The highlights of Japanese Tosa temperament and behavior are their sense of responsibility, adequacy of their responses and their attachment to their human caregivers.
Our Tosa male, Haragei, is the eldest dog at Harakhan kennel. Japanese word haragei indicates the ability to sense the threat or “stomach arts”. It also denotes the ability to understand without being said too many words.
Haragei understands his role in the pack – both including other dogs and his beloved humans – as the protector and guardian. He is on a constant watch with his tail lifted high, even while leisurely trotting along. He is not a dog that barks a lot, but his bark is very deep and authoritative. Whenever some of the younger (and less experienced) dogs run to the fence inspecting some suspicious occurrence, Haragei comes along only less excited because being 4 years old he knows so much about the kennel surroundings. But when necessary he is like an arrow shot from a bow. It is a beautiful sight – seeing Japanese Tosa in motion. Agile and vibrant, with every muscle well defined, a real display of power. Haragei is a very athletic dog: physically strong, fit and active, always in excellent form and not prone to overeating. A true Tosa is not a kind of dog that you can bribe with food due to their innate prudence.
Haragei is not only a great guard dog but also an inevitable companion wherever we go and whatever we do. It`s rather funny to see him closely observing every movement like a diligent apprentice. Whether it rains or snows – he follows silently and supervises.
People often ask if Tosa dog is a good guard dog, and I can say it is 100% reliable guard dog. For example, when we have people working in our yard, our Tosa dogs will follow them around, attentively observing what is being done. They won’t growl or bite anyone, but will look straight into the eyes and bark to denote the unusual behavior. This enables us to respond accordingly in a variety of situations where human intervention is enough. As artists we have many guests especially during the workshops and seminars. There was a situation when our guests were looking for some hand tools and instead of simply asking the housekeeper for help they tried to open the door of the workshop. Our Tosas didn’t approve of this and their persistent barking let us know that something was wrong. So Tosa won’t execute excessive force dealing with strange situations.
A mature Tosa is an intelligent and reliable dog with a stable nervous system and they display 100% adequate responses as guard dogs. From personal experience we know that Tosa is going to defend its human caregiver and family when there is a real threat like burglary, attacks etc.