6 Fun Facts About Formosan Mountain Dog That Will Surprise You

6 Fun Facts About Formosan Mountain Dog That Will Surprise You

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: May 02 2023


The Formosan Mountain Dog is not the most popular breed in Western civilization. Nevertheless, it is one of the most interesting breeds you can come across. Unfortunately, you are not very likely to come across a purebred Formosan Mountain Dog. They are very rare, and most purebred specimens are located in their native land of Taiwan. If you are like us, a dog facts geek, you will love reading about these fascinating Formosan Mountain Dog fun facts.

1. Two names

The Formosan Mountain Dog is better known as Taiwan Dog. These dogs are native to Taiwan, where they became a vital part of the culture and living. They have kept that position and status for thousands of years. Their genetic heritage is impressive. Only a few dogs can go toe-to-toe with the fascinating Formosan Mountain Dog.

formosan mountain dog laying

This breed became a part of the Foundation Stock Service in 2017. That is usually the last step before the full recognition. Formosan Mountain Dog enthusiasts and club members are working tirelessly to achieve that goal and get the recognition such a historic breed should have. However, the official name these dogs have been registered under is the Taiwan Dog. 

You can check their complete profile here - Taiwan Dog breed profile.

2. Genetic heritage

The genetic heritage of the Formosan Mountain Dog is rather impressive. These dogs have genetically been traced between 10.000 and 20.000 years ago. Formosan Mountain Dogs are descendants of semi-domesticated South Asian hunting dogs. They were self-sufficient hunters. It wasn’t until the indigenous people started using them that these dogs began to share their lives with people.

Formosan Mountain Dogs are a primitive breed. They had little to no human interaction in their breeding, and only a few breeds can boost with that fun fact. Most dog breeds we know today have been heavily influenced and selectively bred for specific characteristics we wanted to promote and use. That is why the Formosan Mountain Dog is so versatile.

3. Versatility

Most dog breeds were bred with a single purpose; herding, hunting, protection, or farm work. Formosan Mountain Dogs were self-reliant, and they had to develop different skills to survive in the wild. Most noticeably, they are excellent hunters, which is why Taiwanese people use them for that purpose. They mainly helped with wild boar hunting, but they were also skillful in hunting other games.

Formosan Mountain Dogs are not only hunters. These days, both in the US and Taiwan, these dogs are versatile workers and pets. Getting a primitive breed can be demanding; they will need plenty of training and socialization. Still, those owners that know how to handle them will get a fantastic companion capable of performing different tasks. Formosan Mountain Dogs are great to watch and guard dogs, search and rescue dogs, police dogs, stunt dogs, and family protectors.

formosan mountain dog in grass

4. One-man dogs

Formosan Mountain Dogs traveled and worked with a single hunter throughout their history. They were loyal, protective of their families, and naturally drawn to one person. That is a characteristic these dogs have even today. They thrive on human interaction, but only from the people they love.

Getting a Formosan Mountain Dog is hard, but training them can be even harder. These dogs can be stubborn, and you’ll need to gain their respect before they start listening to you. Luckily, they form strong bonds with their owners, and they usually pick one person in the family they will be the closest to. These dogs will usually choose the person taking most care of them to be their “true” owner. The person walking them, training, feeding, and spending the most time with them will be the person the dog chooses.

All dogs should be trained, and one of the basics all dogs should go through is obedience. Check out this article for more information - What will obedience teach your dog?

5. Near extinction

One of the biggest problems in developing without human influence is the possibility of going extinct. These dogs are bred in the wild. Since Taiwan was secluded, there weren’t many other dog breeds that could interfere with the development and breeding of the Formosan Mountain Dogs. As soon as colonists started arriving, these dogs began mixing with foreign dogs.

Formosan Mountain Dog puppies

The problem nearly got completely out of hand, and Formosan Mountain Dogs were almost completely gone. Luckily, one man and his family can be thanked for preserving pureblooded Taiwan Dogs. In the 1970s, Dr. Sung Yung-yi started working on preserving the breed. He traveled across Taiwan and searched for these dogs. He encountered 160 dogs and, after observing them, concluded that only 46 were pureblooded. He and his family started a breeding and revival program to save the breed from disappearing.

Humans were using dogs since their domestication. Check out this article about dogs in the ancient world - Dogs through history.

6. Tongues and dens

One of the most interesting things about Formosan Mountain Dogs is that they have spotted tongues. That is not a common occurrence in the canine kingdom, and only 38 dog breeds have spots on their tongues. Only the oldest dog breeds have spots on their tongues.

Formosan Mountain Dog females are known to dig dens in the ground where they will welp. This is a characteristic wolves have in the wild. Since these dogs are related to dingos, it is a characteristic that remains with them to this day. If you are breeding Formosan Mountain Dogs, making a den for the mother about to welp is a great idea.

Another breed with an interesting tongue is Chow Chow. Check them out - Chow Chow breed profile.

World Dog Finder team

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