The Tosa Inu is a large, short-coated dog with a stately manner and a robust, powerful, and agile body. Its body is slightly longer than tall. The head is large and broad with a boxy muzzle, pendulous flews, and clearly observable dewlap. It is athletic and surprisingly agile. The jaws are very powerful. Overall appearance should be that of a massive but dynamic and flexible athlete, a true canine samurai. The Tosa Inu is a tranquil, quiet, and obedient dog with a calm but vigilant demeanor.
The Tosa is loyal, sensitive to the tone of ones voice, paying close attention to their commands. This is not a noisy breed. The Tosa was once used for dog fighting and was bred to fight quietly as Japanese dog fighting rules called for silence. This natural guard dog is protective, courageous and fearless. They need an owner who knows how to display leadership at all times. Socialized them well starting at puppyhood. Aggression and attacks on people are due to poor handling and training. Problems arise when an owner allows the dog to believe he is pack leader over humans and or does not give the dog the mental and physical daily exercise they need to be stable. This breed needs owners who are naturally authoritative over the dog in a calm, but firm, confident and consistent way. A stable, well-adjusted, and trained dog is for the most part generally good with other pets and excellent with children in the family. They must be firmly trained in obedience from an early age.
The Tosa is great with children in the family. Docile and affectionate with the owner. They are protective yet gentle. The Tosa has a very stable temperament. They make an excellent guard dog. Their deep bark and massive size is enough to keep out intruders. Can be reserved with strangers, however a well balanced Tosa will accept newcomers if properly introduced. Socialize this breed well while they are young.
Keep the Tosa away from other dogs that may want to fight, because the Tosa will most certainly win. They have a very high pain tolerance due to their fighting origins.
The Tosa has been bred for hundreds of years in Japan. The country has a long history of dog fighting, beginning in the 14th century. It was developed between the period of 1868 and 1912 by crosses with the Kochi (a local Japanese breed), native Shikoku fighting dogs, with Western breeds such as the German Pointer, Mastiff, Great Dane, Bulldog, St. Bernard, and the Bull Terrier. Tosas were often referred to as the "Sumo wrestler of the dog world." In Japan, the Tosa is considered a national treasure. Although dog fighting is now illegal in Europe, North America, and Japan, secret, illegal pit fights continue in remote rural regions of Japan, where the Tosa, at 66-88 pounds (30-40 kg.) - smaller than those bred in the West - is still used for fighting. The breed excels at Japanese-style dog fighting. Japanese dog-fighting rules in the last century demanded that dogs fight silently, without cowering, and the Tosa fought by these rules - relentlessly and silently. The Tosa is a rare breed, even in their native land and have only recently been introduced to the USA. Unfortunately, this breed is banned in some countries as a dangerous breed. With the proper socialization, handling and training, it can make a wonderful family companion that deeply loves his people. This massive dog excels at weight-pulling and makes a great watch and guard dog.