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Formosan Mountain Dog: A Comprehensive Guide for 2024

Last updated on February 24th, 2024 at 02:52 pm

The Formosan Mountain Dog is a total badass in the dog world! These guys can do it all—hunting, guarding, search and rescue, even stunt work. They’re built like tanks and can handle any environment. Plus, they’re super bright and learn lots of tricks quickly. The Formosan Mountain Dog is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you’re ready for an adventure, they’re the perfect companion.

If you’re interested in learning about the Formosan Mountain Dog, you’ve come to the right place! This post will give you the lowdown on this adorable pup. So sit tight and get ready to discover everything you need to know!


Asian origin:Taiwan
Other names:Taiwan Dog
Height:17-20 inches
Weight:26-40 pounds
Lifespan:9-13 years
Coat type:Smooth, short
Colors:Pied, black, fawn, brindle, white
Temperament:Alert, gentle, friendly, energetic
Suitable for:Active singles and families



Energy level:


Tendency to bark:

Shedding amount:

Video version


The Formosan Mountain Dog originates from Taiwan. These pups are descendants of the hunting dogs that ancient Taiwanese inhabitants used to live in the central mountainous regions. A study conducted by scholars from National Taiwan University, Japan Gifu University, and Nagoya University in 1980 confirmed that the present Formosan Mountain Dog is a descendant of the South Asian hunting canines. Today, they serve as a watch and companion dog.


Formosan Mountain Dog
CREDIT: Sophia Yip/Shutterstock

The Formosan Mountain Dog is a medium-sized breed with a striking appearance. Their distinct triangular head features thin ears that perk up at a 45-degree angle, straight on the inside and slightly rounded on the outside. Despite their muscular build and well-balanced frame, they possess a surprising agility and grace rather than an intimidating bulk. Wide nostrils and a typically black nose complete the portrait. Their dark brown, almond-shaped eyes radiate curiosity, inviting you to explore their world. The short coat hugs their body closely, measuring between 1 ½ to 3 centimeters long. When it comes to color, these versatile pups come in a range of options: black, fawn, brindle, white, or even a beautiful blend of these hues.


The Formosan Mountain Dog’s unwavering dedication earns them a place among the most remarkable breeds. Known for their exceptional loyalty, these dogs form deep bonds with their families, becoming fiercely protective companions. When danger looms, they stand ready to defend without hesitation. Yet, their protectiveness stems from a keen intuition, not aggression. They quietly observe newcomers until trust is established, approaching strangers with cautious reserve. This initial wariness simply reflects their profound sense of responsibility for their loved ones’ safety. For those patient enough to earn their trust, these pups blossom into loyal and loving companions, enriching the lives of anyone fortunate enough to call them family.


Thanks to their short design, the Formosan Mountain Dog has a low-maintenance coat. A simple weekly brushing will distribute natural oils and remove loose fur. Occasional baths are fine, but don’t overdo it to avoid stripping essential oils.

Dental care, however, is crucial. Regular brushing with dog-specific toothpaste prevents tartar buildup, just like in humans. This keeps their breath fresh and promotes overall oral health. Don’t forget to trim their nails as needed with clippers or a grinder to prevent painful overgrowth, splitting, and cracking. Remember, shorter nails mean happier walks for both of you! Finally, pay attention to ear hygiene. You should check their ears often for wax and debris buildup, which can lead to infections. 


The Formosan Mountain Dog thrives on activity and mental stimulation. To keep them happy and healthy, regular exercise and engaging games are essential. Outdoor adventures are a great way to start. If you have a fenced backyard, playtime there provides ample space to run and explore. Daily walks are also crucial, offering both physical and mental stimulation.

Don’t underestimate the power of indoor fun! Hide-and-seek, chasing a rolling ball, and learning new tricks are excellent options for rainy days or apartment living. Activities like swimming, hiking, or retrieving toys can further unleash their energy outdoors. Even short hallway walks can be helpful, especially during bad weather. By incorporating these options into your routine, you’ll ensure your Formosan Mountain Dog is a happy, well-adjusted companion, ready for any adventure!


Formosan Mountain Dog

The Formosan Mountain Dog’s independent spirit can sometimes translate to stubbornness, making training essential for harmonious family living. However, harsh methods or forceful commands backfire with this intelligent breed. They thrive on positive reinforcement, responding best to training sessions that are reward-based, patient, and respectful.

Instead of trying to break their will, think of training as a collaboration. Reward desired behaviors with treats, praise, or playtime, consistently using clear and positive cues. This approach builds trust and fosters a strong bond, ultimately helping your Formosan Mountain Dog understand their role and responsibilities within the family. Remember, patience and positive reinforcement are the keys to unlocking their true potential and enjoying a fulfilling relationship with your furry companion.

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free online dog training workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs


Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.


Generally considered a healthy breed, the Formosan Mountain Dog typically enjoys a lifespan of 9-13 years. However, like all breeds, they may encounter certain health concerns, such as those related to joint degeneration as they age. Working with a reputable breeder is crucial. These breeders actively screen their dogs for potential health issues and can provide valuable information about specific concerns within the breed. This allows prospective owners to make informed decisions and be prepared to offer the best possible care throughout their dog’s life.


Feeding your Formosan Mountain Dog the right diet is crucial for their health and well-being. You have two options: choose a high-quality, commercially available dog food or prepare a homemade diet under your veterinarian’s careful guidance. Remember, the food should be tailored to their age, whether they’re a playful puppy, a strong adult, or a wise senior.

Since some Formosan Mountain Dogs are prone to weight gain, monitoring their calorie intake and maintaining a healthy weight is important. Always consult your veterinarian about any concerns regarding your dog’s weight or diet for personalized advice tailored to their unique needs.

Living Condition

Formosan Mountain Dog

These adaptable pups adjust well as long as they receive daily opportunities to run and play. However, it’s crucial to remember their Taiwanese roots. Cold weather tends to be uncomfortable for them, so ensure they have access to warm shelter during chilly periods. Leaving them outdoors in frigid temperatures is not recommended.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Formosan Mountain Dog

1. One of the Oldest Dog Breeds Still in Existence Is the Formosan Mountain Dog

The history of the Formosan Mountain Dog is a remarkable one. In the 1970s, Dr. Sung Yung-yi rallied a small group of enthusiasts to help save the breed from extinction. They found about 160 of these dogs in the central mountainous regions of Taiwan, of which only 46 were considered purebred. To save them from disappearing, a breeding program was started using these 46 dogs. Dr. Sung Yung-yi’s son, Ming Nan Chen, took over the program and continues it to this day.

Despite their efforts, there is little documented history of the breed. In 1980, researchers from the National Taiwan University, Nagoya University, and Japan Gifu University conducted a study to learn more. They went to twenty-nine different tribes in the central mountains and interviewed historians. Their findings confirmed that the Formosan Mountain Dog descended from South Asian hunting dogs that arrived in Taiwan between 20,000 and 10,000 years ago. Today, the Formosan Mountain Dog is one of the oldest dog breeds still in existence.

2. Rescue Efforts Have Brought Some of These Dogs to America

Several organizations have tried to protect the purebred lines of the Formosan Mountain Dogs, an essential part of Taiwan’s history. To aid in their conservation efforts, the purebred pups of this breed are primarily kept within Taiwan, as they are quite rare even there. However, some abandoned dogs were imported to America for their protection. 

3. The Formosan Mountain Dog Is Still Considered Semi-wild Today

Formosan Mountain Dogs are a breed that has never been fully domesticated. They work alongside indigenous tribes in Taiwan and are known for their friendly behavior towards humans. Although some are adopted into families, most are trained for work, such as hunting and farming.

Formosan Mountain Puppies for Sale

Formosan Mountain Dog

Formosan Mountain Dogs are rare in North America and are kept primarily for conservation breeding efforts instead of being adopted or sold as companion animals. If you come across an animal listed as a Formosan Mountain Dog, chances are it’s a mixed breed. Due to their rarity, the price of Formosan Mountain Dog puppies varies widely. If you find a breeder for these dogs, it’s important to ensure they are treated well and not exploited.

Becoming a dog parent is one of the most memorable moments of life. But before bringing your new best friend home, it’s vital to have all the right things to make sure the adoption is really smooth and makes them feel right. You may feel overwhelmed by tons of puppy products on sale and not sure what items your puppy actually needs. That’s why we’ve compiled this minimalist puppy checklist to help you get started.


The Formosan Mountain Dog is a cool breed that’s loyal, smart, and courageous. They’re not too big, with a pointy head, almond-shaped eyes, long ears, and a curly tail. 

These dogs have a tight bond with their humans because they used to hunt together in the mountains. Although they are protective of their family, they might be shy around strangers. So, it’s a good idea to teach them how to chill and not be overprotective. 


Are Formosan Mountain Dogs Good Pets?

When considering getting a Formosan Mountain Dog, it’s important to think about your lifestyle. Some dogs are loyal and intelligent and can be affectionate with their families. However, they might also be aloof with strangers, independent, and high-energy. This means that they need experienced owners who can consistently train, socialize, and exercise them. If you’re a first-time dog owner or live in a small space, this breed might not be a good fit for you.

Are Formosan Mountain Dogs Protective?

Yes, they are known for being protective of their loved ones and territory. This can be a positive trait but requires proper training to ensure they don’t become overly aggressive.

Are Formosan Mountain Dogs Endangered?

Yes, Formosan Mountain Dogs are considered an endangered breed. There are several reasons for their decline:

      • Loss of habitat: The Formosan Mountain Dog is native to the mountainous regions of Taiwan, but their habitat has been shrinking due to deforestation and development.
      • Crossbreeding: In the past, Formosan Mountain Dogs were often crossed with other breeds, which has led to a decline in the number of purebred dogs.
      • Lack of government support: The Taiwanese government has not done enough to protect the Formosan Mountain Dog, and there is a lack of public awareness about the breed’s plight.

Are Formosan Mountain Dogs Rare?

Yes, Formosan Mountain Dogs are considered rare.

What Is the Most Popular Dog in Taiwan?

Popular dog breeds in Taiwan include Pomeranians, Shiba Inus, and Pekingese. These breeds are often favored for their cute looks, adaptability to apartment living, and manageable size.

What Is the National Dog of Taiwan?

Taiwan does not have an officially designated national dog. While the Formosan Mountain Dog is native to the island and holds cultural significance, they haven’t been formally declared the national breed.

How Long Do Taiwanese Dogs Live?

The Formosan Mountain Dog typically lives for 9-13 years. Many factors affect their lifespan, including genetics, nutrition, healthcare, exercise, and environment. Each dog’s lifespan is unique and influenced by these factors.

Do Formosan Mountain Dogs Like Water?

It’s impossible to guarantee whether a specific Formosan Mountain Dog will enjoy water. However, understanding their potential instincts, respecting individual preferences, and offering positive introductions can create opportunities for them to discover and potentially enjoy swimming.

Do Formosan Mountain Dogs Shed a Lot?

Formosan Mountain Dogs are low shedders due to their short, smooth double coat. Shedding occurs seasonally during spring and fall, and minimal brushing is required once a week. They shed less compared to high-shedding breeds like Huskies or Golden Retrievers but more than completely hairless breeds like Chinese Cresteds.

What Does a Taiwanese Mountain Dog Look Like?

This dog is of medium size with a triangular head, almond-shaped eyes, thin pricked ears, and a sickle tail. They look pretty sinewy and well-balanced.


  • https://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/348g05-en.pdf
  • https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/taiwan-dog/
  • https://wagwalking.com/breed/taiwan-dog
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