The breed comes from Argentina, as you can probably tell from the name. Sometimes they are also called the Argentinian Mastiff or the Argentine Dogo. They are always white, with a short coat, deep chest, lots of muscles, a big head, and strong jaws. The dogs' ears are usually cropped to make them stand up in a triangular shape. The Dogo is 24" to 27" tall at the shoulder and weighs between 80 and 100 pounds.
The Dogo Argentino breed was invented in 1928 in Argentina by a medical doctor named Antonio Nores Martínez. He wanted a dog that could hunt big animals such as boars and cougars, but also be a loyal companion and family guard dog. He started with a breed called the Córdoba Fighting Dog, which is extinct today. This type of dog was big and fierce, and it was a good hunter, but it wasn't very sweet and cuddly.
|Córdoba Fighting Dog|
Dr. Nores Martínez then crossed this dog with the Great Dane, Boxer, Spanish Mastiff, Old English Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Great Pyrenees, Pointer, Irish Wolfhound, and Dogue de Bordeaux. Whew! That's a lot of breeds! But anyway, he kept on developing the breed until finally he had a dog that could hunt in a pack without being aggressive with the other pack dogs or with the human hunters.
Dogos Argentinos are good family dogs who are playful and do well with children. They are very intelligent, strong, and brave guardians of their humans. Because their aggressive traits were bred out, they generally get along well with other pets in the home or with animals on a farm. Dogos are sometimes trained to do search-and-rescue, be police dogs, or do military work.
Sadly, some people have used this breed of dog for fighting, which has given it a bad reputation. In 1991 in Great Britain, a Dangerous Dogs Act was passed that banned the Dogo Argentino, Fila Brazileiro, and Japanese Tosa. The American Pit Bull Terrier was allowed, but only with a lot of restrictions, such as having to be neutered, registered, tattooed, and required to wear a muzzle in public. Some other countries where Dogos Argentinos are also banned are Ukraine, Iceland, Australia, Singapore, and some places in the U.S. In my opinion, the people who teach dogs to be vicious should be blamed instead of banning a whole breed. But nobody listens to my opinion, as I might have mentioned before.
Okay, now I am going to tell you a heart-warming story that happened in 2009 in Argentina. The story is about a Dogo Argentino named Morocho, who belongs to a man named Ulises, the grandson of Dr. Nores Martínez. One day Ulises decided to go to a farm he owned to help the foreman do some work, and he took his daughter Sofía with him.
Sofía and Yoli, who was the foreman's daughter, asked if they could go pick figs off a tree that was about 700 yards away from the house. They ran to the tree, and Yoli got there first. She started climbing up to get the best figs, which were at the top. Suddenly she heard a noise above her, and when she looked up, she saw a cougar. He started coming down to get her because he thought a lunch of Little Girl would be very yummy.
Yoli was trying to get out of the tree in a hurry, but the cougar knocked her down. Then the two girls started screaming and running back to the house. Their fathers heard them and thought maybe there was a poisonous snake. They hurried to the rescue, but they probably wouldn't have made it in time. Luckily, Morocho the dog had followed the girls to the fig tree. He attacked the cougar, and there was a huge fight. When the two men arrived, they found a dead cougar and a dog who was very badly hurt.
They took Morocho back to the house and nursed him to health again. The cougar turned out to be one who had killed several colts the previous spring that belonged to Ulises' brother. The men had spent a lot of time hunting the cougar, but had not found it. They never thought it would be hanging out so close to the house.
Anyway, thanks to Morocho, this story had a happy ending for everyone except the cougar. And this just shows that Dr. Nores Martínez did a fine job of breeding the type of dog he wanted, one that could be both a brave hunter and also keep its family safe from harm.