The fidelity of a dog is a precious gift demanding no less binding moral responsibilities than the friendship of a human being. The bond with a dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be.” – Konrad Lorenz
Antonio was a medical doctor, professor, and surgeon. He began with the now extinct Fighting Dog of Cordoba as the basis for the new breed. This dog was large and ferocious, and an excellent hunter.
Over time, Antonio introduced nine other breeds: the Great Dane, Boxer, Spanish Mastiff, Old English Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Pyrenean Mastiff, Pointer, Irish Wolfhound and Dogue de Bordeaux in an effort to perfect a dog with the size, bravery, hunting instinct, sense of smell, speed, and endurance necessary to hunt big game. In addition, to dog had to possess the temperament to hunt cooperatively in packs.
The fighting instincts of the Cordoban Dog were bred out to enable the dogs to work in a pack without fighting each other. However, the Dogo Argentino has been used for illegal dog fighting due to its fearless nature, high pain tolerance, and great stamina. Some countries have enacted breed specific legislation placing limitations and conditions on ownership of these dogs.
Photos displayed courtesy of Federico Alvarez Frigerio, Lirio Blanco, Quebec
A powerfully built dog, the Dogo can stand up to 27 inches (68 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh 88 to 99 pounds (40 to 45 kg). His coat is thick and glossy and completely white and requires little maintenance. As a pure white dog, the Dogo is susceptible to sunburn and should not be left outside without shade for long periods of time. His ears are generally cropped although many jurisdictions now forbid this practice.
This dog is a remarkable creation. He is expected to have the strength and endurance to hunt and track the wild boar (which can weigh up to 400 pounds) across the vast open plains of Argentina and then corner it and hold it until the hunter arrives.
In spite of his somewhat intimidating appearance he is generally friendly towards other people and he has the temperament to be a wonderful family dog. In fact, the Dogo needs contact with his people and is very protective of them. It has been said that a Dogo never lays at your feet, he lays on your feet!
The Dogo is very intelligent and adores children, tolerating rough-housing to a remarkable degree. As gentle and loving as he is with his own family, he is a superb guardian who will not hesitate to act if he perceives a threat. He fully understands the difference between his people and strangers so training is imperative and should begin early.
As a large, dominant, and intelligent dog, the Dogo Argentino is not suited for the first time or inexperienced dog owner. He must have a strong leader he can respect who will begin training and socializing the dog early in his life to ensure he develops into a well-mannered adult.
Although he was bred to work in packs, the Dogo is a strong-willed dog with a high prey drive. He will likely chase after the family cat unless he is raised with it. Some may express aggression towards dogs of the same sex.
To keep his body in peak condition, he should be well exercised on a regular basis. He should be in an active household where he can exercise his athletic abilities. He also requires mental stimulation to satisfy his desire to work and hunt.
The Dogo Argentino lives 10 to 12 years.