While some breeds date back centuries, others have been created to meet a specific need within the last hundred years. In 1928, Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez of Argentina created the Dogo Argentino to be a loving family companion capable of hunting wild boar. If you are an experienced dog owner looking for a companion who is good with children and, at the same time, is fiercely protective of his family, the Dogo Argentino could be the perfect dog for you.
The Dogo Argentino is often mistaken for a white Pit Bull. They have a squarely built skull, jawline, and a thick, muscular frame like the Pit. The Dogo is considerably larger overall. Their personalities are different, too. The Dogo Argentino tends to be territorial and protective of his family and will bark at any perceived threat. He’s a perfect fit as a family protector.
He was bred as a family companion, but a Dogo Argentino needs consistent training to be an excellent canine citizen because of his size and power. He has a high prey drive and should be socialized with other family pets as early as possible. Dogos are best suited to be with experienced dog owners.
Two Argentine brothers born in the early 1900s, Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez and his younger brother Agustin, wanted a dog as courageous as the now extinct Fighting Dog of Cordoba, but it had to be family-friendly. The Fighting Dogs of Cordoba were too eager to fight other dogs, which made them useless as pack hunters. The brothers wanted an all-around dog that could hunt in a pack.
The new breed retained the courage of the Fighting Dog of Cordoba but also had the keen tracking ability of a Pointer, the fearlessness of the Bull Terrier, the white coat of the Great Pyrenees, and the gentle energy of the Boxer, as well as traits from the other breeds he used in the blend.
While the first Dogo Argentino was created in 1928, no individuals were imported to the United States until 1970. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale accepted it in 1973 as the first and only Argentinean breed. The American Kennel Club only recognized the breed in 2020.
The Dogo Argentino’s blend of eagerness to please and desire to protect his family makes him an excellent watchdog. Highly trainable with a steady personality, he is gentle with children and other pets if raised around them. His energy and impressive courage allow him to engage prey as dangerous as wild boar and puma.
He’s an athlete, and if you don’t have a farm or large acreage, you’ll need to find other forms of exercise for him. The Dogo Argentino needs a job to keep from getting bored. Dogs who get too little exercise and mental stimulation will alleviate their own boredom, for better or for worse.
Dogos require a firm trainer who can establish themselves as the pack leader. Although Dogos are eager to please and trainable, they can consider themselves superior to their owner. They best suit an experienced owner who knows how to work with challenging breeds. The Dogo Argentino is not the pet for a first-time dog owner.
Size And Appearance
Males are 24-26½ in height and weigh 88-100 pounds. Female Dogos are slightly smaller and more feminine at 24-25½ tall and 88-95 pounds. Everything about their looks says strength.
The breed standard for the Dogo Argentino describes his power and the “harmony” in his build. Wild boar can weigh three hundred pounds, and his body must be strong enough to take down something that size. He is athletic and agile, and his short white coat shows off his musculature.
The Dogo’s broad head adds to his uniquely dominant look. The proportions of his skull provide the Dogo with a large mouth and a powerful bite to take down game the size of wild boar. His ears may be cropped or left natural.
Coat And Colors
The Dogo’s distinctive white coat differentiates the dog from the quarry, making it easy to spot a white dog during a night hunt. He must be completely white except for one black or dark-colored patch on the head only, around one ear or one eye. Very small dark spots on the ears are also acceptable. The size of the spot cannot cover more than ten percent of the Dogo’s head.
The Dogo Argentino won’t fare well left outdoors alone without human interaction. He wants a job and to perform for you. He needs strenuous daily exercise to keep from developing bad habits. They become bored easily, and their boredom may take a destructive turn inside your home.
Aim for at least two periods of thirty or more minutes of exercise each day with your Dogo. If you spend the first exercise period jogging a familiar path, consider a game of tug or throwing a ball for him later in the day. Variety will prevent boredom. A large, securely fenced yard will allow him to run at will.
As with any strong-willed breed, consistent early training is important. When your pup enters your family, you should establish rules and routines. Consistency is key. They require firm but loving correction and plenty of positive reinforcement. They will be solid canine citizens with patience and early socialization with other animals and people.
They may suffer from deafness, hip or elbow dysplasia, food or environmental allergies, and eye problems.
Reputable breeders suggest puppies undergo BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) to test for hearing loss. The most common cause of hereditary deafness is cochleosaccular and associated with coat color patterns. Typically, we see this in dogs with a white spotted pattern. It can cause deafness in one or both ears, which is noticeable in pups as young as one to three weeks old. Deafness doesn’t mean a dog can’t make a wonderful pet, but you’ll have to accommodate his condition.
Dogos Argentinos can suffer from the hip and elbow dysplasia found in many large breeds. Feeding a large breed puppy formula that does not encourage rapid growth is advisable to help avoid this condition. Because they are large dogs that descend from other breeds predisposed to joint dysplasia, any potential parent should have an Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or PennHIP Evaluation.
Both food and environmental allergies can distress the Dogo Argentino. His white coat makes him susceptible to both, and avoiding common food allergens may be necessary. Your vet will probably try to isolate the root cause of your pup’s itching and skin problems before deciding on the course of treatment.
Dogos Argentinos may have glaucoma, which occurs when fluid cannot drain properly from the eye. The increased intraocular pressure leads to blindness if left untreated. Glaucoma is painful, and symptoms include tearing, squinting, corneal opacity (the clear front part of the eye becomes cloudy), and redness in the whites of the eyes. As glaucoma advances, the eye may look like it’s swollen or bulging. When you take your new pup to the vet, discuss annual eye screenings to help protect your buddy’s vision.
Follow the feeding chart on the brand of feed, but be sure to choose a puppy food designed specifically for large breeds. These formulas help mitigate the risk of musculoskeletal problems related to rapid growth like joint dysplasia.
Depending on his activity level, your dog may eat between four and five cups of dry dog food per day as an adult. A kibble made for large breed dogs would be a good choice at both the puppy and adult stages. See your veterinarian if your dog is not maintaining body weight or you suspect he may have food allergies.
Some of the most common allergens found in commercial dog food are wheat gluten, eggs, soy, beef, chicken, and lamb. Food allergies in dogs can cause both digestive upset and itchy skin. Your vet may recommend a diet free from the most common allergens as your pup’s skin heals. Ask your vet what brands and formulas they recommend. You should be able to find a blend that keeps your buddy healthy and happy at a price point you can live with.
Feeding the best quality nutrition that you can afford may be more cost-effective in the long run than skimping with a bargain brand kibble. In order to keep this big guy healthy and reduce risks associated with his size and body type, look specifically for a large breed formula that matches his age. A high-quality kibble including meat protein, fiber, healthy carbs, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals will meet his nutritional needs. You’ll be less likely to have to add costly supplements.
Their coat is short and smooth. A short bristle brush used every couple of days will help brush loose hairs out of his coat to minimize what he leaves behind. He often has pink skin under his gleaming white coat, and he is susceptible to sunburn. Luckily, sunscreens made specifically for dogs are available. Be sure also to provide him shelter to avoid the sun’s rays.
As weather allows, you may bathe your Dogo once every four to six weeks with a shampoo and conditioner made specifically for dogs. Although Dogos Argentinos are low maintenance as far as grooming goes, they need the same nail and dental care as other dog breeds. Be sure to work with their nails and brush their teeth from puppyhood to make the job easier as they reach adult size.
Breeders And Puppy Costs
Find a reputable breeder who considers health and temperament and guarantees their pups. Dogos cost between $1,500 and $3,000 dollars. Insist on seeing proof of the parent dogs’ health certificates. It’s a bonus if the pups have already undergone their BAER testing.
Rescues And Shelters
Dogos Argentinos are not the right dog for every family and may wind up in rescue centers and shelters. Dogo-specific rescue organizations are familiar with the needs of the breed and are a great place to find your new best friend. These dogs have often been with foster families that have training and rehab experience, and they will be able to tell you how well an individual does with children or other pets.
There are rescue centers located all around the country, and an excellent place to start your search is Dogo Argentino Rescue. They have chapters in many states and can assist you in your search for the perfect addition to your family. You can also search online through Petfinder.com for Dogos Argentinos in your area.
As Family Pets
In general, this breed is:
- Protective of his family and home.
- Courageous enough to take on any foe.
- Best suited to an experienced dog owner.
- High-energy and athletic.
- Healthiest with at least an hour total of daily exercise.
- Good with children if socialized properly.
- Destructive when bored and left alone for extended periods of time.
- Best in a home with a large yard unless his exercise needs can be otherwise met.
- May see small pets as prey unless properly socialized.
If you have experience with strong-willed breeds and are interested in a courageous family protector, the Dogo Argentino could be your breed. This powerful and even-tempered dog can be an excellent canine family member if well socialized. If you are looking for a guardian with the utmost bravery, the Dogo Argentino fits the job.