Vietnamese and their dogs

Some Vietnamese do eat dogs. Dog restaurants and butchers are frequent enough that I have seen them on multiple occasions. The butchers are particularly grim as whole carcasses lie out with exposed fangs and tell-tale tails ready to be chopped in to rather unappetizing chunks….

But despite the more grizzly (literally) side, many Vietnamese (particularly the growing middle classes) love their dogs. Once you have a dog here one quickly realises how many dogs there actually are – lurking in shops, down allies, hidden in cardboard covered cages. They also organise special breed meet ups in the parks in the evenings – Siberian Husky, Doberman clubs etc. – sadly the Nubian Hound has yet to find an appropriate group, although she has been mistaken numerous times for a ridgeless Phu Quoc dog probably because they are quite similar looking both being pariah/primitive dogs.

Hanoi is changing. Dogs are not owned now just as guard dogs but as status symbols and companions. There are days when I have seen so many Range Rovers, Porsches, and Rolls Royces along with a host of handbag ready dogs that I hardly feel I am in a communist country….

Chihuahua and a Mercedes

Larger, more fierce-looking dogs are also very popular from Thai Ridgebacks to Pitt bulls and Tibetan Mastiffs.

The very distinctive Thai Ridgeback

Having a dog here has been a great way to explore and get chatting to people. I’ve spoken French to ageing men in berets in the park and Tala’s made crying toddlers smile. Having a dog helps clearly differentiate me from all the tourists here so it’s nice to avoid the book selling hassle. The Vietnamese also take a French attitude (or perhaps it’s just because there are no regulations and people here live on top of each other and the animals they are about to eat…) in that no where seems to have a problem letting the Nubian hound in whether it be wine merchants, jewelery shops, or grocers. A moments tentative lingering and we are immediately ushered in. Usually with this reaction….

And ‘so cute’ which seems to be a very popular adjective even amongst those who know no English. Many are keen to run with the cute stereotype….

A Pekingese mix and its pink bicycle

Sadly not all dogs are living the dream on their bicycle or moped….