Phu Quoc Ridgeback
Height Males 50–55 cm (19.5–21.5 in)
Females 48–52 cm (19–20.5 in)
Weight Males 15–20 kg (33–44 lb)
Females 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

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 cộc đuôi).[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]

Due to the small population, no breed standards have been established and they are not allowed to compete in international competitions.[11]

Despite the near extinction, genetic studies indicate that the Phu Quoc Ridgeback population is genetically diverse.[12] It was commonly thought that the Phu Quoc Ridgeback derives from the Thai Ridgeback, but recent research suggests otherwise.[13] According to a genetic analysis, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback is most closely related to Korea's Pungsan dog.[14] The breed population has been resurging as public interest grows. A Phu Quoc Ridgeback won the Hanoi dog show in 2013.[15][16] 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.[17]


On December 6, 2009, in the "National Beautiful Dog Contest 2009" held for the first time in Vietnam, the Phu Quoc dog won second prize when competing with various dog breeds from Vietnam and around the world.[18]

On July 5, 2011, the Phu Quoc dog was taken to Paris for the first time to participate in the FCI World Dog Show 2011 - the world's beautiful dog competition in 2011. [2] At this event, the Phu Quoc dog won the CACS prize (world-level certificate for beautiful dogs, also known as the "Phu Quoc World Champion 2011").[19] However, the Phu Quoc dog was given special permission to participate but could not compete for the top world prize as it was not listed in the FCI's official list of dog breeds.


The characteristic dorsal ridge on a Phu Quoc Ridgeback
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.[13][20] 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][20] They also make excellent camp dogs, alerting to intruders.[8][6][21]

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]

Thần khuyển đại tướng quân

In Vietnamese folklore, the Phu Quoc dog is considered the "royal canine" because in history, there were four Phu Quoc dogs that were officially recognized by King Gia Long in a solemn ceremony, not inferior to the noble titles bestowed upon the founding heroes of the Nguyen Dynasty.[22][23]

The four Phu Quoc dogs (two males and two females) were raised by King Gia Long and accompanied him throughout his journeys. In the book "Nguyen Phuc royal genealogy and pedigree explanation," a hereditary book that records and explains everything related to the royal family, detailed information about these four dogs is described, not only their achievements but also their distinctive characteristics as Phu Quoc dogs.[24] These Phu Quoc dogs saved King Gia Long from danger twice before his ascension to the throne. They helped him escape the pursuit of the Tây Sơn army and ensured his safety.[22]

After ascending the throne, King Gia Long, when bestowing titles and rewards to his generals, did not forget to confer an honorary title upon the four Phu Quoc dogs: "Cứu khổn phò nguy Tá quốc huân thần Thần khuyển đại tướng quân", which translates to "The Great General of Divine Dogs, who saved the nation and assisted the king during times of peril." When the four dogs died, the king had them buried and established a majestic temple to honor them.[22]


  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. ^ Gupta, Parth (2024-03-05). "Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog Breed Guide - The Pet Max". Retrieved 2024-03-05.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Dogs in Vietnam: Not Just For Dinner Anymore". The Irrawaddy. 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  16. ^ Petty, Martin; O'Callaghan, John (15 October 2013). "Challenging stereotype, breeding dogs for pets on rise in Vietnam". NBC News.
  17. ^ "Phu Quoc dog breed selected mascot of 2018 Ho Chi Minh City flower show". Tuoi Tre News. 2017-12-14. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  18. ^ Diễm Thư (2009-12-07). "Cơ hội cho chó Phú Quốc ra thế giới". Thanh Niên Online. Retrieved 2018-02-15.
  19. ^ Theo Báo Tuổi Trẻ (2011-07-11). "Chó Phú Quốc du đấu xứ người". Thanh Niên Online. Retrieved 2018-02-15.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Roussel, Lucien (1913). La chasse en Indochine: Dix-neuf gravures [Hunting in Indochina: Nineteen Engravings] (in French). Plon-Nourrit.
  22. ^ a b c Hoàng Hải Vân (May 13, 2013). "Thần khuyển đại tướng quân". Thanh Niên Online. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  23. ^ "BestForPets". Thần khuyển đại tướng quân. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  24. ^ The book "Nguyen Phuc royal genealogy and pedigree explanation" is still preserved in the family of Mr. Nguyen Phuc Ung Vien, who is a descendant of King Minh Mạng.