The Dogo Argentino — man’s best friend or dangerous dog? As with just about any dog breed, the Dogo Argentino can go either way. They were bred to be friendly towards man, but they were also bred to hunt, something they did quite well. Unfortunately, their popularity as a fighting dog and aggressive lines as led to them being banned in many countries.
The Dogo Argentino
The Dogo Argentino is a large dog, roughly 24 to 26 inches tall and weighing 80 to 100 pounds, with males typically a little larger than females. These dogs have large, well developed heads with impressive musculature. Bred to hunt and take down dangerous prey, including pumas, wild cat in their native Argentine, the Argentinian mastiff is an impressive breed.
The Dogo Argentino has a short and completely white coat, which means they are often easy to identify. (Some may have small, dark markings, such as around their eyes.) Many breeders crop their ears to make them stand up, adding to their ferocious image. For grooming purposes, owners need to give them the occasional bath, but regular brushing is great for bonding and maintaining a healthy coat.
What Were Dogo Argentinos Bred For?
The breed was developed by Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez, a doctor who had a significant passion for dogs. He cross-bred several different purebred dogs with a fighting dog from his home region of Argentina, Cordoba.
While the initial use for the Dogo Argentino was as a fighting dog, Dr. Nores Martinez took one of his dogs with him when hunting. The dog proved itself to be hardy for the varied and rugged Argentinean terrain and was brave, able to take down animals ranging from peccaries to wild boars.
Are Dogo Argentino Dogs Aggressive?
Dogo Argentinos are considered one of the most aggressive dog breeds in the world. Since the breeds inception, these dogs were used as fighting dogs and were bred from fighting dogs.
Because of their aggressive tendencies, Dogo Argentinos have been banned in a variety of countries, including:
• United Kingdom
• New Zealand
This dog was never bred to be aggressive towards people, although cases of aggression have been documented. Instead, they were bred to be friendly towards people, and aggressive dogs are not recommended to be bred.
Dogo Argentinos have had documented cases of aggression towards strangers, but they are also sometimes aggressive with their owners. In fact, there has been at least one case of a Dogo Argentino owner being attacked and killed by their own breeding dog. There have been multiple cases of Dogo Argentinos killing people, although other large breeds have also taken down adult humans.
The Dogo Argentino and Safety
Dogo Argentinos have had cases of aggression noted towards "their humans," but these dogs are typically good with their family. They should be trained early on to interact with children, or they may be increasingly aggressive with the children. They are considered exceptionally good guard dogs and are known for protecting their family and home. They tend to be unwilling to accept strangers, so they need to be cautiously introduced to new people.
Dogo Argentinos tend to be okay with other dogs, but they were bred as a fighting dog breed, so they may be increasingly aggressive towards other dogs. In that same vein, however, they were bred to work with other dogs when hunting, so many are okay with dogs they have been raised with or introduced to.
Keep in mind that roughly 10 percent of these dogs are deaf, a trait which is common in many white breeds of dogs. That can make them increasingly unpredictable or easy to startle. If you are looking at getting a Dogo Argentino, it is strongly recommended that you have their hearing tested.
Are Dogo Argentinos a Good First Time Dog?
Dogo Argentinos are not a good first time dog. They should only be owned by experienced dog handlers. Even in those cases, Dogo Argentinos have been linked to cases of aggression. If purchasing a Dogo Argentino, owners need to be prepared to work extensively with a trainer or handler to train their new dog and teach basic obedience. Everyone in the family should be involved in training the Dogo Argentino so that the dog respects each family member.
They also need an outlet for their energy, which many people can’t readily provide if living in small apartments or homes. Dogo Argentinos need lots of exercise. These pets are not usually content to lay around on the couch all day. Regular activity is essential. Suggestions for exercise include regular play time outside, with activities such as hiking and retrieving balls or discs.
These dogs are also great candidates for training for agility and obedience. Indoor activities might include hide and seek or chasing a ball, but keep in mind they will likely need more intensive activity than just those activities provide to keep their minds focused and their bodies in shape. After all, these are heavily muscled dogs.
The Dogo Argentino is not a dog breed for the faint of heart. These tough dogs need lots of love, but they also need someone to train them extensively, especially due to their propensity towards aggressive behaviors. Banned in many countries, these are not dogs you can find everywhere, but they are well worth the effort for the dedicated owner.