Phu Quoc Ridgeback Breed Profile – Complete Overview

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a unique dog breed that originates from the Phu Quoc island in Vietnam. Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are popularly known for their characteristic ridgeback, webbed feet, and pigmented tongues.

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are considered incredibly rare as there are less than a thousand of these dog breeds worldwide. However, in recent years, there is an increase in the demand for this dog breed, with more international exports made each year.

Due to their rarity, there is less information about Phu Quoc Ridgebacks on the web. In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about this dog breed before you can decide to buy one.

About This Dog Breed – About Chen

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback originates from Phu Quoc, a Vietnamese island. They are considered an ancient breed and are available in numerous colors like brindle, black, sable, red, brown, and yellow. Furthermore, they have a regal demeanor and are sometimes used for hunting.

Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a highly intelligent dog breed that makes them quite stubborn during training. However, they are very trainable dogs if the training is exciting to them. Furthermore, the average lifespan of Phu Quoc Ridgeback is between 14-16 years under optimal care.

Note: If you have other animals in your home, you should ensure you socialize your ridgeback with other animals at a young age, so they don’t chase them.

Interesting Facts About Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog Breed

Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog Breed
Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog Breed

They are among the rarest dog breed in the world

It is estimated that there are around 1000 purebred Phu Quoc Ridgeback breeds in the world. This shows it is very hard to find a pure breed of Phu Quoc Ridgeback as most of the breeds available are crossbred with other breeds.

Their Ridges Covers 60% Of Their Spine’s Length

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks have a stunning ridge of hair that runs along their spine. The ridge covers over 60% of their spine’s length. The ridge usually becomes erect whenever they are excited or in danger or chasing prey to give them an intimidating look.

They are courageous dog breeds with regal bearing.

One of the words that are used for describing Phu Quoc Ridgebacks is ‘Noble.’ This is due to the most noticeable feature on their body, the ridge, which helps to give them a distinct Egyptian look. They usually have muscular bodies and love exercising a lot.

Furthermore, they usually have very little fat, and it is very hard to find this dog breed with any noticeable stomach.

History Of Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

History Of Phu Quoc Ridgebacks
History Of Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

Although the origin of Phu Quoc Ridgeback is unclear, few experts and dog enthusiasts believe they have common ancestry with other ridgeback breeds due to the similar ridge marks along their back.

The three ridgeback breeds in existence are Thai Ridgeback, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Phu Quoc Ridgeback. The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is named after Phu Quoc, a southern Vietnamese island that originated from.

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are a powerful dog breed, and the locals use them as guarding and hunting dogs. The first written records of this dog breed were in the 19th century after the French colonials discovered them.

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks were then brought to France, where they (Xoai and Chuoi) were reported to win a dog show in Lille. Due to their inclusion in the French encyclopedic dictionary Petit Larousse, the dog has become popular in the west.

It is widely believed that the breed has survived for years without human intervention. Furthermore, they are usually found roaming Vietnam’s streets fending for themselves. They are known to have good health as this dog breed developed through natural selection.

However, there are around 700 pure breeds of Phu Quoc Ridgebacks registered and acknowledged by the Vietnam Kennel Association (KVA) in Vietnam.

Although Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are getting more popular worldwide, they are not officially recognized by any international bodies. Furthermore, they are rare, and they cannot participate in international competitions because the breed standard has not been decided.

Do Phu Quoc Ridgebacks Make Good Pets?

Phu quoc ridgeback makes good pet
Phu quoc ridgeback makes good pet

Yes, Phu Quoc Ridgeback will make a good pet for all types of keepers. They are also suitable dog pets for families with children. This is because they are not too big, and your dog can play with them safely if they are well-trained.

Phu Quoc Ridgeback is also a perfect dog breed if you are searching for a watchdog. Vietnamese people use this dog breed as hunters and guards because of their ability to sniff, run, and climb. 

Furthermore, they can easily adapt to any life whether you are from the countryside or in the city. However, you should note that they are active and curious, and you need to ensure that you allow them to run, swim, or climb frequently.

What Does The Phu Quoc Ridgeback Look Like?

One unique thing about Phu Quoc Ridgeback is the ridge of hair along its back, where the dog got its name. You will find the ridge of hair growing in the opposite direction of the rest of its coat. This ridge looks like a separate line that extends from the dog’s neck to its tail.

The ridge usually becomes more pronounced when the dog is excited or on guard as this hair will stand up. Furthermore, the other part of Phu Quoc Ridgeback’s coat is usually short and straight. It also has a combination of coarse and fine hair.

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks have a tapered tail that is larger at the base than at the tip. The tip of their tail also curves up and away from their body. Phu Quoc Ridgebacks also have a unique black or blue-spotted tongue.

Males Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are usually around 14-18kg in weight while females are around 12-16kg.

Character & Temperament

Phu Quoc ridgebacks are naturally sociable and usually get on well with children and other dogs. Furthermore, they are courageous and dedicated to the family and will defend their territory when necessary.

Here are some of the characteristics of Phu Quoc Ridgeback.

They Are Athletic

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are known to have high stamina, and they can run incredibly fast. They also have a muscular body, and they are natural athletes. Another fascinating thing is their webbed feet which help them to swim pretty well.

They Are Intelligence

The Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are known to be a smart dog breed, and they have great skills. Although they are not in any rankings about intelligence dogs, they are believed to be among the most intelligent dog breeds in the world.

They learn new commands quickly, even at a young age.


The Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are very social animals which makes them family-friendly. Although they are not very aggressive to strangers, they don’t take food from strangers but from their owners alone. 

They are also a good watchdog, and you can train them to be territorial protectors. They are also loyal to their owners and will protect them by barking or giving a threatening look. However, they don’t usually attack the threats to their owner.


Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are naturally curious animals due to their high level of intelligence. They are considered to be very trainable dogs. They are generally passive and are happy for their trainer to set the pace while they follow the instruction.

Feeding Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

Phu quoc ridgebacks are very easy to care
Phu quoc ridgebacks are very easy to care

The Phu Quoc Ridgebacks’ pure breed originates from an island, and they have a great digestive system. The best food that they take is seafood and meat (raw or cooked) in the wild. They can also eat small animals and insects and also plants like grass.

This shows that they have a wild diet because they have stayed in the wild island for a long time. Furthermore, packaged dog food may not be suitable for their digestive system.

However, most of the Phu Quoc Ridgeback breeds that are popular now are crossed from other breeds. This indicates that their eating habit has changed through generations and you can now feed them with common dog food if you adopt Phu Quoc Ridgebacks as a puppy.

Furthermore, they have much easier dietary needs than other dog breeds. For a Phu Quoc dog to have a healthy and muscular body, you can provide it with the following nutrients.

Carbohydrate: You can easily feed them with rice since this is the main food item in Vietnam.

Protein: You can provide protein for your dog by feeding them with chicken, beef, pork, and seafood such as snail, oyster, etc.

Fiber: Fiber can be found in numerous fruits and vegetables. You can just grind and mix the fruits and vegetables with rice and then feed them to your dog.

Minerals: Phu Quoc Ridgebacks need minerals like magnesium, sodium, zinc, and calcium for their optimal growth. They can get this from seafood like crabs, snails, shrimp, clams, etc.

Exercise Requirements For Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

Phu Quoc dogs are known to be very agile and love an active lifestyle. This shows that they prefer daily exercise to stay healthy. They love digging, running, and swimming. 

They usually run around their home in the wild, digging holes to hide from the sun or swim and catch some fish.

This means you will need to create a similar lifestyle for them in your home to help them exercise their body. You should try to walk and run with them every day. You can also create a place where your dog can dig and also take them to the pool for swimming.

Grooming Requirements Of Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

Phu Quoc has short hair that is tangle-free, and they don’t usually shed very much. This means it is easier to take care of their coat. Furthermore, their short and silky coat makes them dry up after swimming very quickly.

This means you can bathe them once or twice a week or when necessary. Phu Quoc Ridgebacks love digging, which means that their paws can easily get injured or dirty. You should try to monitor their paws closely to care for them.

You should also monitor their ears carefully for infection and try to clean them when dirty.

Life Expectancy Of Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

In the wild, Phu Quoc can acclimatize well to the tropical island’s hot weather and look out for themselves. Furthermore, they can live well with the local people and eat what the locals eat. They are a mind-blowing dog breed and can adapt to their environment very well.

They have a great lifespan and can last for about 14 years if you can take good care of them. Furthermore, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are known to treat health issues themselves by eating grass or some plants in the wild.

However, if you stay in a place where they cannot get those plants, it is best to take them to the pet for treatments.

Breeding And Parenting

Phu Quoc Ridgeback is known to be a lovely parent dog and has a mind-blowing instinct when taking care of their litter. Female Phu Quoc Ridgebacks usually become sexually mature when they are about eight months old and can start reproducing.

Female Phu Quoc Ridgebacks can give birth to a litter of five. When it comes to reproducing, Phu Quoc Ridgeback is known to dig the ground when giving birth.

Health Issues Of The Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are natural athletes, and they have low percentages of body fat which mean they don’t experience obesity.

Furthermore, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks can suffer from health issues such as bloating, dysplasia, arthritis, patella luxation, just like other dog breeds.

However, the illnesses can be quite serious to their life if they are not treated immediately. This is why you should take any sick dog to the vet for further treatments. Some of the health concerns that Phu Quoc Ridgebacks can suffer from are stated below.

Hip Dysplasia

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback may experience this health condition. Hip dysplasia is a health condition where the dog’s hip bone does not normally sit in the socket, which will then lead to the joint rubbing together.

The inflammation from the joint rubbing together can then lead to lameness and pain of the hind limbs. A dog suffering from this health condition usually starts by slowing down, has trouble standing, and shows signs of stiffness.

Hip dysplasia in Phu Quoc Ridgebacks can be treated by lifestyle changes, weight management, medication, and surgery.


Phu Quoc Ridgebacks can contract the parvovirus during their lifetime. However, parvovirus is easily avoidable with routine vaccinations. 

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks suffering from this virus usually experience intense vomiting and diarrhea and can lead to death if this is not taken care of. Furthermore, this virus can be extremely contagious to other dogs, and any dogs suffering from the virus should be nursed in isolation.

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)

This is also known as bloat, and it is a common medical condition that occurs in deep-chested dogs. Although the cause of the condition is unknown, many believed that feeding dogs with a large meal and then exercising it can cause this.

You can easily detect when your dog is suffering from this condition as their abdomen will bloat up with air. Dogs will also retch and salivate profusely as the condition worsens. GDV can be treated with medical care, but surgery can be carried out to treat it successfully.

Paw Issues

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks can also suffer from paw issues because they like digging. This usually happens when they accidentally touch hard or sharp objects.

Things To Consider Before Buying Phu Quoc Ridgeback

Some of the things you need to consider before you buy Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs are stated below.

  • They are not suitable pets for apartments as they require practice and walks. This means Phu Quoc Ridgebacks can suffer separation anxiety and other illnesses if you decide to lock them in the house for long.
  • Their coats can change over time. This is why you should ensure you take care of their coat to have a stunning and healthy appearance.
  • They are considered hunting dogs, and they may not be very friendly to other pets and their owner at first. This is why you should make sure they are well trained before you take them home.
  • Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are known to hunt small animals like rats, snakes, etc. It is best if you keep small pets away from the dog.
  • They are known to love digging so much and can make a mess of your garden or backyard. This means you should reconsider if you prefer that your lawn or garden is left as it is.
  • Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are known to love swimming, and you need to ensure you take it for a regular swimming session.

Pros & Cons of Having Phu Quoc Ridgeback


  • They are very easy to train
  • They don’t require a lot of grooming.
  • They are very intelligent.
  • They are a perfect watchdog.
  • They are very easy to train.
  • They have a low drooling tendency.
  • They are family and kid-friendly.
  • They are suitable for elderly people to keep as pets.


  • They don’t do well with people that suffer from allergies as they can cause an allergic reaction.
  • They don’t adapt very well to lifestyle changes and different living environments.
  • They are not cat-friendly dogs.
  • They have a great impulse to wander or roam around the environment.
  • They are not suitable for novice owners because they have stubborn personalities.
  • They are not a suitable dog breed for office environments.

Popular Phu Quoc Ridgebacks

The first two Phu Quoc Ridgebacks imported to the UK from Vietnam by Catherine Lane are called Sirius and Moon. They were then bred successfully, and they produced three females and a male in their first litter. 

In the 2013 Hanoi dog show, a Phu Quoc Ridgeback known as Ven won the contest.

Final Thoughts

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are considered a perfect dog breed for those searching for a muscular, agile, and healthy pet. They have a wide range of mind-blowing characteristics that you will love. However, it is not easy to get these dog breeds because they are very rare and are costly.

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