Tosa Inu dog

Tosa At a Glance

Country of Origin:


Breed Group:

AKC (FSS: Working); FCI (Molossoid); UKC (Guardian)


Giant. Weight: 100–200 lbs Height: 21.5-23.5 inches minimum


Short and dense.


Black, Brindle, Fawn, Red; May have White Markings, Apricot, Brown

Life Span:

10 to 12 years

Breed Profile

Affection Level
Barking Tendencies
Cat Friendly
Cold Weather Tolerance
Exercise Needs
General Health
Grooming Needs
Hot Weather Tolerance
Kid Friendly
Shedding Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability

Did You Know?

The Tosa is the biggest dog breed that came from Japan.

Tosa Overview

Dog fighting has long been a pastime of Japan, and the Tosa was the ultimate fighting dog. Dog fights were large, ceremonial occasions, with dogs dressed in robes and paraded around with white robes around their bodies and necks. As western influence grew in Japan, the Tosa interbred with Great Danes, Mastiffs, Bulldogs and Saint Bernards, giving it the appearance it has today. The breed is banned in several places around the world due to its fighting history.


Tosa Characteristics

This dog breed features a combination of strong body and jaw. They are bulky like the mastiff, with an angular and blocky head similar to the Saint Bernard and Mastiff. The breed also features many folds around the head and neck, making it harder for opponents to latch on during a fight. Their large size, powerful jaws, and wrinkles give them a formidable appearance.


Tosa Temperament

If properly handled and socialized, he is able to make a companion pet, however, he should be owned by those who understand the breed. When this dog attacks, he does not back down from anything. They will alert their owners to danger and are otherwise silent. Agile and athletic, this is a breed that should be kept away from dogs, animals, and other people if not properly handled. With his own family, however, he is a loyal and loving dog.

Manchester Terrier


Tosa Care

This dog breed lives on average 10 to 12 years, typical for large and giant sized dogs. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia along with progressive retinal atrophy. Their large size also makes them prone to bloat, or gastric dilation and volvulus. Careful feeding, as well as good veterinary care, can help lower the incidence of disease.


Tosa Coat

The short, their dense coat is very easy to care for and only requires infrequent brushing or rubbing down with a grooming glove. However, the wrinkles around the face and neck require more care and should be kept clean to prevent infection from forming in them. This breed is also a profuse drooler and needs his face wiped frequently.


Tosa Training

He is fairly easy to train and eager to please his owner, however, he should be with an owner that understands the breed history and training techniques. The breed can easily take charge and become headstrong with inexperienced owners, which may lead to dangerous situations down the line. Socialization is critical from puppyhood.


Tosa Activity

Despite his large size, this dog requires fairly little activity. However, daily walks are still needed to help prevent boredom. Activities which challenge the mind and body such as training exercises or puzzle games can help keep him occupied and from forming a destructive habit.

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