A dog breed originating in Phu Quoc Island off southern Kien Giang province. It is one of the world's only three breeds showing the rare trait of having a ridge-back. See : ridgebacked dogs.
Some authors believe all ridgeback breeds originate from the same basic pariah stock common to both Asia and Africa. Note that Phu Quoc dogs usually have longer coats, deeper chests and more sword-like tails. Phu Quoc dogs also differ from the Thai ridgeback by the fact that they are heavy barkers, while Thai dogs are much quieter. Although the Rhodesian ridgeback and Thai ridgeback, with their much heavier bodies show some dissimilarities (in morphology and habits) with the Phu Quoc dog, the theory of a common origin is considered as plausible. Indeed, much sea traffic passed Phu Quoc in historical times and Phu Quoc dogs may have been transported from Thailand to Southern Africa.
Vuong Trung Son Co, a company operating a farm in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang has started a breeding program to protect the breed, starting with 44 Phu Quoc dogs collected on Phu Quoc Island.
Vuong Trung Son Co. has kept profiles for all Phu Quoc dogs at the farm and prevents cross-breeding to avoid hybrids.
A dog training center also works to preserve and protect Phu Quoc dogs. Mr. Pham Diem Binh, the owner of the center, said his center sold 50 Phu Quoc purebred dogs, including 10 to France, at the end of 2004. The center is now home to some 500 Phu Quoc dogs.
Phu Quoc Dog
(Cho Phu Quoc)
Unlike the Thai ridgeback which can show up to 8 different ridge patterns, the Phu Quoc only has one accepted pattern, namely the arrow.
Other key features of the breed include: a black tail-tip and a triangular root to the tail, dark nails and nose, and dark speckles on the tongue. The dog's tapering belly, straight legs and webbed toes allow it to swim and run exceedingly well.
Webbed toes of the Phu Quoc dog.
Adapted from a photo kindly submitted by
Tu Manh Cuong
Originally the Phu Quoc ridgeback could be found in four main coat colors or patterns: spotted, black, yellow, and striped, but today a large palette of coat colors exist.
A mature dog weighs about 20-25kg.
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Temperament and Trainability
They are intelligent and fiercely loyal dogs, unafraid of heights, which make them excellent hunters. They are very trusting with strangers, which makes them unsuitable as guard dogs.
Phu quoc dogs are also extremely fast runners and excellent swimmers.
For other dog breeds with a ridgeback, see: ridgebacked dogs.
For more dog breeds originating in Asia see Asian dog breeds.
For other rare dog breeds or dogs with unusual traits, see: unusual dog breeds and rare dog breeds.
Anusorn Supmannue (transl. by P. Praditbatuga), 1998, Visiting Vietnam´s Phu Quoc Island, Rare Insight, March/April 1998; vol 1 no 2, page 12-13.
Hong Hanh, Thanh Dung & Thanh Xuan, Phu Quoc ridgeback dogs wait for official trademark.
Mersmann, R.Ch.E., 1996, In search of the Phu Quoc dog, R.Ch.E. Mersmann, Schardam-Holland 1996, page 33-55.
A dog with a typical pariah dog appearance and a small head, relatively long snout, and thin ears.
The most typical trait is the ridge running along the spine of the dog. Hair along the ridge is tougher and longer and often stands on end whenever the dog is excited or go on the hunt.
Photo reproduced by kind permission of
Tu Manh Cuong
Photo courtesy of Laura Tedesco