Selective focus shot of a black Taiwan dog (Formosan Mountain dog)

Taiwan Dog: Formosan Mountain Dog

History of The Taiwan Dog Breed

The Taiwan Dog, also known as the Formosan Mountain Dog or the Taiwanese Aboriginal Dog, is an indigenous breed that can be traced back thousands of years in Taiwan. The exact history of the breed is not well-documented, but it is believed to be one of the world’s oldest and purest dog breeds.

The Taiwan Dog is thought to have descended from ancient village dogs brought to Taiwan by Austronesian tribes around 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. These dogs served as hunting companions, guardians, and companions to the indigenous people of Taiwan.

During the Japanese occupation of Taiwan from 1895 to 1945, the Taiwan Dog gained recognition from the Japanese, who imported some of the dogs back to Japan for their breeding programs. However, with industrialization and the influence of foreign dog breeds, the Taiwan Dog population declined, and it almost faced extinction.

In the 1960s, a group of dog enthusiasts in Taiwan realized the importance of preserving the breed and began efforts to protect and promote the Taiwan Dog. They established the Formosan Mountain Dog Preservation Society (FMDPS) in 1980, and its members worked together to collect and breed purebred Taiwan Dogs.

In recent years, the Taiwan Dog has gained recognition outside of Taiwan, and efforts have been made to increase awareness and preserve the breed’s unique qualities. In 2006, the Taiwan Dog was registered with the United Kennel Club (UKC) under the name “Taiwan Dog.”

Today, the Taiwan Dog is still considered a rare breed but has a growing fanbase worldwide. It is known for its agility, intelligence, and loyalty, making it a popular choice as a working dog and a companion animal. Efforts are ongoing to protect and promote the breed’s genetic diversity and ensure its continued existence as a distinct and cherished breed.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the Taiwan Dog breed. As of July 2021, the Taiwan Dog is not assigned to any specific group but is included in the Foundation Stock Service.

What Does the Taiwan Dog Look Like?

Taiwan Dog

The Taiwan Dog, also known as the Formosan Mountain Dog, is a medium-sized dog breed with a sturdy and muscular build. It has a well-proportioned body and a symmetrical appearance.

The Taiwan Dog has a broad, slightly rounded head with a tapering muzzle. Its black nose and expressive, almond-shaped eyes can be brown or amber. The ears are medium-sized, pointed, and stand upright.

One of the distinguishing features of the Taiwan Dog is its thick, double coat, which helps protect it from the harsh weather conditions in its native mountainous regions. The coat can be short to medium in length and comes in various colors, including black, black with tan markings, brindle, and white. Some individuals may also have a white blaze on their chest or a white patch on their feet.

Overall, the Taiwan Dog has a muscular, athletic build with well-developed muscles, giving it a powerful and agile appearance. It has a proud posture alert expression, and exudes an air of confidence and intelligence.

Is the Taiwan Dog a Good Family Pet?

The Taiwan Dog can be a good family pet. They are known to be loyal and intelligent dogs, making them great family companions. They are also generally good with children and other pets, especially if they are correctly socialized from a young age. However, it is essential to note that every dog is an individual, and their temperament and behavior can vary. Therefore, it is always recommended to do thorough research and meet the specific dog before deciding if it is a good fit for your family.

What Are the Health Concerns?

The Taiwan Dog, also known as the Formosan Mountain Dog, is generally healthy. However, there are a few health concerns commonly associated with them:

  1. Hip Dysplasia: This is a common inherited condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to discomfort and lameness. Regular exercise and controlled growth can help minimize the risk.
  2. Patellar Luxation occurs when the kneecap becomes dislocated from its normal position. It can range from mild to severe, causing lameness and pain. Surgery may be required in extreme cases.
  3. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an inherited condition that affects the photoreceptor cells in the eyes, leading to progressive vision loss and eventual blindness. Regular eye check-ups are essential to monitor the situation.
  4. Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA): CEA is another inherited eye disorder in many herding breeds, including the Taiwan Dog. The condition affects the development of the retina and can cause vision problems. Regular eye exams are necessary to detect and manage CEA.
  5. Canine Distemper: While not specific to Taiwan Dogs, this highly contagious viral disease can affect any unvaccinated dog. It causes respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological symptoms, which can be fatal. Ensuring proper vaccinations can prevent the disease.

Not all Taiwan Dogs will develop these health concerns, and responsible breeders perform health screenings on their breeding dogs to minimize the risk. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, and a healthy weight are essential for keeping dogs healthy.

Where can I find more information about the Taiwan Dog Breed?

You can find more information about the Taiwan Dog Breed from various sources, including:

The Taiwan Dog Conservation Association (TDCA) – This official organization dedicates itself to preserving and promoting the Taiwan Dog Breed. Their website ( contains detailed information about the breed’s history, characteristics, and standards.

Breed books and publications – Several books about the Taiwan Dog breed have been written. Examples include “The Taiwan Dog: The Best Kept Secret” by Mary Abram and “Taiwan Dog – Taiwan Dog Complete Owners Manual” by George Hoppendale. These books can provide in-depth information about the breed’s history, care, training, and characteristics.

Online dog breed directories – Websites like the American Kennel Club (AKC) ( and Dogtime ( have dedicated breed profiles that provide an overview of the Taiwan Dog Breed. These profiles typically include information on appearance, temperament, exercise needs, and health concerns.

Online forums and communities – Engaging with Taiwan Dog enthusiasts on dedicated online platforms such as forums, Facebook groups, or Reddit threads can also help you gather more information. These communities often share personal experiences, training tips, and resources that may not be readily available elsewhere.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Taiwan Dog?

The Taiwan Dog, also known as Formosan Mountain Dog or Formosan Aboriginal Dog, is an indigenous breed in Taiwan. It is believed to be the oldest and only native dog breed in Taiwan.

What does a Taiwan Dog look like?

Taiwan Dogs come in various sizes, ranging from small to medium. They have a well-built body with a sturdy frame and balanced proportions. Their coat can be short, medium, or long, and they often have erect ears and a curved tail. Their appearance can vary, but they generally have a fox-like face, almond-shaped eyes, and a confident expression.

What is the temperament of a Taiwan Dog?

Taiwan Dogs are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and alertness. They are often described as independent, self-reliant, and cautious. They can be suspicious of strangers but are loyal and protective towards their families. They are also quick learners and can be obedient with proper training and socialization.

Are Taiwan Dogs good with children and other pets?

When properly socialized and raised with children and other pets, Taiwan Dogs can have a good relationship with them. However, they may be reserved with strangers, so early socialization is important. As with any dog, supervision and teaching children how to interact with dogs is crucial to ensure a safe and harmonious relationship.

How much exercise and grooming does a Taiwan Dog need?

Taiwan Dogs have a moderate to high energy level and require regular exercise to fulfill their physical and mental needs. Daily walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation through training or interactive toys are typically recommended. Grooming needs vary depending on the coat length, but regular brushing to keep their coat clean and tangle-free is essential. They typically shed moderately.

How long do Taiwan dogs live?

On average, Taiwan dogs, also known as Formosan dogs, have a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years. However, the lifespan can vary depending on various factors such as genetics, overall health, diet, and lifestyle. Proper care, regular veterinary check-ups, and a balanced diet can contribute to a longer and healthier life for Taiwan dogs.


In conclusion, the Taiwan Dog breed is a remarkable and unique dog with a deep-rooted history in Taiwan. Despite its challenges and decline in numbers, efforts made by dedicated individuals and organizations have helped preserve this indigenous breed and bring it back to the spotlight. The Taiwan Dog’s versatility, intelligence, and loyalty make it an exceptional companion and working dog.

As recognition and appreciation for this breed continue to grow, it is vital to support initiatives promoting responsible breeding, education, and conservation to ensure the survival and prosperity of the Taiwan Dog breed for future generations to come. Doing so ensures that this remarkable indigenous breed will remain in our hearts, homes, and history.

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