Tosa inu's history began in the second half of the 19th century. Its ancestors are a local breed Shikoku inu, similar in appearance to the European Spitz. Shikoku inu were crossed with several European breeds like the English Bulldog in 1872, Mastiff - in 1874, St. Bernard dog and Kurzhaariger in 1876, Bullterrier and even an English Mastiff in 1924. The aim of an unusual crosses was to create a greater, more powerful dog. At the zenith of its popularity between 1924 and 1933 in Japan there were over 5,000 breeders.
The birthplace of Tosa is Shikoku, a small Japanese island. The breed was named after the area from which it derives, the old Tosa Province, now known as Kochi Prefecture. At that time, this prefecture was known as one of the two main places for dog fighting - the other is Akita.
The Tosa inu is a relatively large dog. The height at withers ranges between 55 and 82 cm. Weight varies from 37 to 90 kg. The Tosa has a wide, large skull with a medium long muzzle. Neck is extremely strong and usually with sagging skin, but unlike other mastiffs, has no tendency to drool. Chest is well developed, with many curved ribs. Thighs are well muscled with a slight curve to lower leg. Coat is short and thick, main colors are red, light beige and dull black.
Character and behavior
If a couple of words are to be used to describe the nature Tosa inu, they are - courage, responsiveness, boldness, consistency, beauty, aggression, stamina and intelligence. This dog is absolutely true to its owner and is very good with children and other members of its family.
This is an intelligent breed that accurately assesses where danger comes from, knows how to attack and protects not only the owner's family, but also the other pets in the house! These dogs have a balanced character, but if necessary, respond quickly, and are able and willing to serve its owner according to their abilities not only as warriors, but as companions, guards, guide dogs for the blind and even as shepherds, if a circumstances require it.
Training and education
Smart, welcoming and friendly, the Tosa inu easily lends itself to dressage. A proper socialization of the puppy is one of the two determinants in shaping the temperament and character of Tosa inu as an adult. This dog must be vigilant and fearless in defense of "lair" and "pack", and also be gentle and non-aggressive at home and to friendly strangers. Tosa inu warriors are unsurpassed in strength and tolerance to pain, but are as smart as they are powerful!
Average life of Tosa is 10-12 years. The most common health problems are those that generally apply to all large breeds - joint inflammation, hip dysplasia, swelling of intestines, etc.
Grooming and care
You should brush a coat of your pet twice a week and more often during months when the hair falls a lot. It is better to grow it outdoors, not in an apartment.
Children and other pets
The Tosa inu cannot live with other dogs, unless they are grown together or are relatives. It gets along well with children and even with small pets.
In 1854, the Japanese government canceled the national policy of isolation, and Japan opened for tourists. This reflected on the Tosa inu. More traditional dogs for fights in Japan faced European fighting breeds. The smaller Nihon inu began to lose regularly from the larger Western fighting dogs. These losses were unbearable for the Japanese, who took every loss as a disgrace. Gradually, breeders of Tossa oriented towards breeding larger, more aggressive and ferocious dogs and began crossing it with Mastiff, German dogs, Bulldog and Bull Terrier breeds.
Finding puppies for sale of this breed is almost impossible – they are very expensive, not available for export. It is easier to buy such a puppy from Korea, where Kennels don't pay attention to the exterior. In the Czech Republic and Hungary there is a small number of Tosa inu with live fighting spirit.
You should not forget that the power of this dog will always exceed that of its master – the record for weight pulling is hold precisely by a Tosa - 1585 kg.