Taiwan Dog: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Taiwan dog among greenery

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The Taiwan dog is a medium-size non-sporting dog breed from Taiwan with a short, smooth coat that can come in several colors. Also known as the Formosan mountain dog, this rare dog breed has a triangular head with almond-shaped eyes and thin prick ears. The dog’s tongue often sports black markings. Overall, the breed has a lanky, muscular build with an erect, sickle-shaped tail. It’s a descendent of ancient hunting dogs—and as such, a powerful athlete that’s best for an active household.

Breed Overview

Group: Non-Sporting

Height: 17 to 20 inches

Weight: 26 to 40 pounds

Coat: Short, smooth

Coat Color: Black, brindle, fawn, white, white and black, white and brindle, white and fawn

Life Span: 9 to 13 years

Temperament: Alert, loyal, intelligent

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: Taiwan

Characteristics of the Taiwan Dog

The Taiwan dog typically has an alert and intelligent temperament. It’s often quite connected to its owner and responds well to training, though it can be reserved around strangers. High energy also helps to shape the breed’s personality.

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Taiwan Dog

Taiwan dogs have ancient canine DNA that can be traced back over 10,000 years ago. They come from semi-wild South Asian dogs that people would use to assist them in hunting wild boar and other game.

The dogs have been prevalent in Taiwan for thousands of years, acting as loyal companions and watchdogs as well as hunting dogs for the people there. While the dogs were devoted to their families, they also retained a wild streak. For instance, they were adept at finding their own food. 

The breed’s numbers have dwindled, especially as other dogs arrived in Taiwan and interbred with the indigenous dogs. Now, the remaining purebred Taiwan dogs are mostly used for breeding efforts to keep the line alive. The American Kennel Club hasn’t officially recognized the breed, though it is part of the organization’s Foundation Stock Service, which helps to track breeding efforts. 

Taiwan Dog Care

Plan to spend ample time every day exercising this high-energy breed. Fortunately, its grooming only requires minimal time. It also should receive consistent training and socialization from an early age to instill good manners.


Aim for at least one to two hours per day of exercise for your Taiwan dog. Long walks, hikes, jogging, swimming, and vigorous games of fetch all are ideal activities. This breed also can excel in dog sports, such as agility, which provide mental and physical challenges. Puzzle toys also can help to occupy this bright breed.

Keep your dog in a securely fenced area or on a leash when outside. If you don’t, the breed’s prey drive might cause your dog to take off chasing perceived prey. The breed also may become aggressive around unknown people and dogs if it’s not properly trained and socialized.


Brush your dog at least weekly to remove loose fur and distribute skin oils. But expect periods of higher shedding roughly twice a year, often in the spring and fall, when you’ll have to brush more frequently.

Bathe your dog every month or so, and check its ears at least weekly to see whether they need cleaning. Trim its nails roughly every month as well, and brush its teeth ideally every day. 


Begin training and socialization when your Taiwan dog is a puppy. A puppy obedience class can help to teach it basic commands and social skills. The breed typically responds well to positive-reinforcement training methods. The key is to make training fun and varied to hold this intelligent dog’s attention. 

Moreover, it’s key to expose your Taiwan dog to different people, other dogs, and various locations to help curb its wariness and protective instinct. The breed can become aggressive due to fear without socialization. But having lots of positive experiences around strangers should help to prevent this.

Common Health Problems

The Taiwan dog is overall a very healthy breed. In fact, it doesn’t have any known hereditary health problems outside of age-related issues that are seen in most dog breeds.

Diet and Nutrition

Always have fresh water accessible for your Taiwan dog. Feed it a high-quality canine diet with balanced nutrition, typically via two measured meals per day. Discuss both the type of food and the amount with your vet to ensure that you’re meeting your dog’s individual needs. Nutritional requirements can vary based on age, activity level, and other factors. Also, avoid overfeeding treats and other supplemental food to help prevent excess weight gain.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Taiwan Dog

The Taiwan dog is rare to find at breeders and rescue groups in North America. Dogs with pure bloodlines are primarily kept for conservation breeding efforts rather than adopted or sold to the general public as companion animals. Consequently, if you do find an animal listed as a Taiwan dog, odds are it’s a mixed breed. As such, the cost for these dogs will vary widely.

For further information to help connect you with a Taiwan dog, check out: 

Taiwan Dog Overview

  • Intelligent and trainable

  • Affectionate and devoted

  • Good watchdog

  • Difficult to find at rescues and breeders

  • Can be wary of strangers

  • Needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation

More Dogs Breeds and Further Research

Before bringing home a Taiwan dog, do thorough research to make sure the breed is right for your lifestyle. Talk to breed owners, rescue organizations, reputable breeders, and vets. Try to meet some Taiwan dogs, too, if possible. 

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • Are Taiwan dogs good family dogs?

    In general, Taiwan dogs are moderately good with children. They can do well with respectful older kids, but they should be supervised around young children. 

  • Are Taiwan dogs aggressive?

    Taiwan dogs can be reserved around strangers and other dogs, and they have a strong protective nature. They might become aggressive due to fear, but ample training and socialization can help to prevent this.

  • Are Taiwan dogs good apartment dogs?

    Taiwan dogs adapt to different living situations fairly well, as long as they are properly trained and socialized. However, it’s ideal that they have access to a fenced yard where they can run freely, as they are a high-energy breed.

Article Sources
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  1. Taiwan Dog. American Kennel Club.