Other names: Taiwanese Canis, Taiwanese Native Dog, Takasago Dog, Formosan Mountain Dog, Taiwan Canis
Also known as the Taiwan Dog, the Formosan Mountain Dog is a medium sized breed that is closely related to the wild Dingo. These dogs have a long history in East Asia, where they were used as hunting dogs, guard dogs, watchdogs, and companion dogs. The Formosan Mountain dog is very rare and exceptionally valuable. UK owners will have a tough time finding a specialist breeder. And even if they do, they should expect to pay thousands of pounds for these highly-prized dogs.
Key facts about the Taiwan Dog
Origins and history
The Formosan Mountain Dog is a descendent of the South Asian Pariah Dogs. These semi-wild dogs would live on the outskirts of human settlements, scavenging for scraps and hunting small vermin. After the Dutch established a base in the region, they began crossing their own hunting breeds with the Pariah Dogs. The result of that pairing was the Formosan Mountain Dog. Since then, it’s been mixed with both Japanese and Western Hunting dogs, producing a wide range of crossbreeds. Purebred Formosans became very rare. They were also used for dog meat after Taiwan came under Chinese control. As a result, their numbers were very close to extinction levels and still remain a cause for concern. Researchers from Taiwan’s top universities are working on programmes to save this ancient breed.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types
Section 7 : Primitive type - Hunting Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Taiwan Dog
Female : Between 17 and 19 in
Male : Between 19 and 21 in
Female : Between 26 and 35 lb
Male : Between 31 and 40 lb
Black. Brindle. Fawn. White. White and Black. White and Fawn.
Type of coat
Medium sized dog. Lean frame. Narrow head. High pricked eyes and almond-shaped eyes. A well-balanced posture.
Good to know
Purebred Formosan Mountain dogs are very rare. As a result, puppies can change hands for thousands of pounds.
Any breeders offering “cheap” Formosans should be avoided. The puppies are likely to have been born with serious genetic disorders.
Formosan Mountain Dogs produce huge litters. It’s not uncommon for them to produce as many as 12 puppies.
The Formosan is a versatile breed. As well as being an effective hunting dog, they are also kept as companion dogs. As such, they’re very friendly and affectionate towards humans.
These dogs are actually quite shy. They’re natural introverts who need a little encouragement before they feel comfortable enough to play.
A relaxed and calm breed. However, they come to life when it’s time to go for walkies.
Moderate amount of intelligence. Responds well to training. Smart enough to understand the basic obedience commands.
Formosans have been hunting for thousands of years. Taiwanese aboriginals first used them to track and hunt wild boar.
Fearful / wary of strangers
A shy dog that tends to be wary of new people. Can sometimes appear rather nervous or anxious. Is prone to displaying aggressive behaviour.
These dogs start off being very independent, but then form exceptionally close bonds with their owners. After that, they rarely leave their side.
Behaviour of the Taiwan Dog
These dogs have been living and working alongside humans for thousands of years. They’re not suited to long periods of solitude.
Easy to train / obedience
A fairly easy dog to train. Smart without being stubborn. Keen to impress. Remains well-focused on the task at hand.
Not known for being loud barkers. However, they can get quite territorial and will bark loudly at any “intruders.” They’re also very protective over their owners and may bark at passing strangers.