The history of the Dogo Argentino and the two brothers who created the breed is as colorful and passionate as the history of Argentina itself.
National Geographic Magazine says “ The Dogo Argentino is one of the best dogs.”
Dogos were developed specifically to fight wild boar that were reproducing at alarming rates. In order to combat the overgrowth of boar, one man set out to develop a breed to handle this type of hunting.
In the 1920s, Antonio Nores Martinez at the age of 18, along with his brother, Agustin which was one year younger, started out with the Fighting dog of Cordoba; which is now extinct; as a base. The Cordoba; a combination of Mastiff, Bull Terrier and Bulldog; were known as the most aggressive breed for this type of hunt. With their courage and strength, the Cordoba often fought to the death. Antonio not only wanted a hunting dog, but also an honorable family companion, so he set out to create the ideal "super dog.”
The two brothers started with the Fighting dog of Cordoba, but this dog was too aggressive to work in a pack with other dogs and not a good family dogs. They wanted a dog that would have great height, a good sense of smell, speed, a loving family dog, hunting instinct, and more than anything else a strong pack hunting dog. So they took the Fighting dog of Cordoba and added other breeds. Each breed was not equal parts of the final breed but each added its own strength.
1) The Fighting Dog of Cordoba - to which he added blood.
2) The Pointer - to give him a keen sense of smell, essential for the hunt.
3) The Boxer - added vivacity, gentleness, a loyal family companion.
4) The Great Dane - its size.
5) The Bull Terrier - fearlessness but not aggressive.
6) The Bulldog - gave it an ample chest, obedience and boldness.
7) The Irish Wolfhound - brought its instinct as a hunter of wild game.
8) The Dogue de Bordeaux - contributed its powerful jaws and massive head.
9) The Great Pyrenees - its dense white coat.
10) The Spanish Mastiff - gave its quota of power and the ability to breath through its loose lips while catching its prey.
Purpose of the breed
A wild boar weighs up to 400 pounds or more and has sizable sharp tusks and an aggressive disposition. Boar destroy over 52 million dollars worth of crops in Texas each year. Farmers need a strong and fearless dog that could find the pray and capture. The Dogo Argentino runs high speeds in short distances but through long distance they gallop saving energy to capture the pray as they go on their search. Dogos Hunt in packs just like their great ancestress the wolfs. As soon as the Dogos have the wild boar pinned down to the ground, the Dogos will not kill the boar, but wait till the humans comes to dispatch the boar with a Knife honoring the Argentine tradition. When the Dogo returns home it is especial loving and protective of small children and makes a great loving family dog.
Original Breeding Standards
Molossian normal type, mesomorphic and macrothalic, within the desirable proportions without gigantic dimensions. Its aspect is harmonic and vigorous due to its powerful muscles which stand out under the consistent and elastic skin adhered to the body through a not very lax subcutaneous tissue. It walks quietly but firmly, showing its intelligence and quick responsiveness and revealing by means of its movement its permanent happy natural disposition. Of a kind and loving nature, of a striking whiteness, its physical virtues turn it into a real athlete.
In describing El Dogo Argentino, Antonio Nores Martinez used to say "...harmonically beautiful, within the physical parameters required to perform its duty" and "...it is the only white, short-haired dog of its size and weight, which are optimum to achieve its work."These statements are clearly indicative that, in this breed, form follows function; that color, size, and weight are basic identifying attributes, closely related to work performance. Developed to find, chase and struggle with large, dangerous predators, these canines must be endowed with superior bone and muscular mass. Their large, massive head, proudly supported by a thick but graceful neck that connects to a well balanced body, in turn supported by straight, sturdy forelegs and strong, normally-angulated hindquarters. The thick, long tail hangs naturally to the hocks and is carried in a smooth upwards curve. Faults: flaccid, overweight dogs must be severely penalized. The "White King of the Pampas" is a proud animal, conscious of its power, which make it reliable and self confident. Its striking appearance, friendly disposition and gallant behavior have earned him this name. Females are slightly smaller than males and look distinctively feminine but, without weakening substance or structure. Judges should first consider the general appearance and overall balance of El Dogo Argentino, outmost consideration given to type. Special attention should be afforded the head; then, to individual body components for anatomical correctness, followed by a thorough evaluation of gait efficiency.
Proportion: El Dogo Argentino is a normotype and within this class a macrotalic. Its body slightly off-square; with body depth and length of legs, equally accounting for height. Height and weight are important parameters subordinate to harmony and body balance, which are essential to high performance. Substance: Heavy-Boned, very muscular, with a massive head, strong neck and deep-broad body. Faults: Lean boned, poorly muscled, slab-sided or leggy dogs to be severely penalized.
The head of El Dogo Argentino is one of the most typical attributes of the breed. In longitudinal section it must have a concave-convex profile. The wide, massive Cranium is longitudinally and transversely convex, due to relief created by the insertion of masticatory muscles characteristic of prey dogs. On adult specimens a longitudinal groove runs from muzzle to occiput. The broad, deep Muzzle is slightly concave upwards, proper of dogs with great olfactory sense, capable of scenting high. Cranium and muzzle, must be of equal length and join at a Stop well defined but not abrupt. Occiput must be masked by the powerful neck muscles. Zygomatic arches, well separated from the skull, provide an ample cavity for comfortable insertion of the temporal muscle which, coupled with other strong masticatories, develop a positive lateral relief on cheeks and cranium. Viewed from the top, the side Planes of muzzle and cranium are near parallel. The head/neck insertion must be arched and blend with the convex skull profile. Eyes are of medium size, well separated between themselves and deeply set; dark or hazelnut color, rimmed by black or flesh-colored eyelids.(black preferred) Faults: light colored eyes. Loose eyerims. Expression must be alive, intelligent and markedly hard. At attention, longitudinal wrinkles appear on the forehead. Faults: A bland expression. Nose is strongly pigmented in black, with a slight stop at he tip and ample nostrils. Lips are closely fitting, taut, with free edges pigmented in black. A short lip is a must, to allow breathing through the back lip commissure when holding prey. Ears well on top of the head, either erect or semi-erect, of triangular shape and must always be cropped, in proportion to head size. Long ears offer an easy, painful grab in the struggle with prey. Maxillaries are very strong, wide and square, functionally fitted with large, well implanted teeth, allowing for an ample powerful bite. Faults: Narrow, rounded maxillaries to be severely penalized. Bite in scissors is preferred; level bite is acceptable. A correct occlusion is foremost. The four large canines should close perfectly when biting to hold prey. Faults: the lack of molars or premolars is acceptable but undesirable.
Neck stout, arched and graceful, of moderate length, proportioned to body and head size. Should present loose skin under the throat which wrinkles as in the Mastiff and freely slides over the superficial aponeurosis. This becomes particularly useful during struggle; contender's fang or claw only injures skin, not flesh. At the same time, dog displacement inside the skin is allowed, for it to make prey. Withers very strong, of great muscular relief. Topline is highest on the withers, smoothly sloping to the croup. On adult animals, when the withers and loin muscles are well developed, the Back arches down slightly. A longitudinal groove created by the relief of the dorsal muscles, runs along the dog's spine. Loin is short and kidney is concealed by the dorsal muscles. Croup is muscular, round, broad and gently sloping. Tail long and thick, tapers down to the hock joint and is set moderately high and smoothly into the croup. Carried curving smoothly upwards, naturally down at rest and always raised while struggling with prey, in continuous lateral movement, as when greeting master. Underline well muscled, with only a slight to moderate tuck-up of the abdomen. Thorax ample, on side view shall reach under the elbows. Chest ample and deep giving impression of big lungs. Viewed from the front, the sternum must reach under the elbows. Faults: any deviation from characteristics described herein, to be severely penalized.
Forelegs are straight, thick and vertical; set wide apart. Faults: long or thin forelegs. Narrow or fiddle front. Toeing or rolling (in or out). Shoulders tight, muscular and powerful. Shoulder blade of equal length and at right angle with humerus. Faults: Incorrect angulation. Elbows parallel to the body. Faults: in or out elbows. The Pastern strong and near vertical. Faults: Knuckled over or down in pasterns. Feet are round and compact with short, tight, close-together toes, proportioned to paw size. Toes and paws having fleshy, rough pads of dark color. Nails short, strong and white. Faults: Dis-proportioned, hare, flat or splay feet.
Broad, with very muscular thighs and short rear pasterns. Normally angulated. Hindlegs well apart and parallel. Strong Hocks, perpendicular to the ground, neither turned in or out. Rear feet similar to front feet but slightly smaller. Without dewclaws. Faults: Any deviation from characteristics described herein, to be severely penalized.
Short and thick with a glossy sheen. Hair is stiff, coarse and of uniform length. A field conditioned coat or working scars should never be faulted. Faults: long or wavy coat. Thin hair. COLOR Completely white.
A superb canine athlete, the massively muscled Dogo Argentino, when in motion, is a larger than life combination of barely contained explosive power and lightening speed, coupled with tremendous stamina and unbelievable agility. Viewed from the side, the powerful, smooth and effortless trot is produced by a long, sleek front reach, balanced with an immensely powerful rear drive. The topline is held level and firm. Viewed from the front or rear, the legs are parallel but converge towards centerline as speed increases. The front and rear legs remain in a straight column of support and legs on the same side move in the same plane. At a walk, he moves like a lion; with power, dignity and the supreme confidence that he is king of all he surveys. Faults: in order to function as a boar hunter or working dog, soundness is paramount. It is critical that these animals move powerfully, swiftly and effortlessly; therefore, any wobbling, twisting, choppiness, interference or other deviation that decreases power, speed or efficiency, to be severely penalized.
A magnificent hunter of wild boar and mountain lion, El Dogo Argentino has extremely strong hunting instincts, incredible determination and legendary courage. Very alert and jovial, he possesses uncanny intelligence and a keen wit. This is a very people oriented dog, who is extremely friendly and outgoing, unless given reason to be otherwise. His self-confidence makes him very trusty of humans with whom he is patient and communicative.While being incredibly obedient and willing to please, he is extremely sensitive to his handler and cannot tolerate forceful training methods. This versatile animal is capable of intense concentration, learns rapidly and retains what is learned almost indefinitely; however, it is easily bored by overwork and repetition. A good watchdog, El Dogo Argentino is calm around the house, yet he is alert and ready at a moments notice; nevertheless, this in not his primary function- he is a hunter, first and foremost. As such, it is not a barking dog, although he is endowed with a thunderous bark, modulated rhythmic and constant when he wants to call attention to something he deems important. He is a one family dog who needs close contact with its members and is unhappy when separated from them. When properly socialized with children, it is notably tolerant and gentle. He should also be socialized with domestic animals at an early age, to curtail any subsequent aggression towards them. Males and females are very stable and remarkably sweet while being tough to the core. They are more like a force of nature than a mere animal. Faults: Sluggishness, lack of intelligence, aloofness. Any hint of shyness or unprovoked aggression must be severely penalized.
(Compiled from Antonio and Agustin Nores Martinez's work, translated and bonded to American Kennel Club standard format by Karolyn Harris, the late Ruben Passet Lastra and Raul Zeballos in February, 1996.)
A Very Special Dog
Some of the Argentine Dogo's talents are hunting, tracking, watchdog, guarding, police work, narcotics detection, military work, guide for the blind, competitive obedience and Schutzhund.