Phu Quoc Ridgeback
Phu Quoc dog.jpg
Height Dogs 50–55 cm (19.5–21.5 in)
Bitches 48–52 cm (19–20.5 in)
Weight Dogs 15–20 kg (33–44 lb)
Bitches 12–18 kg (26–40 lb)
Life span over 10 years
Kennel club standards
Vietnam Kennel Association standard
Dog (domestic dog)
Phu Quoc Ridgeback circa 1915, then known as the Phu-Quoc Greyhound
Phu Quoc Ridgeback circa 1915, then known as the Phu-Quoc Greyhound

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback (Vietnamese: Chó Phú Quốc) is a rare breed of dog from the island of Phú Quốc in Kiên Giang Province in southern Vietnam. It is one of three ridgeback breeds,[1][2] the others being the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Thai Ridgeback. It is not recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale or any other major club.[1] The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is one of the four native Vietnamese dog breeds, along with the Bắc Hà dog (Chó Bắc Hà), Lài dog (chó lài), Hmong Bobtail Dog (chó H’Mông).[3][4][5]


There is considerable debate as to exactly when and how the breed arrived to the island of Phú Quốc. The breed was originally a landrace developed as a semi-feral companion to hunt for food and guard the homes of native islanders.[6] French colonists recognized the distinct dogs as a unique breed in the 19th century, and two resided at the Jardin d’Acclimitation in Paris.[7][8] Historically, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks were not purposefully bred, instead relying on random pairings in the relative isolation of island life to continue to maintain their unique population. According to native Phú Quốc islanders, there were originally three sizes of the breed, each uniquely bred to hunt different sizes of game over different terrains.[9] Unfortunately, purebred examples became scarce after the introduction of non-native dogs to the island, with many French writers noting that the breed was near extinction by the turn of the 20th century. [8][10]

Despite the near extinction, genetic studies indicate that the Phu Quoc Ridgeback population is genetically diverse.[11] It was commonly thought that the Phu Quoc Ridgeback derives from the Thai Ridgeback, but recent research suggests otherwise.[12] According to a genetic analysis, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback is most closely related to Korea's Pungsan dog.[13] The breed population has been resurging as public interest grows. A Phu Quoc Ridgeback won the Hanoi dog show in 2013.[14][15] The breed was selected as the mascot for the 2018 annual Nguyen Hue Flower Street in Ho Chi Minh City, symbolizing the lunar Year of the Dog as per the Vietnamese zodiac.[16]


The characteristic dorsal ridge on a Phu Quoc Ridgeback
The characteristic dorsal ridge on a Phu Quoc Ridgeback
A pair of Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs
A pair of Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs

Medium sized with a hound shape, but with a larger head and well-developed muscles, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback is genetically and morphologically different from the Thai Ridgeback.[12][17] All or part of the Phu Quoc's tongue is blue in color and the feet are webbed.[2] Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are prized for their ability to run fast, swim well, and follow either a hot or a cold trail.[1] As hunting dogs, they are known for their versatility, working both individually and in packs to take down a variety of prey including mice, fish, deer, and water buffalo.[8][17] They also make excellent camp dogs, alerting to intruders.[8][6][18]

Dorsal ridge

The dorsal ridge on Phu Quoc Ridgebacks is described by shape, of which there are 5 main shapes: music note, sword, saddle, half-saddle, and arrow-shaped. The ridgeback phenomenon develops when the neural tube forms in embryogenesis, leading to the characteristic hair follicle orientation.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Pickeral, Tamsin (2014). Dogs unleashed (6 ed.). San Diego: Thunder Bay Press. ISBN 978-1-62686-068-1. OCLC 880370238.((cite book)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  2. ^ a b c Quoc, Dang Quan; Anh, Dung Chung; Hoang, Dung Tran (2016-07-01). "Initially Observed Some Important Morphological Characteristics on Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dogs (Canis familiaris) in Vietnam" (PDF). International Journal of Science and Research. 5 (7): 719–725.
  3. ^ "'Tứ đại quốc khuyển" [Four Great Country Dogs]. The Thao Van Hoa (in Vietnamese). 2018-02-17. Retrieved 2022-08-20.
  4. ^ "4 giống chó quý của Việt Nam được gọi là "quốc khuyển"" [Four Precious Dog Breeds of Vietnam are called "National Dogs"]. (in Vietnamese). 2020-11-07. Retrieved 2022-08-20.
  5. ^ ""Tứ đại quốc khuyển" của Việt Nam gồm những giống chó quý hiếm nào?" [What are the rare breeds of dogs in Vietnam's "Four Great National Dogs"?]. (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 2022-08-20.
  6. ^ a b "Phu Quoc Ridgeback | About The Breed". Phu Quoc Ridgeback. Retrieved 2022-02-06.
  7. ^ Canis (1939-10-01). de Casanova, Louis (ed.). "Rare Breeds of the World" (PDF). The American Kennel Gazette. 56 (10): 7–9.
  8. ^ a b c d Fils, Philiperr (1891-07-30). "Le Chenil : journal des chasseurs et des éleveurs : avec le Stud book continental des races canines" [Le Chenil: journal for hunters and breeders: with the continental stud book of canine breeds]. Gallica (in French). Retrieved 2022-02-06.
  9. ^ "Truy tìm "căn cước" chó Phú Quốc – Kỳ 4: Lời cảnh báo trăm năm trước" [Searching for the "identity" of Phu Quoc dog - Part 4: A warning a hundred years ago]. Vietnam Kennel Association (in Vietnamese). 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2022-02-08.
  10. ^ Leighton, Robert (1911). The new book of the dog : a comprehensive natural history of British dogs and their foreign relatives, with chapters on law, breeding, kennel management, and veterinary treatment. Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine. London ; New York : Cassell. p. 494.
  11. ^ Thai Ke, Quan; Nguyen Van, Tu; Trinh, Tran; Hiếu, Huỳnh; Chung Anh, Dung; Tran, Hoang-Dung (2016). "EVALUATION OF GENETIC DIVERSITY OF PHU QUOC RIDGEBACK DOGS BASED ON MITOCHONDRIAL DNA HYPERVARIABLE-1 REGION". Journal of Biotechnology. 14 (1A): 245–253.
  12. ^ a b Quan, Q.D.; Nguyen, T.C. (2019). "Based zoometric description of adult Phu Quoc Ridgeback dog (Canis familiaris)" (PDF). International Journal of Agricultural Technology. 15 (5): 753–768.
  13. ^ Trương Nguyễn Thị Như Mai; Nguyễn Thành Công; Huỳnh Văn Hiếu; Trần Hoàng Dũng (2018-04-20). "Complete mitochondrial genome sequences of rare haplotype E4 from Phu Quoc ridgeback dog". Vietnam Journal of Biotechnology. 15: 45–54. doi:10.15625/1811-4989/15/1/12319. ISSN 1811-4989.
  14. ^ "Dogs in Vietnam: Not Just For Dinner Anymore". The Irrawaddy. 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  15. ^ Petty, Martin; O'Callaghan, John (15 October 2013). "Challenging stereotype, breeding dogs for pets on rise in Vietnam". NBC News.
  16. ^ "Phu Quoc dog breed selected mascot of 2018 Ho Chi Minh City flower show". Tuoi Tre News. 2017-12-14. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  17. ^ a b Durrwell, George (1899). Bulletin de la Société des études indo-chinoises de Saigon [Bulletin of the Society of Indo-Chinese Studies of Saigon] (in French). Vol. 37. Sponsored by University of Ottawa. Saigon: Robarts - University of Toronto. pp. 39–42.
  18. ^ Roussel, Lucien (1913). La chasse en Indochine: Dix-neuf gravures [Hunting in Indochina: Nineteen Engravings] (in French). Plon-Nourrit.