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Tosa (Inu)

Tosa (Inu)

The Tosa is a very large and relatively rare breed that originates in Japan. Originally bred as a fighting dog, the Tosa has not strayed much from its roots and is still used primarily for this purpose in Japan. Around the world, however, they are occasionally kept as companion and guardian dogs.

Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club

About this Breed

The Tosa is a very large and relatively rare breed that originates in Japan. Originally bred as a fighting dog, the Tosa has not strayed much from its roots and is still used primarily for this purpose in Japan. Around the world, however, they are occasionally kept as companion and guardian dogs.

Tosas came about in the nineteenth century by mixing European and Asian breeds. They were extremely popular in the years before World War II, and the first specimens made their way around the world during that time.

Tosas are known for being relaxed and patient dogs, at least until they perceive a threat. True to their roots as fighting dogs, Tosas can be formidable when angry and are extremely territorial and protective of their family. They are notorious for not being friendly with other animals unless they receive intense socialization as puppies—much more than is required for other breeds. Even then, it’s no guarantee, so consider carefully before bringing a Tosa into a multi-dog home. They also do not do well with cats or other animals, such as horses or other livestock.

Because Tosas love their family so much, they do well with children who are a part of the family. However, Tosas will not discriminate between adults and children who are strangers; they are naturally distrustful of them. In order to combat this, owners will want to expose their Tosa puppy, in their formative months, to everyone they can. That being said, they are a naturally protective breed and really shouldn’t be trusted with strangers unless their owner is present and supervising.

Tosas are the subject of numerous dog breed bans. While they are not illegal to keep in the United States, though they are illegal in a number of other countries, Tosa owners may be subject to certain restrictions. Tosa owners could have a hard time renting an apartment or buying insurance. Because of this and their size and temperament, they are much more suited to rural living where they have plenty of space to roam and fewer neighbors.

Tosas are not suited for inexperienced dog owners. Even years of raising other breeds may not prepare one for life with a Tosa. They are really suited to families who have extensive experience with large guardian breeds—they can be a liability and a danger if not raised properly. Tosas are intelligent, stubborn, and fiercely loving towards their families. If prospective owners have the experience to raise one correctly and are sure that their jurisdiction allows them, Tosas can make excellent additions to families looking for a gentle giant who will love and protect them at all costs.

Inu Tosas on Embark

Explore some Embark dogs that share Tosa (Inu) ancestry.

  • Millie

    Millie

    Logan

    Logan

    Melvin

    Melvin

    Radar

    Radar

  • BODIE

    BODIE

    Ole Red

    Ole Red

    Atsuko

    Atsuko

    Torvi

    Torvi

  • Maverick

    Maverick

    Shugga

    Shugga

    Mookie

    Mookie

    Arman

    Arman

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