The Tosa Inu breed was developed in Japan as a fighting dog in the second half of the 19th century by crossing a native Japanese breed Shikoku Ken with some strong European breeds, specifically with Old English Bulldog, Mastiffs, German Pointers and in 20th century with Great Danes. According to some sources, St. Bernard and Bull Terriers were also involved in the breeding process.
2) Almost extinct
During the second world war the Tosa Inu numbers declined a lot and after the war the breed almost went extinct. Luckily, few of them survived and breeders revived the breed. Today, the Tosa Inu is not on the verge of extinction anymore and there are thousands of purebred Tosa Inus in Japan these days. And they are not only popular in Japan, they are quite popoular in USA or in some European countries, for example in Czech Republic.
3) Dog fighting
Sadly, the Tosa Inu has a bad reputation of dangerous dog, mostly because of their fighting history. Today, luckily, the dog figts popularity is declining, and most Tosa Inu dogs are living as companion dogs, but there are still soem places in Japan, where dog figts are quite popular and Tosa Inu, even today, is still used for this cruel purpose.
In the right hands, the Tosa Inu is amazing, patient and loyal companion who creates a strong bond with its owner. But they need firm and patient trainer who will show them the boundaries and socialize them properly, especially with other dogs. This is definitely not a dog for a novice dog owners. These dogs are typically very friendly and quite affectionate towards its family and they can live with other houselhold pets as well.
Interesting fact is, that the Tosa Inus bred in Japan are much smaller than the dogs bred in other countries and the difference is pretty big. While the Japanese Tosa Inu has normally weight between 35-61 kg, which is 80-135 pounds, the foreign Tosa Inus has weight between 60-90 kg, which is 130-200 pounds and they can be up to 82 cm talls, which is 32 inch. So as you can see, the difference in the size is massive.
6) Independent dogs
Tosa Inu is definitely an intelligent and bright dog breed, but also quite stubborn and independent breed, which is why they are not total pushovers to train. They definitely need regular training from their puppyhood.
7) Sumo Wrestlers
According to the AKC, in Japan, the Tosa Inu is the canine equivalent of Sumo wrestlers and are treated with great honor and ceremony. These dogs are extremely popular in Japan. But of course, they normally serves as companion dogs or property guards all around the world.
Because of the Tosa Inu strength and fighting history, they have bad reputation and because of that they are banned or legally restricted in many countries. Today, in 2020, the Tosa Inu is legally restricted in the United Kingdom, Israel, Norway, New Zealand, Romania, Ireland, Iceland, Denmark, Australia and some other countries.
The Tosa Inu has hanging ears, short, but dense coat, a square muzzle and hanging tail thick at the root. They have impression of confident and impressive dog. They also have extremely large feet, black mask and powerfull jaws. You can find this breed in brindle, black red or fawn.
Great facts is, that Tosa Inu is generally very healthy breed. Their lifespan is between 10-12 years, which is pretty good for dog of this size. Of course, just like all the dogs, they can suffer from some health issues, especially as senior dogs. The health concerns include hip dysplasia, bloating or some eye problems.