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Tosa Dog Breed Profile

Japanese Tosa
The Tosa is referred to as the “sumo wrestler” of the dog world. Great ceremony and tradition surrounds this dog and it is one of the few dogs in the world that is still used legally in dog fights. In Japan dog fights are honourable affairs and bear no comparison with the notorious Pit Bull dog fights. The dogs are carefully bred and trained to wrestle with each other rather than maul each other to death.

Other Names:
Tosa. Tosa-Inu. Tosa-Ken. Sumo Dog. Tosa Touken. Tosa Token. Japanese Mastiff. Japanese Fighting Dog. ('Inu' and 'Ken' mean dog in Japanese)


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Origin: Japan

Breed Purpose: Fighting and wrestling.

Kennel Club Dog Group: Mastiff

Height: Both, around 60cm.

Weight: Both 37.5kg – 90.5kg. (note; the height and weight of this breed differ depending on the breeding lines. They are grouped into light, middle and heavyweight classes. In Japan the breed tends to be smaller than those bred outside the country).

Lifespan: 10-12 years

Exercise Needs: The Tosa needs a moderate amount of daily exercise to stay healthy but is not a breed that demands excessive exercise. They do make good jogging companions.

Feeding Needs: This dog thrives on a natural home prepared diet with plenty of fresh meat and bones. Dishes should be raised and exercise limited before and after eating to avoid bloat.

Common Ailments: As with all large, deep-chested dogs the Tosa is prone to bloat. They can also suffer with hip and elbow dysplasia and eye conditions. This can be avoided by choosing puppies from breeders whose stock has been tested.

Physical Description: This massive dog is surprisingly athletic and agile. The head is large with a broad skull and a long square muzzle. The Tosa has powerful jaws and a strong neck that sports a dewlap. The ears are small and fall to the cheeks and the eyes are almond-shaped. The body is well-muscled and the tail is thick at the base tapering to a point. The rough coat is short and dense. The coat colours are solid red, yellow, black, black and tan, fawn, brindle and multi-coloured.

Japanese Tosa K9 Obedience Dog Breed Summary:

This amazing dog is brave and fearless with a high threshold of pain tolerance.

They are surprisingly gentle and are sensitive to their owner’s voice. They are calm, quiet and extremely patient.

The Tosa'a high intelligence means that they learn quickly and respond well to consistent training.

They are excellent guard dogs probably due to the fact that their sheer size is deterrent enough! Tosa’s are renowned for having a remarkable acceptance of children and rarely snap, nip or become irritable with them. Obviously no child should be left unsupervised with any breed of dog especially the Tosa as, due to its large size, it can unintentionally knock a child over without even noticing!

The owner of this dog should be well versed in the latest training methods and be assertive enough to be a dominant presence in the dog’s life, without needing to be harsh or overly firm.

Although they may accept other pets they do not tolerate other dogs generally, unless adequately reared amongst them from a pup.

With the right owner, the Tosa makes a wonderful companion.

Note: This breed is one of the four breeds that are banned in the United Kingdom under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act despite the fact that there has never been a single reported case of a Japanese Tosa biting a human in this country. Jack Russells, Border Collies, and Labradors are some of the most common biters, can't imagine those getting banned, can you?

The Japanese Tosa
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