With over 900 years of fighting in its pedigre…

With over 900 years of fighting in its pedigree, the Tosa we see today began looking nothing like it does today. The breed had a humbling beginning resembling an Akita style dog (spitz type with a curled tail). In the 19th and 20th century with the introduction of Mastiff, Bulldogs, Bull Terrier, Great Dane and Saint Bernard from Westerners to name a few shaped the breed to its present type.

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Japanese Tosa fights are unlike other dog fights as the rules are the same as Sumo Wrestling. Dogs are expected to stay silent throughout the match with growls, barks and whimpers frowned upon leading to disqualification. The object in Japanese dog fights is to not harm the other dog but to dominate the opponent and pin them down, with any noticeable wounds ending the fight, again similar to Sumo wrestling. This is a reason many Sumo wrestlers are attendance in fights to watch and learn new moves from the dogs.

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What may sound weird to the Western world, isn’t to the Japanese as dog fighting a family outing for some. No permits or licenses are required to fight dogs, so there’s no official record of how many fights happen each year. Their are associations like the East Japan Dog Fighting Association which holds eight or nine tournaments per year, fighting between 60 and 100 dogs in a small tournaments with larger tournaments numbering as high as 250. In Katsurahama beach in the Kōchi Prefecture of Japan one can find the Tosa fighting dog museum.
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