Tosa Inu (Tosa Ken, Japanese Mastiff)

Tosa Inu is a Japanese breed of large Molossian type dogs, bred in the 19th century for fighting. Tosa is brave, strong and smart. Without good socialization and competent training, it can be aggressive and uncontrollable, but properly grown will become a devoted and affectionate friend for the whole family.

Origin history

Tosa Inu is one of the few Japanese breeds that was bred on the basis of imported dogs, and not descended from indigenous. In literature, it is often called the Japanese mastiff or samurai dog.

In the years 1853-54, the American commander Matthew Perry put an end to the centuries-old self-isolation of the Japanese Empire and opened its ports to the merchants of the world. Dogs of various breeds began to be imported into the country of the Rising Sun, among which there were many Molossians. They immediately attracted the attention of the Japanese, who adored dog fighting and constantly lost to their mastiff heavyweights with their light dogs. This prompted the breeders to bring out such a fighting dog that would steadfastly and soundlessly defeat all opponents. Tribal work was carried out quickly, but with the Japanese scrupulousness. In a short period of time, it was possible to bring the tosa ina by successively crossing the shikoku-ken with the English mastiff, bulldog, St. Bernard, bull terrier, German pointer, Great Dane and some other breeds. Tribal work is still not published anywhere and its scheme remains a mystery.

Already in 1868, breeders from the island of Shikoku (Kokhi Prefecture, which in the Middle Ages was called Toza) introduced their fighting dogs under the name Tosa Inu. In 1925, the breed standard was developed and adopted, and in 1930 the official association for the protection, conservation and popularization of the breed was created. In wartime and post-war times, the breed was saved only thanks to the decision to evacuate the 12 best representatives to Aomori Prefecture.

Today, as in the distant past, the Tosa Token center, a place where dogs are bred and trained, as well as fights between them, operates in a small place in Katsurohrama. In addition to traditional use in Japan, Tosu is bred as a companion dog and a reliable, fearless bodyguard.

Video about the Tosa Inu dog breed (Japanese mastiff):


Tosa Inu is a large short-haired dog of a slightly elongated format, athletic physique with a strong skeleton. The appearance of the Tosa Inu inspires fear and apprehension; ease and swiftness are traced in the movements. The minimum height at the withers of males is 60 cm, bitches are 55 cm. Weight is not defined by the standard, first of all, the dog must be proportional.

The cranial part is wide. Stop is pronounced sharply. The muzzle is outlined by noticeable symmetrical folds, moderately long with a straight back of the nose, which ends in a large black lobe. The jaws are strong. The teeth are strong, converge in a scissor bite. Eyes are relatively small, dark brown. Ears are relatively small, thin, set high, located on the sides of the skull and hold tight to the cheekbones. At there are more puppies relative to the head of the ears than in adult dogs.

The neck is muscular with a well-defined suspension. The withers are high. The back is straight, even. The loin is wide. The croup is slightly convex. Tail at base thick, tapering towards end. Keeps lowered, rises during movement or arousal. The chest is wide, deep with moderate curved ribs. Belly tightened well. Legs are strong, moderately long with well-developed muscles. Paws are tightly assembled with elastic thick pads and hard dark claws.

The coat is short, thick and hard. Color can be apricot, black, brindle, deer or red. Small white spots are allowed on the legs and chest.


Tosa Inu is a patient, cold-blooded, courageous and surprisingly brave dog, devoted to the owner and family. She can be a reliable, uncompromising defender, a bodyguard dog, companion and watchdog. Outwardly, it looks very menacing, but in everyday life it’s calm, reliable, playful and silent. Tosa quickly makes contact with outsiders if they do not pose a threat to the owner.

Tosa inu are usually loyal to the person, they are not dangerous for family members and guests of the owner, but in the event of a threat they go on the offensive. Tosa - an amazing combination of tact and fighting qualities, impressive size, speed and ability to fit into the most modest apartments, strength, fearlessness and devotion.

Tosa Inu always knows who is where and what he does. This is the main work of the dog, which she performs very responsibly and quietly. Tosy do not show hysterical attacks, do not complain, are very patient and good-natured. Animals that live in the same house are friendly or indifferent, equating them to the property of the owner. Japanese line dogs are often very aggressive towards other large dogs. "Europeans" are usually calm and friendly, although among them there are individuals who are aggressive towards relatives. The most cruel are Korean dogs. Representatives of their lines are mostly aggressive both to extraneous dogs and to people. In any case, the Tosa knows about its strength and always chooses worthy rivals.

Parenting and training

From an early age, the Tosa Inu puppy needs a proper, consistent upbringing. In experienced hands, quickly shows working qualities and shows good learning abilities. It lends itself well to socialization, quickly masters the rules of behavior and follows them.

Due to the huge size of physical strength and difficult temperament, the tosa is not suitable for everyone. She needs an experienced owner with a firm hand and kind heart.

With Tosoy Inu, it is recommended that, at a minimum, take an OKD course or a guided dog in the city. In physical and psychological terms, dogs grow up late, by 2-3 years. At a young age, they are often too stubborn and periodically check the owner for stamina, trying to take a leadership position. Tosa Inu needs to be given a lot of attention and time, only then will the dog unconditionally accept the owner and reveal all its positive features.

Content Features

Tosa Inu is not suitable for enclosure, such as Caucasians or CAO, which can be closed in the aviary during the day and released at night. She must live in a family environment, in close contact with a person. On a leash or in a confined space, it languishes and ceases to be itself, acquire bad habits, and can become aggressive and uncontrollable. In kennels in Japan and Korea, dogs are often kept in spacious enclosures, but in a company, several in one. Tosa is not a street dog and has never been. For all its watchdog qualities, it is not suitable for a courtyard guard.

The best option would be to keep tosa inu in a private house with the ability to spend a lot of time in a well-fenced yard. From time to time with a dog you need to go to nature, where she can run without a leash. Good physical activity is especially important for a growing body. It allows you to properly form the musculoskeletal system and prevent many health problems in the future.

It is quite difficult to provide the necessary exercise to the dog living in the apartment. Tosa Inu is moderately active, she needs a regular walk of about 30-45 minutes, which is complemented by games and activities. Tosa can become a companion while jogging or cycling, but it is not suitable for most sports.


Tosa Inu is absolutely not demanding in terms of care. If the dog lives in the house, it is sufficient to periodically comb it with a glove or brush for shorthair breeds. This will maintain a neat appearance and reduce the amount of hair. Shedding in Tosa is moderate. Bathe as needed. The frequency of washing is determined individually, usually it varies from 2-3 weeks to 2-3 months.

To cut off the grown claws of the tosa, you need a very strong tool and considerable physical strength, so the owners prefer to use electric files or walk a lot on hard ground so that the claws download independently. Once a week they inspect and, if necessary, clean their ears. Also monitor the cleanliness of the eyes and wrinkles on the face. Unnecessarily, they are usually not wiped with anything. The teeth of the tosa inu are usually very strong, and the presence of bones, cartilage and beef veins in the diet allows you to naturally remove plaque and thereby prevent the formation of stone.


Breeders and just owners of Tosa Inu are inclined to believe that natural nutrition is more suitable for the body of a Japanese dog. At the same time, the possibility of feeding with high-quality dry food is not excluded. In some cases, resort to a mixed diet.

In Japan, dogs are mainly fed with meat and offal of poultry, goats, less often other animals, fish, rice (cooked in milk or water) with herbs, scalded with boiling water carrots, tofu and natto. Daily give one boiled and one fresh egg, raw bones. A dog weighing about 50 kg has about 1.5 kg of food per day.

In rich kennels from puppyhood, Tosa Inu begin to feed freshly slaughtered, un-plucked chickens. Young dogs eat them along with giblets, blood and bones. Adult tosa sometimes give the opportunity to fill up the goat. After this, the animal is taken, butchered and fed to the dogs portionwise.

Domestic breeders follow approximately the same diet. In the morning, dogs have a light snack: cottage cheese (0.5-1% by weight of the animal) with vegetables or fruits (0.5% by weight of the body). For the evening, they give raw or scalded poultry, beef, lamb and offal (about 5% by weight) and rice or buckwheat porridge (1% by weight of the dog) with vegetables (0.5% by weight) and a small amount of vegetable oil . Once a week, meat can be replaced with fish and supplemented with raw or boiled eggs.

Supporters of prepared feeds in most cases selected their brand experimentally, taking into account the age, size, physiological condition of the dog and its taste preferences.

Health and Life Expectancy

In the breed there are various kinds of diseases that are hereditary.

  • Hip dysplasia, elbow joint and other joint diseases;
  • Pathology of the kidneys;
  • Heart failure (more common in older dogs).
  • Eye diseases (cataract, progressive atrophy of the retina);
  • Allergies.

The problem of hereditary diseases is complicated by the factor that with a small population and low genetic diversity, it is impossible to do without inbreeding. Only a few breeders competently approach the issue of breeding, examine their dogs and, in the presence of certain serious diseases, really exclude them from the breeding program.

It is recommended that Tosu Inu owners observe the vaccination schedule throughout the dog’s life, do not forget about the treatment of external and internal parasites, and undergo an annual medical examination. Usually it includes a general examination, blood tests, urine tests, a consultation with a cardiologist and other additional examinations that the doctor considers necessary. The life expectancy of healthy dogs is usually 10-12 years.

Choosing a Tosa Inu puppy

It is extremely difficult to buy a puppy in Japanese kennels. The Japanese are reluctant to export their dogs, especially those like Tosu-ken, which are the national treasure and pride of the country. The bulk of the Tosa Inu population is concentrated in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and the Hawaiian Islands. Mostly dogs are brought in by owners of wealthy estates who need reliable protection. Korean dogs, as a rule, are slightly smaller than their counterparts from Japan, Europe and America, have a thinner skeleton, but it is they who are more likely to meet the most beautiful and valuable red color.

First of all, future owners should not think about choosing a puppy, but about choosing a kennel and parents, who should have not only a beautiful appearance, but also a good character. Well, if there is an opportunity to look at them in everyday life, to evaluate habits, temperament and degree of obedience. If everything works out, go on to choose a puppy from the litter. It is preferable to determine the gender, color and character. It is better for families with children to have a bitch with a calm character, and a dog can be taken to guard the house, provided that the future owner can cope with the dominant personality of the dog. If you need a dog for exhibitions and breeding, you often need the help of an experienced breeder or dog handler, and if a companion dog and a bodyguard usually focus on personal preferences and pick a puppy you like. The optimal age at which you can take a small tosa to a new house is 3 months.


The breed is quite rare, most manufacturers are imported from other countries, so it is not surprising that the price of a Tosa Inu puppy rarely drops below 70,000 rubles. In this case, we are talking about promising kids from nurseries. By the way, to meet ads for the sale of puppies without a pedigree at this stage, the development of the breed is very, very rare.


The gallery contains photos of puppies and adult dogs of the Tosa Inu breed (Japanese mastiff).

Watch the video: TOSA INU JAPAN'S NATIONAL FIGHTING DOG (April 2020).