tosa inu breed information
common health issues
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.