The Misunderstood and Tough Dogo Argentino Dog Breed

Updated on August 9, 2019
DrMark1961 profile image

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

An often banned breed, the Dogo Argentino.
An often banned breed, the Dogo Argentino. | Source

The Dogo Argentino, or the Argentine Mastiff, is another attractive 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

A Misunderstood Dog Breed

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.

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. | Source

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 U.S. They are not a common breed, but you can still check Petfinder.com 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.

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 before you make your choice. Meet the parents of the puppies and evaluate their temperament. 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.

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!

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

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

  • 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?

    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

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    • profile image

      Russell060 

      7 months ago

      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

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      7 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

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

    • profile image

      Cindy Mills 

      7 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Michelle 

      2 years ago

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

    • rodney80 profile image

      rodney80 

      7 years ago

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

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      7 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      7 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 

      7 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      7 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 

      7 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?

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