Tosa Inu
Photo courtesy of Pharsyd & KiyoKita Tosas

Breed Registries:

Note: The breed registries indicated above are the most recognized all-breed registries. The breed may also be recognized by other registries not indicated here. For further details about dog registries, please see the document: Dog Breed Registries in North America.

Note 1:— The FCI is the World Canine Organization, which includes 84 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 339 breeds, with each being the "property" of a specific country. The "owner" countries of the breeds write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.




Males - Minimum height is 23½ inches
Females - Minimum height is 21¾ inches


Males - Average 140 to 150 lbs
Females - Average 130 lbs.

Breed Profile:

The Tosa Inu (also known as the Tosa-Ken and Tosa-Token) originated in Japan in the mid-19th century where he was developed as a silent, heroic dog fighter with the ability to battle to the death without complaint. Sometimes referred to as "the canine equivalent of Sumo wrestlers", in their homeland, Tosas are treated with great honour and ceremony. In recent years, some have been exported to North America and Europe as companion and guard dogs. The breed was produced using the Shikoku-ken and combining several other breeds, including the Bulldog, Mastiff, German Pointer, and Great Dane. The breed is the largest of all the Japanese breeds and is also sometimes called the Japanese Fighting Dog and the Japanese Mastiff.

The Tosa is patient, composed, bold and courageous. Very protective of his home and family, the Tosa is generally considered excellent with children, however, due to his large size, proper supervision should be maintained at all times. He is powerful, robust and agile, generally quiet and obedient, with a calm but guarded disposition. The Tosa can be aggressive to other dogs but aggressive behaviour toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed. It is strongly recommended that anyone considering a Tosa should have experience with large breed dogs.

The Tosa Inu gives an overall appearance of a massive, large-boned and athletic dog. He has a short, smooth coat with the preferred colour being a deep, solid red. Other colours include other shades of red, including fawn; a combination of red and black brindling; dull black; brown; black with red markings; and pied. He may also have a black mask and black tipped hairs.

Health Issues

If you are considering the adoption of a Tosa Inu puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy's parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main Breed Listing and Breeders page.)

Additional Health Resources:

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Breed Standards

Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.

Training Resources

The Tosa has a natural desire to please and, therefore, responds best to positive training methods.

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.

Training Tools & Equipment
Choose from a wide variety of items from

Additional Information

  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

Select from the following links to view Breeder listings; Breed Clubs; Rescue Organizations; as well as Books and other Merchandise specific to the breed:

Breeders  /  Breed Clubs  /  Rescues  /  Books & More