Skip to main content

The Dogo Argentino Dog Breed: Tough but Misunderstood

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He also trains dogs, mostly large breeds and those that suffer from aggression problems.

The Dogo Argentino dog breed has been banned in several countries. But why exactly?

The Dogo Argentino dog breed has been banned in several countries. But why exactly?

A Misunderstood Dog Breed

The Dogo Argentino, or the Argentine Mastiff, is another attractive South American breed that has been banned in numerous countries (Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, and others). Here's some information about the Dogo Argentino.

1. Is the Dog Big?

Yes, he is a mastiff. This great dog weighs up to about 120 pounds, and a male stands up to about 29 inches at the withers. His body is long and lean.

2. Is the Dog Tough?

Yes, he was bred as a hunter for use on wild boar or any other found on Argentine grassland.

3. Is the Dog Mean?

No, but due to his size, his reputation as a fighter, and his unwillingness to accept strangers, the Argentine Mastiff has been branded a dangerous dog.

Dogo Argentinos with correctly cropped ears

Dogo Argentinos with correctly cropped ears

History of the Breed

Antonio Nores Martinez, a physician from Cordoba, Argentina, developed this breed in 1928, for use both as a hunting dog and guard dog. He used the Cordoba Fighting Dog to start with, but he wanted a calmer dog, not a fierce fighter, so he crossed that breed with the Great Dane, Boxer, and many other breeds to get the type of dog he wanted. His family continued developing the breed after his death, and the Argentine Mastiff was later recognized as a native breed of Argentina.

From their background, you will see that these dogs are not white Pitbulls. They are a breed that was developed to hunt in the wilds of Argentina.

Dogo Argentinos are great companions in the woods.

Dogo Argentinos are great companions in the woods.

Are Dogo Argentinos Good Pets?

These dogs are not fighters but are large and difficult to handle for some people. They have been selected to cooperate with other dogs during the hunt. Back at the homestead, they are known to be good guard dogs and will do what it takes to protect their home and family. Their unwillingness to accept strangers, who they might view as hostile, has led to so many places considering them dangerous and subjecting them to breed-specific legislation.

If you do decide to get one of these dogs, there are several things to be careful of. About 10% of them have deafness, as do many white breeds. Some of them are affected by hip dysplasia. When purchasing a dog, big medical expenses are high, and normal expenses (like food) are going to be significant also. They also need a lot of space and a good fence, and you must be willing to take them for long walks.

Their short coats are easy to groom. If you can deal with some of their requirements, most of the Dogo Argentinos, despite their reputation and muscular appearance, are good pets.

Where Can I Buy a Dogo Argentino?

In some countries (like the UK) these dogs are considered dangerous. Anyone that has one of these dogs requires a special permit so they have effectively been banned. Finding a puppy is going to be almost impossible.

Since the Argentine Mastiff has been accepted by the AKC the dog is now available from some breeders in the United States. They are not a common breed, but you can still check and see if you can find a dog for adoption. You can also try finding a breed rescue that works in your area, or search for "breeder Dogo Argentino [your area]" and write breeders to ask about any litters that will be available.

Puppies are usually expensive, and it is normal for there to be a waiting list.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Pethelpful

Dogo Argentino on the beach

Dogo Argentino on the beach

Selection Tips

If you have experience handling big dogs and have decided to get one of these attractive and muscular hunters, follow these selection tips:

  • Shop around: Visit several breeders before you make your choice.
  • Meet the parents: It's important to get to know the parents of the puppies in order to evaluate their temperament.
  • Check for deafness: Deafness will probably not be a problem if both parents are able to hear in both ears.
  • Check for hip dysplasia: This condition is less likely to strike if both parents are certified free of the disease.
  • Train them young: Make sure you start training when the puppy is still small and malleable, provide him with adequate leadership, and socialize him as much as possible while he is still young.

The Dogos that I have seen around here are well socialized and great animals as long as they are with their owner. If you live in a neighborhood infested with wild boars, the Dogo Argentino is definitely the right breed for you!

Learn More About Banned Dogs

Composting dog waste is a big issue when keeping a dog this large.

Composting dog waste is a big issue when keeping a dog this large.

How to Compost Dog Waste

  • Best Way to Compost Your Dog´s Waste
    Dog waste should be composted, not put into a septic tank, because it heats up enough to destroy pathogens and provides nutrients that can be utilized in your yard.It is free and keeps it out of the landfill. Find out how.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: I have recently rescued a puppy that we believe to be a Dogo. He is white, deaf, we think about 3-4 months old. He was rescued from a fight ring. We are planning to get his DNA tested, is it important that we know if he is a pittie or Dogo?

Answer: Not really. Take him to your local vet as soon as possible so that he can start on his vaccinations. If he is over 4 months old (your vet will know by the teeth) he can also have his rabies vaccine at that time.

It is a good idea to get that DNA test when you can but basic health care (vaccines, deworming, heartworm preventative) is really important at this point, especially considering his background.

© 2012 Dr Mark


Kevin on July 22, 2020:

It is not referred to as a Mastiff in the original standard and what research I have done, it is more properly a Molosser. It is known as the Argentine Mastiff but that is seen as improper terminology in most Dogo circles.

They are excellent fighters and will fight anything without hesitation, if provoked. They are not fighters in that they don't start fights, but they always finish them. The base dog was literally called the Fighting Dog of Cordoba, yes dog aggression has been bred down to make them better pack hunters but to say they are not fighters does them a disservice.

Well socialized dogs, Dogo or otherwise, have no problem with strangers. That's an owner issue, not a dog issue.

These dogs are not pets, they are working dogs. Long walks? Dogos can do 10 miles a day and still be full of energy. These dogs need a job or they will become destructive and aggressive. Unless you hunt, have property to defend or do protection training, get another dog. This is not some rare trophy dog for someone to parade around. It is a purpose bred dog and inexperienced owners are why the breed is banned in so many places.

Jim on July 21, 2020:

I have a beautiful two and one half-year-old Dogo with a fantastic temperament. He is smart, protective, and very easy to live with. He is huge at 29 inches and 130 lean pounds. His father is 125 pounds and most of the males from this litter are very big as well.

I am a retired trainer and when I was working dogs I had Dobermans. Once I no longer needed a highly trained dog for work I changed over to Am Staff's and Pitbull types for the last 23 years. This is my first Dogo and I couldn't be happier with him. I love all three breeds but the line of Dobermans I had were very high drive dogs and not the best pets. The Pitbulls were fantastic and very easy to have around the house. I had one out of six that was somewhat crazy and would kill just about anything that wasn't family he could get to. He weighed right at 100 pounds so he was a hand full, to say the least. The rest were protective but not mean and they all got along with each other. My Dobermans on the other hand regularly attempted to kill one another.

My Dogo overlapped with my last female Pitbull for about two years. They got along great and never fought. She died about one week ago at 12 years old. I would highly recommend a Dogo for someone with some dog experience as well as the physical and mental strength to handle a large determined dog.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 09, 2020:

Fermin, the Dogo Argentino is a type of mastiff. I am not sure why this bothers you so much. In South America the dog is often over 100 pounds. Maybe you are one of the breeders trying to breed a miniature?

Fermin Carrasco on May 07, 2020:

I would think before you took the time to write this article you would have done some research. 1.) The Dogo Argentino is not a " "Mastiff ".

The breed standard is weight is Males 26" to 26" max height 85 to 100 lbs max.

Females 24 to 25.5" max hight 85 to 95 lbs .

Anyone that has monster useless white dogs are not Dogo Argentinos.

If you care to know what a real Dogo Argentinos looks like please visit and look up the standard .

Russell060 on May 17, 2019:

I live in the us and have a registered dogo just turned a year and is almost 120lbs already, id say the breed standard of 100lbs max is far understated as the people i know that own them as well have all bloodlines with the parents being directly from Argentina or at least one of the parent's and are highly active, great hunters and are well over 100lbs as well

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 14, 2019:

Cindy, are your Dogos tiny where you live? Here in South America they are that size.

Cindy Mills on May 14, 2019:

The Dogo is NOT a mastiff...and 120 pounds is NOT standard

Michelle on January 30, 2017:

Looking into a breeder now, average price I am finding for a legit, healthy, reputable breeder is $1750.00

rodney80 on September 19, 2012:

Thanks for information. Deafness is one of a hereditary defect of Dalmatian too.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 18, 2012:

If it helps, the price of a Dogo Argentino is about 2-3 times that of a good Pit Bull. I am not sure where you are at but here a Pit Bull puppy costs about the same as a GSD puppy.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 18, 2012:

Hi Rodney I do not know what prices are in the US. Even down here they are an expensive dog as their upkeep is high.

They do fine in the tropics but since they have pale skin, and sometime patches of pink skin, they are quite prone to sunburn. Like deafness, this is one of the conditions that is being selected against so if you buy from a very good breeder you may be able to find a dog without pink. Of the dogs I´ve seen, all have some pink, and if they play in the water the hair guards them even less.

They do need a lot of exercise, and even though they are a big dog they are sound and will be able to walk for hours and not get tired, like a Neapolitan Mastiff. If the requirements are more than ou want or you get one and find out he is not walking enough to get tired, you might want to try a backpack. I just bought horse saddlebags and am fixing them up for my dog.

Good luck if you decide to get one of these dogs!

rodney80 on September 18, 2012:

Very good information, appreciate. Still need some information...

1. How much this breed costs, I like to know the average price of good bloodline ?

2. What climatic condition best suits this breed? Can it be suitable for tropical country where summer temperature sores to 45 degree centigrade?

3. How much exercise does this need as you said they are hunting dog?

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 17, 2012:

Sorry about the poor quality but it was the best I found showing the dogs in action. He is wearing a "gentle leader" type control device. It is kind of like putting a halter on a horse. They let you move the animals head around and so keep them in control that way. Dogs can still bite, but are much easier to walk and control.

wetnosedogs from Alabama on September 17, 2012:

Did that one dog in the video have a muzzle on(end of video). Or was it just marking on the fur? Wonder why it had a muzzle on if that was it?

Related Articles