Vanta's a graceful 7 month old, female Formosan Mountain Dog.
Well, actually she's a Taiwan Dog with a lot of Formosan blood in her, but she's as close to a Formosan as we can get.
Nobody knows if there are any pure-blood Formosans left.
Unfortunately, her breed has been cross-bred, harvested for food, not cared about and, there have even been military orders to exterminate the breed.
Today, we will share with you the long, and fascinating, and often tragic history of the Formosan Mountain Dog.
We will also let you know all the characteristics that make up this sleek, fast hunting dog.
The Formosan Mountain Dog is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world.
Humans introduced ancient hunting dogs to Taiwan 10,000 to 20,000 years ago when the island of Taiwan was still attached to mainland China.
As the sea levels rose, and Taiwan became an island, the dogs were cut off from the mainland and evolved into a breed perfectly adapted to hunting the harsh terrain of of ancient Taiwan.
In the early 1600s, when the Dutch colonized Taiwan, they valued the fur of the native deer on the island.
The Dutch brought their own hunting dogs with them to hunt the deer, which are believed to have been Greyhounds or Pointers.
The Dutch didn't like to compete with the indigenous tribes for the deer pelts, so they slaughtered many Formosans and forbade the indigenous Taiwanese from owning dogs.
During this period, the Dutch dogs bred with the Formosans and introduced their genes to the Formosan line.
China eventually sent troops to the island to expel the Dutch and claim the island as their own.
The Chinese not only brought their own breeds that mixed with the Formosans, they introduced the concept of dog meat as food.
Apparently the black dogs are the tastiest.
During World War II, Japan occupied Taiwan, and they too brought their own hunting dogs.
The Taiwanese would sometimes attack the Japanese and use Formosans to hunt, attack, and kill the Japanese military dogs.
This upset the Japanese soldiers who were ordered to kill all Formosan Mountain Dogs they encountered, wild or trained.
As Taiwan's economy grew, they imported many new breeds of dogs, but there was no effort to keep the Formosan breed intact.
So the introduced breeds widely bred with and changed the Formosan breed forever.
In the late 70s, Dr. Sung Yung-Yi realized the Formosan breed was on the edge of extinction, and organized a campaign to go deep into the Taiwan mountains to see if there were any pure blood Formosans left.
He managed to find around 160 dogs that ranked as pure.
But when he approached the government with a request to breed and protect the Formosan Mountain Dog, he was met with an unsympathetic culture in Taiwan that wasn't interested in this incredible breed that evolved on their island.
So no rehabilitation program was launched, and today there is debate about whether pure blood Formosans still exist or not.
But there are a small handful of breeders in Taiwan who are attempting to bring the breed back through a closed breeding program.
But good luck trying to get one of their pups. The breeders will only sell their dogs to other qualified Formosan breeders.
Perhaps in the future when the breed is stable and established, you will be able to get a pure bred Formosan Dog.
So we've given you a very brief overview of the Formosan Mountain Dog history.
Now let's go over the characteristics that make up this fascinating dog.
These guys here are all Taiwan Dogs, which are all descendants and similar to Formosans.
But they are not pure blood Formosans as they are incredibly rare, so please accept any discrepancies with the characteristics we mention.
The Formosan is a small to medium sized dog. They range in height from 16 - 21 inches or 43 - 52 centimeters.
They can vary in weight with a small female weighing 26 pounds to a large male weighing 40 pounds or 12 - 18 kilograms.
Formosans are usually black, white, fawn, brindle, or combinations of these colors.
Their coat is short and stiff which is great because it doesn't stick to clothing or furniture, and it sweeps up easily.
The Formosan is an exceptionally agile, fast, and intelligent dog, which makes them great hunting dogs.
Several dogs would be used to run down a deer or a boar.
But instead of attacking the animal, the Formosans would use their agility and speed to run in, take a fast bite of the animal, then quickly jump away before they could be injured.
Four to five Formosans could easily wear down their prey until the hunters could catch up and dispatch the exhausted animal with their spear.
Formosans are intelligent and can easily pick up new commands, but they aren't eager to learn.
They require a fair amount of repetitive training and treats to convince them to listen to you.
As far as energy levels go, the Formosans love their sleep, but they do need a good run each day, and you can expect them to be the fastest dog at the dog park.
Formosans will also excel at agility and rally training.
With a short coat, these dogs require little grooming. They are medium to light shedders.
But their short stiff fur is easy to wipe off clothing and sweep up.
These dogs can handle hot and cold temperatures but don't do well in the extremes of either.
The black Formosans will heat up much faster in hot and sunny environments.
When it comes to health issues, the original Formosan had the benefit of natural selection to ensure only the most capable of them bred the next generation.
Even with the introduction of new breeds, the Formosan's lifestyle only allowed the genes that would benefit them to become part of the Formosan breed.
They are very healthy dogs.
Formosans can be very well trained dogs, but they need dedication and work from the owner.
With their intelligence and energy levels, these dogs should only be taken on by first time dog owners who are willing to give them plenty of obedience training and give them the stimulation they need.
An owner who puts in the work will be rewarded with a very devoted companion.
A well-socialized Formosan is great with kids and other pets, but even a socialized Formosan can be wary of strangers.
Formosans evolved to be pack animals, and they are most comfortable when they are around their pack.
They don't like to be left alone, but they can adjust if started slowly while they are young.
An untrained Formosan will bark at everything, but with a little training, they learn to only bark when there is a significant reason.
The Formosan is a fascinating dog with a rich history.
They make excellent pets for active people and are incredibly loyal.
There are no breeders outside of Taiwan, but there are a few rescue agencies who bring Formosan dogs to other parts of the world.
And hopefully soon there will be an established Formosan Mountain Dog breed.
Thanks for watching, and be sure to check out our other videos as my Dad and I explore multiple dog breeds.