Are you considering a Dogo Argentino? What you should know before you select this breed.
History of the Breed
There are several sources where you can find information on the history of this breed. Information below has been adapted from the AKC and UKC websites.
This breed originated in the province of Cordoba, in the central (Mediterranean) region of the Republic of Argentina. Its creator was Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez, a (renowned) doctor and member of a traditional family. In 1928, his passion for dogs, perhaps a family legacy, led him to the development of a standard for a new dog breed, which he named Dogo Argentino. “His work was based upon the methodical crossbreeding of several purebreds with the old fighting dog from Cordoba, a dog which was very strong and vigorous. After a thorough and minute character study and selection, through different generations, Dr. Nores Martinez accomplished his purpose, obtaining the first family. At the beginning, it was generally considered a dog for fighting but Dr. Nores Martinez’s liking for hunting led him to take the dog to one of his habitual hunting trips, where the new breed demonstrated its skills, thus becoming a key figure in all his trips. Thus it became quickly an excellent big-game hunting dog. With the passing of time, this adaptation capacity has made this dog very versatile as regards functions; it has proved to be a noble companion and a loyal and insurmountable protector of those it loves. Its strength, tenacity, sharp sense of smell and bravery make it the best dog among those used for hunting wild boars, peccaries, pumas and other country predators which can be found in the vast and heterogeneous areas of the Argentinean territory. Its harmony, balance and its excellent athletic muscles are ideal characteristics for enduring long trips in any weather conditions and then fighting fiercely with the pursued prey. In 1973 the breed was accepted by FCI as the first and only Argentinean breed, thanks to the great passion, work and effort of Dr. Augustin Nores Martinez, its creator’s brother and successor.” (Retrieved from: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/dogo-argentino/ )
Today, the Dogo Argentino is still used as a hunting dog, a guardian of property, a family companion, and an all-around working dog. The Dogo Argentino was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 2001. ( UKC Gaurdian Dog Group, May 2017 )
The purebreeds selected by Dr. Antonio Nores to develop the Dogo Argentino included: The fighting dog of Cordoba as the base of the breed, French Mastiff (Dogue de Bordeaux), Spanish Mastiff (Mastin Espanol), English Bulldog, Boxer, Pointer, Great Dane, Bull Terrier, Great Pyrenees, and Irish Wolfhound.
The selective crossing of these purebreeds to develop the Dogo Argentino has made this breed one of the most versatile canines. Their toolbox is deep. They have an excellent sense of smell for tracking and scent work. They will point like the pointer when they have identified a scent. They have tremendous strength and stamina useful for hunting large game, or going on long jogs/runs with their owner. They instinctively exhibit guardian behaviors. Their size, strength, sweet nature with family, protective of home, and playfulness are likely attributable to the Great Dane. Watch them play and and you will see they use their paws as the Boxers do. They are calm and quiet and only bark when necessary, which is likely an expression of the Irish Wolfhound traits.
If you have read up on this breed and have noticed it is only recommended for experienced dog owners. This is a actually a great recommendation. If you get a Dogo Argentino as a puppy and have a plan to ensure the puppy is well socialized, and begins basic obedience training in the home, and attends puppy classes starting no later than 12 weeks of age, you may be able to manage as a novice; however, you will need to commit to the effort of training this puppy throughout puppyhood, and adolescence. Generally people start having challenges with their Dogo when they reach adolescence if they have not been well socialized and trained. Can you overcome this? Generally yes, however, it will be much more difficult than if you would have started training when the puppy weighed 15-20 pounds instead of 80-100 pounds, and many people do not have the time or energy at this point, and this is when we see dogs end up in shelters or rescues.
No dog, regardless of breed will reach their full potential without training. Yes, they have instinctive behaviors which work well in the wild; however, these instinctive behaviors are generally not compatible with living in a domestic household, and they need to be trained to avoid ending up in shelters or rescues when they reach adolescence.
I have seen many videos and photos of Dogo’s with pinch collars, choke collars and shock collars. Likely if you are inexperienced with this breed, you may consider these techniques, especially if you took over ownership of the dog during puppy adolescence or early adulthood. There are many trainers who actually recommend these techniques. Dogo’s are very sensitive, and harsh training methods will likely deteriorate your relationship with your them. Also, dogs become collar wise and they will know when they are wearing the shock collar and when they are not. Additionally, do you want a dog living in your home that you can only control with strapping on a shock collar or a leash and jerking them? Obtaining the dog as a young puppy 7-8 weeks of age, and training them off leash in basic obedience is much easier.
The appeal of board and train programs seem great in theory. You have a busy life with work schedule and kids. Everyone in the family wants a puppy so you purchase one. You find a training package that will basic obedience train, and house train your puppy. You have the training company pick up your pup or you drop him off with the training group with the promise that you will have a well trained puppy after 1-3 weeks, trained in basic obedience and has been house trained. Well puppy’s can only hold their bladder and bowels for so long. If you leave them alone in a home or a great for more than 3 or 4 hours and have not planned out how you will manage their elimination needs while at work, you will likely come home to quite a mess to clean up and be upset about the $1500-$3500.00 dollars you spent on the board and train program that was supposed to potty train your pup. Additionally, many of these programs use e-collars and leash corrections, so you will also have to learn how to work the e-collar and perform leash corrections, and continue the training methods they used to train your dog, so you still end up training your puppy anyway.
There is a better way to train this breed. They respond very well to positive training techniques. Lure reward training as a puppy is key, and positive reward based training should be continued throughout their puppyhood, adolescence, and as an adult dog. Positive training methods will help them grow to be the confident, loyal, family companion they were meant to be. You can locate trainers through the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) website https://apdt.com/. This website is a good resource for locating trainers, and other information such as selecting a dog breed to fit your lifestyle, importance of socializing your dog, activities to do with your dog and much more.
If you are purchasing a Dogo for a pet, select a breeder that you can verify has practiced neonatal handling with the puppies to teach them to enjoy being touched by humans and desensitized. Find out if the puppy has been taken out into the world after receiving their 6 week vaccines. Puppies need to be exposed to our domestic life. They need to experience sites, smells, sounds, touch from different people. I am not advocating that puppies should be allowed to walk around on potentially contaminated surfaces; however car rides while on errands, being carried on trips to pet stores or hardware stores is a good way to expose the puppy to new people and places and will build their confidence.
Why is socialization important for dogs? Dr. Ian Dunbar who has over 40 years of experience as a vet, animal behaviorist, and puppy trainer has found that socialization with people and other dogs, is crucial within the first 8 weeks of the puppies life to avoid common problems such as fearfulness, dog reactivity and aggression. You can check out his website for excellent tips on training your dog. https://www.dogstardaily.com/
Please click the link below for information on the importance of socializing your dog.https://apdt.com/resource-center/the-importance-of-socialization/