Tosa Inu - Japanese Fighting Dog

Tosa Inu is a fighting dog of Tosa region (Kochi) in Japan. Tosa dog is blessed with power, athleticism, agility and stamina. It should not be a surprise that the dog is aggressive towards other animals especially of same sex. With humans, they are affectionate and compassionate in nature. Tosa remains good mannered and kind dog till the time it is not aroused. Once it loses its peace of mind, nobody can save you from the wrath of dog.

This dog should be socialized and trained just after you bring it home. When it is inside home, it remains in a state of tranquility and relaxation. Owning this dog increase your legal obligation towards the society. You need to take insurance regarding the dog and should never leave the dog off leash in public places. Your Tosa can kill neighbor’s small animals that included cat too.


Tosa is protective of its family member so it can even knock down the neighbor’s child rushing at your child. Generally speaking, only few people own this breed, those who are interested in dog fight games. They are dominant and strong willed and if not trained well, they can be dangerous for the family members too.

Tosa Inu
Tosa Inu Dog Breed


It is 14th century dog and since then it is involved in dog’s fighting games. It is also called as “Sumu wrestler” in its native country - Japan. The dog was developed by cross mating Kochi, Japanese native fighting dog and western breeds like bulldog, mastiff, Great Dane, St. Bernard etc. Tosa met the Japanese rule of fighting which is to fight silently and relentlessly.

This breed is rare even in its native country. This breed is famous only in rural areas of Japan where dog fighting is still a prominent sport. In many countries this breed is banned as it is dangerous breed. However, with correct training and socialization, it can be a wonderful family companion.


Tosa Inu Characteristics

  • Tosa Inu breed belongs to Japan and is a fighting dog.
  • It has natural protective instincts and is a reliable guard dog.
  • Lifespan of the dog is 10 to 12 tears.
  • It is aggressive, brave, bold and intelligent breed.
  • Its height is 56-60 cm.
  • Weight of the dog is 37.5-90.5 kg
  • Dog comes in many colors like - black, brindle, fawn, brown and yellow.
  • Average cost of the puppy is $600 - $800 USD.
  • It thrives well in apartment if the owner meets its exercise requirement.
  • It sheds moderately and is a low maintenance dog.
  • It is not a hypoallergenic breed.
  • The dog makes excellent watchdog too.
Tosa Inu
Tosa Dog Breed


It is a massive dog with muscularly built up body. The dog has large head with long blunt muzzle that has abrupt stop. The breed has small sized eyes which should be brown in color.

It has floppy shaped, thin ears which hang close to its face. The dog has thick tail which gets slim at the end. The breed should essentially have a black mask.

Size and Weight

Ideal height of the dog is 62 – 82 cm and average weight of the dog is 83 - 200 pounds irrespective of the gender.

Tosa Inu
Tosa Inu Dog

Coat and Color

The dog has short coat which is hard textured just like goat. Its coat has glossy effect and should lie close to its body. The breed comes in solid color of black, brindle, fawn, brown and yellow. Its face should characteristically have a black mask.

Tosa Inu Temperament

  1. Personality - It is a powerful fighting dog that fights silently and fiercely. They are silent warrior. The dog is defined as vicious in nature but it remains peaceful inside home and forms strong bond with its family members. They are alert and keen dog that is always on guard duty. The dog takes the role of watchdog quite seriously and will make an alarm sound to let you know of any stranger. They are patient and have high pain tolerance level because of their fighting history. They are also playful and joyous around family children. Tosa is infamous for being aggressive killer to animals but with humans they are easy going and gentle. If trained and socialized properly, they will even treat strangers in a gentle way.
  2. Behavior - Today the dog is bred for family companionship and as guard dog. In olden days they were employed in army force. They are disciplined and obedient dogs that love to woo humans. The dog is highly adaptable and can cope up in any environment. It is not a highly energetic dog so it does better even in apartment. The dog is always vigilant and reactive to dreadful situation. A well trained dog is neither bloody nor aggressive. This dog is a perfect blend of courage with composure. The dog will never bark unnecessary and remains reserved even in outside environment. For safety purpose it is important to chain the dog while taking on walk.
  3. Activities Requirement - It is not a highly energetic and active dog. Its exercise needs are moderate. If you have spacious yard you can conduct its exercise inside home only. Tosa makes great jogging partner.
  4. Trainability - A well-trained dog is a treat to have. This dog can be great addition to family members if trained well. Your main aim to train the dog is to make him understand psychologically to respect the owner and his family.
Tosa Inu
Tosa Dog


This breed of dog takes time to mature fully. It is important to keep it on “puppy diet” till it doesn’t achieve its optimum growth of body. Balanced and nutritious food will foster growth of bones and muscles.  This dog loves lamb, meat and hare’s meat.


The dog can live up to 10 to 12 tears.

Health Issues

It is not a hypoallergenic breed. Like any other dog Tosa dog is also prone to hip dysplasia in older age. Epilepsy and vision problem can also occur to this breed.

Because of its floppy ears, dirt and harmful particles can enter into its ear easily. For all these risk associated to its health, you should have a periodical health checkup.

Grooming and Caring

Tosa Inu coat is so short that it requires minimal grooming. Brush its coat once a week to keep it neat and tidy. The dog sheds moderately so this will reduce the amount of dead hair. Bath it only when necessary. Brushing teeth, cleaning ears and trimming nails should also be included in its grooming regime.

Tosa Inu
Tosa Inu Puppy


The breed is highly adaptable and can live in any size of apartment. It has low energy level and its activity level is limited. The dog thrives well in a tropical climate.

Pet Names

  1. Undertaker
  2. Kane
  3. John
  4. Lion
  5. Roman

Things To Consider Before Buying


  1. It is a reliable watchdog and guard dog.
  2. The grooming needs of the dog are infrequent.
  3. It has low activity level and remains calm inside home.


  1. This breed has been labeled as dangerous so you need to be always alert with this dog.
  2. This breed is not suitable for novice owners.
  3. It is aggressive with other animals.