbow Dysplasia is a term that refers to a number of developmental abnormalities within the canine elbow joint. Often, an affected animal will go on to develop osteoarthritis in the elbow as they get older. Initially, a young dog will exhibit an unusual gait, and as the disease progresses, will become more lame and stiff.

Imaging, such as via arthroscopy or CT scans, can help to definitively diagnose the disease. While conservative therapy can be attempted, it is often not a successful long-term treatment and, for many, surgery is a valid option.

Otitis Externa

Infections of the ear can be a recurring and frustrating condition to treat, particularly in dogs who do not like having their ears examined and medicated! Ear infections are more likely to occur in moist, humid environments, so it is wise to routinely check and clean ears, and to dry them out after bathing or swimming. An infected ear will often have a characteristic bad smell, and owners may notice that their dog is shaking its head or scratching at the sore ear.

The vet will often take a sample of the discharge within the canal to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. It is not unusual for more than one course of treatment to be needed to cure the infection, and often animals will be affected more than once in their lifetime.


This is a condition where one or both of the male’s testicles fails to descend into the scrotal sac. The undescended testicle may be within the abdomen (high up near the kidney) or in the inguinal region (often these can be felt under the skin). It is important that the undescended testicle be removed, as it is prone to becoming cancerous. Affected animals should not be used for breeding, as it can be an inherited condition.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Thai Bangkaew Dog needs plenty of exercise every day to keep it calm and happy within the home. They are an athletic breed with plenty of stamina. As well as twice daily outings, the Thai Bangkaew Dog should be mentally stimulated through the use of toys and puzzles and by allowing them to participate in canine activities such as agility.

Ideally, they should have access to a large and secure garden, in which they can burn off some of their excess energy. If left in a small home and under-exercised, it is likely that they will become destructive and bored.


Brushing every few days is necessary to remove dead fur and distribute the natural oils along the coat. Over-bathing is not advised, and generally, a Thai Bangkaew Dog will only need a bath a few times a year. It is essential that the ears of the Thai Bangkaew Dog are routinely checked and cleaned, as Otitis Externa is a known health complaint within the breed.

Famous Thai Bangkaew Dogs

There are no world-famous Thai Bangkaew Dogs just yet. There are plenty of gorgeous examples on Instagram, however, such as the lovely kunsuk_bangkeaw and toon_bangkaew.


No well-known Thai Bangkaew Dog cross-breeds are recognised at this moment in time.

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