This site is for lovers and owners of the rare Vietnamese Phu Quoc ridgeback dogs.
For the longest time, I have heard my father talk about a type of dog than is able swim, climb trees, catch fish, catch mice, guard the house and follow its owner's command to a tee. He talked of its intelligence, wildness and rarity. He said that it was a dog native to Phu Quoc, in our home province of Kien-Giang, in Southern Vietnam. Our family in Vietnam had two such dogs and he constantly praised them for their intelligence and loyalty.
I remember meeting one of those dogs when I visited my childhood home in Vietnam in 2011 to spend some last days with my uncle who was dying of cancer. Her name was Lu and she was my uncle's beloved dog. As I looked into the home my parents and I shared with my grandmother and uncle's family for the first five years of my life, Lu guarded the entry and would not let me enter until my cousin told her it was OK. And even then, she would only let me enter rooms with open doors. Rooms with closed doors meant they were off limits to me, and she would ensure that I dont go near them. When Lu was not guarding the house, she guarded the scooters for the customers who stopped by to eat at my cousin's noodle house. She seemed to know which scooter belonged to which human. It was just incredible. You couldnt get one past her. No one could get on a scooter than they didnt come by on.
And so began my first exposure to these incredible Phu Quoc dogs. At the time, I only knew of her as a dog. A very smart dog, but nothing more than that. I didnt know how rare her breed was, or that at one time, her breed was close to extinction because they were so isolated and were predominantly found only on Phu Quoc Island, a two hour boat ride from my hometown of Rach-Gia in Kien-Giang province. Because they are so rare, Phu Quoc dogs are not recognized by the international dog kennel clubs and are unable to enter any international dog shows. In recent years, many of these dogs have been exported by dog lovers to many parts of the US, and especially to Little Saigon in Southern California.
And this is where my story came full circle. My husband and I were asked to train a difficult dog named Dino. Lo and behold, Dino happened to be a Phu Quoc dog, imported directly from Phu Quoc by his owner. Dino was just so wild and intelligent that he was more than his owner had bargained for but we had never encountered any dog more intelligent or more eager to please his owner. Dino was full of energy, and just pure solid beauty, strength and speed. We were able to retrain him to his owner's satisfaction and now Dino is almost a model domesticated canine; I say "almost" because deep down, these dogs will always be wild at heart. After spending time with Dino, we knew we wanted our own ridgeback. We started by adopting a ridgeless Phu Quoc pup our kids named Bruin after my alma mater mascot, the UCLA Bruins. We then took in his sister Pixie after an owner surrender. Then came a litter of 6 pups from a first time breeder who was in over her head. At that point, we knew this was our calling. These dogs have become part of our family and a breed we are passionate about introducing to the rest of the world. Raising them also brings me closer to my father and uncle; both died of cancer in 2008 and 2011 respectively.
My hope is to introduce this rare and wonderful breed to the community and eventually to the American Kennel Club to give this wonderful breed the recognition they deserve. It's a project close to my heart, in honor and in memory of my uncle, who filled my world with so much laughter and happiness even though our time together was so short because we were separated for over 20 years due to the fall of Vietnam, as well as in honor of my father, who enriched my world with so many wonderful stories, especially the story about a mythical dog breed that turned out to be real.