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Two fawn Phu Quoc Ridgebacks sitting in the grass, bathed in golden light

About the Breed

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback

Phú Quc Ridgeback, Chó Phú Quc, Vietnamese Ridgeback

Pronunciation*: /fu kwʊk/ or /fu wʊk/

*IPA does not fully accommodate Vietnamese language, listen to the sound clip (COMING SOON) for a more accurate pronunciation

Breed Standard

Phu Quoc Ridgeback dog breed standard

Country of Origin: Vietnam


Height — 40 cm to 60cm (15.7 in to 23.6 in) at the withers

Weight — 12 kg to 20 kg (25 lbs to 45 lbs)

Colors and Markings: Black. Fawn (from pale yellow to deep red). Brown (fault). Brindle, black mask, countershading, and/or tan point markings. 

Features: Ridge, spotted or pigmented tongue, dark-rimmed eyes


A handful of early 20th century French articles document the history of the breed, including illustrations or descriptions of the dogs as they knew them, as well as praises for their hunting prowess. Fernand Doceul exported and gifted 4 Phu Quoc Ridgebacks to the Jardin D'Acclimatation in France, 3 of which survived, along with a descriptive letter detailing his observations of the dogs in Vietnam. Graaf van Bylandt, a Dutch count also known as Henri de Bylandt, published an extensive book detailing various breeds. Raspunten Boek van de meest bekende Honden rassen, published in 1894 was one of the first books of canine standards, and was translated into French in 1897 as Les Races des Chiens. The book included an entry for "Lévrier Phú Quc" with a full standard description and two illustrations, one of a dog named Mango owned by Mr. Helfaut and one of two of the specimens at Jardin D'Acclimatation.

They are even mentioned briefly twice by the American Kennel Gazette: once in 1939 by writer "Canis" in an article "Rare Breeds of the World" with some rare earlier images and also by George L. Gilkey who wrote about them as a possible origin for the Rhodesian Ridgeback in 1944.

Island natives, of course, have their own histories about the breed in the form of myths and legends. According to some locals, they were born from a mix of island jackals and the mythical Nghê, a sacred creature that was often depicted as dog-like statues guarding temples, palaces and pagodas across Vietnam. Other stories say that their unique ridge of hair was gifted to them as an honor for their loyalty in protecting Emperor Gia Long from Tây Sơn rebellion troops.

While we don't know just how old this breed may be, with many records having been wiped out in wars, they have many unique stories and a sparse but dated recorded history. This ancient breed is growing in popularity and is beloved for its versatility, adaptability, sharp intelligence and expressive personality.

"Very sweet, loves to be stroked, he was a good guard; and I had complete confidence in him and in his instinct to recognize friends of the household...[T]his dog [was] of uncommon strength, with extraordinary speed and stamina in the hunt..."

Fernand Doceul, quoted in "The Dogs of Phu-Quoc Island", 1891


Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are a loyal and loving breed. They are famed for their intelligence and loyalty as much as they are known for their athleticism. They have bright personalities and are very expressive, fun and charming dogs. They use their intelligence in mischievous but sweet ways, and have been known to even outwit their owners at times.

They are very alert dogs that like to keep an eye on their surroundings, but are adaptable to new places and situations. Owners of the breed have been able to take their dog on all sorts of adventures. They can be seen boating, scrambling, camping, or going to dog-friendly events and fairs with their owners.


Used in Vietnam to alarm the home of any strangers, they are initially cautious and reserved with new people, but friendly when they warm up. They will typically bark at the presence of new people, especially of those in their home, but not be aggressive. Phu Quoc Ridgebacks tend to be friendly with other dogs, typically getting along with strange dogs, but especially those who are part of their household. As a hunting breed, they have high prey drive. They are prone to try to chase squirrels, cats, or other small prey that they see out and about. That is not to say that they cannot live with other small dogs or cats; they are known to be very discerning dogs that, when taught, are able to understand which animals are part of the household and which are pests.

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are biddable dogs that like to please their owners. Often quite food motivated, they are quick learners and very trainable dogs despite their sassy personalities. With consistency, they are very amenable and even excel in many different dog sports.

Good genetics and proper socialization are key in having a well-rounded, confident Phu Quoc Ridgeback.


Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are a breed with impressive endurance. They have no shortage of energy and endless enthusiasm, making them fantastic hiking companions and fun sport dogs that are ready to take on anything their owners would like to do with them. Despite their incredible stamina and zeal for activity, they are able to conform to the energy of their handler. They can be very relaxed, often found cuddling in warm beds or stretched out in sunspots, sleepily waiting for their owners' next move. 

Being a very intelligent breed, they thrive with mental stimulation, as well. Encouraging them to exercise their brain with training or use their nose in nosework will go a long way. Phu Quoc Ridgebacks excel with training and can be found competing in a large variety of sports including: conformation, obedience, agility, rally, scent work, coursing events, and more. 

Their flexibility with exercise makes them great companions for the lazy days as much as the active ones.


A naturally occurring breed that developed with minimal human intervention, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are quite healthy. Due to their very short history of being intentionally bred by people, they tend to have a very low COI (Coefficient of Inbreeding) compared to many breeds.  There is, unfortunately, also little information truly known about their health. Many will simply say that "they are very healthy," but without providing proper testing or other records. Other than the already known issue of Dermoid Sinus, no full studies or surveys have yet been done to identify potential health issues in the breed. 

Blue Velocity Ridgebacks is dedicated to the health of the breed and are working to screen and survey the general health of the breed through OFA and/or PennHIP testing (the same tests used widely across many other breeds, and encouraged by the AKC and their longstanding breed clubs). Some of the ways their health is surveyed is:

  • checking the health of their hips (via radiograph) to ensure the breed continues to avoid Hip Dysplasia

  • checking the health of their patellas (by manipulating the knees) to avoid Patellar Luxation

  • testing (via endocrinologist analyzed blood test) to ensure normal thyroid function

While there is no evidence (no studies have been done) that the breed's health is in jeopardy in these aspects, we strive to continue their claimed health by testing all dogs thoroughly before breeding.

Dermoid Sinuses are congenital abnormalities known to be in all breeds with the distinct 'ridgeback.' These are neural tube defects with varying degrees of severity. Infection of a severe dermoid sinus that affects the spine may result in death. A dermoid sinus can be surgically removed by a specialist, and if done so correctly, will no longer affect the dog or be at any risk for infection. While there are tests to determine how many 'ridge' alleles a dog has, there is no test available to determine the inheritance of dermoid sinuses. Most affected dogs can be identified at birth, but it is currently impossible to known if a healthy, ridged dog will produced affected puppies or not. Dogs with two copies of the 'ridge' allele (often written as "RR") have a higher predisposition to being affected. Dogs with one copy of the allele (written "Rr"), have some predisposition being affected. Dogs with no copies of the allele and are therefore 'ridgeless' (written as "rr"), have very little predisposition.

Read here about how we avoid Dermoid Sinus in our program.

For more info including identification and treatment, see the RRCUS PDF on Dermoid Sinus.

A largely preventable health issue known to occur in any large-chested breed, Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus, also known as GDV, bloat or gastric torsion, should be avoided by feeding multiple, smaller meals a day and ensuring your dog does not get excessive exercise after eating. It can be fatal, so owners of large-chested breeds are advised to be cautious about how they feed their dogs. There is no single cause, genetic or otherwise, for GDV; its occurrence is multifactorial, not congenital. Fatal GDV can be prevented by surgically tacking the stomach.


Learn More

Visit the Phu Quoc Ridgeback Association to learn more about the breed

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