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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.