Apartment Living

Good for 1st Time Owners

Tolerance Levels

Affection for Family

Kid Friendliness

Stranger Friendliness

Ease of Grooming

General Health


Prey Drive

Exercise Needs

Energy Level


Dog fighting became one of the favorite recreational activities in the 14th century and since then this breed was given high preference. Its ancestors have been very famous fighting dogs for more than 1000 years. Tosa Inu originated at the end of the nineteenth century and 1872 it was firstly crossed with the Old English Bulldog. In 1874, it was again mixed with St. Bernard and in 1876 with German Pointer. To develop an active and extensive dog, it was further crossed with Bull Terrier and with Great Dane in 1924. Its breeding has reached the highest peak now, and there are more than 5000 Tosa Inu breeders in Japan.

Temperament & Personality

Tosa Inu dog is a fearless, peaceful and quiet natured dog, it is very loyal and devoted to its family. This breed is not ideal for the first time dog owners and requires an authoritative master. Improper training might lead them to become aggressive to humans, pets and other animals. However, they can become the best playmates for children. Proper training can develop general etiquette and gentle behavior. They do not mix well with unknown people and take a minimum of four years to grow completely. Dogs of the same size, temperament and sex should not be kept together as they are fighting dogs and can end up fighting and injuring the other pet. They tend to do things in their way as they are very stubborn and independent-minded.



They are very energetic and exercising is very crucial for this fighting breed. Without adequate training, they might develop odd behaviors. Long walks or jogs twice a day with ample playtime in the yard will be sufficient for the dog.


They are low shedders and require little maintenance. Brushing them once a week will remove the dead hairs and dirt from their coat. A natural bristle brush will be suitable to retain the glossy look of the fur. Bath them once in three months or when they are incredibly filthy. They suffer from skin fold infections, hence cleaning their wrinkles by a moist cloth is necessary. Its droopy ears will retain moisture and wax, requiring cleaning every week, to prevent painful ear infection. Nails will require trimming two to three times a week with a nail clipper. Teeth brushing twice or thrice a week will avert tartar collection and tooth decay.

Health Problems

Tosa Inu is a healthy breed, but like other large dogs, it tends to suffer from gastric torsion (bloating). Other problems like hip dysplasia and eye conditions are also common in the dog. However, random veterinarian checkups and occasional tests will keep the dog healthy and fit. Even before buying, one can ask the breeder about its parent's history of health problems.


The dog has an independent nature, and a firm and persistent trainer is crucial to control this dog. Early socialization is vital because they can be hostile to all. Visiting public places like bus stops, parks or dog parks will allow the dog to meet new people and dogs which will fraternize it. They also require leash training due to their ferociousness.


They like to eat homemade food consisting of bones and meat. Avoid exercising just after eating or before to prevent bloating. They have substantial body weight and can develop weak legs with age. Therefore, provide the dog with calcium enriched food and add more vitamins and minerals to the dog’s diet.

Diet & Nutrition 

The Tosa Inu is a mighty Japanese dog weighing 100 pounds up to 200 pounds. Tosa Dogs simply love to gorge on food, so if you don’t supervise your Tosa Inu’s feeding, the animal might become obese. You’ll need to monitor portions and watch how much your dog is eating, especially when young. 

The growth and development of all fighter dog breeds and giant dog breeds, including the Tosa Inu, must be regulated. Unbridled and abrupt growth may not be conducive for the Tosa Inu as there’s the risk of developing hip and elbow dysplasia and joint disorders. Apart from monitoring and controlling the diet of your Tosa Inu, you should also keep the meal timings in mind.

Vets generally recommend offering high-quality dog food in small portions several times throughout the day. Giving smaller amounts at regular intervals prevents and minimizes the chances of bloating and, at the same time, avoids feeding your pet Tosa immediately before or after training and exercises for the same reason.   

Additionally, bear in mind that if your dog is obese or overweight, the pet is at a high risk of developing numerous other health problems. Discuss drawing up an appropriate nourishment regimen for your dog based on Tosa Inu’s size, weight, activity level, and age with your vet.


Are Tosa Inu Dogs Good Family Dogs?

The Tosa Inu dog, also referred to as a Japanese Mastiff and Tosa Ken, is a fighter dog breed. Native to Tosa, a former province and city in Shikoku Island lying on Japan’s southern coast, the Tosa Inu was developed by Japanese breeders. Tosa Inu breeders in Japan developed the breed by crossing the dog with other Japanese dogs like the Shikoku breed.

Tosa breeders also crossbred the dog with various European breeds, including the bulldog, German pointers, and Great Danes. The chief aim of the breeders was to rear the Tosa dogs as incredibly powerful and aggressive fighting dogs. Nevertheless, with many countries, including Japan, outlawing and forbidding dog fighting, the Tosa dogs were gradually adapted to be reared and trained as family dogs.

Since almost all dog breeds have a natural affinity towards humans and bond perfectly with humans, you can train any dog to be a loyal family dog. Additionally, almost all dog breeds naturally tend to bond perfectly with humans. You can train any dog to be loyal to your family. However, coaching a Tosa dog to become a devoted family dog could be remarkably challenging, especially if you start late.

Therefore you must obedience training from a very early phase, i.e. when the dog is a 3-4-month-old puppy.

Is the Tosa Inu a Mastiff?

The Tosa Inu, a powerful Japanese dog breed, shares many physical features, temperamental traits, and behavioral attributes with the Mastiff. For instance, Tosa Dogs have a short coat, broad skull, square-shaped muzzle, and a massive body like the English Mastiff. Again the Tosa Inu looks as intimidating as a mastiff, but looks can be deceiving as the former has a placid temperament like the latter.

The Tosa Inu is called the Japanese Mastiff, and Tosa Inu breeders have crossbred the dog with numerous European canine breeds, including the Mastiff.

Are Tosa Dogs Rare?

Originally bred and reared as a fighter dog breed, Tosa Dogs have become rarer since dog fighting was banned in many countries. The halcyon days of the Tosa Inu were 1924-1933, when there were allegedly 5000+ Japanese breeders. On the other hand, many countries, including but not limited to Australia, Denmark, Iceland, and Romania, have outlawed ownership of Tosa dogs. 

Are Tosa Inu Dangerous?

Sometimes referred to as the “Sumo amongst dogs,” the Tosa was nursed and trained to be a fighter dog breed. However, with dog fighting waning in popularity since the mid-twenties of the 20th century, breeders stopped breeding Tosa Inu dogs. Whatever Tosa Inu puppies remained with the breeders were primarily adopted for training to become watchdogs, guard dogs, and family dogs. Nevertheless, dog trainers had a tough time training the puppy because of its inherent belligerency.

Tosa Inus tend to be aggressive towards other dogs, though not humans, and yes, they can turn ferocious at times.

How Long Do Tosa Inu Dogs Live?

The lifespan of a Tosa Inu dog varies from 10-12 years on average, which is quite normal for oversize large How long your pet Tosa Inu will live depends, for the most part, on two fundamental aspects. The first factor is obvious, i.e. adopting a pup from a certified breeder who can provide you with a health certificate.

And the second, of course, is taking good care of your dog as much as possible. 

Tosa Inu Facts

Tosa Inu

Breed Type:


Other Names:

Tosa Tōken, Japanese Mastiff, Japanese Tosa, Tosa Ken, Japanese Fighting Dog, Japanese Mastiff, Tosa Fighting Dog

Height & Weight:

Male- 24-32 inches Female- 22-28 inches & 85-200 pounds


Brindle, Brown, Yellow, Black, Fawn

Competitive Registration / Qualification Information:



Low Shedding



Average Litter Size:

6-12 puppies


10-12 years


Dense, wavy., Straight


$600 - $1000



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