Only today the Dogo is oriented towards more noble tasks.
Already the Conquistadores, in their ruthless struggle against the Indians, employed the Molossians in pursuit of those who refused to submit.
Later, when the exploitation of the New World was organized in the form of large plantations, these dogs were brought up to catch slaves who tried to escape.
To develop their flair, the Dogos (rather uneven breed) crossed with Saint-Hubert type dogs. After this assignment, an equally cruel new job was found for these dogs during the 19th century.
Since dog fights were highly successful in Argentina, as in many other countries, these animals were forced to fight in arenas around which bettors gathered.
To make them even more fearful, the Argentines crossed their Dogo with Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Boxer and Dogo di Cordova. Living in such an environment these dogs became very aggressive.
Dr Nores Martinez he wanted to “create” a dog suitable for hunting puma and pecari, two wild species widespread in the country. The cynologist underwent a patient selection work, crossing the indigenous Dogo with Alani, Pointer and Irish Wolfhound.
The Dogo sought by Dr. Nores Martinez had to be medium in size, to be used easily in mountainous regions, and white in color, to be identified in the Argentine pampas.
After numerous tests, the Argentine cynologist managed to achieve his goal in 1928, the year in which a standard, drawn up under his direction, made the new breed official, christened the Argentine Dogo.
Let’s find out together this wonderful reliable dog, provided it is well bred, with an unusual and rather fearsome appearance!
■ Powerful but not heavy
■ Typical Molossian head
■ Strong teeth
■ Eyes apart
■ Ears erect or semi-erect
■ Short thick hair
■ White color
■ Height at the withers: 60 cm for males; 58 cm for females
■ Ideal weight: 45 kg for males; 35 kg for females
■ Average life span: 12 years.
1. Origin and history
This dog, called ‘Dogo’In his home country, presents a case comparable to that of Dobermann.
It actually owes its existence to the tenacious will of a man, the doctor Antonio Nores Martinez, who, around 1900, employed the Dogo that existed in Argentina at the beginning of the 16th century, with the intention of creating a new breed.
It is known that the conquistadores, in their merciless struggle against the Indians, employed molosses who launched in pursuit of the latter to force them into submission.
Later, when the exploitation of the New World was organized within the framework of large plantations, these dogs were educated to “catch” the slaves who tried to escape. To develop their flair, they then met Dogo – of quite disparate types to tell the truth – with dogs of the Saint-Hubert type.
In the 19th century a new employment was found for these dogs which remained somewhat rustic; since dog fights were in fact very successful in Argentina, as in many other countries, these animals were thrown into miserable arenas around which overexcited punters with often considerable stakes gathered.
To make them even more fearsome, the Argentines crossed their local Dogs with the Bulldogs, Bull-Terriers, Boxers and Doges of Cordova, also called ‘Cordova fighting dogs’.
The result of these multiple crossings was impressive: they produced particularly ferocious dogs, which could hardly be used in hunting because they were practically uncontrollable: when grouped in moulting, the scuffles were inevitable and very often fatal.
Dr. Nores Martinez wanted to ‘create’ a dog suitable for hunting puma and pecari, two species widespread in the immense territories of the country.
This passionate cynologist therefore undertook a patient selection work, crossing some of these terrible indigenous Dogos with Alans, Pointers and Irish Wolfhounds (very large Irish Greyhounds).
The Dogo sought by Dr. Nores Martinez had to be medium in size, to be easily used in mountainous regions, and white in color, to be easily identified in the Argentine pampas.
This result was obtained by the Argentine cynologist after numerous tests and in 1928 a standard, drawn up under his direction, consecrated resistance of the new breed, christened Dogo Argentino.
This dog, not very common outside South America, has proven its worth in hunting down the cougar; the Argentine Dogo has also adapted very well to this activity and, despite his unsociable temperament, he loves to live with hunters’ horses.
But the intrepid Dogo, who does not hesitate to face very aggressive wild animals, is equally employed by the army, police and customs services. It is said that he can also be an excellent blind dog; this shows that his belligerent mood, if he is cultivated consciously, can make room for exemplary dedication.
Outside Latin America, Argentinian Dogo can be found in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy … Without being widespread, in these countries Dogo are not even a rarity.
The Argentine Dogo possesses in abundance power and courage, qualities necessary for any good guard dog.
Under a rather rough appearance, he is endowed with a very interesting character, and the loyalty to all evidence he shows towards his master makes him a surprising and sure friend.
Thus, beyond the external aspect that pushes caution, this dog will manifest a personality made of strength and loyalty. The size makes this beautiful athlete weighing 40 kilograms totally unsuitable for living in a small apartment.
But, if the Dogo Argentino needs a minimum of living space, he nevertheless appreciates comfort … Seeing such a rustic and unsophisticated dog stretched indolently on a sofa is a rather funny thing … except, perhaps, for a landlady worried about her furniture!
Contrary to what one might imagine seeing such an animal, it is better to educate the Dogo gently, avoiding any misplaced brutality.
It is one of the conclusions of Professor Diego Ross, who published in 1972, in Argentina, a study on the behavior of these dogs, in which it clearly appears that it is useless to inflict numerous corporal punishment on the Dogo:
“Sometimes, people who know this breed badly buy an Argentine Dogo to make it a killer. They educate and train it no matter how and they have only one purpose: to make this dog a bloody beast. It is preferable to dissuade these people from buying a Dogo. “
Thus transformed, the Argentine Dogo becomes in fact a dangerous dog, who will also escape completely from the authority of the one who will no longer consider, suddenly, his ‘master’.
So why drag an Argentine Dogo into such a dead end? Without considering that this psychopathic behavior can be obtained with any deranged bastard, if the desire is truly to have a mad killer for the dog.
But let’s go back to a normal situation and to people with common sense: if you are looking for a good, effective and balanced guardian, an Argentine Dogo, intelligently trained, will be for you.
This dog knows how to be discreet when he does not have to give alarms: the Dogo barks very little and is not a hypernervous guardian who jumps non-stop. On the contrary, when it barks, it is generally too late to intervene: it is already on the attacker or on the thief.
And, if he has been well educated, he makes almost no errors of estimate on this plane. In short, his barking is intended to signal that an enemy has been identified and that he, as a good guardian, did what was necessary! The one who intends to rob your home is likely to remember his ‘visit’ for a long time …
To teach the Argentine Dogo to intervene only for good reason, the best way to fight against his latent aggression is to get used to contact with men very soon. It is therefore necessary to avoid systematically isolating it, do not force him, for example, to always live in the open air.
Of course, its rusticity allows it to withstand the most pungent cold, but, in Italy, it is not useful to impose artificially harsh living conditions on it: welcoming it from time to time inside the house will help reduce the too wild side of its temperament and make him feel fully integrated into the family.
If the notions just mentioned are respected, the Dogo Argentino is well understood with children, even if sweetness is not its main quality. And you can trust him completely: very vigilant, he will not allow anyone to raise his hands on those entrusted to his protection.
Bodyguard and playmate, the Dogo can therefore be a very original friend for boys, starting from ten or twelve years old (younger children are a bit fragile to walk next to such a valiant).
He will accompany them everywhere and no escapade will tire him: he is a force of nature, as well as a cross-country skier. Compared to other dogs, he sometimes finds it difficult to forget his ancestors, fighting dogs, and his need for dominance is evident.
But, once again cultivating the contrasts, he can also be totally indifferent when he crosses a Bullmastiff or a Neapolitan Mastiff. It is, in fact, an often disconcerting animal, and sometimes it would be said that you enjoy being …
In Italy it can hardly be used in hunting (the puma does not exist in our country!); to spend his energies, therefore, he must be content with regular jogging in the company of his master (due to his Argentine origins, he loves the company of horses and is always happy to meet them).
This fast-paced exercise is in any case absolutely essential to his balance and good humor, because the Dogo is a cheerful companion, when he feels understood and loved.
• It is a dog that cannot be trusted completely.
False. First of all, you have to buy it from a serious breeder, recommended by the ENCI. Then carefully educate him and, if necessary, entrust his training to a professional.
• It absolutely does not get along with cats.
False. It’s all a matter of habit. They can also become friends, which is truly commendable for an ancient puma hunter!
• Withstands the coldest temperatures.
True. The Argentine Dogo, who knew the climate of the Patagonian plains, is not afraid of the rigors of the European winter.
3. The ABC of the perfect master
The Argentine Dogo responds well to training, but should not be encouraged to attack!
He has abundant strength and courage, precious qualities for every good defense dog. Behind a rather tough aspect, he is endowed with a very interesting character and the loyalty to all evidence he shows towards his master makes him a trusted friend.
Beyond the external aspect that pushes prudence, this dog shows a strong and loyal personality and is always attentive and ready to sacrifice his life for those who love.
He has a profound sense of protection of his property and his human “family”. Entrusted to a competent person, he proves to be a stable, balanced, affectionate and obedient dog.
In some ways it is a security, since it attacks only on command, when a danger arises.
■ The Argentine Dogo, wary of strangers, needs to be socialized very soon. It is necessary to make sure that you meet friends and all those who visit the owner, do not isolate him in a fence, do not confine him outside the house and never put him on the chain. He must be raised in the family and must learn to welcome all visitors who are brought into the house by the owner.
■ The owner must share his home with him. Although some subjects, with a nice dog bed, could resist the cold, the problem is that this dog must integrate better within the family.
■ “Well socialized” does not mean that he no longer knows how to stay in his place and spends the day on the sofa.
■ If he does not behave properly, reproaches are necessary, but violence must never be resorted to. Any violent behavior against him can awaken his dormant aggressive drives.
■ To buy this dog, you need a valid defender, need security or simply be a lover of molossoids, but you must also be balanced, dog lovers, a little psychologists, sportsmen and living in the countryside.
■ Train it gently.
■ Offer him a calm and balanced lifestyle.
■ Get used to contact with humans very soon.
■ Integrate it into the family.
■ Give him a lot of affection.
■ Allow him to exercise a lot.
■ Inflict corporal punishment on him.
■ Keep it isolated.
■ Wanting to make a killer.
■ Don’t take care of it with the excuse that he’s a tough guy.
4. Living space, nutrition, health and care
– Vital space
A Dogo cannot be locked in an apartment, he is not the right dog!
At one time he galloped free in the pampas and kept his love for the wide open spaces. His favorite environment is therefore represented by the countryside and the vast grassy plains.
Even if you have a large garden, it is essential that the Argentine Dogo go out for a walk. In fact, he has to meet many different people on the street and have contact with another territory, different from his. This will prevent his already very strong guardian instinct from becoming exasperated.
With him, a lot of work is done on the recall: he must return “to the foot” as soon as he is ordered; furthermore, he should not go for a walk without a leash: in fact, along the way there can be many situations that make him angry, especially if other dogs carelessly challenge him.
He is not a very demanding dog when it comes to fooddespite its 40 kg of muscle.
Despite this, it must be fed properly, offering him every day from 400 to 500 g of red meat, 250 g of vegetables and 250 g of pasta or rice.
By adding a spoonful of brewer’s yeast, another of corn or sunflower vegetable oil to his baby food, his coat will remain splendid.
You can also opt for industrial food, but beware of sudden diet changes, which sometimes cause diarrhea. Finally, don’t forget a bowl full of water.
The Argentine Dogo generally enjoys excellent health. Not being a delicate dog, it will not be necessary to be continually careful to detect the slightest sign of weakness or disease.
Like all large dogs, it can be prone to stomach twisting.
To prevent this serious disturbance, divide the meal into two rations and avoid violent efforts in the three hours following food intake, as well as in the hour before it.
Finally, pay attention to heat stroke: if it is done, it runs in full sun or if it stays in the car to wait.
On its white fur, ticks, fleas or other parasites can be seen immediately and allow for timely intervention. This satin fur that remains glued to the skin is very practical.
Brush it once in a while, to clean it and to get rid of dead hair. To wash it, use natural methods, making it, for example, roll in tall grass.
A police dog
The Argentine Dogo adapted well to hunting and, despite his unsociable temperament, he loved to live with the horses of hunters.
Today the Dogo, who once did not hesitate to face very aggressive wild animals, it is used not only as a guard and defense dog, but also by the army, police and customs services.
Outside Latin America, Argentine Dogo can be found in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. Although not very widespread in these countries, Dogo are not a rarity either.
The Argentine Dogo is able to travel long distances. It can gallop for kilometers, without getting tired. In fact, he has a great need to move and has a deep love for freedom; his secret dream is to discover in the surroundings of his home a prey that reminds him of his past as a hunter!
With a Dogo as a neighbor, chickens and rabbits will do well not to encroach on his private property!
Guide for the blind
As proof of his exemplary devotion to his master, the Argentine Dogo is used as a blind dog. For a blind person, he is the best guide and the best bodyguard and there is: attentive, patient, focused on work.
5. The standard of the breed
ORIGIN: Rep. Argentina
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD: 10.11.2011.
USE: Large hunting dog
FCI CLASSIFICATION: Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer type dogs,
Molossoids, Dogs from
Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs.
Section 2.1 Molossoids, Dogo type.
Without working trial.
GENERAL ASPECT: It is an athletic, mesomorphic, normotype dog with harmonious proportions. He has powerful musculature, is agile, his appearance gives the feeling of power, energy and strength, in contrast to his friendly and gentle expression. Entirely white, it can have only one dark spot on the skull.
Mesocephalic, the muzzle must be the same length as the skull. The height at the withers must be slightly higher than the height at the rump. The height at the chest must represent fifty percent, at a minimum, of the height at the withers.
The length of the body must exceed up to ten percent (no more) than the height at the withers.
TEMPERAMENT / BEHAVIOR: It must be silent, no barking on the track, fine sense of smell and excellent nose, quick, agile, strong, rustic and above all courageous.
He must never be aggressive with humans, which will be severely evaluated. He must interact with his “master” without conditioning or reservations.
HEAD: Mesocephalic type, with a strong and powerful appearance. Its cranio-facial axes are convergent.
Skull: Massive, convex both longitudinally and transversely, due to the reliefs formed by the chewing muscles and the nape.
Occiput: Its relief is not known, because the powerful muscles of the nape hide it completely.
Stop: Defined, it must not be deep, nor form right angles.
Of the same length as the cranial region, i.e. the line connecting the two orbital apophyses of the frontal bone is at the same distance from the occiput and the alveolar edge of the upper jaw.
Truffle: Strongly black pigmented, wide nostrils.
Muzzle: Of the same length as the skull, with the upper concave line.
Lips: Adherent, with free edges, black pigmented, never hanging.
Jaws / Teeth: They are formed by properly implanted, well-developed and strong jaws, without prognathism or enognatism, with healthy, large and well-rooted teeth. Complete dentition is recommended. The closure is scissor, accenting the pincer.
Cheeks: Large, marked, covered by strong skin, without folds. Well developed masseters.
Eyes: Medium in size, almond-shaped, dark or hazel-colored, with preferably black pigmented eyelids. Their position is sub-frontal, well separated, lively and intelligent gaze but, at the same time, with a marked hardness.
Ears: Naturally hanging, they cover the rear region of the cheeks. In attention they can be half erect.
NECK: Thick, arched, the skin of the throat is very thick, wrinkle shape with soft folds, without forming dewlap. The elasticity of the neck skin is due to the very loose cellular tissue.
BODY: Rectangular. The length of the body (measured from the tip of the shoulder to the tip of the ischium) can only exceed up to ten percent of its height at the withers, no more.
Top line: Higher at the withers and inclined to the rump with a slight slope. Adult subjects have a canal along the spine, thanks to the relief of the ilio-spinal muscles. Seen from the side, it must not be sagging.
Withers: Strong, well developed and tall.
Back: Very strong and with great muscle reliefs.
Loins: Short, wide, with great musculature.
Croup: Wide and strong. Of medium inclination.
Chest: Wide and deep. Seen from the front and in profile, the sternal line must go down to below the line of the elbows, thus giving maximum breathing capacity. Long thorax with moderately arched ribs.
Lower line and belly: It rises slightly from the lower line of the chest, never straightened, strong and with good muscle tension.
TAIL: Long, without going beyond the hocks, large, with medium insertion. At rest we can see it naturally brought into the lowered position; in focus or in motion, arched lift, with a wide curvature that reaches the tip.
General aspect: Straight, straight, with short, well-joined fingers.
Shoulders: Oblique shoulder blades, with large muscular reliefs, without exaggeration.
Arms: Humerus from the same length as the shoulder blade, with a good inclination.
Elbows: Sturdy, covered by a thicker and more elastic skin, without creases or wrinkles. Naturally positioned against the side.
Forearm: Of the same length as the arms and perpendicular to the ground, with a robust and straight bone, with good muscle development.
Carpo: Wide and in the same line as the forearm, free from bone reliefs and roughness of the skin.
Pastern: Slightly flat, with good bone, seen in profile, with a slight inclination, never too flexed.
Front feet: With short, well-joined fingers. With strong, thick and resistant plantar cushions; preferably with black pigmentation.
General aspect: Muscled, with short hock and well closed fingers without spurs. Medium angle.
Thighs: Proportionate to the whole. Strong, with an important muscle development that can be seen visibly.
Knees: With a good angle.
Legs: slightly shorter than the thighs, strong and muscular.
Hock: The tarsal metatarsal set is short, strong and firm, ensuring the propulsion force of the hind limbs. Sturdy tarsus, with the tip of the hock evident. Strong metatarsals, almost cylindrical and perpendicular, without spurs.
Hind feet: Similar to the front ones, even if smaller and slightly longer, they maintain the same characteristics.
MOVEMENT: Agile and strong, with sudden changes in showing interest in others, with quick reflexes, typical of the breed. Calm pace. Large trot, with good front extension and good rear propulsion. Galloping he shows all his energy and develops all the power he has. Its movement is agile, safe, in step, trot or gallop. It must be harmonious and measured, showing a solid construction. The exchange is not accepted, it is considered a serious defect.
SKIN: Homogeneous, thick, but elastic. Adherent to the body for a semi-loose, elastic sub-skin tissue, without forming wrinkles; except for the throat, where the subcutaneous tissue is more loose. Specimens with black pigmented lips and eyelids are preferred. Black pigmented skin is not penalized.
HAIR: uniform, short, smooth, with an approximate length of 1.5 to 2 cm. The density and thickness vary according to the climate.
Color: Entirely white. Only one black or dark spot is allowed on the skull. The same can also be located on one of the ears or around the eyes. The size of the spot must have an adequate proportion, not exceeding ten percent of the size of the head. Between two specimens of the same conditions, you will have to opt for the whiter specimen.
SIZE AND WEIGHT:
Height at the withers: Males: from 60 to 68 cm. – Females: from 60 to 65 cm.
Ideal height: Males: from 64 to 65 cm. – Females: from 62 to 64 cm.
Approximate weight: Males: from 40 to 45kg. – Females: from 40 to 43Kg.
FAULTS: Any alteration of the above mentioned criteria is considered as a defect and the seriousness of this is assessed by the degree of departure from the standard, and by the consequences that this defect can have on the health, well-being and ability of the dog to perform its traditional work.
- Lack of bone-muscle development (weakness)
- Partially pigmented truffle in adult specimens.
- Small, weak or diseased teeth.
- Entropion, ectropion..
- Eyes that appear round due to the shape of their eyelids, bulging, light or yellow eyes.
- Faired chest. Flat ribs.
- Lack of development of chest height, which does not reach the line of the elbows.
- Lack of angle in any of its two locomotive trains.
- Higher croup than the withers.
- Movement in ambio.
- Males and females whose weight is not the established one or in any case is not related to the size.
- Aggression or extreme shyness.
- Any dog showing clear signs of physical or behavioral abnormalities must be disqualified.
- Enognathism and prognathism.
- Lack of typicality.
- Long hair.
- Total lack of pigmentation on the truffle in specimens over two years old.
- Brown colored truffle.
- Pendulous lip.
- Hair spots in the body.
- More than one spot on the head.
- Size lower or higher than the established ones.
- Different colored or blue eyes.
- Lack of sexual dimorphism.
N.B .: Male animals must have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.