Formosan Mountain Dog
- Height: 16-21 inches
- Weight: 26-40 lbs
- Lifespan: 10-13 years
- Group: AKC Foundation Stock Service
- Best Suited For: active singles, house with a yard, hunters, single-dog household
- Temperament: active, friendly, vigilant, gentle
- Comparable Breeds: Basenji, New Guinea Singing Dog
Formosan Mountain Dog Basics
More commonly known as the Taiwan Dog, the Formosan Mountain Dog is a small landrace indigenous to Taiwan. These dogs are well-adapted to the forested terrain and though they are semi-wild, they have the potential to be trained and used for a variety of purposes. Though you’re unlikely to come across a Formosan Mountain Dog at your local pet store, this is still a breed worth learning about.
More commonly known as the Taiwan Dog, the Formosan Mountain Dog is a small landrace indigenous to Taiwan.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is indigenous to Taiwan where it exists as a semi-wild breed as well as a domesticated breed. Very little is known about the breed’s ancestry, though it is known to be a very ancient breed. These dogs have probably existed in Taiwan for thousands of years, possibly descendant from ancient Southeast Asian hunting dogs. Though it is difficult to say for sure, researchers believe that the first dogs arrived in Taiwan some 10,000 to 20,000 years ago and it is from those early Dingo-like dogs that the Formosan Mountain Dog developed over thousands of years.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is an ancient breed that was developed before breeding records were kept, so its exact pedigree is unknown.
As a highly active breed, the Formosan Mountain Dog does best on a high-quality active or working breed formula. Even dogs of this breed kept as pets should still be given a calorie- and protein-dense diet because this breed is extremely active and requires a great deal of exercise.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is a highly intelligent breed and he has the potential to respond well to training with the right owner.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is a highly intelligent breed and he has the potential to respond well to training with the right owner. This breed does best with an experienced dog owner and he may fare better in a single-person household than with a family. Though he can be challenging to keep as a pet, the Formosan Mountain Dog does well when trained for a specific task – he has excellent problem-solving abilities and has even been trained for advanced military work. He is, however, very independent-minded and may become stubborn or outright willful. A firm and consistent hand in leadership and training is required for this dog – he will become dominant if his trainer is inexperienced or inconsistent.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is classified into three types – one medium and two small types. Generally speaking, however, males range from 18 to 21 inches and weigh 30 to 40 pounds while females stand 16 to 19 inches tall and weigh 26 to 35 pounds.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is adaptable to family life, but he has certain temperament traits that can make it difficult. For one thing, these dogs can be highly protective and territorial – that is why they are commonly used as guard dogs. That being said, they can also be highly loyal with their owners, but they are always likely to be wary around strangers. These dogs tend to bond closely with one member of the family, though they can be socialized to get along with children – just know that they will not tolerate any kind of rough play. In terms of other animals, the Formosan Mountain Dog tends to be fairly dog-aggressive and they have a very high prey drive. They may get along with a single dog of the opposite sex, but they will likely chase down and kill smaller pets.
Common Health Problems
As a semi-wild breed, the Formosan Mountain Dog is healthier than many purebred dogs, though there don’t appear to be any in-depth studies that have been conducted regarding the breed’s health. Some of the more common health problems known to affect the breed include skeletal problems, eye problems, and mange.
The average lifespan for the Formosan Mountain Dog is 10 to 13 years which is about average for a breed of its size.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is a highly energetic and naturally athletic breed, so they have high needs for exercise. These dogs require at least one hour of vigorous exercise per day, though more than an hour is always welcome. When the Formosan Mountain Dog doesn’t get enough exercise, he is highly prone to hyperactivity, excessive barking, and destructive behavior.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is adaptable to family life, but he has certain temperament traits that can make it difficult.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is a member of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service (FSS). This means that the breed is not yet registered in sufficient numbers to be accepted but it is on the way there. The Formosan Mountain Dog is, however, recognized by the FCI in Group 5, Section 7 as a Primitive Hunting Dog.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is a very low-maintenance dog in terms of grooming – they never need to be professionally groomed and they only need to be brushed occasionally. These dogs have short, hard, and close-lying coat that grows between ½ and 1 ¼ inches long. Most of the time these dogs have straight coats, but a curly-coated puppy is occasionally born. The most common colors include black, fawn, white, and brindle as well as combinations of black, white, and fawn.
The average litter size for the Formosan Mountain Dog is 10 to 12 pups which is very large for any dog breed. These dogs are highly intelligent, and they learn very quickly, so it is important to start training and socializing puppies from a very young age to prevent them from learning bad habits. These dogs also have the potential to become overly protective or aggressive toward strangers, so socialization is even more important if you plan to keep a Formosan Mountain Dog as a companion pet.
Photo credit: Erica.com/Shutterstock; Taisya Korchak/Shutterstock