The spirit of Japanese Tosa – one of the core qualities of Tosa breed is their courage and commitment to the owner. One can often hear that they are very sensitive to the tone of human voice. It means that whenever Tosa feels that her owner is unsatisfied with her behavior she will change it. A true Tosa wants to indulge the owner. It is in her nature to do so. And as she grows older her drive to please you becomes stronger. She will give preference to you over the urge to be dominant. It is the sign of Tosa’s maturity. Knowing that her owner is pleased with her is what makes Tosa happy and satisfied.
In our experience with raising Tosa dogs we have had many situations that convinced us of their great devotion. And some of them were pretty extreme. On one occasion our 2 year old male, Haragei, and I was visiting a friend who owned a Central Asian Shepherd dog. It wasn’t late but it was dark outside since it was winter and Shepherd dog got loose from his kennel before we arrived. When I opened my car Haragei who was instantly aware of the presence of another dog jumped out and in three fast and determined steps found Ovtscharka, approached him and grabbed him by the neck. Tosa dogs are very agile and don’t hesitate to act, especially when there are other, unfamiliar dogs around them. In fact they can be very dangerous because their breed selection was based on the dog fights through generations. Dominance, decisiveness, courage and strength are in their genes. And this was really a dangerous situation. I grabbed Haragei’s collar and shouted out loud at him to stop. Haragei didn’t immediately back off but he sensed that I disapprove of his behavior. I saw his willingness to stop. My friend ran out of the house as he heard the noise and me shouting, grabbed and pulled his dog away. I have to point out that both these males were not fully mature and their display of power was unambiguous but fortunately adolescent.
I witnessed that at the critical moment Haragei listened to me, not because he was afraid. In the tone of my voice he sensed disturbance and disapproval of his actions. And that was enough. I say this without any intention to approve of dog fights of course. For every owner who loves his dog, dog fights are unbearable too watch and unacceptable. Tosa is gorgeous because of its special character. Tosa shouldn’t be afraid of anything and for love of its owner Tosa should be capable of quitting everything – a trait that makes the Samurai dog so dignified and noble.