Phu Quoc Ridgeback History
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 hunt for food and acted as alert dogs for the home and property. Relative isolation and minimal intentional breeding (until very recently) has truly made this breed a product of their environment.
Following their notable isolation, several Vietnamese Phu Quoc Ridgebacks were taken to Europe in the late 1800s by French dog enthusiasts who found themselves 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.
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.