Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are an incredibly rare dog breed, native to Vietnam with less than one thousand purebred dogs worldwide. These domestic dogs have slender, masculine physiques and curled, tapered tails, boasting the features of primitive hunting hounds. With webbed feet, pigmented tongues, and the distinct ridgeback (clumps of fur that grow backward along the spine), they are a unique breed. In this article, we have analyzed the origin, history, rarity, and care needs of the Phu Quoc Ridgeback.
The exact origin of the Phu Quoc Ridgeback is unclear, but it is believed to have lived in Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam for centuries. The isolated location helped maintain pure bloodlines and unmixed gene pools. Locals domesticated these hounds and used them for hunting small animals. In the 1800s, the French gave the hound the official classification of a Phu Quoc Ridgeback. By the end of the 19th century, the dog breed appeared in select European dog shows.
Phu Quoc Ridgebacks gained significant popularity recently. In 2015, Briton Catherine Lane brought two jet-black Phu Quoc Ridgebacks to the UK and bred them to produce four puppies, each of which fetched £10,000, earning the dog breed a spot on the world’s most expensive dogs list. In 2013, a Phu Quoc Ridgeback named Ven won a Hanoi Dog Show, and in 2017, another Phu Quoc Ridgeback named Loc won the Vietnam grand championship after only eight weeks of training. While many international dog shows do not yet allow Phu Quoc Ridgeback contestants, they have great potential to climb the popularity ladder for their intelligence, loyalty, and protective instincts.
Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are among the rarest dogs worldwide, with less than a thousand registered dogs. The Vietnam Kennel Association recognizes them, but they are yet to receive official recognition from any international body due to their low numbers hindering kennels from defining the breed standards. Nonetheless, there are ongoing efforts to multiply the numbers of Phu Quoc Ridgebacks in Vietnam.
Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs are true athletes with sturdy, well-muscled, medium build bodies. Males weigh between 35 and 55 pounds, with a height of 20 to 22 inches, while females weigh between 26 and 45 pounds and are 19 to 20.5 inches tall. Phu Quoc Ridgebacks have a narrow head of just the right length to give them a distinctive Egyptian look. Their most unique feature is the ridge of backward-growing fur extending from the neck to the tail.
Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are highly intelligent and curious, making them easier to train than most dog breeds. They are relaxed, passive, and people-friendly, getting along with kids and other pets within the household, provided they receive proper treatment. They are courageous, loyal, and protective of members of their “pack,” barking loudly at the sight of strangers who roam into their territories.
Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs are hardy, requiring only routine checkups with your vet, quality food that packs them with the energy they need to maintain an active lifestyle, occasional baths, and brushing their fur once a week. They are a strong breed that generally enjoys good health, with a life expectancy of between 14 and 16 years.
Phu Quoc Ridgebacks make perfect pets owing to their obedience, intelligence, and loyalty. They are highly protective of members of their household, making them excellent guard dogs, and only require minimal grooming. Although Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are friendly, it is crucial to socialize them from a young age, as they are the descendants of primitive hunting hounds, and lack of socialization can encourage them to hunt smaller animals, including other pets.
In conclusion, the Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a rare and unusual breed with unique talents like swimming and climbing. Although they are friendly and kid-tolerant, it is important to provide plenty of space to roam and play daily, as well as set clear boundaries during training. With their unique characteristics, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are sure to become more popular internationally, boasting the intelligence, loyalty, and protective instincts that pet owners seek in a dog.