The Tough Dogo Argentino Dog Breed

Updated on October 24, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

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

A Dogo Argentino puppy.
A Dogo Argentino puppy. | Source

The Dogo Argentino, or the Argentine Mastiff, is another South American breed who has been banned in numerous countries (Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, and others). 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. Is the dog tough? Yes, he was bred as a hunter for use on wild boar or any other found on Argentine grassland. 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.

A Dogo Argentino with correctly cropped ears.
A Dogo Argentino with correctly cropped ears. | Source

What kind of history do these dogs have?

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.

Are they good pets?

These dogs are not fighters. They have been selected to cooperate with other dogs during the hunt. They are, however, 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 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 with hip dysplasia. When purchasing a dog this 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 are they for sale?

Since the Argentine Mastiff has been accepted by the AKC the dog is now available from some breeders in the U.S. In the U.K. anyone with one of these dogs needs a special permit so finding a puppy there is going to be difficult. In places like Australia, where the government has already decided against this dog, they are not even available.

Dogo Argentino s are great companions in the woods.
Dogo Argentino s are great companions in the woods. | Source
Dogo Argentino on the beach.
Dogo Argentino on the beach. | Source

If you have experience handling big dogs and have decided to get one of these attractive and muscular hunters, you should visit several breeders and make a good choice. Deafness will probably not be a problem if both parents are able to hear in both ears, and hip dysplasia is less likely to strike if both parents are certified free of the disease. 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.

Is your neighborhood infested with wild boars? The Dogo Argentino is the right breed for you!

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. | Source

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Michelle 13 months ago

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

      • rodney80 profile image

        rodney80 5 years ago

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

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        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.

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        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 profile image

        rodney80 5 years ago

        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?

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        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 profile image

        wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

        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?