Tosa Inu is known as the “Sumo Wrestlers of the Canine World” because, much like in sumo wrestling, the victor and loser of a match between two Tosa Inu are chosen not by bloodshed but by a display of dominance and surrender.
Although we strongly disapprove of dog fighting, there are several breeds that were specifically developed for that purpose in various civilizations. However, the Tosa Inu comes from a tradition that is quite different from the typical dog battle. The purpose of a Tosa Inu match is not to do injury to the opponent but to establish dominance over him.
A champion Tosa, decked up in the ceremonial robes and headdress shown above, is put in the middle of the ring at the Tosa Fighting Center before each battle. After the visitors have finished taking photographs, the dog is taken out of the ring so that the next combat can take place.
A dog fight begins when the canines enter a ring and begin to sniff each other out. Any sign of reluctance to “fight” from either dog will result in both being disqualified and the match being called off. Tosa Fighting Association standards are strictly enforced, and at least seven observers keep an eye on the action from every angle to make sure that no canines are harmed. One of the dog’s owners will go into the ring if things seem to be getting out of hand. If either dog sustains any kind of injury during the battle, it is immediately halted and the dogs are sent to the doctor. If we’re getting this right, it seems like the battle is mostly a wrestling bout.
The Japanese military conflict The breeding of Tosa-Inu dogs is sanctioned by law, widely promoted, and much praised in Japanese society. They occur just a few of times a year, usually on holidays, in ostentatious sites, and with heavy visitor attendance. Dogs in Japan are given the red carpet treatment and are often the subjects of televised interviews. We’ve heard that the ceremonial clothing alone for these canines is worth tens of thousands of dollars, and the dogs themselves may be worth hundreds of thousands.
Gambling has no place in the ancient Japanese custom of tosa combat. Historically, Samurai would bring their warriors to see Tosa contests so that the men may learn to be more aggressive and courageous. We’re not big fans of dog fighting, but we think you should know where this breed came from.