Phu Quoc Ridgeback

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback – The Lifespan, Temperament, And Pictures

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Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a Vietnamese dog breed with many unique characteristics. In recent years, the demand for having a Phu Quoc Ridgeback has been increasing and this domestic breed has made their new life in places outside of Vietnam such as North America, Europe, etc.

However, there is not much information about this breed so new owners can refer to this article to raise and train their Phu Quoc Ridgeback correctly.

Do Phu Quoc Ridgebacks make good pets?

Yes, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback makes good pets for families even with children, their size is not too big so that children can play with them safely, of course the dog has to be well-trained and friendly.

If you are looking for a watchdog, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks is definitely a wise choice. They are used by Vietnamese people as hunters and guards in hundreds of years with the ability to run, sniff, and climb.

Today, the Phu Quoc Ridgebacks is becoming a household pet that most families want to have, despite the fact that they are hunting dogs. 

From the countryside to the city, they still can adapt to their lives. However, because of their active and curious nature, you should have time for them to enjoy running, climbing, or swimming.

If you are about to have a Phu Quoc Ridgeback, this post will be the perfect guide for you, the below words will be what you need to learn more about this domestic dog breed.

The History of Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

Phu Quoc Ridgeback together with the other two ridgeback breeds (Thai Ridgeback and Rhodesian Ridgeback) is the only existing ridgeback dog breed in the world, and the Vietnamese dog breed is the smallest in population. 

The history of Phu Quoc Ridgebacks is not very well documented, and their name is originally taken from their place of residence: The island of Phu Quoc in Southern Vietnam.

The local people believed that they came together with French colonists, who invaded Vietnam in the 19th century. Some say they are living in Phu Quoc island for thousands of years, the French colonist was the first to make the records about this breed. But we can say that Phu Quoc Ridgeback is the breed that developed by natural selection, they can live their own life, find their food without the appearance of humans. 

Nowadays, the Vietnamese Ridgeback can live together with humans, they made their move to the inland and they are becoming a good and expensive pet for families. 

The appearance of the Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a medium-sized dog breed with a small head and long muzzle. They have a muscular body that makes them extremely fast and strong, perfect for being a hunter. 

Their coat is short, shiny, and smooth and comes in 4 colors, together with the distinguishing element as well as the most interesting thing that other dog breeds don’t have: a ridge of hair running along the spine. 

The height of a mature Phu Quoc Ridgeback is from 48 to 55 centimeters (19 to 22 inches) and the weight is from 20 to 25 kilograms (44 to 55 pounds).

The female dogs are usually smaller than the male.

Temperaments / Characteristics of the Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

a. Athletes

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks have high stamina and ability to run incredibly fast. With a muscular body, they are the real and natural athletes.

Moreover, they have webbed feet that can make them a good swimmer. And as their habitat is on the island, they can swim faster than most other dogs can do.

They can also jump very high and known for being able to climb trees.

With these abilities, the Phu Quoc Ridgebacks become a perfect partner to the local people, they can catch fish and hunt animals such as snakes, rats, etc. and watch out for their owner’s cattle.

Read more: 5 Amazing Dog Weight Loss Transformations Will Make You Surprised

b. Rarity

Phu Quoc Ridgeback is one of the rarest breeds in the world, most of them nowadays are crossed with other dog breeds.

And there are only about 1000 purebred Phu Quoc Ridgebacks in the world, so it’s very difficult to find a purebred Phu Quoc Ridgeback. 

That makes the Phu Quoc Ridgebacks cost is super high. The price for a purebred Phu Quoc Ridgeback could be up to US$13,000. How crazy! But it’s true, you can only find a purebred when you set foot to Phu Quoc island.

c. Intelligence

Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a smart dog breed, extremely intelligent with great skills.

Because their population is very small, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are not in any rankings about intelligence. However, there is no doubt they are smart animals, they are believed to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world.

They can learn new commands very quickly and be able to understand new lessons in just a few weeks even when they are young age, all thanks to their intelligence and curious nature.

There is a story that when Phu Quoc island is opened for tourists, the wild Phu Quoc Ridgebacks can perform their tricks to get food from the visitors.

c. Colors

Traditionally, Phu Quoc Ridgeback comes in four color variations which are black, yellow, stripe, and spotted. Reddish-brown and golden brown are also popular colors of this breed.

d. Loyalty 

They are social animals who love their people and are not so aggressive to strangers. However, they never eat food from strangers, they only eat the food from their owner.

They can be good watchdogs as they usually bark at something suspicious around your home, some of them can be trained to be good territorial protectors. 

They are incredibly loyal to their owners, they can protect their owner in any circumstances by barking or giving a threatening look, but they rarely attack the threats.

f. Health

Originating from the island, Phu Quoc Ridgeback is famous for its health and hardy dog breed. And the fact that their ancestors were wild ridgebacks, they have better health than any other dog breeds.

Spending their life in natural habitats and eating fresh food, the purebred Phu Quoc Ridgebacks barely get health problems that most household dogs suffer. 

However, most Phu Quoc Ridgebacks nowadays are crossbreed and become household pets, so they do suffer from various health issues like other dog breeds.

Image: Tuan Kiet

Health Issues of the Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

Just like other dogs, the crossbreed Phu Quoc Ridgebacks do suffer from health issues, commonly hip dysplasia, patella luxation, bloating, arthritis, and parvovirus.

These illnesses can be very serious to your dog’s life if there are no medical treatments.

The treatment is the same as other dogs. When your Phu Quoc dog has signs of the above sicknesses, please take him to the veterinarian for further treatments.

In addition, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are known to be natural athletes with low percentages of body fat, so obesity is not the main concern for them. 

However, because of their passion for running and climbing, you should pay attention to their bones, joints, and muscle issues. They can get injured from accidents during their daily activities.

Paw issue is another problem as they like digging, their paw can be hurt when they accidentally touch sharp or hard objects.

Image: Tuan Kiet

Food requirements of the Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

Originating from the natural island, the purebred Phu Quoc Ridgebacks have an awesome digestive system. The best food for them is meat (raw or cooked) and seafood. 

It sounds weird to you, but the purebred Phu Quoc dog likes eating small animals and insects and also plants such as grass or leaves. Because they are wild dogs and have lived in the wild island for a long time, so their diet is somewhat “wild”; and the packaged dog food may not fit for their digestive system.

However, most Phu Quoc Ridgebacks nowadays are crossed from other breeds and their eating habit can be changed through generations so that you can feed them the common dog food if you adopt them since they are a puppy. And their dietary needs are quite easy, much easier than other dog breeds.

If you want Phu Quoc dogs to have a healthy and muscular body, you should also provide them with the following substances:

  • Protein: can be provided through beef, pork, chicken, seafood like fish, snail, oyster, etc.
  • Carbohydrate: You can feed them rice, surely they will like it because rice is the main food in Vietnam.
  • Fiber: found in many fruits, vegetables, and fruits. You can grind and mix into rice.
  • Minerals: Minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, and sodium are abundant in seafood, such as shrimp, crabs, clams, snails, etc.

Read more: Can You Give Honey to Dogs?

Exercise requirements of the breed

Phu Quoc dogs are agile and they like an active lifestyle, they need to have some exercises on a daily basis to be healthy in mentality and physicality.

They are enchanted by running, digging, and swimming. Their daily habit on the Phu Quoc island is running and chasing around their home, digging some holes to hide from the sun, then plunging into the sea to swim and catch some fishes. That’s how the Phu Quoc dog enjoys natural life.

When you take them to your home, try to create something similar so they can have fun and exercise their body. 

Try to walk and run with them every day, create a place they can practice their digging skill, and take them to the pool for a swim. That’s how you can help your Phu Quoc dogs to have the best life when they are far from their roots.

Grooming requirements

Phu Quoc dogs are short-haired, tangle-free and they don’t shred too much so it is easier for you to take care of their coat. Moreover, their short and silky coat can help them get dried from the water really quickly. So you only need to bathe your dog once or twice a week or when it’s necessary.

They also love digging so their paws can be injured and dirty, so please pay attention to taking care of their paws.

Also, check their ears carefully for infection and clean them when they are dirty.

Read more: How to Bathe a Poodle at Home?

How long do Phu Quoc Ridgebacks live for? -The life expectancy of the Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

Phu Quoc dogs are good at swimming and climbing, they can acclimate well to the hot weather in the tropical island and know how to look after themselves, they live well together with the local people and accustomed to what the Vietnamese people eat (rice, cooked meat, etc.).

In general, Phu Quoc dogs are an amazing breed who can adapt to the environment perfectly. They have an amazing lifespan which can last around 14 years when they are well taken care of. 

Phu Quoc dogs can cure health issues by themselves by eating grass or some specific plants. If there are no such things around your home, please take your pet to the vet for further treatments.

The ridge and the webbed feet

Things to consider when having a Phu Quoc Ridgeback

Phu Quoc dogs are not suitable for apartments, they need practice, having walks. If you lock them in the house for too long, they can suffer separation anxiety and other illnesses. A less active life is not good for a Phu Quoc ridgeback. 

They are hunting dogs, so they may not be so friendly to you or other pets at first. Be sure you have your Phu Quoc dog well-trained before taking him home. 

Their coat can be changed through time, you should take care of their coat to have a beautiful and healthy appearance. 

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks love digging so much, they can make your garden or backyard become a mess. So reconsider having a Phu Quoc dog if you want to keep your lawn/garden from digging.

They like hunting small animals such as snakes or rats. If you have small pets like hamsters or lizards, you better keep them away from the dog. 

Last but not least, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks also love swimming, make sure you can take him for a swim regularly.


Phu Quoc dogs are a good breed for who is looking for an agile, muscular and healthy pet. They have many excellent characteristics that will become not only a loyal pet but also a perfect protector for your family.

Despite it’s not easy to find a Phu Quoc Ridgeback due to its high price and small in population, the community of this dog breed’s owners is increasing around the world every year.

Hope this article will help you understand more about this awesome dog breed. Please comment below if you have any questions!

Image source: Cho Phu Quoc Khanh Hoa, Cho Cho Phu Quoc, Tuan Kiet, Kenh14
References: Rocadog channel, PQDOG, dog zone

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