Tosa Inu: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

The Tosa Inu or Japanese tosa, is one of the most imposing Asian dogs. This one is oversized, which can present a challenge for those unfamiliar with the breed or its behaviour.

Therefore, today we bring you in this article all the information about this wonderful breed, its origin, characteristics, necessary care, diseases and much more.

Origin of Tosa Inu

This breed arose during the middle of the 19th century when a cross between several breeds of large European dogs such as: Great Dane, Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Bulldog and German Pointer was made with the Shikoku Inu, a dog native to the island of Japan. These were created to be used as fighting dogs and as protectors.

here are countries where this breed is classified as potentially dangerous. Some of these nations are: Colombia, Chile and Spain, inclusive, there is a Decree in which its dangerousness has been established.

In Spain, in order to have a dog of this breed it is necessary to have a license for ownership. They must also be registered in the Municipal Register of Potentially Dangerous Animals.

One of the essential requirements that you must have when applying for the license and that is vital for it to be approved, is that you have third party liability insurance. That is, you must take care of any damage that the dog may cause to another person.

The Tosa Inu dog comes from the homonymous province that is currently known as Kochi.

As dog fighting is part of Japanese culture, and is still part of daily life in some Japanese provinces today, these dogs were created to be the best at it.

It is believed that the breed continues to be used in clandestine fights, in provinces that still do not want to abandon this cruel practice .

However, what is known and affirmed is that these dogs are used today as guardians of houses, residences and even museums and shopping centers.

Characteristics of the Japanese Tosa

From its head, this is a large dog with a solid body, its nose is black, with ears that hang down, giving it an elegant touch. With small brown eyes, its neck is large and one of the characteristics of the breed stands out, its large double chin.

The Tosa Inu is classified as a molosser (muscular) dog , in terms of its morphology, this is one of the breeds that has a fairly marked and defined body. Without a doubt, we are talking about a large dog, with a dignified body where it is observed and that denotes strength and elegance.

Although it is a robust dog, it actually has a slim but strong body, as well as an enviable vigour.

The head of this dog is large, proportional to the rest of its body, with a wide, square black muzzle. These dogs have small eyes, which are usually reddish-brown, although there may be some varieties.

The neck of the Tosa Inu is thick and muscular, one of its most particular characteristics is its extra skin around the throat, which forms its popular double chin.

The movement of these dogs is fast and energetic, which clearly indicates their strength and the tough temperament of these animals. The males of this breed can measure up to 60 centimeters in height and weigh around 38 kilograms as a minimum. Females are generally a bit smaller.

The coat of this dog is short, quite hard when touched (without being annoying to the touch). The typical colors are reddish, which is mixed with warm colors that enhance the beauty and characteristics of the Tosa Inu breed . You can also find some black specimens.

Tosa Inu care

The coat is easy to maintain; as these dogs have a short but hard coat, it will be necessary to brush them weekly. In this way, it can be kept free of dead hair and dirt that may have adhered to it.

The bath should not be very constant, it can be done every two months or when the dog really needs it, so, if it gets dirty too often, you can bathe it more often. You can regularly clean the excess food that can accumulate in the wrinkles of his face and neck .

In addition, this is a dog that will need to go for a walk at least 2 or 3 times a day, in this way, the canine will be able to interact with other dogs. You will also exercise, relax, and enjoy positive mental stimulation to help drain your energy and stress.

Ideally, these dogs should live in a large , spacious house with a garden or large yard. However, you must remember that the garden or patio should not be a substitute for walks, since these dogs do not tolerate living inside the home permanently and without going for a walk.

This does not mean that the Tosa Inu cannot live in an apartment, as they can do it perfectly, what they will require is adequate outings, care and exercises so that the confinement does not become a negative point for their health or their behavior. .


According to the official standards of the breed, the Tosa Inu has a fearless, patient and courageous character. They are extremely loyal dogs to its own, whom it considers its family, it is always very sure of himself and his physical capacity, as he always shows what he is capable of.

Sometimes they can be shy and reserved, especially with strangers, whom you will ignore or pay only minimal attention. If you are a person who treats them with affection, affection and respect, these dogs will return that to you and will be faithful and dedicated to you.

It is of great importance that the adoption of one of these dogs is carried out responsibly, and preferably, by experts or connoisseurs of the breed.

If you are not used to the care, education, breeding and training of large dogs, it is best that you start by having another breed before a Tosa Inu.

If you observe inappropriate behavior in your dog, it is recommended that you have the number of a training professional at hand, so that the pertinent correction can be made as soon as possible. In this way, you will avoid problems and your dog will be able to live happily with his.

It must be remembered that these dogs have great strength , so in an emergency (especially if they have aggression problems with other dogs or people) the ideal is that whoever has the Tosa Inu can physically control it and thus avoid incidents.

If you do not have the necessary physical strength, you can resort to anti-pull harnesses and rigorous behavior and obedience training , as this will be essential in these hypothetical emergency cases.


As previously stated, these are protective dogs, so if they feel their humans are in danger, they could become aggressive towards whoever caused the threat. Being a dog with a lot of courage, it will not mind putting himself in danger to save its family.

They are good dogs to have in families with children, as they get along well with them; This breed is instinctively protective, so they will always take care of them.

In addition, its calm and relaxed personality makes it the perfect dog for the little ones, and being patient dogs, they will be able to withstand mischief without problem.

Although this is true, it is always advisable to keep an eye on them, especially if the child is small, since the Tosa Inu being a large dog, it could accidentally hurt the little one by playing with more force than it should.

In addition, mutual respect must be instilled in both so that there is a healthy and safe coexistence.

If properly educated and taught to socialize from a young age, the Tosa Inu can get along wonderfully with other dogs , however, it will always be important to observe the reactions of the other dog, since if it shows some kind of danger , the Tosa Inu is not going to stay calm.

Diseases and Health

In general, the Tosa Inu is a very healthy dog , they are not prone to diseases of the hereditary type. However, this will depend on the family genetics of the same, because as we well know, there are responsible creators who look after the well-being of the breed, however, there are breeding factories that only seek to profit from these dogs.

Some of the most common health problems that can be found in Tosa Inu are:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Heatstroke
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

For our canine to have good health, it is recommended that periodic visits be made to the veterinarian. Preferably 2 times a year. Having a rigorous vaccination and deworming schedule will also be essential.

Another thing you should focus on for your dog to have proper health is hygiene, dental cleaning, ear cleaning and anal gland emptying (if required).

10 curiosities of the Tosa Inu

  1. The Tosa Inu, was “created” and trained to fulfil the role of fighting dogs and guardians.
  2. They are considered as potentially dangerous dogs.
  3. In some countries, such as Spain, in order to have one of these dogs, it will be necessary to have a license and insurance for damage to third parties.
  4. Despite their appearance, they are loving and loyal dogs.
  5. They are perfect for homes with young children, as this breed is very patient, so it will better tolerate the constant activity of children.
  6. They must be properly trained, especially in the area of ​​obedience and behaviour, in this way possible incidents are avoided.
  7. These dogs are protective by nature, so they will do whatever it takes to keep their humans or animal friends safe. For this reason, it is important that you know how to direct or control the animal, since it can threaten what represents a threat to your loved ones.
  8. They are friendly, calm and full of life dogs, so they need constant walks.
  9. They are in good health, which is why Tosa Inu puppies with inherited diseases are rarely born .
  10. They are always predisposed to obey, so it is easy to train and train them, in addition, their intelligence makes them perfect for this.

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