Phu Quoc Ridgeback: the unique local dog in Vietnam

Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs are very clever, loyal, good swimmers, and have the ability to dig their holes when giving birth.

The kind of Phu Quoc dog belongs to the four rare national dogs of Vietnam besides Bac Ha, H’mong Coc, and Dingo Indochine dogs, and also one of the three lines of dogs with swirls on their backs in the world, including Rhodesian Ridgeback and Thai Ridgeback.

phu quoc ridgeback
A beautiful Phu Quoc Ridgeback from the photo of @trmla

When you travel to Phu Quoc Island during your holidays in Vietnam, you may like to see this kind of dog in its homeland.

Now we will research details about this famous type of dog.

  1. Origin of Phu Quoc ridgeback
  2. Characteristics of Phu Quoc ridgeback dogs
    2.1 Phu Quoc ridgeback dog hair color
    2.2 Body characteristics of Phu Quoc ridgeback
    2.3 Genitive characteristics of Phu Quoc ridgeback dogs
  3. Caring for Phu Quoc ridgeback
    3.1 Living environment
    3.2 Nutrition
    3.3 Sanitation for Phu Quoc ridgeback dogs
    3.4 Notes when raising Phu Quoc didgeback dogs
  4. Common diseases with Phu Quoc dogs
  5. Useful ways to distinguish purebred Phu Quoc ridgeback
  6. Phu Quoc ridgeback price
  7. A famous Phu Quoc ridgeback dog farm

1. Origin of Phu Quoc Ridgeback

Phu Quoc Ridgeback is an original dog living in Phu Quoc Island (Kieng Giang Province, Vietnam). Dogs are known for their cunning, bravery, and loyalty. The distinguishing feature is a vortex along the spine. French Ridgebacks and Thai Ridgebacks can also have the Phu Quoc-like ridgeback characteristics.

phu quoc dog
One Original Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog. @le.q.hung.906

However, the origin of this breed is still controversial. According to many people, the Phu Quoc dog originated in France. Hundreds of years ago, it followed its owner to Vietnam and got lost in Phu Quoc island. After that, it reproduced and developed into a wild dog on pearl island.

Some researchers said that the Phu Quoc dog originated from Thailand. About 400 years ago, it followed Thai fishermen to Vietnam to catch and trade.

Despite that, all theories about the origin of this breed have been disproved because they have no clear proof. So, most people loving Vietnamese dogs consider Phu Quoc Ridgeback coming from this island.

2. Characteristics of Phu Quoc ridgebacks

2.1 Dog hair color

The common colors are tiger brindle, yellow, jet black.

These Phu Quoc dogs with tiger-stripes: are loved for their wild beauty and swirling on the back. Tiger-stripe dogs are considered the most beautiful and standard hair color of the ridgebacks. The number of dogs born with this type is much less than other colors, so the price is higher.

phu quoc ridgeback
A beautiful tiger-stripe ridgeback in Phu Quoc island. @pqrdingo

Red-yellow Phu Quoc dog is a fairly common color. In general, the red yellow ones are not as interested as the other colors.

phu quoc ridgeback dog
A red-yellow Phu Quoc dog. @le.q.hung.906

Black Phu Quoc ridgeback: makes it more mysterious and attractive.

black phu quoc ridgeback
So nice black dog. @rockinroropqr

2.2 Body characteristics of Phu Quoc dogs

The Phu Quoc ridgeback dogs’ heads immediately show their gender and are very well proportioned to the body.

  • The tongue is black or speckled
  • Forehead wrinkles
  • Straight or slightly bowed ears
  • Eyes are black, almond-shaped eyes
  • The chest is deep but not too wide
  • Slim belly, big butt
  • The tail is curved like a bow
  • Straight legs, webbed feet
  • The tail is small, slightly short, and arched
  • Weight 12 to 18 kg (female) and 15 to 20 kg (male)
  • Height from 40 to 52 cm (female) and 50 to 55 cm (male)
  • The dorsal flank has swirls and ingrown hairs (leaves or swords), often standing upright when chasing prey.
speckled tongue phu quoc dog
The speckled tongue is one of the features of Phu Quoc Dog.

2.3 Genitive characteristics of Phu Quoc ridgeback dogs

The ridgeback dogs stand out because it is extremely intelligent. According to dog connoisseurs, this breed is smarter than the Becgie and can be trained easily.

The Vietnamese ridgebacks can masterly obey orders after only a few times of instruction. They are very loyal to their owners and wary of strangers who want to be near them. These dogs can also perceive the owner’s attitude very accurately and always tend to please their owner.

smart phu quoc ridgeback
Phu Quoc ridgeback looks very intelligent. @bacardi.thepuppy

These dogs are considered super hunters, especially chasing the mouse. Almost no mouse has a chance to survive when being discovered. If trained, the ridgebacks of Phu Quoc can also hunt larger species than them many times, like deer and wild boar.

A very interesting thing about this kind of dog is that they never eat foods fed by other people. If the food is not fed by its owner, they will not touch a piece, so they are not easily caught in the trap of poisoning.

In the Phu Quoc dog herd, there is always a leader assigning tasks and managing the whole. The rest of the dogs completely obey the orders given by the leader. They divide the territory very specifically. When an animal enters the territory, the dogs will fight to the end to protect it.

Another typical thing about this dog type is that they remember for a long time, especially their owners. If sold by their owners or given to others, even if they haven’t seen them for a long time, they can still recognize their owners immediately.

Being wild dogs by nature, they are quite prominent with their ferocity. They never falter, even with enemies larger than themselves, so thanks to their resilient feature, they always win in battle matches.

phu quoc ridgeback dog hunting
Hunting is one of the highlight features of this type of dog. @primitive.tendencies

These dogs are very persistent. When they encounter their prey, they will chase to the end and don’t give up. When they are too enthusiastic, they may get lost but soon find their way home.

The ridgeback dogs are always fiercely protective of themselves. But for human beings, these dogs are very approachable, especially almost not biting people. Even for strangers, they only bark loudly to signal, not bite, unless they are attacked first.

3. Caring for the dogs of Phu Quoc

3.1 Living environment

Among dog species in Vietnam, Phu Quoc ridgebacks are the wildest, they are very resistant to diseases. They endure hardship, although if brought to the mainland, they are prone to intestinal diseases, especially puppies.

Living in a warm year-round area, when they change their living environment, such as the cold weather in North Vietnam, they are relatively susceptible to pneumonia, so dress warmly to prevent cold.

Phu Quoc puppies are very susceptible to infection, they must be fully vaccinated to ensure health safety. It is because they often forage for food, or dig. When being young, they need to be dewormed periodically to avoid gastrointestinal diseases.

Their ancestors have lived on Phu Quoc island for hundreds of years, so they are used to the sun and wind, and the vast space. Therefore, you must keep them in large open spaces so that they can comfortably run, burrow, and find food.

Please keep them as close to nature as possible! If not run, they will gradually become weak, stop eating, and can die.

care phu quoc ridgeback
Keep Phu Quoc ridgeback as close to nature as possible. @kiwi_the_pq_ridgeback

3.2 Nutrition

Phu Quoc ridgeback used to live in the wild, but not picky and are quite easy to please. Because living in the sea and islands, they are quite fond of searching for food on their own.

They like to eat vegetables, insects, and small animals. Their forte is seafood such as shrimp, crab, fish, and snail. You also need to add protein-rich foods such as bones and meat.

Limit starches for them and they should not eat artificial foods bought in shops. It is because their intestinal system is very difficult to digest and does not absorb these foods. Also, you do not arbitrarily have to add vegetables and fruits for them, you have to notice to them what kinds of vegetables and fruits they like.

The hearing and smell of Vietnamese ridgeback dogs can be dozens of times better than humans, but they are blind to taste, they don’t eat according to taste, only smell.

The ridgeback likes to find food on itself, so a good way is you place vegetables in different places or hide some fruits for them to find. You should try and notice what kind of vegetables and fruits they like.

3.3 Sanitation:

It is recommended to bathe them regularly to limit the dog’s skin diseases.

3.4 Notes when raising the ridgebacks of Phu Quoc

  • Fully vaccinated the dogs.
  • Put them in a clean, cool place with lots of sunlight.
  • Deworm every 6 months to eliminate worms and diseases of the digestive tract.
  • Do not give Phu Quoc dogs a lot of food, too full.
  • Do not let them eat leftovers, rancid, or expired food.
  • Do not chain the ridgeback often because they will become more aggressive.

4. Common diseases with this kind of dogs

Here are the common diseases that the ridgeback dogs often suffer from:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease is a common disease in dogs. The reason is that the living environment has suddenly changed.
  • Respiratory disease is because these dogs live on the island, and the climate is cool all year round. When raised in different weather areas, dogs often get respiratory diseases (pneumonia) in the winter.
  • Rabies is caused by the Rabies virus. This disease is very dangerous, capable of infecting humans through scratches and bites.

5. Useful ways to distinguish the purebred ridgeback

In addition to distinguishing Phu Quoc ridgebacks through the above characteristics of appearance and personality, we can also distinguish them based on one of the following tips to check their purity:

feather swirl of phu quoc ridgeback dog
The feather swirl on the back of Phu Quoc ridgeback is a highlight feature. @rockinroropqr
  • Purebred dogs in Phu Quoc will have swirly hair on the back that grows back.
  • This swirl has a length greater than 1/2 the length of the back.
  • The shape of the swirly fur is very diverse, it can be an arrow, a leaf, or a sword, but it must be clear and symmetrical across the back, not larger than the width of the back.
  • The top of the eddy band can be more than one circular swirl that is also symmetrical.

Note: Only about 70-80% of purebred Phu Quoc ridgebacks have swirls. These dogs without this hairband are still purebred but not appreciated.

6. Phu Quoc ridgeback price

One common Phu Quoc ridgeback in Vietnam costs from 3 to 6 million VND/dog.

The red-yellow and black dog is 3.5 – 4 million VND/dog.

The tiger-stripe Phu Quoc dog with tiger stripes costs 5 – 6 million VND/dog.

7. A famous ridgeback dog farm

thanh nga dog farm
Thanh Nga Dog Farm. @minh_quoc_vinhomes

Thanh Nga Dog Farm is the most famous ridgeback place on Phu Quoc Island. You can come to this farm to see the original ridgeback dogs.

The farm is located in Cay Thong Ngoai hamlet, Cua Duong commune, Phu Quoc district, and next to Suoi Tranh tourist area towards Ham Ninh Village.

It takes about 25 minutes to travel by motorbike or car from Duong Dong City Center to this dog farm.

Thanh Nga Dog Farm was established in 2000 and currently fosters over 200 ridgebacks. The dog farm covers the large campus, including areas: wild, breeding barn, breeding area, training area, climbing performance, racetrack, cooking area, nursing, and medical treatment.

Visiting this farm, besides seeing Phu Quoc ridgeback and its racing performance, you can also explore the primeval forest, listen to the sound of flowing streams, and watch orchids and wild mossy green stones.

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.