Skip to Content

Pros and Cons of Owning a Phu Quoc Ridgeback

Pros and Cons of Owning a Phu Quoc Ridgeback

As an Amazon Associate, we may receive a small commission from qualifying purchases but at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Vietnam is known for many things including its breathtaking landscapes, rice terraces, beaches, ruins, cheap beer (think Bia Hoi), and delicious cuisines.

However, very little is known about the country’s native dog breed, Phu Quoc Ridgeback.

As the name goes, this unique canine originates from Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island located in the Kien Giang rovince. The breed is typically the only Vietnamese native.

The Phu Quoc dog is an interesting breed in many ways. He is rare, adorable, and has a sweet temperament.

Because of its rarity, not much is known about him. He only came to the limelight in 2017 when one of his members won the 2017 Vietnam Champion Dog Show.

Now he is the subject of interest among many dog lovers.

If you are one of them and want to know more about the Phu Quoc, we have got you covered. We will tell you the pros and cons of owning one.


Let’s begin on a good note and highlight the good of owning a Phu Quoc dog.

1. Exquisite Looks

If you are looking for a showstopper for a dog, you have several options – one of which is our breed in question.

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is so rare and consequently interesting to many. That alone makes him stand out wherever you go.

Secondly, he has some of the best physical features in the canine world. The first one, of course, is his signature ridge running from the back of the neck to the tail.

 Like his two counterparts, the Thai Ridgeback and the Rhodesian Ridgeback, the Phu Quoc spots a straight line with swirling hairs running in the opposite direction.

When the dog is excited, angry, or alert, the hairs along the ridge stand up, making it more pronounced.

His coat also bears remarkable features. The breed essentially comes in various colors including solid black, tiger-striped brindle, and fire gold.

Whichever one you end up with, best believe you will turn heads everywhere you go.

 Finally, this medium-sized canine comes with a square build with an attractive forehead.

2. Low-Maintenance

Secondly, a Phu Quoc ridgeback is one easy pet to care for. His coat is short and silky.

It doesn’t need the hand of expert groomers to keep it healthy and attractive.

Occasional brushing will spread natural oils and remove dead fur.

The coat sheds moderately depending on the health and breed of the dog.

Regardless, infrequent brushing takes care of loose hair.

Besides hair care, Phu Quoc dogs need irregular baths and occasional eye and ear cleaning to keep infections at bay.

In summary, if you have no money and time for high-maintenance dogs, this breed is your best fit.

3. Intelligence

Because of being extremely low in numbers, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks aren’t ranked on intelligence scales.

However, there’s no doubt that these canines are the smartest creatures out there.

 In Vietnam, the dogs were (and still are) primarily used as hunting companions. They hunt in singles or packs displaying great skill and intelligence in the sport.

Their owners give them commands and they follow through to the letter.

Even as pets or watchdogs, expect these pups to display their brilliance in ways that will blow your mind.

4. Trainable

Intelligent dogs are often easy to train and the Phu Quoc dog is no exception.

The reason is that they pick up on commands quite fast. You shouldn’t have to repeat yourself too much before they learn basic commands.

With that said, this is no breed for incompetent trainers. Although he learns stuff in record times, he also tends to find loopholes to get his own way.

If you are not firm, exciting, clear, and consistent, you will find the training a challenge.

5. Good Watchdog

Another great characteristic of a Phu Quoc dog is that he’s very territorial.

While this is not the best news for strangers, it is certainly wonderful for his owners.

The breed takes it upon himself to fiercely protect those he loves.

He does make a great pet but if you are looking for a watchdog, he will also make your dreams come true.

This dog is courageous, highly alert, observant, and loyal to those he loves.

As a hunting dog, protection is part of his genes.

6. Kid-friendly

As fierce hunting and watchdog, one would imagine that a PhuQuoc doesn’t like the company of Kids.

 Well, the opposite is actually true. Because he is a natural protector, he bonds with both the young and the old.

He enjoys playing games with kids and running around the yard with them.

Fortunately, this doggie is not too large. You can trust him to play with the young ones without toppling over or pushing them around with his bodyweight.

7. Tolerates Warm And Cold Weather

Another awesome advantage of owning a Phu Quoc Ridgeback is that he can switch between warm and cold climates with relative ease.

Phu Quoc Island experiences both climates. Naturally, the dogs are adapted to both.

 Their coats are shed according to the weather patterns to keep the dog comfortable.

Of course, if the temperatures go to the extreme, the pet may suffer a little.

If you live in Alaska or somewhere near a hot desert, consider adopting other dog breeds best suited for such climates.

8. Has A Low Drooling Tendency

All dogs drool to a specific degree. However, some take it to the next level.

Dogs with large upper lips such as the Basset Hound, Pug, Bulldog, and Saint Bernard are especially notorious for releasing lots of slobber.

The good news is that the Phu Quoc Ridgeback is not a big drooler.

Sure, he will produce saliva here and there but you will barely notice it.

If you do, chances are that your pet is unwell and needs medical help.

9. Healthy Dog

Phu Quoc dogs are hardy and healthy. Perhaps living agile and active lives and eating natural food in the highland made them this way.

Unlike other breeds with a range of medical issues, this doggie enjoys a long healthy life.

This is according to Jean – a Vietnamese dog breeder that also trains this special breed.

She spoke to Dogumentary TV claiming that the breed doesn’t experience joint issues such as hip dysplasia.

The only thing to watch out for is Dermoid Sinus – a congenital abnormality that is notorious with all ridgeback dogs.

10. Rarity

A 2015 news article in Daily Mail claimed that there were only 800 registered Phu Quoc dogs in the world back then.

Most of them live on the Island making the dog rarer.

Dog owners looking for interesting dogs that are not usually seen will fall in love with this breed.

People will often stop to ask you what your pet’s breed is and where you got it from.

11. Pure Heritage

Getting a genuine purebred dog is increasingly becoming difficult as time goes by.

The intervention of man has messed up the natural breeding cycle of dogs.

Luckily, the Phu Quoc dog has been in the shadows for so long that breeders haven’t tampered much with it.

Its low population makes it difficult to be registered as a dog breed by kennel clubs.

That may change soon but at the moment, the breed is purer than most.

 If you care for purebred dogs, you are likely to get them in this awesome breed.

12. Doesn’t Have Separation Anxiety

It’s not the best idea to leave your dog alone for hours on end but sometimes there’s no option.

Most of us have jobs and other stuff that take us away from home.

Some dogs don’t like being alone for too long and will act out when you do.

They will tear your furniture apart, soil the carpet, bark endlessly, and dig under the fence.

 If you want a dog that has an independent streak to him and won’t go berserk when you are away, the Phu Quo fits the description.

Just be sure to leave enough chew toys to keep him busy until you come back.


And now to the bad side of owning the breed…

1. Sensitivity

The Phu Quoc is brave and strong but he also has a sensitive side to him.

When he hears a thunderstorm, a loud truck passing by, a fireworks display, leaves blowing in the wind, or a skateboard, he may cower by lowering his head and sticking his tail behind his legs.

Training him needs great wisdom and skill. If you are too harsh and push the dog over the edge, things may end badly for you.

2. Vocal

Looking for a dog that doesn’t make too much noise? Well, you might want to stay away from this one.

He is among the many vocal dogs out there. He will bark when left alone, at the sight of strangers, out of fear or excitement, and at the sound of a weird sound such as thunder, rustling leaves, a doorbell ring, or a banging window.

This behavioral issue is too much to handle if you live in an apartment with close neighbors, have a newborn, or just want a peaceful sleep at night.

You may have to hire a canine behaviorist but keep in mind that doing that will not make the problem go away completely.

3. Prone To Wandering

You know you have a wanderer if you cannot contain your doggie inside the fenced property no matter what you do.

If the gate is left open, the dog will slide out never to be seen again.

It seems like some dogs are simply born to wander. These are the so-called natural explorers which are always out to see what lies beyond the home.

Others go out to find sexual mates (for the unaltered dogs), kill boredom, or find companions.

The Phu Quoc loves to roam for one of these reasons or the other.

 Be sure to neuter/spay your doggie and offer plenty of stimulation when you leave home for a long time.

4. High Prey Drive

Here’s another thing you’ll have to deal with by owning a Phu Quoc Ridgeback. This doggie has a very high prey drive.

If not trained and socialized early, he will constantly chase your cat or the neighbor’s, random rabbits, or park squirrels.

Outings with him are bound to get chaotic as he will constantly run after anything that moves.

Don’t forget that the breed was utilized for his hunting prowess back home.

 He enjoys stalking, chasing, searching, biting, grabbing, and killing other animals any chance he gets.

5. Not Friendly With Other Pets Or Strangers

Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are naturally aloof with strangers. Watchdogs are made this way for obvious reasons.

Don’t expect him to welcome strangers with open arms. He might not act aggressively towards them but he will not be friendly towards them either.

Additionally, he doesn’t like dogs and cats in his space very much.

His prey drive makes him chase the poor pets around the clock.

Lucky for you, this behavior can be solved by socializing your dog at an earlier age.

 As soon as you buy or adopt your puppy, get him used to having company at home.

Take him to the dog park, malls, and public places to familiarize him with different sounds, sights, and scents.

6. Stubborn Personalities

As very intelligent dogs, Phu Quoc dogs can be very stubborn.

They seem to have a mind of their own and will want to have their way all the time.

For novice dog owners, having such a pet can be very challenging.

They are ideal for seasoned owners who know what to do to get the dog to submit under them.

7. Can Cause Allergic Reactions

Statistics by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America show that three out of ten people in America are allergic to dogs and cats.

If you are one of them and are worried if the Phu Quoc is hypoallergenic, the answer is no. As a moderate shedder, this pup isn’t devoid of loose hair.

As a result, he is not the best breed to have if you have dog dander allergies.

Consider other breeds that are less likely to trigger allergies for your health and wellbeing.

8. Expensive

According to the Phu Quoc Island Explorer, this Vietnam’s breed is well worth 10,000 pounds in England which translates to about $12,000.

 The price was arrived at in 2015 when a British national by the name of Catherine Lane sold each of her puppies for the said price.

Lane had earlier traveled to Vietnam where she got her dog from.

When she came back home, the pup gave birth to two puppies which fetched a good price at the market.

Considering that most pups don’t even cost a quarter of this, the Phu Quoc ridgeback is undoubtedly one of the most expensive dog breeds in the world.

9. High Energy Requirements

A well-muscled dog, the Phu Quoc ridgeback is a great athlete. He loves to swim, run, and climb.

Without his daily dose of physical activity, this breed will not develop well.

If you are into very active dogs, you are in luck. In him, you have a jogging and running buddy.

However, if you are not a very active person yourself, this canine will drive you insane.

Besides the normal daily activity, he needs occasional intense activities such as agility running competitions, hiking, and outdoor excursions.

Additionally, he will require tons of mental stimulation to keep up with his high intelligence.

It is also worth mentioning that this pup can jump very high. As a result, he is not ideal for homes with short fences.


Gorgeous, loyal, and affectionate, the Phu Quoc is a great pet to own.

Whether you want a hunting companion, a lovable pet at home, or an effective watchdog, this breed ticks all boxes.

He brings a lot of good to the table but as usual, he comes with his own challenges as well.

Hopefully, this guide will help you to make a better decision in the future.