FCI Standard N° 260 / 09.12.1997 / GB TOSA
Descrizione: photo st 260


USE: historically used for fighting, today it is employed as a guard dog  

F.C.I. CLASSIFICATION: Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossoid breeds, Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs.
Section 2.1 Molossoid breeds, Mastiff type – Without working trial

Large-sized dog with a stately manner and robust build. The dog has hanging ears, short hair, a square muzzle, and a hanging tail thick at the root.
The temperament   is marked by patience, composure, boldness, and courage.

It is important to remember that as a molossoid the Tosa is not a hierarchical dog, which means that the idea of a “pack leader” has no meaning. Consequently it will never obey because the “boss said so”, but because it has esteem, faith, and respect for its owner. When the dog realizes that it makes its owner happy by responding correctly to certain orders, it will carry them out gladly without having to be told twice. Whoever claims that a Tosa has to be forced into obedience is confusing this dog with a wolf breed and is almost certain to end up being bitten by his dog. No non-hierarchical dog accepts forcible orders. It might put up with them as a puppy, but it will make us pay for it with a vengeance when it is an adult. To get these dogs to obey, the key words are esteem and respect, certainly not bullying.
Another important aspect to consider is that of  “submission” during a fight. When two adult wolves fight to better their hierarchical position in a pack, they follow a precise ritual that almost always leads to a non-bloody out come. One of the two individuals becomes submissive by throwing itself onto the ground and exposing its tummy and throat. It all ends there, without any bloodshed. Expecting the same behaviour from a Tosa will lead straight to disaster. In fact this molossoid, selected to fight other animals, has been induced by mankind (through the process of selection) to “forget” rituals, and it is perfectly likely to kill an opponent even when the latter has clearly expressed a state of submission. A wolf would never do that!

Broad skull
Testa 1Testa 2Testa 3DSCN8884Testa 4 Testa 5Testa 6Testa 7Testa 8Testa 9


Stop: rather abrupt. In bitches the stop may be slightly less abrupt.

Stop 1 Stop 2 Stop 3 Stop 4 

A characteristic feature of this breed are the wrinkles on the skull, which are particularly pronounced in males. Furrowed eyebrows sometimes lend the dog a “worried” expression. Often a characteristic wrinkle runs straight down the cheek from the outside corner of the eyelid.

Testa TOSA

Nose: large and black
Muzzle: moderately long. Should not exceed a 1:1 ratio. The correct size is between 2:3 and 1:1. Nasal bridge: straight, preferably with a parallel axis.
14  Stop 3  Stop 2 DSCN1984

In the first picture the nasal bridge is not straight. While in the other pictures it is correct.
The muzzle must be square, full, wide, and not too high. Differences between muzzles can be seen in the pictures below. The lips hang, are black, and thick. Seen from the front they form an upturned “V” or an upturned slightly pointed “U”.   
DSCN8222_1  941713_538830386155282_1953258594_n  Testa 2

Upper and lower jaws are strong.
Strong teeth with a scissor bite. Incisors that are not perfectly aligned do not constitute a fault. Priority is given to the strength of the teeth and to the size of the canines and molars. The bite force is fundamental. This breed has been “designed” as an almost unbeatable fighting dog, so a fundamental prerogative is that the bite be firm, powerful, and constant. When the dog’s bite slackens, the opponent has an opportunity to react, thus the dog runs the risk of being bitten.
The eyes are rather small, dark brown, and have a dignified expression. They are slightly almond shaped. In Japan a light eye colour was a sign of bad luck thus individuals with light coloured eyes would be put down. Dark brown is the typical colour as it hides any signs of fear. The typical colour of puppies’ eyes is a blue-grey up to about one month old, then the colour changes until it becomes brown. The black contour of the eyes absorbs the sunlight and prevents sunrays from being reflected into the eyes.

Occhio cucciolo Occhio 2  Occhio 1 Palpebra 1
Until the width of the head has fully developed (sometimes individuals reach full maturity around 3-5 years of age) the lower eyelid is droopy. This is not a fault. It is a sign that the head has not yet fully developed. Surgery on the lid is absolutely to be discouraged since later on the dog’s eyes would appear tight and drawn, following the lateral development of the skull.  

Ears are relatively small, rather thin, set high on the skull sides, and hanging close to the cheeks. Though this breed was created to fight, it has never had its ears cropped.

Orecchie 1  Orecchie 2  Orecchie 3 Troppo alte - Ninna de Kair-mother of Bety
In the fourth picture the ears are set too high up.

NECK muscular with a dewlap.

Collo 1


The dewlap is a typical feature of the breed and of most fighting dogs in general. Normally it should be long enough to be grasped by an opponent, but the length must also allow the individual who has been grasped to turn its neck and bite the other dog on the muzzle, ears, or upper part of the neck, without being blocked. An individual without a dewlap is more likely to succumb in a fight.


Giogaia 1Giogaia 2Giogaia 3

Giogaia 4Giogaia 5Giogaia 6


Withers: high. Back: level and straight.

Schiena 1Schiena 2Schiena 3

Schiena 4   Schiena 5
Schiena 6   IMG_0030_5

Loins: broad and muscular.
Croup: slightly arched at the top.
Chest: broad and deep. Ribs: moderately sprung. 

Muscoli 1 Muscoli 2

Muscoli 3 Muscoli 4 Abenji Big Luck-father of Agiro

Belly: well drawn up. Observing the dog from the side, the tuck-up must extend in a slightly ascending line forming a trapeze shape with the back. 

Ventre 1 Ventre 2

TAIL thick at the root, tapering towards the tip, reaching the hocks when let down. Thickness at the root in young individuals is a sign of good development and size in adulthood.

Shoulder: moderately sloping
Forearm: straight, moderately long and strong. Pastern: slightly inclining and robust.

Angolazioni 1 Angolazioni 2

HINDQUARTERS: muscles very developed. Joints of stifle and hock moderately angulated, strong.

Zampe 1Zampe 2Zampe 3Zampe 4Zampe 5Zampe 6Zampe 7Zampe 8

A typical feature is a noticeable vein in the hind leg above the tip of the hock. If the vein is well defined it is a sign of a dog with good size-weight proportions, so not overweight. The hock must be moderately angulated. 

Garretto 1 Garretto 2


FEET tightly closed, pads thick and elastic. Nails hard and preferably dark in colour. Black is the typical nail colour. 

GAIT robust and powerful. A heavy fat dog (which should not be considered massive) or a dog that has leg or gait problems would definitely be penalized in a fight. In order to beat an opponent a dog must be agile and reactive with straight forequarters, and it must be able to move in a fluid, free way, not in the heavy manner of a mastiff or Italian Mastiff. Slightly cow-hocked hind legs are tolerated because during the push off phase of a leap this can help the dog to grip better with the hindquarters and not slip. However, a dog that moves well is always preferable to a dog that may have other faults, since the latter would not be considered as serious.

HAIR short, hard, and dense.
COLOUR red, fawn, apricot, black, brindle. Slight white markings on the chest and feet are permitted with subsequent cream coloured nails.

Unghie 1 Zampe 9  MeiyoBuke2

Minimum height at withers for dogs 60 cm, for bitches 55 cm.
Full development and the perfect formation of the chest and the head occurs around 3 years of age. Up to 15-18 months individuals grow in height not developing much in the chest and back areas. Later the development of the skull and body occurs. Young dogs that are already rather heavy will certainly have problems with their joints and stamina in the future. In any case large, massive, well-proportioned but not fat dogs are preferable. Muscular development is fundamental since in a fight a dog must be agile, athletic, slim, and at the same time it must have a lot of stamina. A massive muscle structure must be supported by a large bone structure with excellent joints and non-inflamed cartilage tissue. A heavy fat dog, even if impressive, would be destined to succumb after a very short time in a fight.

On the ring dogs must move in a loose way with long reach and powerful push of the hindquarters. The head must be carried high, unless the dog is “pointing” at something or someone by the ring. A straight lifted tail is a sign of dominance and confidence.


DSCN0747 DSCN0819

A characteristic trait is a still tail that curls upwards. This indicates that the dog is not scared to face another individual and is sizing up the situation. At such times the gaze is fixed and the breath slows down. The hair on the back and croup stands up.

World Dog Show a Budapest (Ungheria) – 17/05/2013
World Winner 2013 : Agiro Tosadar (M – 20/04/2010) – owner Drudi Enrico
In the picture: Mr. Judge Takahiro Miyagawa (JP), Enrico Drudi (RSM), Gabriele Stafuzza (ITA)

Criteria for selection among various dogs in a ring could be the following: a first selection may be based on gait, eliminating individuals that do not move well and that do not push powerfully with their hindquarters. Then one could move on to examining the lines of the back, the straightness of the forelegs, and muscular development. Moving on to an evaluation of the head.

FAULTS any departure from the foregoing points should be considered as a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and effect on the health and welfare of the dog.
· Thin bones
· Snipy muzzle
· Slightly overhsot or undershot bite

· Extremely overshot or undershot bite
· Shyness

N.B. Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


Produced by :                         Enrico dr. Drudi (RSM) – breeder FCI and judge
In collaboration with :            Nebojša Savičić (SRB) – giudice FCI
                                               Branislav Rajić Bane (SLO) – giudice FCI