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Phu Quoc Dogs

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is one of only three breeds that has a ridge of hair that runs along its back in the opposite direction from the rest of the coat (the others are Rhodesian Ridgeback and Thai Ridgeback).

All around the island you cant help but notice the dogs with a Mohawk running down the length of their backs. They are Phu Quoc Ridgebacks a recognised breed that is native to the island. There are only two other breeds of dog in the world that have a similar distinctive Mohawk, they originate from Thailand and southern Africa. Phu Quoc Ridgebacks were originally wild dogs that were, over time, tamed by humans for hunting.

There is a Phu Quoc Dog breeding center on the island and some organised tours will visit this breeding center. Visit out Tour Operators page for more information.

They are excellent hunters, unafraid of heights, intelligent and fiercely loyal yet are very trusting of strangers, so they make poor guard dogs. A mature dog is about 20-25kg, with a small head, quite a long snout, and thin ears. They love barking when strangers do approach, but they don’t take things any further. The wild female when pregnant disappears into the national park, digging a den to give birth and nurse their pups for up to a month before rejoining the wild pack. There’s even a web site that explains more at

Dog lovers are looking to have the Phu Quoc Ridgeback recognised as a seperate domestic dog breed for entry into international dog shows, check out the latest news here.

Breed History

Native to Vietnam, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback’s history has not been well documented. Enthusiasts and few experts believe that all Ridgeback breeds (including the Phu Quoc, Rhodesian, and Thai) originated in either Asia or Africa, due to their distinct ridge markings along the spine, though this has never been confirmed scientifically. It is also believed that, like the Thai Ridgeback, the Phu Quoc has been used as a carting, escort, hunting, and guard dog throughout its history due to its impressive appearance and muscular physique.


According to old people on Phu Quoc Island, the dog was traditionally four main colours: spotted, black, yellow, and striped; however now the colours have become more varied. A mature dog is about 20–25 kg, with a small head, long neck, quite a long snout, thin yet long ears and dark speckles on the tongue. The body of tapering belly, straight legs and webbed feet, this allows Phu Quoc dogs to swim and run exceedingly well.

An important sign to recognize a true Phu Quoc dog is the ridge on its back, together with short, thin hair. When facing competitors or running after prey, the hair on their back become erect, creating a ridge making the dog look brave and strong. Now, it is quite difficult to find purebred Phu Quoc dogs, as they have mixed with other breeds.


The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is best known for its ability to jump higher and run and swim faster than most other breeds. These dogs love to hunt and chase, and are also known for protecting their home. This breed is extremely loyal, loving, and naturally obedient, thriving on dependable human relationships. The Phu Quoc is an intelligent and curious breed that loves to learn.


Due to its need for strong human relationships and its obedient nature, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback typically responds well to basic training and commands. These dogs enjoy learning and pleasing their owners, and can be taught to perform most any task its trainer is willing to take the time to teach it. Establishing immediate dominance and trust are keys to training the Phu Quoc Ridgeback.


The Phu Quoc Ridgeback remains rather rare outside of its native Vietnam and can prove difficult to obtain. Individuals seeking to purchase this breed will often encounter such challenges as inability to locate a breeder, high prices, and long waiting lists. More and more visitors are beginning to come to Phu Quoc in search of the dogs, giving rise to four breeding camps on the island, which now raise about 600 dogs. Most are sold in HCM City, ranging from VND 800,000 (US$ 50) to VND 3 million (US$ 150)

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