Dogo Argentino: Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Dogo Argentino and Butterfly.
DircinhaSW / Getty Images

The large, powerful, pure-white Dogo Argentino might look imposing, but despite being a natural hunter and watchful guardian, this is a cheerful, friendly breed that is an excellent family companion. The Dogo Argentino is affectionate and loyal with his owners, and enjoys leaning up against his favorite people for plenty of petting and love. Most adore children and are gentle and loving with them.

The Dogo Argentino was bred to hunt wild boar and other big game, an activity that requires fearlessness, power, and stamina. As a result, the strong, high-energy Dogo Argentino requires lots of daily exercise and an owner who can provide early and consistent training. Experienced, confident dog owners are the best match for the Dogo Argentino—this is not an entry-level breed for the novice pet owner.

Although friendly with humans, some Dogo Argentinos can exhibit dog aggression. Sometimes a Dogo Argentino can live peacefully with a dog of the opposite sex, but other times they do better as "only dogs." Many Dogo Argentinos also have a high prey drive and will chase cats and other small pets.

Breed Overview

Group: Working

Height: 23.5 to 27 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 80 to 100 pounds

Coat and Color: Short, smooth, and white

Life Expectancy: 9 to 15 years

Characteristics of the Dogo Argentino

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly Low
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness Low
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino was methodically developed in the Cordoba region of Argentina in 1928 by Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez, who wished to create a breed as a big-game hunting dog. The primary breed used to develop the Dogo Argentino was the Fighting Dog of Cordoba, a now-extinct breed that itself was created from Mastiffs, Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, and Boxers. Many other breeds contributed their genes to the Dogo Argentino, including the boxer, bulldog, bull terrier, Dogue de Bordeaux, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish wolfhound, pointer, and Spanish mastiff.

The Dogo Argentino was developed to track game, corner it, and hold it in place until the hunters arrived. The Dogo Argentino is recognized by the United Kennel Club, where it’s part of the Working Dog Group. It’s also a member of the American Kennel Club Miscellaneous Class, a stepping stone to full recognition.

Dogo Argentino Care

Large, powerful, and strong-willed, Dogo Argentinos need consistent training and socialization starting early in puppyhood in order to develop into well-behaved adult dogs. This breed needs a self-assured owner who can be a good leader. Forceful methods will get you nowhere with the Dogo Argentino, but they respond extremely well to positive reinforcement training techniques. Some people find them difficult to train, as it can be hard to keep their attention on the task at hand. The Dogo is intelligent, but they're hounds and tend to be captivated and easily distracted by interesting scents wafting their way.

The Dogo Argentino needs a minimum of 60 minutes of daily vigorous exercise. Walks are nice, but to really tire out your Dogo Argentino, try free running or fetch in a safely fenced area, or training for a competitive dog sport like agility, obedience, or weight pull. The great news is, when he gets enough exercise, the Dogo Argentino is calm in the house, happy to lounge on the couch (and in your lap!).

The Dogo Argentino’s smooth, white coat doesn’t shed much and Dogos have little doggie odor—they're neat and clean house dogs. The short coat feels satiny and is easy to care for. Brush weekly with a soft bristle brush or rubber curry brush to remove loose hair, leaving the coat shiny and soft. The occasional bath when they become dirty is all that’s needed to keep them looking and smelling good.

You'll want to check their ears on a regular basis to make sure they're free of wax and debris. If the ears look red or smell bad, schedule a visit with your veterinarian to check and make sure they aren’t infected. Your vet can show you how to clean the ears to prevent wax from building up. The Dogo Argentino’s nails are large and strong, and grow quickly. It’s important to trim them regularly to keep them from becoming overgrown and cracked. Like many white animals, the Dogo Argentino is susceptible to sunburn, so be mindful of how much time he spends in direct sunlight.

Dogo argentino puppy
MarcinSl1987 / Getty Images 
Dogo Argentino dogs playing
Eudyptula​ / Getty Images 

Common Health Problems

Most purebred dogs are prone to certain genetically linked issues. Luckily, the Dogo Argentino is generally very healthy.

  • Deafness is sometimes seen in the Dogo, so when looking for a puppy, it’s especially important to find a responsible breeder who performs brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) testing on her puppies to evaluate hearing.

Diet and Nutrition

Large-breeds like the Dogo Argentino benefit from eating large-breed puppy formulas. These special diets promote slow growth, which can help prevent the development of joint problems like hip dysplasia. A large-breed puppy formula provides nutrients in the correct amounts to encourage slow and steady growth. It’s best to feed measured meals at scheduled times. Free feeding (simply filling the bowl up when it’s empty) can lead to an overweight dog, which can contribute to health issues like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and diabetes. Ask your veterinarian how much food to feed your Dogo Argentino.

Pros

  • Loyal and protective guard dog

  • Minimal shedding with an easy-care coat

  • Impressive (at times intimidating) presence but also very friendly

Cons

  • Not for first-time and novice dog owners

  • Requires consistent and extensive training

  • Not an ideal match for homes with other pets

Where to Adopt or Buy a Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino is relatively rare in North America, so it's best to locate a Dogo Argentino breeder.

  • The Dogo Argentino Club of America is the parent club for the breed in the United States, and has resources such as breeder lists that can help locate a Dogo.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

If you like the Dogo Argentino, you might also like these breeds:

Otherwise, check out all of our other dog breed articles to help you find the perfect dog for you and your family.