Taiwan Dog

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black, brindle, fawn, white, white and black, white and fawn, white and brindle
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Good with kids:
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Pros Cons
  • forms strong bonds with its master
  • easy to groom
  • good guardian and watchdog
  • a one-person dog
  • independent
  • doesn't suit family with small children
  • needs a lot of daily exercises

The Taiwan Dog is a multi-functional working breed with its homeland in Taiwan. It managed to survive several times throughout its history so this breed can be proud of its tenacity. Even today it can be rarely seen outside Taiwan but it holds strong position in this country thanks to a few dedicated followers.

Recent genetic research showed that the Taiwan Dog descended immediately from ancient Southeast Asian hunting dogs, which arrived to the island of Taiwan between 20 000 and 10 000 years ago. The Aboriginal folks initially used the breed for hunting and guarding. The Taiwan Dog was perfectly accommodated to living on the island because it passed through extensive selective breeding process conducted both by humans and nature. Actually the dog was kept in a half-wild form meaning that this tenacious animal was able to fend for itself without any help from a man.

Prior to the XVII the Taiwan Dog preserved its purity undiluted by the influence of foreign dogs. The things changed when Dutch and Portuguese merchants colonised Taiwan and set their rules there. They began to destroy the population of the Sika Deer, which was the main source of nourishment both for local tribes and dogs. On their way they slaughtered many dogs and prohibited islanders to keep them. Dutch occupation also purported that original purity of the breed suffered a great deal because indigenous dogs were profusely interbred with imported foreign breeds.

In 1684 Chinese troops invaded Taiwan and delivered it from the Dutch rule. Up until 1895 the Taiwan Dog enjoyed quiet life and restored its former glory. Unfortunately then Taiwan was occupied by Japanese, who exceedingly disfavoured native ways of life. They purposefully killed countless dogs in order to break Taiwanese Aboriginals from their habit of hunting with native dogs. Additionally local dogs were uncontrollably crossed with some Japanese breeds (the Akita Inu, the Shikoku Inu and the Shiba Inu) and the breed almost completely lost its purity.

After the World War II China came into power in Taiwan. This designated even deeper decline for native dogs because of Chinese tradition of dog’s eating. Moreover the process of the worsening of the overall quality of the Taiwan Dog continued as it was vastly crossed with foreign breeds.

Since the late 70s of the XX century several fanciers conducted a lifelong breeding program aimed to save and restore the population of this ancient and honourable breed. The major contribution to this goal was made by ecologist Dr. Sung Yung-Yi and breeder Ming Nan Chen.

Nowadays the position of the Taiwan Dog is pretty secure in its homeland but there is a disagreement on a matter of principle between two groups of breeders. A number of breeders contends that the dog is perfect just as it is and should retain its purity as much as possible. The other group affirms the stock of pure-blooded animals is too small to guarantee healthy and stable future generations without the infusion of fresh blood from other breeds. Anyway specimens bred by both groups are acknowledged by the Taiwanese Kennel Club as purebred.

In 2004 the Taiwan Dog was granted a provisional recognition by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). However, the breed remains virtually unknown outside its native country but its long-term survival is no longer questionable.

The Taiwan Dog is endowed with a demeanour, which is fairly typical to that of other primitive breeds. The dog is unbelievingly loyal to its master and it usually attaches particularly close to only one member of its family. It can become rather a daunting task to re-home this animal because it can barely adjust to a new owner. It gets along with children if they have been reared together. Nevertheless the Taiwan Dog won’t put up with roughness in play and can respond with defensive aggressiveness. It won’t be a perfect choice for families with toddlers since it doesn’t tend to treat very young children with proper carefulness.

As a skilful guardian the Taiwan Dog is always on alert and manifests a great deal of aloofness in front of strange people. It’s rather slow to make friends and it usually takes time to win the dog’s favour. Poorly socialised specimens can be intensely nervous and even outright aggressive when they meet an unfamiliar person. Being highly territorial and observant this breed will make a wonderful watchdog. It often serves as a guard dog and despite its modest size it’s really valued in this role.

The Taiwan Dog is known to have major problems with other canines. This dog can pick a fight over a dominant stance, territory or just over some food or a toy. It does much better as a single dog but it will be accepting towards other canine with which it has spent its puppyhood. The Taiwan Dog got used to earn its daily bread by hunting and therefore possesses an incredibly strong hunting drive. Essentially nothing can guarantee the safety of other species of animals around this dog. Even if it has been raised with a home cat one day the dog can attack it out of the blue.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• patellar luxation;
• eyes problems;
• demodex mange.

The Taiwan Dog’s grooming is as easy task since it should never need professional grooming. A couple of brushing per week is going to suffice to keep its coat well-attended and healthy. This dog sheds intensely so get ready to the thick layer of hair covering clothes and furniture in your house in the shedding periods. The owner should train its dog to common care procedures as bathing and nail clipping at an early age and very carefully as many specimens despise water and will try to evade it as much as possible.

The training of the Taiwan Dog offers considerable difficulty because of an independent character of this dog. It deprives of typical canine desire to please and has its own view on every possible situation. Furthermore majority of the dogs is very obstinate sometimes to the point of an open defiance.

In order to make the training of the Taiwan dog at least reasonably successful the trainer should have individuality of a strong and self-assured leader. In addition it’s essential to use a lot of gentle encouragement and food incentives during lessons with this dog. Be mindful that forceful methods will only induce the dog’s natural stubbornness.

The Taiwan Dog existed as a semi-feral dog for centuries and adapted for prodigious amount of exercises. Being kept purely as a family pet it still remains a highly active dog, which requires plentiful opportunities to burn its exuberant energy. Its daily exercise staple should include an hourly brisk walk as an absolute minimum.

The dog, which is limited in physical activity, will definitely become hyper active, destructive, apprehensive or even aggressive. The Taiwan Dog is inappropriate for a life in an apartment since it indeed demands enough space to play and roam.