Phu Quoc Dog Racing
Dog racing is a recent arrival to Phu Quoc Island, stirring up interest among many residents and visitors.
Phu Quoc Island, in the southern province of Kien Giang, has been a tourist attraction for some time, not only because of its beaches, forests and specialties, but now also thanks to a unique racetrack for the rare Phu Quoc ridgeback.
The racetrack was built in Cay Thong Ngoai Hamlet in Cua Duong Commune by a local man named Le Quoc Tuan.
“We decided to build a kennel for ridgebacks with an aim to foster the conservation of this rare species of Phu Quoc dogs as well as diversify the tourism services of the island,” Tuan said.
Nguyen Chung, manager at the dog racecourse, said the facility was built in 2000 and is only the second of its kind in Vietnam after another in Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province. Initially, they trained 20 dogs, but now the number of trainers has increased to nearly 200.
The Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog “racing” is not like your traditional dog race. The unnumbered dogs run around a 4 lane 400m obstacle course like race track where they are challenged by the following obstacles: running through tall grass, climbing over trees, crawling under tunnels, and swimming in water. To motivate the dogs to run there is a “trainer” chasing them while blowing a loud whistle.
There are normally 2 races, the first one is the warm up race followed by the actual race. After the race is over, a staff member will provide you a tour of the facility and show you how the dogs are raised, bred, what they can do, and finally how they live. Watching the race and then touring the facility takes only about 45 minutes. The admission fee as of 2014 is 40,000VND ($2.00USD) per person.
The Phu Quoc ridgeback is one of only three breeds that have a ridge of hair running along their backs in the opposite direction from the rest of the coat. The others are Rhodesian ridgebacks and Thai ridgebacks.
A mature Phu Quoc dog weighs around 20 to 25 kilos. They have small heads, long necks and are thin with long ears.