The Dogo Argentino is a hunter capable of tracking a prey over woods, meadows and bushes. Its lush musculature and powerful structure gives the Dogo Argentino not only strength, but also an incredible agility, speed and resistance.
The one responsible for the creation of the Dogo Argentino was Antonio Nores Martínez, who in 1920 used Argentine Dogos from the XVI century to create a new breed which could hunt native species, as pumas, wild boars, peccaries and red-colored foxes. He wanted to find a medium size dog which could be used in mountainous areas and which was white colored, to be easily located in the Argentinian Pampas.
The Cordoban fighting dog –now extinct- was used as a foundation basis, which was the result of the crossbreeding between breeds introduced in Argentina by English residents, like the Bull Terrier and Bulldog, with the ones which were brought by Spanish, the Spanish Mastiff, among others. Later, there were also used some Pyrenean Mastiff specimens. That way, in the thirteenth generation, they got to breed fighting dogs.
After many years of crossbreeding, selections and adequate functional exercise they achieved, at the final stages of 1940, the breeding of the current Dogo Argentino, recognized as a Big Game Hunter.
This breed was established around 1928 and the Standard was published in 1947. In 1964 it was officially recognized in Argentina by the FCA. Nores wrote a documented letter to the FCA, requesting the register of the breed and with a detailed description of it. In 1973, the breed was internationally recognized. It was originally classified between the hound and bloodhounds, but afterwards it was classified in Group 2 (Mastiffs) by the FCI.
In the past decades the Dogo Argentino has been introduced to the United States and some European countries.
The Dogo Argentino is a big dog, very muscular and completely white. It has a long and thick tail, with some medium-large trailing thick ears.
It has a big head with a solid skull. The snout is slightly concave; it has thin lips which when it bites and captures its prey allow it to continue breathing without letting it go. Their brown eyes are separated from each other. The ears are upright, triangular and cropped –in countries which cropping is still allowed. The neck is muscular, thick and arched. The chest is broad and deep. The dorsal line is very high up to the shoulders, and then it bends to the hip. Its limbs are straight, with muscular thighs, short hocks, and with short and really close to each other. The tail is large and thick. Males must be between 60 and 68 cm tall, and females must be between 60 and 65 cm. Males must weigh between 40 and 45 kg, and females between 40 and 43 kg. The coat must always be completely white, without markings. The body line must stay light and avoid obesity.
It is a dog mainly used for Big-game hunting. Dogos hunt in packs, generally of four members. When it scents a wild boar, it follows it until it catches it and attaches to its snout, ears, neck or legs, and does not let it go even if the other animal gave a hard punishment to the dog. It has a very strong bite, a great resistance and a lot of courage, which allows it to keep the prey until the other members of the pack or the hunter come. In some cases, some crosses between dogos and greyhounds join to the pack, to have lighter and, as a consequence, faster, dogs. During the past years, the Dogo Argentino became more famous regarding to hunting, because a pack can even kill a mountain lion.
The Dogo Argentino is a sensitive, balanced, loyal, brave, intelligent and discreet dog. It is a natural guardian who does not bark much and a good companion for kids over twelve years. Although it tolerates to be taken by its tail, to get above it, to be pushed and pinched, it does not mean it likes it. It is important to teach kids on how treating strong dogs like this one.
As the Dogo has been specifically bred to socialize with other dogs, it works well in teams. It gets on well with other pets in rural and urban areas, like a dog which lives in a farm outdoors, an urban home with a little garden, or apartments full of people.
As its aggressive features have been bred to be selectively. Because aggressive traits have purposely been purposefully bred out, attacks on humans or other pets are rare. However, it evidently needs a responsible and constant training by its owner because it is a very strong dog with a great resistance to pain.
It is important to start training the Dogo Argentino right after it has been twelve weeks since it has been born, so it can channel all its enthusiasm and energy correctly. It is recommended to train it without violence. It has to be used to human contact and not cut it off.
It needs a lot of space and it is not suggested for them to live in a small home. It requires a great dose of daily exercise.
It must not be exposed to the sun because of its sensitive skin. It is necessary for its coat to be brushed with a rubber or horsehair glove to remove the dead hair. The owner must also pay attention to the eyes, which needs to be cleaned daily to avoid any kind of infection.
It has a lifespan of 9 to 12 years.
The Dogo Argentino may experience pigment-related deafness. There is possibility of an approximate 10% deafness rate overall with some dogos afflicted uniaurally (one deaf ear) and some binaurally (deaf in both ears). Hip dysplasia is also a common health problem. Skin problems are very frequent, especially an illness called Demodex, which is mainly common in immunosuppressed specimens.
You can download the FCI (International Cinological Federation) standard at the following link: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/292g02-en.pdf