About breed

Breed History

Breed model

Our dogs




Planned litters

Dog Show





   The Tosa Inu, the formidable fighting dog of Japan, is an animal of


legendary courage, intelligence and amazing presence. It has been described


as the Sumo Wrestler of the Canine World and is considered a National


Treasure in Japan. The sight of a Tosa Inu arrayed in full ceremonial


fighting regalia and traditionally brought into the fighting arena by two


handlers, makes an impressive and unforgettable impact.




Dog-Fighting has been a popular sport in Japan since ancient times. Like


Sumo-wrestling, it was an elaborate, ceremonial affair, a sport conducted


mainly by the Samurais, and the fighters, especially the winners, were feted


and accorded much prestige.


The dogs were bred specifically to enhance their fighting qualities and


puppies were jealously guarded and were not made commonly available.

Originally the native, wolf-like breed called Nihon Inu, which were also


used to hunt wild boars, were pitted against each other in dog-fights.


However, after Japan opened her doors to the Western Powers in the


Nineteenth Century, the Westerners brought many of their dog-breeds to


Japan and these were soon enough entered into contests against the Nihon


Inu. The Nihon Inu, being far smaller in size as compared to the Western


breeds, could not hold out its own against the new competitors and, in fact,


began losing encounter after encounter. This was an affront to Samurai


pride and so, to redress it, they decided to develop a larger, stronger dog by


breeding the Nihon Inu with certain, selected Western Dogs. This breeding


program was carried out on the Island of Shikoku in the town of Kochi in


Tosa District, a region specifically renowned for its interest in dog-fighting.

The breeders of Shikoku started off with the Bulldog and the Bull Terrier


as these dogs had proved the most tenacious in the contests. The Mastiff


was introduced for size and the Great Dane for both size and agility.


Pointers, both English and German, were introduced for their sound,


obedient characters and well-developed olfactory senses. Somewhere along


the way the bloodlines of Saint Bernards and Bloodhounds were also added.




The dog that resulted was the Tosa Inu. It exceeded all expectations and


proved so formidable in the bouts, fighting with a silent, unyielding ferocity


and dispatching its opponents with an almost insulting ease, that its fame


soon spread beyond the Tosa district, and breeders in other parts of Japan


began taking notice.


However, even more than before, the dogs were jealousy guarded and very


selectively bred so as to maintain the ferocious fighting qualities. It was not


easy to acquire them, let alone manage them, and so they never acquired


popularity as pets. They remained almost exclusively in the hands of the


people involved in the dog-fighting contests. Amidst the food-shortages and


other hardships of the Second World War years, the breed almost became


extinct. It was revived in the post-war years with Tosa Inus brought from


Korea and Taiwan (previously sold by the Japanese to the breeders there).


The numbers have greatly increased since, and, while it is still not a very


commonly seen dog in Japan, the breed has acquired a following overseas,


especially in the United States, where they were first brought over by


Japanese Immigrants and later became popular after the actor Jack Pallance


took an interest in them and began breeding them on his Ranch.


The Tosa Inus in the United States, however, since they are only bred for


Show qualities, are inferior to the Japanese Tosa Inus.




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