Dogo Argentino: Breed Facts and Temperament
The Dogo Argentino belongs to one of those dog breeds primarily developed for the purpose of big-game hunting. Bred from a myriad of other breeds including the Cordoba Dog, this dog is characterised by a massive head and a smooth white coat. The Dogo Argentino size which comes with a muscular frame is perfect for the other role it was bred for – to protect its human companion. The dog always exhibits unwavering bravery in the face of danger, giving its owner a sense of safety. If you are interested in owning a Dogo Argentino, this article contains further creed facts and temperament.
History of the Dogo Argentino
The origin of the Dogo Argentino can be traced to 1928 in Argentina when an expert in the field conceived the idea to breed a dog that can hunt big game, as well as act as a loyal guard dog. The credited breeder, Professor Antonio Nores Martínez, who was also a medical doctor cum surgeon, chose the Cordoba Dog (which has gone into extinction) as the foundation for the breeding process. It took several other breeds which Martinez crossed with the Cordoba Dog before the desired result was achieved. Some of the breeds which contributed their genes to the origin of the Dogo Argentino breed include Pyrenean Mastiff, Great Dane, Spanish Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, English Pointer, Old English Bulldog, Irish Wolfhound, Boxer and Bull Terrier.
The Dogo breed which originated in Argentina found its way to the United States in 1970, thanks to Dr. Raul Zeballos. He introduced the first six of the kind to the States and they have since grown to become one of the most popular breeds in the country. However, due to some unstable natural instincts exhibited by the Dogo, some ownership restrictions may apply in some countries.
Quick Facts About The Dogo Argentino Breed
- The Dogo Argentino was initially bred as a hunting dog which means it teams up with other dogs in the same category to go on a hunt without fighting with them. It was originally used as a big game hunter in its home country of Argentina but in recent times when hunting is no longer common, the breed has become useful in other areas.
- For various reasons, certain countries have either banned or restricted ownership of the Dogo Argentino. In countries like Australia, Cayman Islands, Ukraine, Fiji, Iceland, New Zealand, Singapore, Turkey, and Denmark, owning a Dogo might be against the law. In the United Kingdom, however, you need permission from the authorities to own this breed as stated under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Apparently, these countries see the Dogo as a threat that can’t be trusted.
- The Dogo Argentino has an intimidating appearance, weighing more than 80 pounds. The female Dogo Argentino stands a bit lower than the male at 24-26 inches while the male’s standard height is 24-27 inches.
- Because of its features which set it aside as large, strong and muscular, this breed is sometimes referred to as Argentino Mastiff. It belongs to the group of dogs known as Mastiff.
- Dogo Argentino puppies have a high activity level which requires them to be engaged with a task that doesn’t lead to destruction. If left idle or unsupervised, this breed can get busy on its own and you don’t want to know the outcome.
- If you own a Dogo, be sure to create a strong barrier like a high fence around the house to keep him/her contained. This is necessary because of the dog’s high prey drive and protective instinct to guard its territory which might lead to launching an attack on your neighbour’s small pets or unsuspecting passersby.
- Apart from big game hunting and being a family companion, this Argentino Mastiff can also be trained to work with the police or military during search and rescue operations. This task has gradually overshadowed the breed’s primary role as a big game hunter.
- The Dogo breed makes an excellent watchdog because of its unconditional loyalty to the owner and rare bravery. The natural instincts of the breed which helps in dictating danger also help with its role as a guard dog.
- If You keep your Dogo chained in the yard with little or no attention, you may have succeeded in stopping it from destroying things around the house but, in fact, you are turning the dog into an angry and aggressive creature. Allow it to socialise from a young age to avoid a lot of troubles.
Things You Should Know About The Dogo Argentino Breed
Like any other living thing, the Dogo Argentino is prone to some health challenges but nothing to get you alarmed just yet. Below are some conditions to look out for if you are raising this breed.
The major health issue the Dogo Argentino breed suffers from is deafness. About one out of ten Dogos may suffer loss of hearing in one or both ears as a result of pigmentation. This health challenge is common among dogs with white coats, including Dalmatians, white Bull Terriers and Boxers, which are mostly the ancestors of the Dogo Argentino. Selective stock breeding can help reduce the possibility of this condition afflicting your dog. You can also buy your Dogo Argentino puppies from a reputable breeder who offers health guarantee for the animals.
- Other possible health issues
Hypothyroidism, glaucoma, laryngeal paralysis and hip dysplasia are some of the other likely conditions the breed might suffer from. The latter is common among large breeds because of their size. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can prevent or help with hip dysplasia and in serious cases, medication and surgery may be needed for adequate treatment.
- Trivial health problems
Meanwhile, there is a speculation that the Dogo breed is hypoallergenic. This is not only unfounded in the case of this breed but others too. Allergies are not common in any particular dog breed as a result of their coat type, instead, they are caused by dander, dead skin cells which all dogs shed off in due time. Thus far, it cannot be proven scientifically that a particular breed or cross breeds can be more or less allergenic than others. Just keep your pet clean by grooming as required and allow them to live a long and healthy life. The life expectancy of the Dogos is around 10 to 12 years.
The Dogo Argentino is a big dog with big needs in terms of training and activity level. Because of its size and strength, it needs an equally strong leader or trainer who will match the strength and strong will of the big guy. To get the best out of Dogo Argentinos, catch them young by socializing them with other animals when they are still young, especially the small animals they would have to grow up with. Starting training sessions early helps to keep the Dogo Argentino in their best behavior most of the time as they are easier to control when they are still young.
Enrolling your dog in a puppy kindergarten helps in introducing it to other animals, as well as people and household sights. This helps the dog to distinguish between normal life and threats.
As a dog that was raised to be a hunter, the Dogo Argentino has natural predator instincts. When you add this drive to its protective tendency, the dog becomes dangerous and unreliable when in public. It is better to keep the dog in an enclosed area with familiar faces or on a leash when you are walking with it in a public place. If you are new in dog ownership, a Dogo Argentino might not be the best choice for you as it requires a lot of commitment to raising one. Also, training the breed might not be a walk in the park.
Without proper training, this dog will jump on a cat or any other small animal if it’s not called to order, that is how much it craves for some action. Being a breed filled with so much energy and intelligence, the Dogo requires daily exercise and must not be denied this right, if possible, a Dogo should be kept in an open but secured space to meet its exercise requirements. For owners who live in an apartment with no open yard, jogging or running with the dog should be a daily routine to keep him busy, as well as match his appetite for activities.
An idol Dogo is a destructive one. If he is not kept busy with training or exercise, the Dogo Argentino, might get busy with tearing your home apart or looking for some prey or people to run after. Don’t blame the big guy, it’s a natural instinct.
This breed belongs to the large dog groups and must be fed accordingly to meet its nutritional needs for a healthy life. Three to four meals a day is recommended for this breed in addition to clean water to keep it hydrated. Notably, as the Dogo Argentino puppies grow into adulthood, their nutritional needs will also change. This includes the size of portions they eat and how often they are fed. Considering the high level of activity the dog is known for, giving it less food and water will definitely be a problem. To get the best meal plans for your dog, speak to a veterinarian or an expert in nutrition.
Don’t allow the white coat with short hair trick you into thinking the Dogo Argentino doesn’t need grooming. That smooth white coat also sheds heavily like most dogs and must be brushed at least once a week to get rid of dead hair, as well as prevent skin conditions. One advantage of the short hair is that it makes grooming easier as you don’t have to worry about tangled hair but due to the size of this breed, brushing the coat can take a while to accomplish. However, your dog needs it to keep the skin and coat healthy. Weekly brushing is recommended for this short hair dog as it also sheds and the dead hair should be removed.
Bathing with the right shampoo should be done every three months or when the dog gets dirty. While carrying out the weekly grooming routine, check the ears and clean them. Also, trimming the nails at least once a month is necessary for the dog’s health and to protect those around him from scratches.
Generally, grooming your dog regularly does not only keep him clean and healthy, but the whole process also gets rid of dead hair that would have fallen all over your home during the shedding season. You might just be saving yourself the trouble of using the vacuum cleaner too often if you brush and bathe your dog as at when due.
The Dogo Argentino might be loyal but its prey drive and territorial tendency can get very high, making it hard to control it. Due to the kind of work which the breed is trained for, including to work with the military, take part in search and rescue missions and more, it is also an intelligent dog who can easily distinguish between familiar faces and strangers. Regardless of how handy it can be, this trait makes it easy for them to attack at any slightest sign of threat. The breed has a natural instinct to protect their territory and those they consider family at any cost. This makes it important to start from an early stage to teach your Dogo how to relate with other people and animals to avoid jumping on unsuspecting strangers and small animals.
In all, Dogos are intelligent, courageous, protective, loyal and can endure a lot of pressure. Also, a well-trained Dogo is often cheerful and humble which can be achieved by starting their training early and it must be done by an authoritative leader. Getting a Dogo puppy from a breeder who socializes different breeds in a home is safer if you don’t want to end up with a handful by bringing an out of control dog home.