FCI Tosa Standards

ORIGIN : Japan.


UTILIZATION : Formerly fighting dog, nowadays watchdog.


Group 2  Pinscher and Schnauzer- Molossoid breeds – Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs.    
Section 2.1      Molossoid breeds,
Mastiff type. Without working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY :  Japan has a long  history of dog fighting, beginning in the 14th century.  With such a history in the background, this breed was produced as a hybrid of Shikoku-ken and Western breeds.   Named after the  area where they were  bred, these dogs are  sometimes called "Japanese Mastiffs".  The Western  dogs used  for creating  the breed were Bulldogs  (1872), Mastiffs (1874), German Pointers (1876) and Great Danes (1924), all of which were used to  improve the breed by sequential mating.  According to some  accounts, St.Bernards and  Bull Terriers were also  involved, but it  is  not  known in  what  years  they were  used.   The  Tosa's established features  of stamina  and the fighting instinct  typically found in Mastiffs may be attributed to the involvement of such breeds.

GENERAL APPEARANCE : Large-sized  dog with a stately manner and robust build.   The dog  has hanging  ears, short  hair, a square muzzle  and hanging tail thick at the root.

BEHAVIOUR/TEMPERAMENT  :  The  temperament   is  marked  by  patience, composure, boldness and courage.


Skull : Broad.
Stop : Rather abrupt.

Nose : Large and black.
Muzzle : Moderately long. Nasal bridge staight.
Jaws : Upper and lower jaws strong.
Teeth : Strong with a scissor bite.
Eyes : Rather small, dark brown in colour with a dignified expression.
Ears :  Relatively small,  rather thin, set  high on the skull  sides,
hanging close to the cheeks.

NECK : Muscular, with a dewlap.

Withers : High.
Back : Level and straight.
Loins : Broad, muscular.
Croup : Slightly arched at the top.
Chest : Broad and deep, ribs moderately sprung.
Belly : Well drawn up.

TAIL : Thick at the root, tapering towards the tip, reaching the hocks
when let down.


Shoulder : Moderately sloping.
Forearm : Straight, moderately long and strong.
Pastern : Slightly inclining and robust.
Muscles  very  developed.    Joints  of  stifle  and  hock  moderately
angulated, strong.

FEET :  Tightly  closed.   Pads  thick and  elastic.   Nails hard  and preferably dark in colour.

GAIT : Robust and powerful.


HAIR : Short, hard and dense.

COLOUR : Red, fawn, apricot, black, brindle.  Slight white markings on chest and feet are permitted.

SIZE : Minimum height at withers for dogs     60 cm
                                     for bitches  55 cm.

FAULTS : Any departure  from the foregoing points should be considered as a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
•    Thin bone.
•    Snipy muzzle.
•    Slightly overshot or undershot bite.

•    Aggresive or overly shy.
•    Extremely overshot or undershot bite.
•    Shyness.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B. : Male animals  should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.