Dogo Argentino: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Dogo Argentino with a butterfly on its nose
DircinhaSW / Getty Images

The Dogo Argentino is a large and imposing working dog breed native to Argentina that has a short white coat and a thick, muscular build. Bred as a big game hunter, the Dogo is athletic, courageous, and intelligent. It requires lots of exercise every day. It’s also a watchful guardian but tends to be very affectionate with its family. Still, this dog breed is typically not ideal for first-time dog owners, as it requires careful and consistent training and socialization. 

Breed Overview

GROUP: Working

HEIGHT: 24 to 25.5 inches (female), 24 to 26.5 inches (male)

WEIGHT: 80 to 100 pounds

COAT: Short, smooth

COAT COLOR: White

LIFE SPAN: 9 to 15 years

TEMPERAMENT: Loyal, fearless, energetic

HYPOALLERGENIC: No

ORIGIN: Argentina

Characteristics of the Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino tends to have a loving and loyal temperament with its family, but it can be wary of strangers. The high prey drive part of its personality often makes it a poor match for other household pets, especially smaller animals. Overall, this is a smart and athletic dog breed that needs a lot of daily activity.

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

History of the Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino can trace its roots back to Argentina in 1928. A doctor named Antonio Nores Martinez wanted to create a dog that was suitable for big game hunting, as well as a good watchdog and family companion.

To create the Dogo, Martinez crossed the now-extinct Cordoba fighting dog with mastiffs, bulldogs, bull terriers, and boxers. Other breeds that contributed their genes were the Great Dane, Irish wolfhound, and English pointer.

The breed arrived in the United States in the 1970s and is still relatively rare. The American Kennel Club first recognized it in 2020.

Dogo Argentino Care

Due to their high energy, Dogos need vigorous exercise every day. They also should receive consistent training and socialization starting in puppyhood. Grooming is fairly straightforward for these dogs, though they do require sun protection.

Exercise

The Dogo Argentino needs a minimum of 60 minutes of daily exercise. Brisk walks are good, but to really tire out your Dogo, allow it to run freely in a secure area. Try a spirited game of fetch or dog sports, such as agility, obedience, or weight pull. Not only will this challenge the Dogo physically, but it also will allow your dog to burn some mental energy. Always keep your dog on leash when you're out and about, as the high prey drive of Dogos can cause them to take off quickly if they're not restrained.

Grooming

The Dogo Argentino’s smooth, short coat sheds a moderate amount. It also doesn't typically have much of a doggie odor. Brush weekly with a soft bristle brush or rubber curry brush to remove loose hair and distribute oils. The occasional bath when the dog becomes dirty is usually all that’s necessary.

Check your dog's ears at least weekly for any dirt, debris, redness, or other abnormalities. Your vet can show you how to properly clean the ears. Also, check your dog's nails roughly once a month to see whether they need a trim. And aim to brush its teeth daily.

Furthermore, like other dogs with short, white fur, the Dogo Argentino is susceptible to sunburn. Be mindful of how much time your dog spends in direct sunlight, and discuss sun protection with your vet.

Training

Aim to start training and socialization as young as possible with a Dogo Argentino. These dogs can be difficult to manage if they are ill-mannered, big, and strong adults. 

This breed needs a self-assured owner who is consistent about using positive training methods. Harsh corrections can hinder learning. Enroll in a puppy obedience class as soon as your dog is old enough. And expose it to different people, other dogs, and various situations to build its comfort and confidence. The more a Dogo has positive experiences with new people and dogs, the likelier it will be that the Dogo is friendly with them rather than defensive.

Dogo Argentino puppy outside
MarcinSl1987 / Getty Images 
two Dogo Argentino dogs rolling in grass playing
Eudyptula​ / Getty Images 

Common Health Problems

The Dogo Argentino is typically a very healthy breed. However, it is still prone to some health issues, including:

Dogo Argentinos as pets illustration

The Spruce / Kelly Miller

Diet and Nutrition

Always make sure fresh water is available for your dog, and provide a nutritionally balanced canine diet. Like other large breeds, the Dogo Argentino can benefit from eating a large-breed puppy formula. This will provide the proper nutrition to promote slow, steady growth and help prevent joint issues.

Most owners feed two measured meals per day. Discuss the type of diet and how much your dog needs to eat with your veterinarian, as this can vary by age, size, activity level, and other factors. Also, be mindful about treats and other extra food to prevent your dog from becoming overweight.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino is relatively rare in North America. But it's still worth checking area shelters and rescue groups for one in need of a home. If you're looking for a reputable breeder puppy, expect to pay around $2,000 to $5,000, though this can vary widely depending on bloodline and other factors. For further information, check out:

Dogo Argentino Characteristics

Pros
  • Loyal and protective

  • Easy grooming

  • Affectionate with family

Cons
  • Can be wary of strangers

  • Requires consistent and extensive training

  • High prey drive

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

If you’re considering a Dogo Argentino, be sure to do ample research first to make sure it will fit into your lifestyle. Talk to veterinarians, Dogo Argentino owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups. Try to meet some dogs in person if possible.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

FAQ
  • Are Dogos Argentino good family dogs?

    Dogos Argentino that are well trained and socialized can be good family dogs. However, due to their size, power, and energy, they might not be gentle enough around small children.

  • Are Dogos Argentino aggressive?

    Dogos Argentino have a strong protective instinct. They generally like people once they are comfortable with them, but they need good socialization and training to learn how to behave around strangers. Additionally, some Dogos tend to show aggression toward other dogs.

  • Are Dogos Argentino good apartment dogs?

    The Dogo Argentino typically is not a good apartment dog unless the apartment is spacious and you get the dog out for ample daily exercise. These are big dogs that need lots of space to play and burn mental and physical energy.

Article Sources
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Dogo Argentino Puppies For Sale. American Kennel Club.