Stray dogs are ubiquitous throughout Thailand. It should be noted that in Thailand, most cats and dogs are not neutered or spayed. As such, feral and wild cats and dogs are far, far more commonplace than in the United States. Since they often have to fend for themselves, Thai strays are smart. I have watched Thai dogs crossing the streets in many places on many different occasions, and they always look both ways before crossing.

Most Thai temples are home to many dogs who enjoy a relatively high standard of living. Temple dogs are usually found lying around and can be characterized as lazy, well fed, passive but friendly, and relatively clean. I did not see any dogs around the outskirts of the temples I visited, likely because they are well treated and can enjoy abundant shelter and food within the temple grounds.

Village dogs have the next highest standard of living on the stray dog totem pole. During the day, these dogs will roam around the village to play, search for food, and lie around in the shade. Village dogs usually occupy the village in a pack. The pack is usually spread out across the village in groups of two to five dogs but will convene when there is an activity of interest. These dogs seem to all be familiar with each other and have reliable access to shelter and food within the village. Village dogs are usually energetic, curious, friendly but apprehensive, and a little dirty.

The toughest and roughest of the strays are the street dogs—also called Soi dogs (“soi” translates to “street”). Unlike the temple dogs and village dogs, street dogs do not have reliable access to food and shelter. As a result, many appear to live nomadically, scavenging for food along the sides of the road and in trash heaps. Depending on their environment, these dogs will hang out in small to moderate size groups. They can be found in all settings, from the cramped alleyways to the winding mountain highways. Since their standard of living varies so widely, street dogs can exhibit a wide array of behaviors. They are seldom clean, often skinny, and have rough exteriors covered in scars and wounds from the difficult life they live. Some are obvious victims of disease or past abuse. Most of the stray dogs of Thailand are very friendly. I would only advise caution around Soi dogs.