Dogo Argentino 101: The Essential Guide

OriginArgentina 
SizeLarge
Height           24 to 26.5 inches
Weight80 to 100 pounds
Life Expectancy9 – 15 years
Breed GroupWorking Group
Affection Level⭐⭐⭐
Friendliness
Activity Level⭐⭐⭐
Barking/Howling Level
Pet Friendly
Kid-Friendly
Shedding
Easy to Groom⭐⭐⭐
Easy to Train

Origin

Hunting was prevalent in Argentina during the 1920s, and a man named Antonio Nores Martinez started to develop a new breed of dog that would be renowned for its hunting skills. 

The Dogo Argentino is a progeny of the presently-extinct Fighting Dog of Cordoba. Martinez used selective breeding to reduce the dog’s desire to fight and exchange it with a thirst to hunt after prey. 

The main goal was to breed a versatile dog with an impressive build and scenting ability. Records show that the breeds included in the Dogo Argentino’s lineage are the following:

  • Boxer.
  • Mastiff.
  • Pointer.
  • Great Dane. 
  • Bull Terrier.
  • Irish Wolfhound. 
  • Dogue de Bordeaux. 
  • The Great Pyrenees. 

Shortly in 1928, Martinez was able to craft the breed standards for his prized Dogo Argentino. Unfortunately, with the dog’s looks, they’re often mistaken as Pit-bull type dogs which are known for their aggression and viciousness. 

As a result, many Dogos end up in fighting rings due to their fearless nature, strength, and intimidating looks. 

Appearance

The Dogo Argentino features a short, smooth coat that’s white all over. There’s a noticeable pigmentation, but it shouldn’t look so prominent on a mature coat. A remarkable dark patch can be seen around one of the eyes, which, ideally, shouldn’t cover more than 10% of their whole head. 

Massive, broad, and heavy: these are what usually describe a Dogo’s head. Some owners sometimes get their dog’s ears cropped for a more threatening look. Although this procedure is a common practice, it’s best to avoid getting your dog’s ears cropped as this puts them at risk of infection and blood loss.  

One thing you should know as well is that the Dogo is never docked. The tail is naturally long, and it rests between the hocks when they’re relaxed. Also, as this is a hunting dog, they’re expected to be:

  • Agile.
  • Muscular.
  • And robust.

According to the breed standards of the AKC, the Dogo Argentino should be 24-26.5 inches in height and 80-100 pounds in weight. Males are generally larger and bulkier than females, but both are nonetheless large and heavy.

Temperament

Dogo Argentinos are not Pitbulls, though many might think they are if it’s based on appearance alone. Not knowing much about the breed can cause misconceptions, eventually forming stereotypes and unnecessary fear toward this Argentinian Mastiff. 

Get to know their behavior better:

Affection

Affection is not a new word for the Dogo Argentino. They’re capable of showing love and emotions toward their family, and they deliver this in several ways. From the simple tail wag to protecting your kids from danger, they do know how to be sensitive as family dogs. 

However, this would make a great deal of effort in raising them up as puppies. When you show them how to show their love correctly, they’ll take you as their role model and reflect the same behavior in their doggy ways. 

They would appreciate getting involved in family activities. In times when the atmosphere is chill and relaxing, the Dogo puppy may not mind it if you pick them up and let them sleep on your lap.

Friendliness

The AKC describes the Dogo Argentino as courageous, loyal, and athletic. Friendliness is also a trait provided the dog was thoroughly exposed to new scents and faces. 

They can get along very well with your kids and even other pets at home, but that’s only a success if they are all properly introduced. Since the Dogo is a renowned hunting dog, owning small animals might not be the best idea, as the breed has a high prey drive.

There’s always a potential geniality from the Argentinian Mastiff, but this can’t be quickly taken advantage of by certain people, especially those who act suspicious.

The Dogo can be used as a guard dog, which means their protective instinct remains ignited. They’re alert, intelligent, and ready to take on anyone should the family’s safety be at risk.

Activity Level

As an athletic dog breed, the Argentino shouldn’t surprise you if they show high energy levels each day. They are up for any games and fun activities you conduct with them. Whether it be tug-of-war or a game of fetch, the Dogo will enjoy it without panting or catching their breath quickly.

Since the breed is generally not couch potatoes, it’s great if you have dog toys ready for the rainy season; times when they’ll have to spend most of their day indoors. To keep them away from boredom, consider purchasing the following items:

  • Chew toys.
  • Puzzle toys.
  • Tennis balls.
  • Interactive toys.

Keep in your mind that no matter how many toys you got for your Dogo, these are no match to them having to spend their days with you. They can’t be left alone for too long, or this will result in them developing separation anxiety. Such a condition can make them hyper in a way where they’ll do certain things such as:

  • Digging. 
  • Howling. 
  • Unnecessary barking.
  • Destroying furniture and toys.

Care

Don’t feel too daunted to take care of the Dogo Argentino, especially if you think that this is the dog that suits your needs and preferences. Of course, you’ll have a big responsibility which is nothing different from other owners who own certain dogs. 

To ensure that your Dogo is well taken care of, here are the things you should know about their grooming, food, and diet, as well as exercise:

Grooming

Though the Dogo has a short coat, the breed remains categorically non-hypoallergenic. However, they’re relatively easy to maintain compared to pooches who have thick fluffy fur that needs to be trimmed regularly. 

Weekly brushing is enough to keep their hair from flying everywhere in your home. Of course, you can brush them more often if that works better for your family and home environment. Just ensure you don’t overdo it, or it may irritate your dog’s skin. 

Use a slicker brush or a grooming mitt to spread the natural oils evenly, and it’s also a step required before they get washed. Ideally, Dogos can be bathed every 3 months or whenever they’re dirty after a hunting game.

To keep their hygiene game top-notch, here’s a list of what they need:

  • A gentle brush.
  • Hypoallergenic dog wipes.
  • Dog nail guillotine clippers.
  • Dog shampoo and conditioner.
  • Dog toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Dog tear stain removal for the eye goop.

Food and Diet

Since Dogo Argentinos are genetically predisposed to become massive dogs, they can quickly gain weight if their diet remains unchecked. Their meal plan has to be thoroughly thought out so they neither become obese nor underweight for their age.

Consider adding various nutritious resources to your dog’s feeding bowl, such as:

  • Protein.
  • Vegetables. 
  • Healthy fats.
  • And ground bones. 

You can also add delicious fruits and pour in a recommended portion of powdered supplements. When it comes to how much they have to eat each day, that entirely depends on their:

  • Age. 
  • Health.
  • Metabolism.
  • Quality of food.
  • Current weight.
  • And activity level.

Talk to your local vet, get your dog assessed, and follow the suggestions and recommendations provided. Dogos generally don’t need a special diet. Just make sure it’s complete and balanced in nutrition.

Adults should eat twice a day, 12 hours apart, but puppies may consume 3-4 times daily. They need to eat more as this is a crucial stage for physically developing faster. Eating healthy meals will prohibit them from experiencing stunt growth and suffering from health issues.

Exercise

The best owners for the Dogo Argentino are those who are outgoing, active, and outdoorsy. As an athletic dog breed, they would love getting out for long walks, hiking, or swimming on the beach. 

Each day, allocate at least an hour of exercise to keep them in their top shape. Divide this into two or smaller sessions in the morning and in the afternoon so that they won’t overheat or experience over-exhaustion.

Be mindful of the weather. If it’s scorching outside, it’s best to keep your Dogo under the shade or indoors as they can suffer from heatstroke.

To keep each daily exercise fun and entertaining, create a schedule for the activities. Here are some that you can get your Dogo to do for their physical and mental stimulation:

  • Toy hiding.
  • Swimming.
  • Hide and seek.
  • A visit to the park.
  • Try the tether tug.
  • Nose work games.
  • Walk, jog, and run.
  • Hunting simulation.
  • Climbing up and down the stairs. 

Training

The history of the Dogo Argentino, including the lineages that were added to their bloodline, should be enough knowledge to let you know that this Argentinian Mastiff requires immense training. 

Additionally, the Dogo Argentino isn’t for new and inexperienced dog owners, or they’ll find it an extreme challenge to own such a dog. This can be strong-willed and persistent when it comes to their demands, and only an authoritative and strong leader can put the Dogo in their proper place.

While it’s true that obedience training is essential, it’s not more important than respect training. This strong and powerful dog should know their boundaries and learn what’s right from wrong. 

Teach them at a young age. Include the following essential training drills, so they grow up well and with manners:

  • Crate training.
  • Potty training.
  • Agility training.
  • Respect training.
  • Basic commands. 
  • Advanced training. 
  • Obedience training.

Use rewards such as treats and praises to reinforce good behavior. Never resort to harsh punishments, as these will only make them behave for the worst. Not being able to handle this Argentinian dog breed could mean this isn’t the right dog for you.

Health Problems

The Dogo Argentino can suffer from specific health concerns as no breed is 100% healthy, no matter if they were bred ethically. However, if both parents were qualified to be healthy, the litter has a higher chance of dodging severe issues compared to those who weren’t appropriately bred. 

With the proper care and diet, the Dogo can live a life of satisfaction and happiness. However, it can’t be avoided at times if they suddenly feel or exhibit signs of concern about their health. The breed is susceptible to the following:

  • Allergies. 
  • Deafness.
  • Glaucoma. 
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis.
  • Viral and bacterial infections.

Out of all these conditions, deafness is one of the most serious ones, as loss of hearing can affect their ability to cooperate with your training. According to a study, the Dogo Argentino is affected by hereditary congenital sensorineural deafness, which is linked to their white pigmentation. 

At least 1/4 of the Dogo population can’t hear on either one or both ears, but the prevalence is low if there’s a patch in them.

At least 10% of puppies are born deaf as reported by the Dogo Argentino Club of America. With these cases, I suggest you get your dog from reputable breeders as they work hand in hand in eliminating or lessening this issue. 

Pros and Cons of Having a Dogo Argentino

Pros

  • Easy to care for.
  • Very protective.
  • Outgoing and fun.
  • Highly dependable.
  • Low in maintenance.
  • Excellent guarding dog.
  • Affectionate to the family.
  • Looks dignified and imposing.

Cons

  • Exuberant when young.
  • Very active and energetic.
  • They can be challenging to train. 
  • Destructive if not exercised.
  • Strong-willed and stubborn.
  • Aggressive when not socialized.
  • Can become a notorious drooler. 

Do Kennel Clubs Recognize the Dogo Argentino?

Several reputable kennel clubs all over the world recognize the Dogo Argentino as an official breed. The Argentinian Mastiff is deemed purebred and has an already established and consistent appearance and expected prominent qualities. 

In 1964, the Argentina Rural Society and Cynological Federation of Argentina listed the Dogo as an official breed. It was then followed by the Argentina Kennel Club in 1973 and by the AKC, which occurred recently in 2020.

The breed standards are set so breeders would have something to base their breeding program on and fight off the ill-intent of backyard breeders who are in it to make a profit. 

Cost

The Dogo Argentino is a considerably rare one. However, they don’t get sold at high prices so it’s totally achievable to own a Dogo puppy. The average range of price for each puppy is anywhere between $1,000 to $4,000, depending on several factors like:

  • Sex.
  • Age. 
  • Season.
  • Location.
  • Demand.
  • Breeder’s experience.

If the Dogo Argentino has superior lineage, the chances are that they’ll be sold at a more insane cost. Some can go further to $8,000 in value.

The same range in price can be observed in puppy mills, but the thing is, you won’t likely be getting your money’s worth. Most of their dogs are neglected, sickly, and unsocialized, which can be problematic for your home. 

Avoid pet shops as well, no matter how affordable each puppy they sell is. Mostly, Dogos from such a place come from backyard breeders. Instead, you can attend AKC events and meet legitimate and experienced breeders. You’ll get the dog you like at a reasonable fee.

Of course, adoption is also a more recommended option. They’re as great as the ones you get from breeders. Not only are you giving the dog a chance to feel loved again, but you also give one more room for another rescue. The fee is only $150 to $700.

This covers the expense of the dog before they’re fully set to be brought to your family.

Places on Where to Adopt or Buy a Dogo Argentino Puppy

Since the Argentinian dog breed isn’t common these days, finding a puppy could mean hard work. You have to research just to find the perfect place that offers healthy and fit Dogo puppies. With so many online choices, you’re at risk of pet scammers.

Hence why I’ve foraged the internet to come up with a list of sites, you can consider probing into. Of course, remain cautious and aware of every transaction you get yourself into. Know the breeder, visit their breeding facility, meet the litter in person, and check their legitimacy overall.

Now, let’s check them out below:

ADOPT

BUY

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