Unbeknownst to many is the Tosa Inu, the star if an age-old Japanese tradition of dog fights. Dog-Fighting has been a popular sport in Japan since ancient times. Like Sumo wrestling, it was an elaborate, ceremonial affair, a sport conducted mainly by the Samurais, and the fighters, especially the winners, were feted and accorded much prestige.
The Tosa Inu is also known as the Japanese Mastiff or Japanese fighting dog is probably the only dog in the world which is still used quite legally to this day for dog fights. However, the Japanese developed a type of fight according to their mentality that bears no comparison with the notorious pit dog fights held illegally in other parts of the world. Considered a National Treasure in Japan, the sight of a Tosa Inu arrayed in full ceremonial fighting regalia and traditionally brought into the fighting arena by two handlers, makes an impressive and unforgettable impact.
The Tosa Inu is a massive, regal dog, standing well over 30 inches at the shoulders and weighing up to 150 pounds; the much larger Tosa Inus, weighing 200 pounds and more, are now extinct. Females are somewhat smaller than males, and they are never used in fighting.
Despite their notoriety as fighting animals, the Tosa Inus make incredibly affectionate and loving companions. They are devoted to their families and are very patient and tolerant with the children. Extremely intelligent, with excellent guarding instincts, they are dogs one can depend on. Apart from guarding, they have been successfully used as Search and Rescue Dogs and in Therapy Training.