There is a strong tradition of hunting dog breeds in Vietnam. Some breeds even have their own folklore and legends. Some breeds hail from the north of the country, while others come from the south. Colors of breeds range from tan and brindle to black. For a small country, there is quite a variety of dog breeds in Vietnam.
This less-known breed is a hunting dog. While they are commonly used as watchdogs, their history isn’t known. Some believe they are a mix between native wild dogs and primitive Asian breeds. These dogs range from 26 to 44 pounds and can reach 20 inches in height. Their coats are smooth and dry for the mountainous region from which it lives. While their coats are mostly tan and black, some have white hair.
The Bac Ha dog is admired for its intelligence and ease of training. The breed comes from the Lao Cai Province of Vietnam. As a northern breed, they have thick fur that comes in black, brindle, grey, and tan colors. The mountainous region is cold and damp. Their fur and strong physicality reflect where they come from. Bac Ha dogs are not recommended for the southern regions of Vietnam, where it’s hot and humid. Moving to the warm climate can be detrimental to the health and safety of the Boc Ha dog.
The H’mong is considered a primitive breed of dogs bred as watchdogs and hunting dogs from the Ha Giang Province. Their ability to hunt is very similar to their ancestral predecessors. These powerful dogs have short tails that look docked. H’mong dogs have thick coats that come in white, black, red, brindle, and brown. There are many dog clubs devoted to this breed in many places, from Hanoi to Saigon. Dog clubs raise awareness of this beautiful breed which is recognized by the Vietnam Kennel Association. H’mong dogs can cost thousands of U.S. dollars. The H’mong people believe the dog is good luck. In particular, dogs with red coats are the most prized.
Phu Quoc Ridgeback
This popular dog is from the island of Phu Quoc in southern Vietnam. It’s not recognized by any major kennel club, but it is a beloved dog of the country. They can swim quite quickly and tend to enjoy the water. On its back is a spiky trail of hair that gives it the name “ridgeback.” Legends say this dog was native to the once deserted island of Phu Quoc and that the breed was domesticated by the island’s first inhabitants. Another legend says the dogs were descendants of jackals and the mythical dragon dogs called fu-dogs. These dogs guarded the gateways to Chinese temples. There are even more interesting tales about the dog’s origins! Today, people keep the Phu Quoc dog because they are smart, friendly, and reliable. They are used for hunting deer and wild boar. Some are even used to sniff out medicinal plants used by hunters to treat snake bites and other injuries. This dog breed is an ideal pet with low maintenance short hair and medium size. They tend to be great with kids and playful.
The Special Dog Breeds of Vietnam
While there are only four native dog breeds of Vietnam, each has its own special characteristics. Many have their roots in myth and legend. All are known for being protectors and loyal companions. We were lucky to share their stories today as these breeds are not well-known in the West, and we hope you’ve come to appreciate these unique dog breeds as much as we have.