Big and Muscular, This Affectionate Dog Needs Daily Activity from a Dominant Owner
The DogoArgentino breed originated in Córdoba, Argentina, through the efforts of Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez. Martinez developed the breed by methodically crossing ten breeds, including one that is now extinct. He wanted a dog that had the character and strong body to perform hard work, but also a friendly, personable temperament that would allow the dog to get along well with others. Martinez had early success. Although he died soon after he began his breeding efforts, his brother and family continued the DogoArgentino's refinement. It became an excellent hunting dog and continues as an excellent companion to those who wish to pursue big-game hunting. Beyond that, though, it makes an excellent pet for active families, including those with children.
In 1928, Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez wanted to develop a breed that would handle big-game hunting, but would also be a pet and guard dog to families. He originally chose the Córdoba Fighting Dog as the base of the breed, a pedigree that is now extinct. This original dog was large and ferocious, and a great hunter. Martinez ultimately crossed the Córdoba Fighting Dog with the Irish Wolfhound, the Great Pyrenees, the Old English Bulldog, the Spanish Mastiff, the Great Dane, the Boxer, the Bull Terrier, and a breed called the Dogue de Bordeaux. He selectively bred these breeds in combination and selectively, ultimately producing the desired traits. In 1970, Dr. Raul Zeballos brought the DogoArgentino to the United States.
The DogoArgentino puppy grows to appear large and imposing, and indeed, it is a ferocious hunter. Although cultivated for that trait, it has also been bred to be exceedingly humble, gentle and playful around family. In appearance, it has been compared to a "white mastiff," and is sometimes called the "Argentinian mastiff." It has a deep set, wide chest, a massive neck and broad head, and a long, low tail that reaches the hock. The coat is sleek, white and thick, and has no undercoat. In some cases, a black mark on the head known as a "pirata" is acceptable, although many organizations frown upon it and consider any markings to be a flaw. Most DogoArgentinos are all white, as a combination of the American Bulldog and the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Perhaps the first thing you notice about the DogoArgentino is its solid, stocky, sturdy and muscular build. This is no delicate creature! Standing 24-1/2 to 29 inches at the shoulder, the DogoArgentino usually weighs between 90 and 130 pounds. Big and athletic, it's meant to be a companion to biggame hunters.
Gentle with family and with those it loves, the DogoArgentino will make a perfect pet as long as he or she is properly socialized. The breed is meant to be friendly, cheerful, humble, and NOT aggressive around family, but makes an excellent guard dog. Nonetheless, if you don't properly socialize your pet, he or she could indeed be a behavioral problem; this can be especially problematic considering they are "working prey dogs," so to speak. They need a firm hand and plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep their gentle personalities around family at the fore.
That said, though, the dogs have now been bred to be so nonaggressive except in hunting situations that they have even made poor choices for fighting dogs in areas where it's still legal to pursue dogfighting; in fact, aggressive traits inherent to the Córdoba Fighting Dog have been specifically bred out, and the DogoArgentino is now considered a fully cooperative pack animal that is inherently gentle and meek around those it loves and knows. Be that as it may, the breed has been banned in two areas of the United States, and in several countries throughout the world. This is in large part because bad owners have taught them to fight, now giving them a bad name. Without this negative influence, however, the DogoArgentino is inherently gentle and humble around those it loves, and does not deserve this bad reputation.
Because of its "fighting dog history" in the bloodline (originally bred from the now extinct Córdoba fighting dog), and because it can have aggressive tendencies if not properly socialized, it is illegal to own a DogoArgentino in the UK unless specifically given permission by the courts, thanks to the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991; it's also illegal to own DogoArgentino puppies and adults in Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, Denmark, Iceland, Singapore, Romania, and Ukraine.
In the United States, it is illegal to own the DogoArgentino in certain areas: New York City public housing and Aurora, Colorado both have passed laws making it illegal to own this loving family pet. In fact, dogs can be seized by the police if found. These dogs may also not be imported into Australia.
At its core, the DogoArgentino lives to be a loving family pet and pack animal. It guards the home and those it loves with tenacity and confidence, although it is completely submissive to humans that are in authority. It's playful, extremely good with children, and loves cuddles and kisses. The Dogo is very intelligent and always wants something to do. As the owner, it's up to you to keep your pet happy with plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Because the Dogo is a pack animal at heart, it craves cooperation with others and leadership from a central source, namely you, the owner. As your dog is especially active and athletic, he or she will need to have daily exercise, including a regular jog or walk.
The DogoArgentino is quite adaptable as a pet and will do well as long as you give it plenty of love, companionship, and lots of mental and physical exercise. It will do well in an apartment or large house, equally, as long as it receives sufficient stimulation both mentally and physically. Your pet won’t do well in cold temperatures, however, and should not be kept outside if temperatures are below freezing.
Because the DogoArgentino is a pack animal and can have behavioral problems if not socialized early enough, it's best to expose your puppy to early obedience training. Formalized obedience training does two things: It trains your puppy, to be sure, but it also teaches you how to be a firm and effective pack leader. Young puppies who are raised around small children and given firm guidance will be perfectly safe, cuddly, and affectionate with them even as they grow into large and imposing protectors, as long as they're given appropriate socialization from the start.
Our Argentine Dogo breeders produce puppies with the strongest emphasis on excellent health. The DogoArgentino is quite a sturdy dog, and lives between 10 and 12 years on average, quite long-lived for its size. It does tend to have about 10% chance of being deaf, related to pigment issues, with some dogs deaf only in one ear, while others may be deaf in both. They may also be prone to hip dysplasia. Dogs that are bred from parents who both have full hearing are much less likely to be deaf.
Grooming is very easy with the DogoArgentino; your pet's short, white fur requires only regular brushing and nail trimming. There is virtually no doggie odor. Your pet is an average shedder, but this can be lessened somewhat with regular brushing.