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If you are in the habit of reading Thailand-based websites written by expats, you will undoubtedly have run across many stories of farangs confronting surly Thai soi dogs (i.e. stray Thai dogs that wander the alleyways). For some strange reason, Thai soi dogs seem to be a favorite literary topic for farang writers, second only to Thai women — and include observations that are likewise to be taken with a grain of salt.

Most Sakon Nakhon tourists and expats have little to worry about when it comes to stray Thai dogs. Yes, they may bark at you. But few dogs in Thailand are aggressive and even fewer bite. The key is to just ignore them, show no fear, and go about your business.

At night it may feel a bit scary when walking toward two or three growling soi dogs. If you aren’t comfortable just ignoring them, one of the best ways to make them retreat is simply to charge right at them while yelling and growling, your teeth bared and arms swinging above your head.

If other people are around and you fear being viewed as a lunatic, then you can simply bend over, act like you’re picking up stones, and throw the imaginary projectiles at them. Thai soi dogs are used to having things thrown at them and will usually scatter, or at least keep a safe distance.

When farangs buy dogs in Thailand, they often purchase dogs that are larger than the ones owned by most Thais. So you may find many Thai people scared of your Golden Retriever (or similar friendly dog), even though their only fear is getting licked to death. Here is how to tell others in Thailand that they have nothing to fear from your dog.

ไม่ต้องกลัวนะ หมาไม่กัดเลย

Mâi dtâwng glua ná. Măh mâi gàt leuy.

Not must scared (soften). Dog not bite at-all.

You don’t have to be scared. My dog doesn’t bite.

Learn Thai Culture Tip: The most common Thai word for dog is the one we used in today’s learn Thai lesson: măh (หมา). However, you may occasionally hear the other Thai word for dog, sù-nák (สุนัข), in more formal situations.

If you are thinking about purchasing a pure-bred Thai dog, the two most popular breeds are the Thai Ridgeback, known as sù-nák thai lăng ahn (สุนัขไทยหลังอาน) and the Thai Bangkaew, called thai bahng gâeo (ไทยบางแก้ว). Both are excellent guard dogs, but they can be aggressive around strangers and will bite. So these Thai dogs really only should be bought by someone who is a savvy dog owner who knows how to train and discipline a dog. What do do about barking dogs? Read our post on How to Stop Barking Dogs in Thailand.

To remember the Thai word for dog, use this rhyme: “It followed me home, Pa! Can I keep the măh!”

Lastly, if you are looking for a Sakon Nakhon vet, we can highly recommend the Sakon Nakhon Animal Hospital.

David Alan