The Japanese Tosa has been bred for hundreds of years in Japan. They were bred in the old Tosa Province, now known as the Kochi prefecture. This breed was developed between 1868 and 1912 by crossbreeding the Kochi and Shikoku with Western dog breeds such as the German Pointer, Mastiff, Great Dane, Bulldog, St. Bernard and the Bull Terrier. The Japanese Tosa was originally bred as a fighting dog. At one time the Tosa province was one of top dog fighting areas. The Japanese Tosa was bred in the art of Japanese dog fighting – relentless and silent. The Japanese Tosa is banned in some countries as a dangerous breed. However, with proper socialization, handling and training the Japanese Tosa can make a wonderful family dog.
Growth and appearance
The Japanese Tosa is a massive dog with a very large head and long squared off muzzle. Due to the Japanese Tosa’s background in dog fighting they are grouped into three classes: light, middle and heavyweight. The average weight for a Japanese Tosa in the United States is 120-170 pounds for males and 90-140 pounds for females. In Japan they weigh about 66-88 pounds. The Japanese Tosa stands 24 – 32 inches at the shoulder. The Japanese Tosa has a short dense coat that comes in solid, brindle or multi colored red, fawn, apricot, yellow, black and brindle. There is often a black mask around their muzzle and white markings on their chest and feet.
Dog Care and Grooming
Because of the Japanese Tosa’s short coat it is very easy to groom. Just an occasional brush to remove dead hair is all that is needed to make their coats look good. The Japanese Tosa does drool, however it is not as bad as other mastiffs.
Like all of the Japanese dog breeds, the Japanese Tosa is a very loyal dog. They are highly intelligent and pay close attention to their commands. They are a quiet breed but still an excellent guard dog. When they do bark, their bark is deep. The Japanese Tosa is protective, courageous and fearless. Leadership from the owner must be displayed at all times. They need to be socialized as puppies to ensure obedience and adjustment. Aggression and attacks from the Japanese Tosa are generally due to poor handling and training. Owners must be naturally authoritative over the dog, but in a calm, firm, confident and consistent way. A stable well adjusted and trained Japanese Tosa is generally good with other children and pets in the family. A well-trained obedient Tosa will not snap or bite its family. The Japanese Tosa is great with children as it is protective and gentle towards its family. They need a strong firm, confident and consistent pack leader who will keep them in their rightful place below the humans in the alpha pack order. Lines and rules must be set within the family pack. Japanese Tosa’s who are allowed to take over as top alpha will be aggressive.