The Tosa Inu is fearless, bold, loyal, protective, patient, calm and intelligent. Tosa Inu's were bred as fighting dogs and therefore tend to be fairly dominant or aggressive towards other dogs. This breed makes an exceptional guard dog as their size alone is enough to deter intruders. Tosa Inu's are generally good with children and will not bite or snap, but because they are such massive dogs they should not be left unsupervised. Tosa Inu's will get along with other pets, provided they are socialized with them from an early age. They are naturally cautious towards strangers and should be socialized with different people so they don't become overly suspicious, as it could lead to aggression. Tosa Inu's need an experienced owner who is capable of managing a large, powerful dog. It is very important that this breed is trained properly while young before they become too big and strong. Tosa Inu's are highly trainable and can make loyal, protective companions with correct training.
The Tosa Inu is a light to medium shedder and simple to groom. The short coat only needs to be brushed occasionally to remove loose hairs, but more frequent grooming will help reduce the shedding.
The Tosa Inu has an average demand for exercise, but will be happy to have more. It is necessary that they have access to a large, fenced-off backyard so they can fulfill most of their exercise needs themselves. While Tosa Inus are still young and growing their exercise should to be limited so that their developing bones, muscles and ligaments are not damaged or over-stressed.
The Tosa Inu was bred as a fighting dog in Japan and originated in the Tosa district of Japan (on the island of Shikoku in the Kochi Prefecture). Japanese breeders worked on enhancing the Nihon Inu (a medium-sized dog bred to hunt wild boar) by crossing it with Western strains including Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, Great Danes, St Bernards, Pointers and Bull Terriers. The new breed was perfected by 1913 and named the Tosa Inu, Tosa-Token or Tosa-Ken. During World War II the Tosa Inu came close to extinction with only approximately 10 dogs remaining in Japan. Dedicated breeders took these dogs into hiding and provided them with the essential food that they needed to survive, despite the food shortage in Japan. If caught, these breeders would have been punished by death.
General Appearance: Robust, solid, powerful and intimidating.
Color: Fawn, red, apricot, dull black and brindle. Small white markings are allowed on the chest or feet.
Coat: Smooth, short and dense.
Tail: Tapered, undocked and reaching to the hocks.
Ears: Set high, thin, reasonably small and hanging close to the cheeks.
Body: The body is rectangular and muscular with a straight, level back. The chest is broad and deep with moderately sprung ribs. The loins are broad and muscular and the belly is well tucked up. The croup is slightly arched at the top and the withers are high.
- Generally, Tosa Inus are "too much dog" for the average household. They are massive working dogs with tremendous strength. Potential owners need to have the necessary skills, knowledge and facilities to manage this breed.