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About The Phu Quoc Ridgeback

The Phú Quốc Ridgeback, sometimes also known as the Vietnamese Ridgeback or Phu Quoc Dog, is a breed that originates from Phu Quoc island in Kien Giang province, Vietnam. Known as the Island of Pearls, the island lays just off the coast of Vietnam and Cambodia. Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are an athletic, medium sized breed characterized by a distinct ridge of hair that grows up the center of its spine. The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is one of three major dog breeds in the world known to have a ridge on its back, alongside the well-loved Rhodesian Ridgeback and the majestic Thai Ridgeback.

The breed has a long and storied origin in Vietnam and was recognized by French colonials as a distinct breed in the 19th century. The origins of how the Phu Quoc Ridgeback arrived on the island has been the subject of much debate, but the breed has evolved as a semi-feral breed that is very adept at hunting and scavenging. Even as pets, many have had to partially provide for their own sustenance. They are known for their athletic ability, speed and prowess in jumping, swimming and climbing. They are intelligent and loyal.

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback comes in a variety of colors including the classic coats of solid black, fawn (sable), and brindle. Other naturally occurring colors and patterns in the breed include countershading (urajiro), black and tan, black with brindle points, chocolate, chocolate brindle, chocolate and tan, and chocolate with brindle points.  Aside from their characteristic ridge, the breed also has a unique spotted tongue.

Breed Overview



The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a primitive hunting hound from Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam known for its unique ridgeback.



Phu Quoc Ridgebacks have a short and easy-to-care for coat that sheds very lightly year round and more heavily 1-2 times a year.



A medium-sized dog, males weigh about 30 to 45 lbs and females weigh about 25 to 40 lbs.



An active and intelligent breed, they will require moderate to ample exercise. They excel when given mental stimulation and training.



Alert, keen, loyal and sweet. They show caution to strangers but warm up quickly. Very loving to their owners.



They are a hardy breed, known to live between 12-15 years. It is recommended to watch for Dermoid Sinus, Patellar Luxation and Bloat.

The Vietnamese Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a primitive breed that was developed for hundreds of years on Phu Quoc Island. On their island of origin, the breed helped native islanders in hunting for food and guarding the home. Relative isolation and minimal intentional breeding until very recently has helped to create a truly primitive breed.


Despite their notable isolation, several Vietnamese Phu Quoc Ridgebacks were taken to Europe in the late 1800s by French dog enthusiasts who were enamored with the breed. Two Phu Quoc Ridgebacks were presented at a dog show at Lille, France : a dog named Xoai (meaning Mango) and a bitch named Chuoi (meaning Banana), both owned by Gaston Helouin, who was a French dog enthusiast from Helfaut, Pas-de-Calais. At the Universal Dog show held in Anvers, Belgium from July 14-16, 1894, they were witnessed by the judge Count Henri de Bylandt, who describes the breed in his extensive collection of books on dog breeds known as Les Races des Chiens. It was one of 316 breeds standardized in the books and the only breed mentioned to have the unique ridge along its back.

Vietnamese Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog, phu quoc ridgeback chien, rare breed,
Vietnamese Phu Quoc Ridgeback dog illustration, chien phu quoc

On July 30, 1891, Le Chenil released an article including a letter from Fernand Doceul about his experience with the dogs in Vietnam. He donated three Phu Quoc Ridgebacks to the Jardin Zoologique d'Acclimatation du bois de Boulogne, a museum of natural history and zoo in Paris, France along with the letter, and the dogs are illustrated on as a cover for the magazine issue. In his letter, he describes the breed and their natural hunting abilities, writing how he saw a lone female manage to take down a doe by herself by luring and cornering it into the water and drowning it. Around the same time, French zoologist, Emile Oustalet, thought that the Vietnamese Phu Quoc Ridgeback could have a common ancestor with those of Australian Dingoes and wrote about it in an article in La Nature, which included another illustration of the dogs at the museum. Two of the dogs are named Annamite and Kratie. The museum managed to have a litter of seven puppies from the dogs, all with ridges, but there is little further information on what happened to these dogs.


In order to preserve the breed, the Vietnam Kennel Association (VKA) first restored the standard for this breed, based on the standard described by Count Henri de Bylandt. With the help of knowledgeable advisors and extensive historical research, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback Association has continued to refine the standard to most accurately preserve the breed.

See our Resources page to read more about the breed's history through our library of resources. 

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