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Before You Buy

When considering bringing a pet home, regardless of species or breed, making an informed decision is of the utmost importance. Knowing why a breed may not be the right fit is just as valuable as knowing why it would be the right fit. 

 

Finding the PQRA website is the first step in determining whether or not a Phu Quoc Ridgeback would make a welcome addition to your home. However, there are many more steps between starting your search, and bringing home that precious puppy (or adult dog). Understanding breed traits, quirks, history, and health will help you determine if the match is right. Only then will you be ready to seek out an ethical source.

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First, it’s important to note that Phu Quoc Ridgebacks do NOT behave similarly to modern dogs. The basics of canine behavior and body language will, of course, be the same, but when dealing with primitive breeds, it becomes evident quickly that the majority of ideas surrounding what dogs are and “should” be, is based on the result of very intentional selective breeding. 

 

These dogs will never behave like a Golden Retriever or Labrador. For those who expect or are used to a dog who is outgoing and friendly with strangers, extremely handler focused, and biddable without question, there WILL be a learning curve. 

A PQR behaving like a PQR will meet strangers with active caution and suspicion (not to be confused with fear or aggression). They will not be eager to say “hello” to passersby or new guests entering the home. Ever curious, they will decide on their own when they are comfortable allowing unknown humans into their space, and they demand that those around them respect the waiting period.

 

They are extremely in-tune with their environment, and as a result, they may struggle to keep consistent focus on their handler, and while building a strong bond with your dog over time will heighten their sensitivity towards you, they are hunting and alerting dogs, through-and-through, making it near-impossible for them to ignore strange and novel sights and smells. It’s not that you aren’t interesting. It’s that everything else is potential prey. 

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In the same vein, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks, while being highly intelligent, will not be as biddable as a Border Collie or German Shepherd. They will ask “why?” to both new commands and well known commands all the same. If they see an easier or more convenient alternative, they will want to follow their wisdom over yours, unless you convince them your way is better. Again, this is mitigated with time spent working together and bonding as partners, but this partnership has to start somewhere, and if you are ill-prepared, you may find that your PQR constantly pushes and tests boundaries, and in some ways may have you “trained” instead of the other way around. 

 

With this breed, socialization is non-negotiable. Being that they are a cautious and highly intelligent breed, they need consistent exposure to the outside world with their owner advocating for them. That advocacy looks like being an active participant in their world – showing them through actions and positive reinforcement that some things that seem scary (ie, a wheelchair) are actually normal, and some things that are uncomfortable (ie, a veterinary exam) are necessary and won’t last forever.  

 

Another thing to note is, that while this breed is not prone to dog aggression, they are not dog park dogs. They will likely get along just fine with other polite dogs who respect boundaries, but they will not tend to tolerate disrespect. It’s been said, “they won’t start a fight, but they will finish it.”

Of course, every dog is an individual, and what is considered "normal" in a breed often exists within a spectrum. However, with the goal being to preserve the breed as it is in both structure and temperament, there is a level of predictability that one can expect when adding a Phu Quoc Ridgeback to their home. If, after reading this, you come to the conclusion that this breed is likely not the best fit – that's great! It's best to be honest for both your sake, and the dog. You can still support our efforts to preserve and protect the breed by becoming a member of the association, making a purchase through our shop, or by choosing to donate.

If these points described your ideal dog – a Phu Quoc Ridgeback may be the perfect companion for your home! If you've read through the resources provided and feel ready to take the next step, check out our Breeders page. Typically, there can be an expected 1-2 year wait, so it's best to reach out in advance and be honest about what you are looking for. Sometimes, things may align just right and you could be bringing a puppy home sooner rather than later. Regardless, for the right home, a well-bred PQR is well worth the wait!

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