Rare breed peaks at national dog show

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Soi, a three-year-old white furry Bac Ha dog, recently earned the first prize at a national competition for native Vietnamese breeds.

When Vietnamese Native Breeds Championship Dog Show was announced for the end of October, 35-year-old Hoang Quoc Viet wasted little time in entering his dog Soi (Wolf), assured he would “do his best.”

Twenty days before the contest, Viet commenced Soi’s training, focusing on the dog’s stamina and agility, along with its diet, supplemented with beef, cheese, eggs, and calcium pills, meant to induce a more muscular build and fluffy fur.

“Soi took well to nerve training, used to crowded places and the honking of vehicles,” Viet shared.

Three-year-old Soi is considered one of the most beautiful Bac Ha dogs in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Hoang Quoc Viet.

Three-year-old Soi is considered one of the most beautiful Bac Ha dogs in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Hoang Quoc Viet.

Factors contributing to Soi’s championship performance include his near perfect 58 cm height and 28 kg weight, a standard frame, almond-shaped eyes, and floppy ears.

“He had to run five laps of increasing speed in a mentality, agility, and cooperation test. Despite the crowd effect, Soi followed through,” a proud Viet recalled.

The most typical feature of the Bac Ha breed is thick fur, ideally adapted to the high-altitude mountainous areas of Bac Ha and Simacai in northwest Lao Cai Province. Soi’s long white fur is a rare gem among typical Bac Ha breeds, usually fire red, spotted tan, or black.

Le Ha, vice chairwoman of Vietnam Kennel Association said: “Dog show winners must display the typical build of their breed, a beautiful physical appearance, and be in sync with their owners.”

Bac Ha dogs have long been considered one of Vietnam’s four national breeds. The so-called “White Highland” Bac Ha were once thought the offspring of a mountainous wolf pack that mated with local village dogs on a cold and humid winter’s day.

“Opposed to playful Hmong ‘docked tail’ and Phu Quoc ridgeback breeds, Bac Ha are more graceful, calm and friendly, plus highly vigilant at night, making them great guard dogs,” said Viet.

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