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Formosan Mountain Dog
Characteristics, History, and Health

Formosan Mountain Dog

The Formosan Mountain Dog, also known as Taiwan Dog, is a breed native to Taiwan. They are believed to be one of the oldest and most primitive dog breeds, with a history stretching back thousands of years. It's thought they were brought to Taiwan by Austronesian-speaking peoples during migration around 20,000-10,000 years ago. These dogs adapted to the mountainous Taiwanese landscape, becoming swift, agile, and intelligent. Once abundant, the breed's population sharply decreased during various periods of foreign rule in Taiwan, notably under Japanese control and Kuomintang rule, where they were culled in large numbers or crossbred with foreign breeds. Today, dedicated breeders and conservation efforts are trying to preserve this ancient breed.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Taiwan Dog
Life Expectancy
9-13 years
Average Male Height
17-20 inches
Average Female Height
17-20 inches
Average Male Weight
26-40 pounds
Average Female Weight
26-40 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
White, White and Black, Brindle, Fawn, White and Fawn, White and Brindle
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

The Formosan Mountain Dog, also called the Taiwan Dog, is a generally healthy breed. However, degenerative myelopathy and progressive rod-cone degeneration are common genetic conditions from which many other dog breeds are known to suffer. As for all breeds, genetic screening is recommended to assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

Formosan Mountain Dogs are known for their intelligence, agility, and adaptability. They're brave and have a strong protective instinct, which makes them good guard dogs. They are generally reserved around strangers but loyal and affectionate with their families.

Their high energy levels and intelligence mean they require plenty of mental and physical stimulation; otherwise, they can become bored and destructive. Proper socialization from an early age is critical due to their territorial nature.

This breed gets along well with children if raised with them, but their interactions should always be supervised. They can be aggressive towards other dogs, especially of the same sex, and may have a high prey drive towards smaller animals due to their hunting background.

Fun Facts

As a primitive breed, Formosan Mountain Dogs have maintained a distinct gene pool with little influence from modern breeds. Genoic studies have indicated a close relationship between Formosan Mountain Dogs and other indigenous dogs in Southeast Asia, underlining their ancient heritage.

Genetics research shows that these dogs date back between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1073906