Phu Quoc Ridgeback

Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a breed of dog and is native to Vietnam. In Vietnam, this dog is believed to be very valuable as it has really great traits. The Phu Quoc Ridgeback dog is not only intelligent but it is also very strong. The dog is also very friendly yet maintains some semblance of wild dogs which allows it to be a strong and good hunter. 

Phu Quoc Ridgeback

Unique Features of Phu Quoc Ridgeback

A feature of the Phu Quoc Ridgeback dog which sets it apart is a trail of hair that is in an opposite direction from the rest of the hair. This is commonly referred to as a ridgeback and to identify a Phu Quoc Ridgeback this feature can be spotted on their backs. This is a feature that is also seen in Rhodesian and Thai Ridgeback dogs. 

Origin of Phu Quoc Ridgeback

Till now, many controversies are surrounding the origins of the Phu Quoc Ridgeback breed. Some believe that this breed belongs to the lineage of Thai Ridgeback dogs but it is still unclear as substantial evidence has not yet been provided. This breed of dog is commonly traced back to an island in Vietnam called the Phu Quoc Island.

The island is located in the southern province of Vietnam called Kien Giang. A French official called Fernand Doceul was one of the first people to transport a dog of this breed. The dog was brought to Paris from Phu Quoc in the year 1886. 

Later on, a hypothesis was developed on the Phu Quoc Ridgeback dog by a biologist called Emile Oustalet. Another person called Henri de Bylandt also spoke of this breed in his book. The book was named Les Races de Chien and it was based on the different breeds of dogs. 

Although there are three ridgeback breeds, only two are recognised by the Federation Cynologique Internationale. These two are the African Ridgeback which is also referred to as the Rhodesian Ridgeback and then the second one is the Thai Ridgeback. There is a clash when it comes to recognising the Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs and this is because results of genetic diversity do not differentiate this breed from the other. 

Genetic diversity of Phu Quoc Ridgeback

A lot of studies and research has been done on the Phu Quoc breed to identify genetic diversity. Some studies have also been based on the presence of haplogroup E within this breed of dog. This is a very rare haplogroup and is not present in all dogs. Some tests were conducted on dogs belonging to Phu Quoc but the results did not present any genetic diversity. Therefore it proved to be difficult to set them apart from the African and the Thai ridgeback dogs. 

One of the researches conducted by Tran Hoang Dung based on this breed showed that genetic diversity was present. In his analysis, it was presented that the Phu Quoc Ridgeback is different from the Thai Ridgeback. 

Previous Researches on Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dogs

Many other pieces of research have been conducted on the Phu Quoc Ridgeback breed in order to discover the morphology and genetic origin. In one of the researches, by International Journal of Agricultural Technology, 175 Phu Quoc dogs were studied. Out of these 175 dogs, some had a ridge whilst others did not. There were 96 male dogs and 79 female dogs. All of these dogs had to be 18 months or above because they become sexually matured and the size of the body does not fluctuate any longer.

These dogs belonged to Phu Quoc island and Ho Chi Minh City also. The second location was chosen because it had a lot of these dogs either for breeding or for conservation. From the 175 number of dogs, 31 were chosen from the island and 144 were selected from the city.

Body size of Phu Quoc Ridgeback

This study had also measured the body size of the dogs for accurate research. The measurements which the researcher focused on were body weight, body height, body length, the circumference of chest, the circumference of the waist, length of muzzle, length of ear, and length of tail. The research’s result showed that the sex of the dog did not matter since body size did not fluctuate. 

However, the result showed that Phu Quoc Ridgeback male dogs belonging to the island were both taller and longer than those in Ho Chi Minh city. When it came to the female dogs, those from the city were heavier and had long tails. 

Phu Quoc Ridgeback vs Non Ridgeback

Another difference that arose was that the ridged dogs were heavier and had shorter tails than the non-ridgeback ones. This study was significant because it showed that the Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs on the island are different from those in other places. Differences noticed in the ridged and non-ridgeback dogs were not that alarming since the characteristics could be affected due to the environment or the habitat. 

When the data of the Phu Quoc Ridgeback dog was compared to the data provided at Federation Cynologique Internationale, it set apart this breed from the other ridgebacks. It became obvious that Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a much smaller dog and weighs less as compared to the Thai ridgeback. 

Reasons of difference

There can be a couple of reasons for this difference, such as the effect on the environment, human domestication, and the behavior of the dog. But a study on the mDNA of Phu Quoc Ridgeback is another source that shows no genetic link between the Phu Quoc breed and the Thai breed. 

Colour Coats

The coat of any dog is very significant in understanding its genetic origins. The coat is basically hair that is all over the dog’s body. The coat can be double or single. When the coat is double it includes a soft undercoat and a coarse topcoat. On the other hand, when a dog has a single coat then there is no undercoat. Those dogs that have a double coat are protected by really stiff hairs. 

This is a good feature for repelling water and keeping the dirt away. The undercoat then serves as insulation and keeps the dog warm. When it comes to the coat of ​​Phu Quoc Ridgeback it has a very similar one to the Thai dog. The color is usually black or tan. The color of the coat is thought to be controlled by modifying genes. 

Tail and More Features

A tail is an important feature in dogs as it helps them to counterbalance. The tail helps them to maintain balance when they jump or walk-in really thin places. The tail also helps the dog to maintain agility when sudden movements are made. Another important thing to know is that a tail consists of tail muscles that are useful for stability. 

These muscles support the vertebral column, the muscles of the back, and the buttocks. But interestingly enough, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback dog uses its tail to help whilst swimming too. This breed of dog is very skillful in swimming and it’s mainly because their tail is used as a rudder. 

Spotted Tongues

Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs commonly have spotted tongues. This is another distinct feature of this breed. Their nails are also worn and display the structure of keratin. This feature is also unique to the breed but does not pose as a benefit to the dog. Weared nails are dangerous while hunting because it causes the dog to get stuck. This is why owners of Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs cut the nails consistently. Lastly, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback also has webbed feet. This feature could be a result of the aquatic environment or the geographical location. 


Phu Quoc Ridgeback is known as the national dog of Vietnam for a reason. Besides its amazing appearance, this dog also possesses some very exciting features that most of the other dog breeds lack. The size of this dog can get as big as 55cm for males and 52cm for females. This size is usually referred to as a medium-sized dog, but unlike other dog breeds, this one has some very significant features like spotted, athletic body, muscles, etc. 

Intelligence is something that is found adequately in Phu Quoc Ridgeback. The naturally curious nature of this breed makes them a unique and extremely active dog breed. The training of this dog is much easier than other dog breeds. 

Another feature that makes this dog breed better than the others is that Phu Quoc Ridgeback is very low maintenance. Unlike some really sensitive dog breeds found in the other part of the world, Phu Quoc Ridgeback doesn’t need any frequent brushing or bathing. Once in a month or two will be more than enough for the fur and skin of this breed. This means that the owner doesn’t have to take any stress from its grooming. 

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is one of its kind, there are still no crossbreeds documented in the world which means that every dog of this breed will have all of the amazing features that have been explained above without any tweaks. 

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