Dogs of Vietnam and Cambodia - observations | Toronto Dog Photographer

While I am certainly no expert in dogs from Vietnam and Cambodia, as a dog and pet photographer from Toronto, these are simply my observations.  Hopefully you enjoy the images.

City dogs

In the cities, it appears that many of the dogs are strays that wander the streets in search of something to eat or a shady place to sleep.  Many of the females had obviously recently had babies.  However, sadly, some dogs were chained up. One so tightly that it could not move off the ledge where it was sitting. It was so tightly chained, it could barely lie down.  Not surprisingly it was aggressive when I tried to approach. 

Stray dog in Vietnam

Stray dog in Vietnam

Dog chained up in a Hanoi suburb

Dog chained up in a Hanoi suburb

Village dogs

On the other hand in the small villages along the Mekong River, dogs did seem to “belong” to a household. I saw dogs in the yards of many of the homes there and they were often lying with the villagers.  But on no occasion did I notice anyone petting their dog. It was explained that dogs and cats are not treated as companions but rather they have a role to perform - dogs to protect the household and cats to catch the rats. In many cases they are mistreated.

Dog at a Cambodian Fish Farm

Dog at a Cambodian Fish Farm

Dog at a village home in rural Cambodia

Dog at a village home in rural Cambodia

Puppy at a rural Cambodian village

Puppy at a rural Cambodian village

Many of the dogs I saw were covered in sores and had fleas, as disease, infection and poor nutrition is clearly a problem.  No doubt pet care is non-existent in these impoverished villages.

Dog with skin sores and infection, typical of many of the dogs there.

Dog with skin sores and infection, typical of many of the dogs there.

Types of Dogs

I did not notice any pure bred dogs.  In the rural areas, the dogs were, in general, medium-sized, brown or black, and smooth-coated with pointy ears. Many looked like German Shepherd mixes. In the cities, especially in Vietnam, there were often smaller dogs and dogs with varied coat types from shaggy to smooth.

Typical mixed breed dog found in rural villages

Typical mixed breed dog found in rural villages

Most of the dogs seemed very friendly and allowed us to walk by without barking, although I decided not to get too close because many dogs have parasites, fleas, or ticks.

Dogs as Pets

Only once did I see a dog being walked on a leash, and that was in Vietnam in the city of Ho Chi Minh (Saigon).  There were also a few times that I saw small dogs in the city stores with their owners. My understanding is that in the past several years it has become more common with people of increasing wealth to own pets as companions, and treat them as members of the family, especially in Vietnam.   But while changes are happening, Vietnam is still a far from being a pet-friendly country.

This dog was hanging out at its owners grocery store in Siem Riep and appeared well taken care of

This dog was hanging out at its owners grocery store in Siem Riep and appeared well taken care of

This dog was wandering the streets in Hanoi. It growled at me but looks like it may be a family pet!

This dog was wandering the streets in Hanoi. It growled at me but looks like it may be a family pet!

I have read too that the people in Cambodia are starting to understand a lot more about caring for animals as the country is becoming more developed. That has helped people understand that they should love animals and in many cases their pets are now becoming members of the family. (See Horizons Cambodia Pets)  

Do they eat dog in Cambodia and Vietnam?

Sadly the answer is “yes”.  Apparently dog is rarely consumed in Cambodia these days, in part due to the Buddhist respect for animals.  But eating dog in Vietnam and China is still a common practice.


More documentary style images

Typical Cambodian village dog

Typical Cambodian village dog

Dog on a rural village road. 

Dog on a rural village road. 

Dog of a local resident relaxes in a Vietnamese village

Dog of a local resident relaxes in a Vietnamese village

This dog pictured in Vietnam appears to be chained

This dog pictured in Vietnam appears to be chained

Shaggy Street dog in Vietnam

Shaggy Street dog in Vietnam

This pup feeding from its Mom belonged to a local villager in Vietnam. Typical of the types of dogs seen there.

This pup feeding from its Mom belonged to a local villager in Vietnam. Typical of the types of dogs seen there.

Typical stray dog wandering the streets of Hanoi

Typical stray dog wandering the streets of Hanoi

At a floating village in Cambodia

At a floating village in Cambodia

Another example of a dog chained

Another example of a dog chained

Dog photographed at a rural farming community. 

Dog photographed at a rural farming community. 

He was wandering around at a rural community but the collar indicates he's not a stray

He was wandering around at a rural community but the collar indicates he's not a stray

Smaller mixed breed dog in a Cambodian village

Smaller mixed breed dog in a Cambodian village

Dog of a local fisherman

Dog of a local fisherman

Terrier type mix at a small Vietnamese town

Terrier type mix at a small Vietnamese town

Finally a cat for good measure!

Finally a cat for good measure!