Taiwan Dog – Everything You Need to Know

Taiwan dogs survive in almost any setting if their owners are rigorous and diligent in training. However, because this clever breed may be obstinate and develop unpleasant guarding instincts, they may not be the most excellent choice for a first-time pet owner. Still, if you’re seeking a devoted and caring friend who’s willing to accompany you everywhere you go, this is the breed for you!

Taiwan Dog Pros and Cons

Highly intelligentRequires socialization
Easy to trainAggressive
Loyal dogsNot hypoallergenic

Taiwan Dog Basic Information

  • Name: Taiwan Dog
  • Origin: Taiwan
  • Group: Non-Sporting group
  • Size: Medium
  • Height: Male: 19 – 20 inches; Female: 17 – 19 inches
  • Weight: Male: 31 – 40 lbs; Female: 26 – 35 lbs
  • Coat: Short and double coat
  • Color: Pied, black, fawn, brindle, white
  • Energy: Medium to high
  • Activities: Hunting dogs, companion dogs, family dogs, sporting dogs
  • Barking Level: Medium 
  • Shedding Level: Medium
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 10 – 12 puppies
  • Other Names: Taiwanese Native Dogs, Takasago Dogs, Formosan Mountain Dog
  • Breed’s Original Pastimes: Hunting
  • Life Span: 10 – 13 years

Taiwan Dog History

Taiwan Dogs are historically linked back 10,000 to 20,000 years, making them one of the world’s most significant and primitive canine breeds. They are the ancestors of South Asian hunting dogs endemic to Taiwan’s central mountainous areas, and they were the old hunter’s devoted companion in the untamed forest. This ancient breed has been a part of Taiwan’s history and cultural environment for millennia. They are now famous as guard dogs and companion dogs around the island.

Until 1624, Taiwan dogs were the only type of dogs domesticated in Taiwan. Then, Dutch colonists invaded the island and brought with them other dog breeds. It resulted in the cross-breeding of dogs which affected the purebred status of Taiwan Dogs. Gradually, the number of Taiwan Dogs decreased with Japanese and Chinese invasions. In addition, the breed became almost extinct when the Chinese introduced dog meat in human foods. 

In the 1970s, Dr. Sung Yung-yi restored the breed by bringing together Taiwan Dog lovers. As a result, the team rescued 160 Taiwan Dogs in the central mountain region. But, unfortunately, only 46 dogs were purebred. So, the team started a breeding program to increase the Taiwan dog population. Dr. Sung Yung-yi’s son, Ming Nan Chen took over the mission, and it’s still in existence.

Besides these, there is significantly less documented history on the Taiwan Dogs. So, in 1980,  a joint study was conducted by the scholars of National Taiwan University, Nagoya University, and Japan Gifu University. Researchers visited the villages of 29 different tribes in the central mountains and interviewed the tribes and historians. The reports confirmed that Taiwan Dogs descended directly from South Asian hunting dogs dating back to 20,000 and 10,000 years ago. This makes the Taiwan Dog one of the oldest dog breeds to date. 

They are also referred to as Formosan Mountain Dogs. They have acquired popularity in the United States due to rescue initiatives that have moved abandoned Taiwan Dog mixes to the country. On the other hand, Purebred Taiwan Dogs are exceedingly rare and are conserved in Taiwan.

Types of Taiwan Dogs

There are different types of Taiwan dogs based on their color. However, their coat, height, weight, and physical features remain similar. 

Fawn Taiwan Dog

Fawn Taiwan dogs are common and are readily available. Their height, weight, and size will be within the average range. They are agile, smart, intelligent, and perfect guard dogs. They do not have endurance against harsh climatic conditions. Fawn Taiwan dogs should have a proper diet and adequate space to burn their calories as they are high energy dogs. 

Black Taiwan Dog

Black Taiwan dogs are the most common dogs and measure within the average range of Taiwan dog breeds. They have round-shaped amber eyes, a perfectly defined body, and erect, sharp ears. Black Taiwan dogs are agile, alert, protective, intelligent, stern, and eager to please their master. As a general rule of thumb, it would help if you took care of their diet and living standards.

Pied Taiwan Dog

The wild instincts of Pied Taiwan dogs make them highly interesting. They look brilliant with round amber eyes, erect and sharp ears, black snouts, and well-defined toplines. Unfortunately, they are not as common as Fawn and Black Taiwan dogs.

Brindle Taiwan Dog

Not as common as Black and Fawn Taiwan dogs, Brindle Taiwan dogs look stunning due to their shiny coats. They have black snouts, round amber eyes, sharp erect ears, and perfectly defined toplines. They are highly energetic and playful. Brindle Taiwan dogs’ wanderlust tendencies make them independent yet obedient to the master. 

White Taiwan Dog

Rarely found, White Taiwan dogs look elegant with their white coats. They are highly in demand due to their sharp looks. White Taiwan dogs have the same temperament compared to the other Taiwan dogs. 

Taiwan Dog Highlights

  • Taiwan dogs are not hypoallergenic, as they shed seasonally. 
  • Taiwan dogs can have behavioral issues if left alone for a long time. 
  • Taiwan dogs need good exercise or play sessions to sweat out their energy.
  • Taiwan dogs get along very well with older kids. Also, under supervision, he can be very good with infants and toddlers. 

Taiwan Dog Personality 

Being one of the world’s oldest breeds, the Taiwan Dog has eons of knowledge and experience embedded into its DNA. For decades, these mountain dogs traveled with only one master, and the Taiwan Dog still has a strong attachment with the master. 

The male Taiwan dog stands 19 – 20 inches tall, and the female Taiwan dogs stand 17 – 19 inches tall. The male weighs around 31 to 40 lbs, and the female measures 26 – 35 lbs. They have a dense and short coat of colors, including black, fawn, brindle, pie, and white. They have an undershot or overshot bite, and their canine tooth might be missing.

Friendliness Overview Table 

Affection level Medium
Family-friendly Medium to high
Kid-friendly Medium
Pet-friendly Medium to high
Stranger -friendly Low to medium

Adaptability Overview Table  

Good for apartment living Medium
Good to new owners Low to medium
Sensitivity level Medium
Tolerates being alone Low to medium
Cold-tolerance Medium to high
Heat-tolerance Medium to high

Taiwan Dog Physical Features 

  • Head: The head of the Taiwan dog can be subcategorized into various other parts. The Cranial region, commonly referred to as the forehead, is round. It is wide without any wrinkles. The skull is typically longer than that of a muzzle. The stop area is well defined, with a hint of a slight furrow. The nose of Taiwan dogs is of medium size, with wide nostrils, usually black. However, the blackness can be lighter in other colors. The nasal bridge region is straight. The muzzle is typically tapered from the base to the nose. However, it is not pointed at the edge. They have tight lips without any folds. Their teeth are set square concerning the strong jaws. The cheeks are well defined with a slight protruding effect.
  • Neck: The neck of the Taiwan dogs are muscular and strong. They are of good length, which is slightly arched without any dewlap.
  • Topline: The withers are well developed, along with the straight and short back. They have firmly held muscular loins, flat, broad, sloppy croups, deep chests that do not reach the elbows, protruding forechests, and finely defined ribs.
  • Body: The bodies of Taiwan dogs are muscular and almost square built.
  • Tail: The tail resembles an erected sickle, curled forward, and active.
  • Forequarters: Taiwan dogs have muscular shoulders, with the blades laid back. The elbow is significantly close to the body. The forearms are well defined, straight, and parallel to each other. They usually have firm pasterns. The forefeet are highly defined without being too in or too out. The paw pads are thick and tight, with black nails.
  • Hindquarters: The hindlegs are typically firm, parallel to each other, slender, and muscular. The thighs are generally broad and sloping, connected to the well-bent knee. The rear pasterns are perpendicular to the base. The hind feet are highly defined as not being too in or out. The paw pads are firm and thick, with nails being black.
  • Coat: The coats of Taiwan dogs are short, stiff, stuck tight to the body of 1.5 to 3 cm in length.
  • Color: The coat colors are black, brindle, fawn, white, white and black, white and fawn, white and brindle.
  • Gait: The Taiwan dogs have a firm gait and can turn 180° instantly. 

Taiwan Dog Temperament 

Taiwanese dogs haven’t been pampered or reared in a loving environment. They have wanderlust tendencies, and their primordial nature keeps them alert, attentive, courageous, loyal, and aloof. Rather than being pets, they prefer being watchdogs for their human family.    They adore the humans they regard as family; hence, will frequently go to great lengths to protect them. Strangers aggravate them, and they are commonly spotted sitting by and just watching them.

Even with a cynical attitude toward each new or unfamiliar creature, the Taiwan Dog is playful. They are well-adapted to the outdoors and require as much time as possible in it. The only time they will be exempt from this is if they are forced to travel in frigid weather.

Taiwan Dog Training

Taiwan dogs have a history of being in the wild. They are not the types of dogs who would like to be at home doing no activities. Hence, they have a stubborn nature which you can mend with consistent obedience training and socialization. In addition, positive reinforcement works best for them as they are master dogs. 

Trainability Overview Table 

Easy to train Medium to high
Intelligence Medium to high
Mouthiness tendencies Medium
Barking and Howling tendencies Medium
Prey drive Medium to high
Wanderlust tendencies Medium to high

Taiwan Dog Exercise Needs 

Taiwan dogs make excellent hiking partners, hunting partners, or any other activity that requires them to be on their feet. Despite their bodies being built for endurance sports, they know how to stay and watch for lengthy periods.

You can engage your Taiwan dogs in indoor activities such as hide-and-seek, chasing a ball rolled along the floor, or learning new tricks. However, outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, or retrieving balls or flying discs can burn their high energy levels. Indulging your pet in sports activities like agility, obedience, and rally training can be an excellent option to meet their daily exercise needs.

Every day, Taiwan dogs should have at least 30 minutes of regular activity. In addition, your Taiwan dog needs at least 7 miles a walk daily. 

Exercise Needs Overview Table  

Energy level Medium to high
Exercise needs Medium to high
Intensity Medium
Playfulness Medium to high

Taiwan Dog Grooming 

The coat of the Taiwan Dog is dense and short, and it can be spiky to the touch. Their coat is available in a range of hues, including black, white, fawn, and brindle. These coats are sometimes solid hues, and they are sometimes a blend of colors. While the Taiwan Dog’s coats are short, they can shed periodically. So, Taiwan Dogs aren’t always the correct choice for people with allergies.

The coat of your Taiwan Dog needs relatively little upkeep. Brushing once a week and regular baths should suffice. Although their coats serve to shield them from the elements, you should never leave your Taiwan Dog outside in harsh weather or temperatures. Brush their teeth regularly to avoid periodontal diseases, tartar build-up, and bad breath. Clean their eyes and ears to avoid infections. Trim their nails regularly.

Grooming Overview Table  

Easy to groom Medium to high
Drooling tendency Medium 
Amount of shedding Medium

Taiwan Dog Health 

Taiwan Dogs are typically healthy. However, they are susceptible to some health issues. Although not all dogs of this breed may contract one or more of the diseases listed below, it’s vital to be updated about their health if you’re thinking about getting one.

Health Overview Table  

Overall healthMedium to high
Weight gain tendenciesMedium
  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the socket component of the hip joint does not entirely fit the ball portion, increasing the risk of joint dislocation. Hip dysplasia can be present at birth or develop later in adulthood. Arthritis can occur as a dog ages. Some dogs show signs of pain and lameness on one or both back legs. The Orthopedic Foundation or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program offers x-ray screening for hip dysplasia in animals. Hip dysplasia-affected dogs should not be bred.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: This is a hereditary condition that affects medium-sized dog breeds. It’s caused by the three bones that make up a dog’s elbow growing at different speeds, causing joint laxity. This can result in severe lameness. Your veterinarian may prescribe pain medication or possibly surgery to remedy the condition.
  • Cataracts: In senior Taiwan Dogs, it is a prevalent cause of blindness. The eye lens becomes opaque and foggy. Your dogs may require surgery to cure cataracts.
  • Glaucoma: It is caused by increased pressure in the eye and is found in two forms: primary, which is hereditary, and secondary, which is caused by the decreased fluid in the eye. Symptoms include pain and loss of vision. Treatment includes surgery or eye drops.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: The loss of photoreceptors at the rear of the eyes produces blindness in this eye condition. It can be diagnosed early; blindness is at a later stage. As they have other senses to compensate, dogs with this illness can live for several years.
  • Luxating Patella: When a dog’s knee bends and extends, the patella (kneecap) rests in a groove at the lower end of the thigh bone (femur) and glides up and down. The kneecap can dislocate in certain dogs (luxate). In Patella Luxation, the kneecap pops out of its thighbone groove and drifts toward the medial or lateral leg.
  • Sarcoptic Mange: Sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious skin condition caused by the Sarcoptes scabies mite that affects dogs. These mites cause severe itching and inflammation, burrowing into the skin. Your pet’s hair falls off due to the itching caused by mange. You can treat this medical ailment, but it is contagious to other animals and people. 
  • CERF
  • OFA on elbows and hips

Taiwan Dog Diet and Nutrition

A Taiwan Dog diet should be designed for a tiny to medium-sized breed with more energy than the average dog. Rather than putting food out all the time, measure their food and feed them twice a day to keep your Taiwan Dog in good form. Provide clean, fresh water to Taiwan dogs time-to-time to ease their digestion process and ensure a healthy lifestyle.

Taiwan Dog’s nutritional requirements will alter from puppyhood to adulthood and continue to change into their senior years, as they do with all dogs. Because there is just too much variance among individual dogs — including weight, energy, and health — to offer a particular prescription, you should seek your veterinarian for advice on your Taiwan Dog’s diet.

Taiwan Dog Living Condition

Taiwan dogs survive best in living spaces with a huge backyard to play around and sweat out their energy. However, they cannot live without their master for longer as they suffer from separation anxiety. They also cannot endure extreme weather conditions. 

Did You Know?

  • According to some experts, dogs were on the island of Taiwan long before humans, maybe as long as 10,000 to 20,000 years ago.
  • In 2017, Taiwan Dogs were added to the Foundation Stock Service.
  • Taiwan Dogs have spotted tongues.
  • Aborigines of Taiwan used Taiwan dogs to hunt wild boar.

Taiwan Dog Breed Recognition

ACA = American Canine Association Inc.

ACR = American Canine Registry

AKC = American Kennel Club

ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club

CKC = Canadian Kennel Club

CKC = Continental Kennel Club

APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.

DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.

FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale

NKC = National Kennel Club

NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club

UKC = United Kennel Club

GSDCA = German Shepherd Dog Club of America

KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain

NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.

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