Tosa Inu

Everything You Need to Know About Tosa Inu

Table of Contents

Tosa Inu is considered a very rare dog breed. Originally from Japan, bred for fighting dogs are still used in dogfighting legally. Because of their feisty nature and disposition, they are deemed dangerous in many countries and have restricted ownership. 


The Tosa Inu’s size varies widely, with Japanese-bred canines being around half the size of those produced elsewhere in the world. 

Non-Japanese breeders have concentrated on dogs weighing 60 to 90 kg (130 to 200 lb) and standing 62 to 82 cm at the withers, but the Japanese breed weighs between 36 and 61 kilograms. Dogs can weigh up to 91 kg on rare occasions. In Japan, they are regarded as the equals of Sumo wrestlers and are even shown in wrestling gear.


The coat is short and smooth, and the color is generally red, brindle, or fawn, but it can be dull black on occasion. The coat’s maintenance is normally low-key. 


Tosa Inu History
  • In Japan, Tosa Inu was developed to be a larger, stronger, and more competent combat dog than earlier breeds to participate in their dogfighting tradition. 
  • Europeans sent some of their best fighting canines to Japan in the mid-nineteenth century. When Japanese dog aficionados realized the puppies’ abilities, they began integrating them into Japanese combat dog lines. 
  • Tosa Inu was created from another Japanese breed, the Shikoku, as well as Western breeds that had just been imported to Japan, such as bulldogs, Mastiffs, German pointers, Great Danes, and maybe other breeds. 
  • The idea was to breed a larger, stronger dog for dogfighting competitions in Japan. Between 1924 and 1933, the pinnacle of Tosa Inu breeding in Japan was claimed to have around 5,000 Tosa breeders.


Tosa Inu Temperament

Tosa Inu is a faithful creature who is sensitive to the tone of voice and pays close attention to directions. This is not a rambunctious breed. 

Tosas were originally used in dogfighting and were bred to fight quietly because Japanese dog fighting rules demanded it. This natural guard dog is courageous, brave, and protective. 

It necessitates the presence of an owner who understands how to be a leader at all times. This dog has been well-socialized since he was a puppy. 

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Aggression and attacks on individuals are the results of poor handling and training. When an owner encourages the dog to believe he is the pack leader over people and/or fails to give the dog the mental and physical activities it demands on a daily basis, problems arise.


Tosa Inu Training

This breed needs owners that are naturally dominant over their dogs and do it in a calm, assertive, confident, and consistent way. 

A well-adjusted, well-trained dog is usually good with other pets and great with children in the house. From an early age, it must be rigorously trained in obedience. 

This is not a breed for first-time dog owners. A well-balanced Tosa Inu who understands his role in the pack will not snap or bite. With this breed, early right manners and training are crucial; teach the dog to heel on the leash and follow the humans in and out of doorways. 

Around Children

Tosa Inu gets along well with the children in the household. He is gentle and affectionate with the owner. It is both protective and nurturing.


Tosa Inu Appearance
  1. Face

It has a muscular, square nose and a broad, robust skull with prominent temporal muscling. Jaws and teeth must be correctly formed, and the breed must have a perfect scissor bite with no hint of an overbite. 

The ears are little and thin, dangling at the side of the face, where they are elevated. The eyes are dark brown in color, small, and have a serene expression most of the time. 

  1. Body

Every aspect of the Tosa Inu is powerfully muscled, and this is most noticeable in the neck, which has a broad muscular arch and a dewlap of superfluous skin that helps the dog fight by allowing it to turn on its assailant even while being restrained. 

The high withers give way to a broad, straight back and loins, and even the base of the tail is well muscled. The chest is reasonably well sprung and deep, resulting in a neatly tucked belly.


Because the coat of the breed is short and coarse, it does not require any particular care. 

  • Brushing

Brushing the skin and hair once a week will assist to keep them in good shape, and washing may be essential on occasion to remove stubborn dirt and deodorize. 

Tosas shed a little bit all year and drool a lot, albeit not as much as some other mastiffs. For these reasons, caring for a Tosa Inus home takes more effort than caring for the dog, and keeping packs of baby wipes on hand is a practical method to deal with the inevitable pools of saliva before they dry into furniture and carpets.

  • Trimming
Tosa Inu Trimming

Tosa Inus have exceptionally strong nails that are generally dark in color. It is vital to maintain them trimmed to avoid them growing into the pads. 

This involves the use of strong nail clippers, and the habit of nail cutting should be fostered in pups from an early age so that it is not disliked later in life. 

Black nails make it harder to notice the delicate quickly within, little, regular trims are preferable to larger pieces removed less frequently, which increases the risk of harming this vascular system.


Tosa Inus are intelligent yet obstinate dogs. Most have extremely strong beliefs about how they want to act, and convincing them to accept their owner’s point of view may require a lot of effort. 

Good behavior and high levels of obedience training are important for such a large and potentially dangerous breed, and owners must be ready to put in the work required to achieve these goals. 

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A professional dog trainer’s advice may be essential, especially when teaching a young Tosa Inu.

Physical Activity

Tosa Inu Physical Activity

For such a huge breed, the Tosa is quite athletic. The quantity of physical activity necessary is minimal. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation, which may be offered by lengthy walks, vacations, or chasing a toy in your safe yard. 

In principle, this breed requires little exercise, but it will appreciate and benefit from more. These dogs make excellent running buddies.

  • Precautions

Because of the breed’s proclivity for dog aggressiveness, you should always keep your Tosa Inu on a leash when leaving the house. 

To satisfy the canine’s natural desire to walk, the Tosa must go for a daily walk or jog. Dogs that do not get frequent walks are more prone to develop behavioral issues. 

  • Socialization

The goal for puppies is considerable socialization, especially with humans. Inviting friends and extended family to spend time with the pup, taking them for walks, and offering treats and praise is a fantastic way to introduce the young dog to strangers by providing positive experiences during each interaction. 

While socialization with other dogs is helpful, the breed is rarely trusted with its own kind, thus the returns on time spent on dog-to-dog interactions may be limited. Because of the size and strength of the breed, innocuous competitive games such as tug-of-war should be avoided to avoid promoting competition between dog and owner.

Nutrition and Diet

Tosa Inus are enormous canines that weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. They eat a lot of food, so keeping track of their servings is critical. This is especially critical during the puppy phase. 

Giant breeds must mature slowly and progressively to avoid joint diseases like hip and elbow dysplasia. 

  • Veterinarian Advice
Tosa Inu Veterinarian Advice

Mealtime is another important factor in the diets of giant-breed dogs. To decrease bloat, your veterinarian may recommend giving your dog smaller servings of high-quality dog food throughout the day, as well as avoiding meals before or after activity.

Excess weight, particularly in dogs, can lead to the development of other health issues such as diabetes. Consult your veterinarian about a feeding schedule that is appropriate for your dog’s age, weight, and activity level.

Health Issues

Tosa Inu, like other purebred dogs, is susceptible to some genetically connected health issues. Responsible breeders screen their adult Tosas before breeding them to guarantee that they do not pass on harmful health issues. 

The following are some of the most prevalent issues that this breed may encounter.

1. Elbow Dysplasia
Hip Dysplasia

Elbow joint developmental anomalies are common in a variety of large breeds, including the Tosa Inu. 

Symptoms can arise as early as five months of age when abnormal growth in one or more components of the joint produces pain and lameness. 

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With the breed’s extremely high pain threshold, symptoms may not be seen until the dog reaches a certain age, at which point chronic arthritic degeneration is likely.

2. Hip Dysplasia

This condition, like elbow dysplasia, is first seen in younger dogs, and the concomitant joint incongruity eventually leads to hip osteoarthritis. 

Elbow and hip dysplasia are both inherited, and hip and elbow grading systems have long been employed to eliminate affected animals from breeding stock. 

Anyone considering purchasing a Tosa Inu should insist on seeing both parents’ score certificates.

3. Hyperkalaemia

This is a somewhat innocuous condition found in a variety of big Japanese breeds. If asymptomatic, normal blood tests may reveal elevated blood potassium levels, which are exacerbated by eating onions or garlic. 


In critically ill individuals, lethargy and cardiac arrhythmias may be detected; however, these are rare occurrences.

4. Hypothyroidism

Underactive thyroid glands are a very common cause of weight gain and hair loss in the breed. As previously stated, dermatological symptoms may overlap with those of allergies, thus blood tests to examine thyroid hormone levels are commonly included in the examination of either condition.

5. Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

Like many huge, deep-chested breeds, Tosa Inu is susceptible to gastric dilatation-volvulus (bloat), a potentially fatal illness in which the stomach fills with air and twists on itself. 

Bloat prevention surgery, also known as prophylactic gastropexy, is frequently recommended by veterinary surgeons. This therapy stabilizes the stomach, preventing it from twisting.

6. Allergies
Tosa Inus Allergies

Allergies may affect almost any dog breed at some time in their life. Consult your veterinarian if your Tosa Inu is suffering from itching, rashes, or recurrent sneezing and coughing.

All dogs are adorable bundles of happiness and come with unconditional love, expecting nothing more. If you think you would not be able to spend as much time as dogs demand of you, you should postpone getting a dog as they need incessant attention and care, not just in the beginning but till the very end. 

Having a dog is a huge responsibility that needs to be properly looked after. They are going to make your world a lot better and you should also strive to do the same for them.

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