tosa inu breed information

common health issues

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit well together, resulting in a hip with increased laxity. This laxity can lead to degenerative changes and depending on the severity, may require surgical correction.
Elbow dysplasia is actually a collective term which refers to the effects of one or more diseases of the elbow joint which result in pain and arthritis. Many of these problems can affect both elbows and result in forelimb lameness and elbow pain, often requiring surgical correction.
GDV describes a condition whereby a dog's stomach becomes dilated with air and then, while dilated, twists over on itself, effectively sealing the stomach. The most common sign of bloat is a firm, distended stomach, especially if it seems to occur rapidly. GDV is one of the true life-threatening emergencies in dogs and many cases require emergency surgery.
Clinical signs of hypothyroidism are caused by a decrease in normal thyroid activity. In congenital hypothyroidism, puppies will have stunted growth and other abnormalities. A blood test confirms the disease and treatment with thyroid hormone supplements is lifelong.
The cranial cruciate ligament is one of the ligaments stabilizing the knee joint. Rupture of this ligament leads to joint instability and is the most common orthopedic problem in the dog. Pain and lameness result from both partial and full cruciate ligament tears, and surgery is recommended to prevent progression of joint disease.

The Tosa Inu is a Japanese dog that was developed between 1868 and 1912 by crossing several different breeds, including the Japanese Kochi, Shikoku Inu and Western breeds such as the Mastiff, Great Dane, Bulldog, St. Bernard and Bull Terrier. Tosas were often referred to as the "Sumo wrestler of the dog world", and indeed, they were traditionally used for dog fighting, which dates back to the 14th century in Japan. Dog-fighting is now illegal in Japan and many other countries, and today the Tosa is considered a Japanese national treasure. Despite this, he is a rare breed, even in his native country, and has only recently been introduced to North America.

The Japanese Tosas tend to be a bit smaller than those in Western countries, weighing between 65 and 88 lbs., as opposed to the 90-170 lb. Tosas in the U.S. Built like his Mastiff ancestors, he has a large, muscular frame with a short, smooth coat that can be any shade of copper, fawn or brindle. While his coat is easy to keep — an occasional brushing to remove loose hair is all that is needed — he does have a tendency to drool! Because he is not typically very active indoors, he can do well in an apartment as long as he gets daily exercise.

The Tosa can make a wonderful companion, but he needs a family who understands him and his needs. A confident, strong leader who can properly train and socialize him from a young age is crucial, and therefore he is not a suitable dog for a first-time owner. As a natural guardian, he is protective, fearless and reserved with strangers, but with those he knows well, including children and other pets in his family, he is affectionate and gentle.

Despite his prized status, the Tosa Inu is still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect his health, and your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Tosa Inus are prone to include stomach conditions such as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat); thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism; and joint conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia, and cranial cruciate disease.

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Tosa Inu inherits anything more than a tendency to drool, you’re protected.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

claim calculator

  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1,550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)