China Daily News

China Daily News 1995.12.15
Special Report by Lin Chia Chun

Looking for the Formosa Dog
Taiwan Dog searching for its root
Brother Native Dog supports with money and effort
Chen Ming Nan hunting for treasures in the mountains Bought pure-bred black dog Hsiao Wu Fong originates the bloodline

There are dogs everywhere in Taiwan, and locals love dogs. But there isn't a Japanese Akita or a German Shepherd type of dog which is international renowned to represent Taiwan.

Fortunately people are waking up to this fact and realizing that Taiwan should have a dog to represent it. In the mountains of Yingo in Taipei County, Chen Ming Nan, a.k.a Brother Native Dog is fighting to bring Taiwan Dog back into the canine world arena.

When dogs from all over the world are systematically introduced and being pampered and treasured by locals, Chen is breeding Taiwan Dogs in a small hut and its surrounding hill at No. 64, Lane 315, Chung Hu Street, Yingo.

Tens of pure-bred Taiwan Dogs are growing strong under Chen's systematic breeding plan. But the hardship he has endured is little known. When Chen was ten, his father who worked in the fruit tree seedlings business and had to travel often, gave him a black puppy.

Chen remembered that his father's wish was the command, and he care deeply for that puppy which was named Terry. Little Terry was very intelligent, but disappeared after a year. After a long search, Chen finally gave up with a broken heart. He was in the fourth grade at the time.

Taiwan dogs are not inferior to foreign dogs.

Memory of Terry always occupied Chen's heart. When he grew older, he raised a few military dogs, but always felt that Taiwan dogs were not inferior in any way to foreign dogs.

With a bit of research, he was more convinced that Taiwan Dog was indeed a superior breed. No one knew what Taiwan Dogs were at that time. With the lack of preservation awareness and planned breeding, Taiwan Dogs were almost extinct.

Chen realized this crisis and started his quest for Taiwan Dogs in 1986. Chen remembered that when he went to Miaoli and found nothing, he turned to a local old man for advice.

The old man smiled and said, How can you expect to find Taiwan Dogs on the plains? To find Taiwan Dogs, you should go to the mountains, to the aborigines who still hunt. Ask them. His words pointed Chen to the right direction because Chen explained that Taiwan Dogs used to be the hunting partner of aboriginese.

Since the mountain areas were not easily accessible and less developed than the cities, the Taiwan Dogs there should still retain their pure bloodline. Therefore he started going into the mountains in hope to find the right dogs.

Bought 18 from the aborigines

Since then, Chen's footsteps can be found from the Clarshot ttribe in Baling, Taoyuan to Jienshih, Sioluan and Wufong in Hsinchu, Hsiantien Lake in Taian, Miaoli, to Hsinyi in Nantou, Wulai in Taipei, Tunau, Tatung in Yilan, Hoping in Hualien, and to Kuangshan; Township in Tawu, Taitung.

He spent several millions dollars and happily bought 18 dogs. But Chen showed some sadness when recounting this part of history because none of these dogs was a pure-bred.

Some grew obese when older; some had their fur turn curly. None of them fitted Chen's idea of Taiwan Dog which should have a strong medium built and steely outer coat with downy undercoat. But he did not give up.

Bought a black puppy for 30000 dollars

One early morning in 1987, Chen went to Wufong Hsiang in Hsinchu County for the second time. He met an aboriginal man walking a bright-eyed small black puppy but otherwise unremarkable. Chen knew immediately that it was what he had been looking for, offered the man 30000 dollars, and took the puppy right away.

Under Chen's tender loving care,the puppy grew to be a beautiful Taiwan Dog. In memory of its origin, Chen named it Hsiao Wu Fong, and named his kennel the same as well. Chen insists that Taiwan Dog has a special spiritual quality which makes them great helps for men.

Through breeding Taiwan Dogs, local people can also find out about their own root and learn to love and care about the land where they grow up- just as the Taiwan Dogs do.

These dogs are in fact the most representative of all Taiwan breeds. Chen humbly admits that he only acts as a catalyst who hopes to raise the public awareness on Taiwan Dogs. He doesn't mind if some see him as a bit crazy as long as it helps the dogs.

Brother Native Dog Chen has a set of ideas and plans to bring back Taiwan Dogs which are on the brink of extinction. The amount of effort he's taken is unimaginable. His goal is to return the natural characteristics and traits to Taiwan Dogs.

In order to achieve that, he emphasized on training the dogs hunting ability at his kennel in Yingo. After the dogs are mature, Chen ties the prey on a bamboo stick and train the dogs differenthunting or jumping moves and maneuvers.

This reporter witnessed first-handedly that many Taiwan Dogs hunt following Chen's command. They moved their strong limbs agilely with amazing speed and used their sharp fangs to form the fatal attacks. The scene can only be described as brutal.

Best jumping and hunting maneuvers

Chen said that with the helps from the two Taiya youths from Fushing Hsiang, Taoyuan and Tatung Hsiang, Yilan, Boler and Yagu, some of these trained dogs will be gradually taken back to the mountains to retrieve their combat abilities naturally.

Chen says, he would like to see Taiwan Dogs prosper as a breed, and he believes that they are the best guard dogs. Having been awarded by the policy bureau, Chen says if the government is willing, he wants to provide dogs to the military and the police as a token of his contribution to crime prevention and national security.

Hairless belly and furry tail as trademarks

Taiwan Dogs are not big; they are medium-sized digs. The male dogs have a shoulder height of around 50 cm, the bitches 40 cm. Their jaws are firm and solid, and their faces are slightly triangular.

The ears could either be upright or semi-folded, depending on the environment where the dogs grow up. The base of the ear is forward, showing spirit and energy. The tail is especially telling. There are two kinds, straight and curved, and the tail coat is thick.

Since there is no hair on the belly, the tail shields the coldness away in winter. The dogs often tuck their tails between their hind legs to cover their bellies. Besides that, when they are resting, the tails can also reach the face and cover the nose to prevent insects from entering.

Back to Media coverage