Taiwan Dog

Other names: Taiwanese Canis, Taiwanese Native Dog, Takasago Dog, Formosan Mountain Dog, Taiwan Canis

Taiwan Dog

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

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Intelligent Hunter

Size :

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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

FCI Group

Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types


Section 7 : Primitive type - Hunting Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Taiwan Dog

Adult size

Female : Between 17 and 19 in

Male : Between 19 and 21 in


Female : Between 26 and 35 lb

Male : Between 31 and 40 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



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.


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    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. 

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    These dogs are actually quite shy. They’re natural introverts who need a little encouragement before they feel comfortable enough to play.

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    A relaxed and calm breed. However, they come to life when it’s time to go for walkies.

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    Moderate amount of intelligence. Responds well to training. Smart enough to understand the basic obedience commands. 

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    Formosans have been hunting for thousands of years. Taiwanese aboriginals first used them to track and hunt wild boar.

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    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. 

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    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

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      Tolerates solitude

      These dogs have been living and working alongside humans for thousands of years. They’re not suited to long periods of solitude.

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      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. 

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      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.

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      Tendency to run away

      These dogs are very capable of running away. They’re quick, agile, and can run for hours. They’re also capable of jumping over gates and small fences.   

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      Unlikely to display any destructive behaviours. Any instances of such behaviour will be linked to an underlying mental health issue. 

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      Greedy / Gluttony

      Not known for being greedy or gluttonous. A very modest appetite. Capable of working for hours on end without eating. 

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      Guard dog

      A very good watchdog. The Formosan Mountain Dog is alert, attentive, and loyal. They’re very territorial and will challenge any intruders. 

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      First dog

      Not the best choice for first time dog owners. Although such behaviour is relatively rare, Formosans can turn quite aggressive and confrontational, especially if they haven’t been trained properly.

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        Taiwan Dog in a flat

        A flat is too small for this active dog. They also need regular access to outdoor spaces. 

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        Need for exercise / Sporty

        90 mins of exercise every single day. Ideally, this should be split into two seperate walks - one in the morning, then one in the early evening. They also need lots of time off the leash.

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        Travelling / easy to transport

        Ok with short car journeys, but will get bored and frustrated on longer road trips. 


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          Taiwan Dog and cats

          Formosans are much “wilder” than most other domesticated breeds. They still have a hunter’s instinct and are likely to chase any cats.

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          Taiwan Dog and dogs

          As long as they’ve received the right training, Formosans get on well with other dogs. Without it, they can display aggressive and competitive behaviour towards new dogs. 

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          Taiwan Dog and children

          These dogs are naturally shy and not particularly playful. They’re not the best pets for families with young children.

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          Taiwan Dog and the elderly

          This dog can be a bit of handful. They’re known to be aggressive if not trained properly. Some elderly people may struggle to cope with this dog.



          The initial cost of a Formosan Mountain Dog puppy is between £2,500 to £3,000. The average cost to keep one of these dogs (including vet bills, insurance, and food) is between £50 to £100 a month.


          Minimal grooming requirements. A brush every few weeks is fine. 


          Very light shedders

          Nutrition of the Taiwan Dog

          2 cups of high-quality dog food a day.

          Health of the Taiwan Dog

          Life expectancy

          A generally healthy breed with a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.

          Strong / robust

          A well-bred Formosan is a very healthy and robust dog. However, a significant number are born with genetic defects.

          Withstand heat

          These dogs were bred in East Asia and therefore have no problems coping in warmer temperatures. 

          Withstand cold

          Very vulnerable to cold weather. They have slight, lean frames with very little body fat. They will struggle in freezing temperatures and are at risk of suffering from hypothermia and frostbite. 

          Tendency to put on weight

          No issues with unwanted weight gain or obesity.

          Common illnesses

          • Genetic disorders
          • Fertility issues
          • Mental health issues, including aggressive behaviour


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