The Dogo Argentino turns heads. It's a powerful-looking dog breed that weighs about 100 pounds! It's muscular and strong, with a striking white coat. But once make this breed a part of your family, you'll be overwhelmed with kisses and cuddles.
Dogo Argentinos are protective of their family but very loving and sweet with the humans they trust. This is an intelligent breed that makes a perfect guard dog, ranch dog, or even bodyguard! Dogo Argentinos are devoted, determined, and always down for some playtime.
While some say the Dogo Argentino looks like an oversized pitbull or some type of mastiff, the Dogo Argentino has an interesting history that sets it apart from other well-known breeds. Find out what makes this pup so unique and why it's becoming such a popular pooch around the world.
Dogo Argentino Characteristics (Physical)
Powerful and elegant, the Dogo Argentino has an impressive appearance that matches the dog’s courageous spirit. The Dogo Argentino has been developed to find, chase, and catch dangerous game so their appearance inspires agility and strength. This is a large dog breed that stands out from the crowd due to its white coat and intense expression.
Dogo Argentino Size
The Dogo Argentino is about 80 to 100 pounds, with males weighing slightly more than females. Females are 24 to 25 inches; males about 25 to 26 inches.
According to the American Kennel Club, the “utmost consideration” is given to this breed’s head, one of its distinguishing qualities. The Dogo Argentino has a solid, powerful, and balanced head. The ears, usually cropped, are set high on the dog’s head. Their jawbones are well-developed. Their head is atop a strong yet elegant neck with thick skin.
Their medium-sized eyes are almond-shaped and dark, outlined with black around the rims. Their expression is often alert with a “marked hardness.”
The Dogo Argentino has a well-muscled back and a square body. The breed’s chest is broad and deep, “giving the impression of large lungs.” They have a medium set tail that’s thick at the base. At rest, it hangs down naturally. The dog raises it at a 45-degree angle or so when they are on the move, curved at an arc.
The Dogo Argentino has straight, muscular legs. Their thighs are very muscular and strong. Their paw pads are thick and black. When in motion, the Dogo Argentino has a powerful stride that’s smooth and efficient. The AKC describes it as “harmonious and balanced.”
Dogo Argentino Personality
The Dogo Argentino has a very “ying and yang” personality that makes them the perfect watchdog. This breed is known for its loyalty. They love spending time with their closest companions, whether it’s lounging on the couch, going on an errand, or exploring a woodsy hiking trail.
The Dogo Argentino has a strong urge to protect their loved ones. While friendly and loving with family and friends, this breed has a strong instinct to guard them from strangers. They can be quite fierce and highly territorial. This is not a dog you’d want to come across if you want to break into a home.
Of course, this strong personality comes with some frustrating traits. The Dogo Argentino can be quite stubborn. They need an experienced owner who can demonstrate proper leadership and instill proper training. Puppies need to be trained and socialized to prevent possibly aggressive behavior towards people and dogs they are unfamiliar with.
Dogo Argentino Exercise
The Dogo Argentino is a breed that requires a lot of exercise. Without a proper amount of movement each day, this breed can get pretty destructive. That doesn’t mean the exercise has to be anything fancy, of course.
Take your dog on a walk! Put them on a harness and find a fun trail. If you’re able to jog or run with your Dogo Argentino that’s even better. Try switching up your exercise routine by finding new parks and trails with a variety of terrain. This will break up the routine and stimulate your pup in the process. Walk along a beach, circle a pond, or walk around downtown.
Dogo Argentinos love focused activities that involve their family. This includes fetch and tug of war. This breed loves showing off its strength and will never back down from a fun challenge. Always make sure you’re in a secure area, like an enclosed backyard, before letting your dog off the leash.
This breed was first developed to track and catch wild boars and mountain lions. They are dedicated hunters who like having a focus and goals. This dog excels in agility and obedience training. You can try an official competition or just set up an obstacle course in your backyard — your Dogo Argentino will love it either way.
Dogo Argentino Training
The Dogo Argentino is intelligent and stubborn. They aren’t as eager to please as other breeds (like the Labrador Retriever) and will need consistent training from an experienced leader. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be aggressive.
The Dogo Argentino responds best to positive reinforcement. Don’t punish your Dogo Argentino. Instead, reward your pup for listening. Just be consistent and stern.
For example, if your dog starts pulling on the leash, immediately stop walking. Do this every time, even if it feels repetitive and frustrating. Your dog will learn to stop pulling when they realize you won’t let them lead. When they walk beside you, provide them with a treat and love.
The Dogo Argentino has a strong prey drive. During training, one of the most important things for them to focus on, even as a puppy, is you. Your dog will often become distracted or want to chase other dogs, cats, and animals along the trail.
Give them a treat every time they look at you and pay attention. It’s important to train your dog to not give chase before bringing them on a public trail with more people and pets.
This breed is a working dog, so give them niche training. Always start when they are a puppy. This includes scent work, agility tasks, and specific retrieval goals. This will give them a goal to work towards and help them learn to listen to commands. It will improve communication and help you bond with your dog.
Dogo Argentino History
The Dogo Argentino originated in Cordoba, which is the central region of the Republic of Argentina. A well-known doctor named Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez started developing the dog breed in 1928 due to his passion for dogs.
The Dogo Argentino started off as a cross between several purebred dogs and an old fighting dog from Cordoba. This blend made the Dogo Argentino a fighting dog in its earlier days. But Martinez saw potential in the breed as a hunting companion.
He brought it on numerous hunting trips, keeping a close eye on the Dogo Argentino’s skills. Unsurprisingly, it became a versatile and capable hunting dog soon after due to its strength, bravery, determination, and sense of smell. Soon, the breed was even hunting pumas.
The popularity of the Dogo Argentino spread. According to the AKC, “its harmony, balance, and its excellent athletic muscles are ideal characteristics for enduring long trips in any weather conditions” as well as fighting fiercely with prey.
In 1973, the breed was accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, an international kennel club based in Belgium. It’s now the first and only Argentinean breed recognized by the FCI.
Dogo Argentino Health Problems
Like all dog breeds, the Dogo Argentino is predisposed to a couple of health problems. It's very important to only adopt your puppy from a reputable and registered breeder who offers a health guarantee. Trusted breeders will consistently test their breeding dogs for hereditary diseases, removing dogs that carry these unwanted health concerns from the breeding pool.
One of the most major issues that this breed faces is deafness. About 10% of Dogo Argentinos are deaf in at least one ear (sometimes both). This is very common in dog breeds that are white or mostly all white, including Dalmations and white Bull Terriers.
This "pigmented-related deafness" means your dog won't be able to hear anymore. Luckily, the Dogo Argentino has very strong other senses, including sight and smell. They won't be helpless or upset, but you will have to provide some special care and attention.
It's very important to keep deaf dogs on a leash. They might not hear cars and other dangers outside. To get their attention, use a flashlight and hand signals. This will allow you to still properly and consistently train them.
Keep a bell on your dog's collar, just in case your dog wanders. You should also mention that your dog is deaf on its collar tag. If they get lost, other people will be able to read that the dog is deaf and act accordingly.
Hypothyroidism can occur when your dog's thyroid (which regulates the body's metabolic rate) doesn't produce enough hormones. It's unclear why this occurs, but it's thought to be hereditary.
A dog with hypothyroidism has a slowed-down metabolic rate. This affects every organ in the body. You'll notice your dog gaining weight (even though their appetite and diet didn't change), acting lethargic, and not wanting to exercise. They might have dull, dry hair and a thinner coat. You might notice skin and ear infections.
Hypothyroidism is treatable but not curable. Your vet will need to run a series of tests to diagnose them properly. Always have your vet check for this disease since it's more common in Dogo Argentino pups.
This is an eye disease that increases pressure within the eye. It's caused by inadequate drainage of fluid in the eye. This happens when a dog inherits abnormalities in their eye's drainage angle or experiences disease or injury.
If you suspect your dog has glaucoma, check for:
- Eye pain. You'll see your dog frequently close their eyes. They might rub or scratch at them a lot.
- Watery discharge
- Swelling or bulging of the eyeball
- The white of the eye is red
- The cornea becomes cloudy, sometimes bluish
- Loss of appetite
Hip dysplasia is often seen in larger dogs. This occurs when the ball and socket do not fit properly in your dog's hip joint. This causes them to rub and grind against each other instead of sliding smoothly.
Over time, this problem leads to deteriorating cartilage and bone. Your dog might even lose that joint's function. That's why it's important to always have your dog tested for hip dysplasia during regularly scheduled vet visits.
Hip dysplasia is hereditary, especially in larger dog breeds. That's because they can grow at a very fast rate, leading to skeletal disorders. Bad nutrition can also increase the likelihood of your dog getting hip dysplasia since obesity can put stress on your dog's joints.
The larynx is more commonly called the voice box. The cartilage forms a box in the throat that helps with important functions like eating and drinking. The voice box's stability is maintained by the laryngeal muscles. These muscles can sometimes become weak or paralyzed, making the cartilage collapse.
The cause is usually unknown, although it's thought that tumors or lesions in the neck or chest area can lead to this condition. Some dogs are born with congenital laryngeal paralysis. Most dogs with this condition also have a neuromuscular disease.
How to Care for a Dogo Argentino
The Dogo Argentino is an active and social dog that needs plenty of room to thrive. Many Dogo Argentinos live on farms or ranches, providing them with adequate space and a working environment. The Dogo Argentino is adaptable, however, and can still be healthy and happy in a home with a big yard.
Always remember to supervise your Dogo Argentino when it's outside. Make sure the backyard is fenced in properly so your dog can't escape. This will also discourage other animals from entering the yard, ensuring that your dog won't give chase.
This is also not a dog you can leave alone for long periods of time each day. It's a social dog that loves being with its family. The Dogo Argentino will become destructive if left alone for hours each day. Spend time playing and cuddling with your dog each day to make sure they are getting the stimulation they need to be content.
Dogo Argentino pups may be tough to train and require a lot of attention, but they are easy-going when it comes to grooming. They have a very short, white coat that just needs to be brushed weekly in order to control shedding and keep their coat healthy. Try using a mitt or bristle brush.
It's also important to brush your Dogo Argentino's teeth regularly. This can prevent dental complications like gum disease and rotting teeth. Dogo Argentinos should also have their nails trimmed. They grow pretty long, so trim them monthly. Also, keep a close eye on your dog's ears. They tend to get waxy, so you should clean them regularly with a vet-approved wipe and warm water.
Nutrition and Feeding for a Dogo Argentino
Dogo Argentinos are known to pack on the pounds if you let them. So, it's very important to provide them with the proper amount of food and a healthy brand.
The average amount of dry food to feed a dog between 76 to 100 pounds is 3 1/3 to 4 1/4 cups. The food should be split between two meals, half in the morning and half at night. Splitting the food apart will ensure that your dog doesn't overeat. It will also promote better digestion.
The six basic nutrients your dog needs are water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. These are all required for your dog to be active and healthy. Look for dog food brands that have a healthy protein source, which means avoid dog foods that are heavy in "meal" like chicken meal.
To avoid puppies becoming overweight or growing too fast, feed them this amount:
- 1-3 months old: 2-3 3/4 cup
- 3-5 months old: 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups
- 5-7 months: 4 - 5 cups
- 7-12 months: 4-5 cups
Coat Color And Grooming
This is one of the Dogo Argentino's most unique traits. They should be completely white with no other colors on their coat. The only other color can be a small black spot on their head. More than one spot will have the dog disqualified in a dog show.
The AKC describes their coat as: Uniform, straight, short, and smooth. Their fur averages 1/2 to 3/4 inches.
Because it's so short, you don't need to groom your Dogo Argentino extensively. A brush once a week will do, especially if you want to cut down on shedding. You can also wash your dog each month or after they get dirty. A bath every four weeks will keep their skin healthy and clean as well. But don't overwash your dog or their skin may get too dry.
Children And Other Pets
The Dogo Argentino has a strong prey drive. This can sometimes make the breed difficult to have around other pets. While Dogo Argentinos are bred to be tolerant of other animals, they can become dominant if unsocialized or unsupervised.
It's very important to socialize your Dogo Argentino early. During socialization, the Dogo Argentino should be exposed to other well-trained puppies. Being around rowdy or aggressive dogs might trigger the Dogo Argentino to react. Some experts recommend you don't bring adult Dogo Argentinos to the dog park.
Dogo Argentinos are very protective of their family, including children. But because of their stubborn and sometimes dominant nature, you should always supervise your Dogo Argentino when they interact with younger kids. Sometimes their play can also get a little rough, which can accidentally hurt a more sensitive child.
Dogo Argentinos are loving, loyal, and great exercise companions. But sometimes they can be stubborn, aggressive, and difficult to train. This often leads less experienced dog owners to give up their dog when they feel they can't properly care for them. Some families also give up their Dogo Argentinos when they realize their home might be too small for this active and energetic breed.
Rescues like DC Dogos are dedicated to saving these Dogo Argentinos from shelters and pounds. Dedicated and experienced volunteers foster the dogs, rehabilitating them, and getting them ready for a new home.
Said DC Dogos: "We are often contacted by owners who were unprepared for the challenges inherent in this highly intelligent and powerful breed. These owners will surrender their Dogos to us in order to avoid the price that shelter life will exact from them. Indeed, even in no-kill shelters, Dogos suffer because their need to continually explore the world around them is not met."
Breed organizations are very important since they spread information and connect breed owners. The Dogo Argentino Club of America is the official AKC parent club. The website offers a wealth of information about the Dogo Argentino's history and breed standards. It also provides information about upcoming Dogo Argentino events.
More About This Dog Breed
Dogo Argentinos may be a newer breed, but they are already gaining a huge following. You can thank the breed's strength and guarding ability for their popularity. They are loyal and loving dogs that are very protective of their family. As they become more popular, more and more interesting facts are coming out about the Dogo Argentino.
Dogo Argentinos may be big, but they aren't slow. This dog can run 25 miles per hour! That's why they're often found on farms or in big backyards where they can race around in a safe environment. They are also excellent jumpers, able to leap up to six feet or more.
Dogo Argentinos also love to swim! Thanks to their powerful muscles, this breed can keep its head above the water and glide through the waves with ease.
This breed isn't known for barking. While they can bark, they often choose not to. Dogo Argentinos have a very deep and loud bark, which often scares off intruders with ease.
Many people use Dogo Argentinos as guard dogs and professional guardians. They understand social situations and can detect threats. While friendly and loving, Dogo Argentinos can become determined and aggressive guard dogs when they sense you're in danger. Trained protection dogs can sometimes be up to $15,000.
The Dogo Argentino is banned in several countries, including Ukraine, Turkey, Australia, Iceland, Singapore, and Denmark. They are sometimes considered "dangerous" due to their history as fighting and hunting dogs. But with the right training, Dogo Argentinos are loyal, sweet, and gentle. They will only go into attack or guard mode on command.
If you're looking for an intelligent, strong, and affectionate dog, the Dogo Argentino is right for you. Just make sure you have training experience and enough space for them to stay active.