About the breed

Japanese mastiff kennel

The Tosa breed originated in Japan during the Meiji era in the principality of Tosa (modern Kochi prefecture on the island of Shikoku), in the middle of the 19th century. The fans of dog fighting wanted to bring out the Japanese breed of fighting dogs, capable of fighting to death, steadily and silently as samurai did. European fighting dogs were raised for bloody battles with the other animals, for example, bears, bulls,lions, etc. But the Tosa from the beginning were intended to fight with the dogs only.
In the 19th century, Japan was a country completely isolated from the entire world, so there was no question of cross-breeding. Only in 1854, the borders were opened and European fighting dogs such as Bulldogs (1872), Mastiffs (1874), German Pointers (1876), Great Danes (1924) began to arrive in the Japanese Isles.

The breeding of Tosa was based on local so called Dogge dogs, probable descendants of ancient Molossian type dogs, as well as fighting dogs of Shikoku-Ken (the breed existed only in Japan) and such imported breeds as Bull Terriers, Mastiffs, Bulldogs, Great Danes, Pointers, St. Bernards and Bloodhounds. There's now accurate data about the breeds which took part in creating of Tosa as the information is keptcompletely in secret . Hypotheses are built on the basis of the external similarity of the breeds.
As a result, the dogs with excellent fighting qualities were bred, which fought steadily and silently, without rushing the rival and not trying to tear it, but pressing it with their own body, capable of a ruthless attack and a long battle.
Tosa is also called "Sumo Inu". In traditional Japanese Sumo wrestling, it is about pushing an opponent out of a carpet, possibly knocking them over. In the country of the Rising Sun, the fighting of dogs is bloodless and goes according to the rules of sumo wrestling. If at least one dog is hurt - the fight is stopped. The dog deliberately biting the opponent, and also barking or whining with fear is declared a loser. The fightwins the dog, which brings the opponent down on the ground and hold it,dominating for more than 3 minutes (or 5 minutes if the fight lasted for more than 15 min.).The fight is held for a fixed period from 5 minutes to half an hour, in the arena with a cross section of 36 meters. If at the set no one dog was knocked out, then the one which showed more activity in the fight, is declared a winner.
Like sumo wrestlers, the dogs are graded into a hierarchy according to the points they have recently earned, the most powerful and hardy dogs that have won many fights, receive the title of "champions" and "great champions". The dog which takes the first place receives a special painted "apron" and a hemp wreath.The above-mentioned rules of battles demanded a huge mental stability and determination. Capture, detention and throwing of the opponent is the result of physical strength, certain weight and "strength of spirit." Tosa dogs that were sent to the fights had a certain body weight. For ages Tosa fighting dogs were relatively thin and underweight. The appearance was not taken into consideration. At a certain stage of development, the Tosa were stained, had erect ears, and twisted tails. But over the time the appearance of the breed changed drastically.
The history of the development of the breed was undoubtedly influenced by various administrative arrangements, as well as by accidental events. In the years 1910-1911 in Japan, there was a ban on dog fights. And also the taxes on the maintenance of the dogs were introduced.A little later, at the end of the 1920s, a distemper epidemic brought the Tosa to the verge of extinction. However, despite the difficulties mentioned, in the thirties of the last century, dog fighting gained popularity in Japan, and, consequently, the breed was being developed quickly. The police didn't react well enough, as the dog fights were held publicly. At that time, there were about 5 thousand dogs of this breed.
The Second World War led to the extinction of the great number of dogs. Dogs in Japan were killed for skins, which were used to make jackets for the pilots. The livestock of Tosa was disappearing. Almost all adult dogs and puppies of Tosa were killed, as there was a shortage of food in the country, and the dogs needed a lot of food. Only a few dogs were saved by the breeders at the risk of their own lives. Tosa dogs were managed to be taken out to sparsely populated areas of Hokkaido. Several more representatives of the breed were sent to Korea and Taiwan, where they were able to survive the war. Several dogs and two bitches in Tohoku district and several dogs in Kyushu stayed alive. Thoseremaining dogs were used for producing the breed which we can see now. At present, there are about 4 thousand Tosa dogs in Japan.
Strong, powerful,bold and courageous Tosa are often called a samurai dog. However, this name largely reflects the talent of the dog itself,than determines the range of its traditional owners. The combination of rare bravery with excellent restraint and patience provided Tosa with a reputation of undefeated fighters. Today, the same qualities allow Tosa to cope brilliantly with the role of the guard, and also makethem reliable companions, next to which one can not be afraid of practically anyone.
Like every dog with a strong personality Tosa should be properly raised from their childhood, and, in particular, to deal with the other pets. Because of the huge size, great physical strength and strong personality this breed is not for everyone. Correctly brought up, well-civilized Tosa is marked as adorable, unpretentious family dog and companion. Tosa has a high intelligence and delicacy, easily and quickly learns good habits. Despite of the fame of the fighting dogs, Tosa becomes an incredibly tender and a loving pet one can get. They are devoted to their masters, they are patient and affectionate with children. These smart with well-developed guarding instincts dogs can be totally reliedon. In addition to protection Tosa is successfully used for search and rescue operations and in canine-assisted therapy.

Tibetan mastiff kennel

The first mention of the breed can be found in The Book of Documents (Shujing, earlier Shu-king) or Classic of History, also known as the Shangshu dated 1122 BC. There are many stories about Tibetan Mastiffs based on this book and enthusiastic descriptions by Aristotle. Since the breed was mentioned for the first time in antiquity, it has always been surrounded by myths and legends.

However, the exact date of their first discovery is unknown. There are records that even in antiquity the inhabitants of the Mountain Kingdom walked everywhere accompanied by large dogs of a harsh appearance, which were not afraid of piercing winds, severe frosts and scorching heat.
In the 13th century, Chinese merchants, while passing through Tibet to the Gobi Desert and North China, took their own guard dogs with them. Chinese and Tibetan dogs began to cross-breed with imported western breeds, and the only ones not spoiled by foreign blood were the dogs that lived high in the mountains. They were powerful and strong animals, able to withstand a harsh climate and a difficult lifestyle.

They had strong bones, a powerful body and muscles, as well as great endurance, which allowed them to travel long distances through the mountainous terrain. They had thick top coat with an even thicker undercoat.
In addition to the Shu King book (Shujing )translated into 45 world languages, gripping information about a mountain dog, as this breed is also called, can be found in the treatises by Aristotle. The famous ancient philosopher and scientist devoted many pages to the description of this majestic animal, admiring the strength, power, devotion and beauty of a dog with a severe melancholy eye expression.
Among Europeans, the first author of the book on Tibetan Mastiffs was Marco Polo, a great Italian traveller and a merchant. He describes a dog which has the same ferocious growl as a lion and as high an ass. While travelling through Asia he met a lot of Tibetans who went down to the valley with their dogs. The traveller was surprised by the extraordinary mutual understanding between the animal and a man, it seemed to him that the dog understands the master without any words. The entries refer to the year 1271.
Until the 19th century there were no records about such breed. Only in 1880 the Englishman Samuel Turper, travelling through Tibet, described a breed of dogs that could defeat a lion. He paid much attention to the characteristics of the breed. One of the first known Tibetan Mastiffs to reach Western shores was a male sent to Queen Victoria by Lord Hardinge (then Viceroy of India) in 1847. Later in the 1880s, Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) took two dogs back to England.
An early recorded litter of Tibetan Mastiffs was born in 1898 in the Berin Zoo. Unfortunately, it did not survive, like the other off-springs. For some reason, in those years in Europe, the attempts to breed Tibetan Mastiffs failed. The legend of Tibet for a long time had been bred only in its homeland, and appeared in the Old World only in the 20th century.
Y. N. Roerich describes the breed amazingly , focusing on the nature of the dog and its relative peacefullness. He pays attention to an incredible love of Do-Khyi to cats. The cat seemed to be a dog's pet.
It is proved that the breed comes from the wolf, without the admixture of a jackal, which is typical for all mountain type dogs of the Molossoid breeds. Some scientists even considered the breed to be the very forefather of all large mountain and mastiff breeds.
In the descriptions of Herodotus, some "Indian" dogs are mentioned. They are, according to some data, the starting point from which Tibetan Mastiff appears. The origin of it, as a separate breed, is considered to be from the 7th century BC.
The facts show that Central Asian Shepherds & Caucasian Shepherds are the direct descendants of this ancient blood. They inherited the severe nature of their ancestors and certain typical features of their appearance.

Tibetan Mastiff is a powerful and well-built dog with strong muscles, abundant hair, a mane around the neck, starting from the occiput and covering the withers. It is marked by impressive physical and mental health and longevity. Adult dogs practically do not get sick. Hip joints dysplasia is extremely rare, but it can't be excepted. Life expectancy is on average 16 years. Slow to mature, only reaching its best at 2-3 years in females and at least 4 years in males. Bitches normally have only one heat per year, which usually begins at the end of autumn.
Tibetan Mastiff is marked by an amazing charm, but its character reflects long-term work as a guardian. It is very distrustful of strangers and has a certain ferocity. In the presence of its master,it does not show aggressiveness and is relatively friendly to guests. However, remaining alone in its territory, especially at night,it turns into a serious watchman, constantly checking its possessions. At its territory the dog chooses the highest point from which it watches everything around him.
Left outdoors for the night, Tibetan Mastiff will let know about its presence with a loud and deep bark that has the sound of " a good copper gong". This sound can stop snow leopards and other predators, so robbers will think twice before deciding to look at the source of this barking, but it may serious problems with neighbors. If the aliens provoke it or tease it, the dog becomes furious. The hair on the scallop erects, the dog doubles in size, bares its teeth, and the eyes begin to glow red - a formidable opponent, which not everyone wants to mess with.

Tibetan Mastiff is a human-oriented dog, but it will defend its territory and its masters from any stranger to the death. To do this, it was bredthousands of years ago, so any owner should be aware of which dog they choose.
Since its childhood, Tibetan Mastiff should be taught the basics of obedience with the help of the games. As well as the other Molossoid breeds, Tibetan Mastiff can be very stubborn, it will defend its independence within the framework of good relations with a human.
A puppy of a Tibetan Mastiff requires special upbringing. Your patience must be combined with firmness, and determination with love. It should be taught the basic commands of obedience, which make a life together with the dog comfortable and enjoyable.
As a member of a family Tibetan Mastiff is patient, calm, independent and keeps composure. It is a commands respectful, charming and loyaldog. It constantly needs people's company, and it is very happy when it finds it. Fans of the breed consider Tibetan Mastiffs to be very intuitive dogs, capable of feeling all the changes in human mood.
This is the best dog for children if children are well brought up and behave themselves, which is necessary when establishing a child-dog relationship of any breed. Perhaps such attachment to children dates back to those times when these huge dogs guarded Tibetan villages, and adult residents fully trusted the dogs to look after their children. Tibetan Mastiff is very affectionate towards the children. Walking on a leash, it adapts to their step and actually allows them to do anything with them. Therefore, parents need to control their children rather than the dog, especially when it is still a puppy.
If earlier the dogs of this breed were bred for specific working qualities, now Tibetan Mastiffs are mainly bred for shows. Its appearance ishighly appreciated and lovers of the breed all over the world try to keep them in the way they came from Tibet.