Hmong Dog Breed Information

Hmong Dog Breed Information

You may have seen photos or videos of an adorably goofy puppy passed around the internet and wondered what breed the little fluffball is. While there are plenty of possibilities for any puppy to be cute and funny, the puppy we have in mind is classified as a Hmong.

Pronounced as “mungh”, this rare and ancient dog breed is native to the mountains of northern Vietnam. Incredibly loyal, fiercely intelligent, and exceedingly affectionate, this breed has something for everyone if you manage to find one.

Interested in learning more? Keep reading below for more details on this unique breed.

Hmong Dog Breed Information

Height18-22 inches
Weight35-55 pounds
Life Expectancy15-20 years
Coat TypeDouble coat with medium length
Affection LevelsPretty loving
Shedding LevelHigh shedding
TemperamentPretty playful
Pretty protective
Health IssuesHip dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia
Eye conditions
TrainabilityVery easy to train
ExercisePretty high exercise needs
Friendliness to PeoplePretty open to strangers
Friendliness to DogsPretty good with other dogs
Drooling LevelsLittle to no drooling
Mental StimulationVery high mental stimulation required
Barking LevelAverage barking
Hmong Dog Breed Information Table

Hmong Dog Appearance

Despite being accustomed to a rugged life in the mountains, the Hmong dog does not have an overly abundant coat, nor does it have the large build that many other mountainous breeds have. Instead, the dog is muscular but sleek.

Another of the breed’s defining features is a docked tail, which is why the breed is sometimes referred to as the “Hmong docked tail dog” or the Hmong bobtail dog” to help differentiate it from the other three Vietnamese national dog breeds.

You may be glad to know that the dogs are natural bobtails, so no docking of the tail is performed and tails. This means that Hmong dogs can be tailless, or have full-length tails simply based on genetics.

The thick, furry double coat of the Hmong dog protects it from most of the elements and is often one of the most prized aspects of the breed. Colors typically range from blacks, browns, and grays, to some lighter shades including tan. The rusty, red-brown color is particularly rare and sought after.

As puppies, they are often seen as derpy, playful little things, but as they age they become much more majestic in appearance. Authoritative dog organizations cite that the Hmong dog is a spitz-type breed, sharing many of the same characteristics and behaviors.

Personality and Temperament

Hmong dogs are loyal to a fault to their human masters and family. They will be playful and loving but vigilant to potential threats and protective of what they think is their territory. This can make them somewhat aloof toward strangers, even when introduced by a trusted family member.

Because much of their DNA seems to have a wild, untamed quality to it, the breed has extremely high prey instinct. This makes them excellent hunting companions as they have been used in the past, but it also means that other small family pets could be at risk if left alone with a Hmong dog.

Unlike many other highly intelligent dog breeds, the Hmong dog does not seem to have a stubbornness or rebellious nature. This makes training them very easy, especially when done properly from a young age.

Hmong Dog Grooming and Care

In the grand scheme, Hmong dogs are low-maintenance dogs that don’t require more grooming than most other breeds.

Unless a Hmong dog is visibly dirty or the coat has a strong odor, you can usually skip bathing it. When baths are required, lukewarm water will make lathering and rinsing much easier and enjoyable for everyone involved – it also keeps their skin from drying out too much so natural skin oils can coat the fur.

Be careful when bathing a Hmong dog because their coat can take a long time to dry, so always towel them off or use a low-heat hairdryer to ensure no health issues arise from an overly damp coat.

Aside from baths, ears should be checked for dirt and signs of infection at least weekly and nails should be trimmed back every two weeks to prevent them from causing problems. Daily brushing with a slicker brush will help contain fur-related messes and prevent hair from tangling or becoming mangy.

Health Concerns

The average Hmong dog is renowned for being a very healthy dog. Some people attribute their health and resistance to disease to their ancient, wild roots but, unfortunately, some things cannot be avoided.

Hip dysplasia is a major health concern for almost all dogs that are medium-sized or larger. While this may not manifest itself until near the end of a Hmong dog’s life, it is something that must be considered for a dog’s quality of life and if you can support it financially. The same is true for elbow dysplasia.

Hmong Dog Breed
Hmong Dog Breed

Their coat is both a blessing and a curse because it keeps them warm in cool or cold environments like the mountains where they come from but can cause them to overheat in hotter climates. The thick, warm fur can also attract pests like ticks or lice which puts them at risk for diseases carried by these parasites.

Furry Facts

  • Hmong dogs regularly live between 15-20 years but aren’t often considered to be the world’s oldest dogs, probably because they aren’t recognized by institutes like the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) or American Kennel Club (AKC)
  • The average tail length for a Hmong dog is between 1.2 and 5.9 inches
  • Modern Hmong dogs often find jobs as police and military dogs thanks to their keen sense of smell and intelligence
  • It’s thought that the breed originates in or around the Yellow River region of China when the Hmong people crossed an ancestor of the Hmong dog with Vietnamese jackals as they fled persecution by the Qing dynasty

Hmong Dog FAQ

Are Hmong Dogs Rare?

In short, yes, the breed is quite rare. While the breed may not be exceptionally rare within Vietnam, the international community at large finds it difficult to acquire a Hmong dog. This could be because they aren’t internationally recognized as a distinct or standardized breed, or they just aren’t popular with people outside of Vietnam.

Are Hmong Dogs Escapists?

Because Hmong dogs are inquisitive and have high prey drives, they may attempt to escape backyard enclosures while you aren’t looking. Their agility could also play a part in how easily or often they escape to chase something that has caught their interest.

However, their intelligence and memory are superb even among smart dogs. Hmong dogs have been known to guide themselves back to their home even after traveling several miles away.

Are Hmong Dogs Good Family Pets?

Hmong dogs are socially inclined without experiencing separation anxiety. They do great with multiple human family members and other dogs of a similar or larger size.

However, it isn’t generally recommended to leave small children and Hmong dogs alone for playtime. Other small pets also need a watchful eye so that the Hmong dog doesn’t mistake them for easy prey.


Hmong docked tail dogs are one of Vietnam’s Four Great National Dogs and are gaining international popularity thanks to viral videos of the silly puppies.

The breed can require a lot of work because of its high exercise and mental stimulation needs but it can be very rewarding to own one of these dogs. If you do purchase or adopt one of these furry friends, you can expect them to be in your life for a long time.