What to Know About Dogo Argentino

Medically Reviewed by Vanesa Farmer, DVM on April 21, 2022
7 min read

Among big dog breeds, few are quite like the dogo argentino. This serious-looking dog may have you thinking that it's aggressive or unfriendly. However, dogo argentinos are good pets and function well in most spacious homes. If you are looking for a dog that has a loyal, trustworthy, and, above all else, courageous personality, the dogo argentino may be the right breed for you.

This is a large working dog breed originating from Argentina. It is also referred to as the Argentinian Mastiff or the Argentine Dogo. However, they are still uncommon in the United States. The dogo has a muscular build and was bred to hunt big game like mountain lions. 

They have a distinctive appearance with a short white coat that’s easy to maintain. Some dogs may have a small to medium-size dark patch near the eye, called a pirata. Dogo argentinos are keen guard dogs, but are also very fond of family members. This dog is a suitable pet for an active person or family that engages in regular outdoor activities, as they require lots of daily exercise. 

Dogo argentinos have a wide and deep-set chest that is well complemented by a muscular neck. They have a huge head that is rounded from the front to the back. The muzzle is about the same length as the skull and it concaves slightly. They also have strong jaws with teeth that meet in a scissors bite. A dogo’s nose is usually black and its eyes are dark brown, light brown, or hazel. Ears are set high, a feature that causes some owners to have their pet’s ears cropped to achieve the desired pointy and triangular shape. Their thick tail is carried low and reaches the hock. 

Dogo argentinos are impressively huge, with most weighing anywhere between 80 and 100 pounds. Males and females are almost the same size. A male dogo measures 24–26.5 inches in height, while a female is 24–25.5 inches tall. Other features of the dogo argentino include:

Temperament. Dogo argentinos are protective of their home and owners. That’s why they need to be socialized from an early age and get good training. Generally, a dogo will get along with you after he’s comfortable having you around. Some have, however, been known not to like other dogs. 

Intelligence. Dogo argentinos are smart and do well in spirited games like fetch and other dog sports that require the pulling of weights and agility. Obedience training helps to challenge the Dogo mentally. Their intelligence is evident in the many uses that people buy them for. 

Socialization. The dogo is very energetic and can be difficult to control if they grow up into ill-mannered adults. They require lots of daily exercises to spend extra energy. It also helps a great deal to train them consistently as puppies and socialize with family members.

Shedding. Their smooth coat doesn’t shed much so it’s easy to clean and take care of.

Lifespan. The average lifespan of the dogo is 9 to 15 years.

Barking. Argentinian mastiffs are not noisy and will only bark when necessary.

Cost. You can buy or adopt a dogo argentino for any amount between $1,000 and $4,000. The price could even go higher depending on the bloodline.

Most people are concerned about big dog breeds and their ability to be good pets. In most cases, it comes down to how you train and socialize your dog. If your dogo is well trained and socialized, it can be a good family dog. 

They are very affectionate toward family members. However, due to their power and energy, they are not ideal for small spaces. As with other large and powerful dogs, the dogo may not be gentle enough with toddlers. The dogo argentino will be a great pet if your home has ample outdoor space. Spacious apartment owners need to dedicate up to an hour every day to address their dog’s physical exercise needs.  

One look at the Argentinian mastiff and you can tell that they have quite a history. The creator of this breed, Antonio Nores Martinez, wanted a dog that could hunt big game, be a watchdog, and be a good family companion. So he crossed the now-extinct Cordoba fighting dog as the base breed, with a number of other great breeds including the great dane, english pointer, irish wolfhound, bulldog, boxer, bull terrier, great pyreneese, spanish mastiff, and the dogue de bordeaux. 

The dogo argentino was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2020. However, argentine mastiffs can be traced as far back as 1928 in Argentina. It was not until the 1970s when the dogo argentino first came to the United States. Some of this dog’s talents include its competitive obedience and its abilities to track, hunt, detect narcotics, guard, perform police and military work, and serve as a guide for the blind.

Being a good dog owner means caring for your pet’s well-being. It means knowing and catering to all the physical and mental needs of your dog. Here’s how to ensure your dogo is in perfect shape and health.

Grooming. Dogo argentino grooming is not complicated. Because this is a short-haired dog, brushing them with a soft brush or rubber curry brush once or twice a week will keep them neat. It also helps to distribute natural oils to the entire body. The thick, white, and glossy coat has no undercoat. It sheds a little, but you won’t have to deal with much doggie odor. 

Check the ears every week to ensure there’s no dirt and debris. Ask your vet for how to clean your dogo’s ears and any signs to watch out for when inspecting them. Remember to trim the nails when necessary. 

Feeding. As with other dogs, this breed does very well with high-quality food. This is true whether it is home-cooked or commercially available food, as long as it’s nutritionally balanced canine diet. Dogo argentino puppies will do well with puppy formula for 12-18 months as directed by your vet. Provide sufficient fresh drinking water and brush the teeth of your dog every day.

Routine care. Different dogs require different types of care routines. While the dogo argentino is a low-maintenance breed, you may have to bathe them if they’ve been out hunting or playing in the dirt. It’s an advantage that they come all white, so you’ll be compelled to keep them always cleaned up.

Another great trait that makes this dog lovable is that they don’t drool often. So you don’t have to be concerned about carrying a towel when you’re not at home.

The dogo argentino leads an active and healthy life. They are not prone to many dog conditions. However, you should be aware that dogos can go deaf or develop canine hip dysplasia.

Deafness. Like other breeds with a white coat, dogos can develop pigment-related deafness. Some dogs will go deaf in one ear, while some in both. However, the condition is rare and can be avoided by getting puppies whose parents had normal hearing in both ears.

Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD). Like many other dogs, dogo argentinos may also develop hip dysplasia. This condition is mostly inherited. It begins as your dog is growing and causes an unstable hip joint. Exercise and watching the weight of your dog can help with the condition. 

Sunburn. Dogo argentinos are sensitive to too much sun. They should, therefore, be protected from possible sunburn. To do this, take care not to let your dog stay out in the sun for long. Talk to your vet about any sun protection practices you could adopt for summer. 

Living with a dogo argentino is not difficult. Schedule daily brisk walks or let them run freely in a secure area. It is also a good idea to buy a leash for this dog. They have a high prey drive and may take off quickly if they spot something they want to chase. It helps to keep your dog on a leash whenever you're walking them. 

Although they are not so common in the United States, dogo argentinos are not illegal to have. However, they may be highly controlled in Britain. There are people who bought or bred dogos to fight, but it’s illegal to do so. Since these dogs can be aggressive toward other pets, it is recommended to train them how to tolerate smaller or weak dogs.

The dogo argentino is a great dog to own, even if you have a family. They may not be ideal for first-timers, but if you love athletic, intelligent, and courageous dogs, this breed fits that description. They require attention and positive relations with people who come to your house. Also, be ready to provide them with physical and mental stimulation through vigorous games. Hunting, hiking, and other outdoors enthusiasts will surely love the company of a dogo argentino.