|Other names||Tosa Inu|
Tosa Ken (土佐犬)
Tosa Tōken (土佐闘犬)
Japanese Fighting Dog
Tosa Fighting Dog
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Tosa (土佐, also called the Tosa Inu, Tosa-Ken or Japanese Mastiff) is a breed of dog of Japanese origin that is considered rare. It was originally bred in Tosa, Shikoku (present day Kōchi) as a fighting dog and is the only breed still used (legally) in Japanese dog fighting. Ownership is restricted in some countries as a dangerous breed.
The Tosa varies considerably in size, with the Japanese-bred dogs tending to be about half the size of those bred outside the country. The Japanese breed generally weighs between 36 and 61 kilograms (80 and 135 lb), while the non-Japanese breeders have focused on dogs that weigh from 60 to 90 kg (130 to 200 lb) and stand 62 to 82 cm (24 to 32 in) at the withers. The coat is characterized by its short and smooth appearance and is often red, brindle or fawn, but occasionally it can be a dull black. Maintenance of the coat is usually minimal. Dogs can occasionally tip the scale at 91 kilograms (200 lb). In Japan they are considered the equivalent of Sumo wrestlers, and are even depicted in wrestling accoutrement.
This breed originated in the second half of the 19th century. The breed started from the native Shikoku-Inu (an indigenous dog weighing about 25 kilograms (45 pounds) and standing about 55 centimetres high). These dogs were crossed with European dog breeds, such as the Old English Bulldog in 1872, English Mastiff in 1874, Saint Bernard and German Pointer in 1876, Great Dane in 1924, and Bull Terrier. The aim was to breed a larger, more powerful dog. The heyday of Tosa breeding was between 1924 and 1933, when it was said that there were more than 5,000 Tosa breeders in Japan.
Ownership of Tosas is legally restricted in certain jurisdictions. In the United Kingdom ownership is regulated under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, and in Trinidad & Tobago under the Dog Control Act 2014. A specific exemption of a British court is required to own and import Tosas legally in the UK.
The breed is banned or legally restricted at a national level in:
- Republic of Ireland
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
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