The Tosa Inu – facts about Japanese fighting dog

The Tosa Inu – facts about Japanese fighting dog

12.02.2020. 13:07:17

The Tosa is a fearless giant-sized dog breed that was developed as a fighting dog. They are also called Tosa Inu, Japanese fighting dog, Japanese Mastiff, and Tosa Ken. Today they are mostly used as guard dogs because of their patience, boldness, and courage. What every potential owner needs to know is that this is an extremely territorial and dominant dog. They are very attached to the family and if they are perceived to be endangered, they will not hesitate to protect it.

The Tosa Inu - history

Tosa dogs originated at the place called Tosa Wan (island of Shikoku) from which they take their name. In 1854 Japanese dog fanciers and dogfighters started to cross foreign dogs with native dogs. The Tosa dog was created as a hybrid of Skihoku Ken and western breeds. Several dog breeds were used to create Tosa dogs including Bulldogs, Mastiffs, German pointers and Great Dane. According to some, even Saint Bernards and Bull Terriers were also involved in the creation of this breed. They became famous because of their extreme courage and tenacious athletic abilities for dogfighting in Japan. In Japan, Tosa dogs are treated with great honor, while in the USA they serve as companions and guard dogs.

FUN FACT: Tosa dogs are forbidden in many countries.

The Tosa Inu - dog

The Tosa is a big dog bred that weighs between 45-90 kilograms and height from 54 – 60 centimeters.

tosa inu dog

The Tosa Inu- grooming

The Tosa has a short and dense coat that doesn’t require much grooming. Occasional brushing will do the job and remove all dead hair and keep the coat clean and healthy. Their coat comes in a variety of colors: solid, brindle, red, fawn, yellow, apricot, black, black and brindle, black and tan. They can have white markings on the chest and feet. They have fast-growing nails that should be trimmed regularly. Check their ears weekly to avoid wax buildup and to prevent any infection. Teeth need to be brushed regularly.

The Tosa Inu - training

The Tosa dogs don’t require much exercise but you should take him to daily walks to fulfill his energy needs. They will enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and retrieving balls. You can also exercise them inside with chasing balls or learning new tricks. Dog sports such as agility and obedience is also a good way to give them exercise. For Tosa dogs, it would be ideal to live in a house with a backyard, but they can well adapt to apartment living.

The Tosa Inu - aggression

Because they were bred to be fighting dog they are not good choices for first-time owners. Tosa dogs have a strong character and can show aggression towards other dogs especially dogs of the same sex. They are very peaceful and good with their family but it’s also very protective of them. They are reserved with strangers but in most cases, they will not become aggressive with people. Tosa dogs require a strong leader who will know how to handle them. Training should start while they are still puppies. Most of the aggression and attacks are due to poor training and handling. You should never allow your dog to be a pack leader. They respond well to positive reinforcements because they will do anything to please the owner.

FUN FACT: In Japan, there is still a tradition where they use Tosa dogs for dogfighting.

tosa inu

The Tosa Inu and kids

They can be excellent with kids if raised together but you should always be careful and avoid rough play with them because it can trigger their fighting instincts. They will know how to play with kids but due to his massive size, they could accidentally hurt the kid so you should always watch them play.

FUN FACT: The Tosa dogs oftentimes don’t mature until 4 years of age.

The Tosa Inu - health

Tosa dogs have a life expectancy of 10-12 years. They are a mostly healthy breed but like any other dog breed, they are prone to some problems they can develop in their life: hip dysplasia, gastric dilation volvulus (GDV), bloat, eye conditions.

The Tosa Inu - breeders

Tosa is a rare breed and if you are interested in buying a tosa puppy be prepare to pay a lot of money. The first thing you should do is to find a good breeder. Any dog breed can develop some health problems but if you find a good breeder who will test his matting dogs and who will take good care of his puppies will give you a better chance that your future dog will not develop any hereditary diseases. Take your time and find out if this is the right breed for you. You need to be firm and experience owner to secure that your dog will grow in a well-mannered dog and also so you will not get in a lot of trouble because of his behavior later in life.


World Dog Finder team