The Dogo Argentino also known as the Argentine Mastiff is a large, white, muscular dog that was developed in Argentina primarily for the purpose of big-game hunting, including wild boar; the breeder, Antonio Nores Martínez, also wanted a dog that would exhibit steadfast bravery and willingly protect its human companion to the death.
In the 1920s the Argentine Dogo was developed in Argentina by Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez and his brother Agustin. The brothers wanted an ideal companion dog that was also a good pack hunter and guardian. The breeds that were used in the development were the Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Pointer, Great Dane, Dogue de Bordeaux, Boxer, Spanish Mastiff, Bulldog, Bull Terrier and a now extinct mastiff-type breed called the Dog of Cordoba. The result was a bullish, fearless hunter who also had great stamina. The white coat deflected the heat rather than absorbed it.
The Argentine Dogo is a loyal dog who makes a great guardian of the home and family. Playful and very good with children, it gives kisses and cuddles. Highly intelligent and powerful, Dogos are easy to train if you are consistent, using loving but firm authority. The Argentine Dogo is not a breed for everyone. With the right owners even the more dominant Dogos can be submissive toward all humans and other animals. This breed needs someone who understands how to display leadership: humans who are firm, confident, and consistent. This breed needs rules he must follow and limits to what he is and is not allowed to do. The objective in training this dog is to achieve pack leader status. It is a natural instinct for a dog to have an order in its pack. When we humans live with dogs, we become their pack. The entire pack cooperates under a single leader. Lines are clearly defined. You and all other humans MUST be higher up in the order than the dog. That is the only way your relationship can be a success. When you put this breed with a meek or passive owner, problems may arise as the dog will feel he needs to “save his pack” and run the show. Adult Dogos can be aggressive with other dogs; however, the Dogo does not usually provoke the confrontation.
This impressive dog is best owned by active people who will develop his athletic abilities. He must have plenty of physical exercise to maintain his superb muscle structure and plenty of mental exercise to satisfy his desire to work and hunt. Though tough to the core, Argentine Dogos love to be petted. They crave close physical contact, leaning against you and lying on your feet.
While the Dogo Argentino was bred primarily from the extinct Cordoba Fighting Dog, it was bred to be a cooperative hunter, i.e. to accompany other catch dogs and bay dogs on the hunt without fighting with the other dogs. Aggressive traits inherent in the Cordoban Dog were specifically bred out to enable a stable cooperative nature in a pack. However, in areas where dog fighting continues, the Dogo Argentino has been used for fighting due to its fearless nature and great stamina.
The Dogo Argentino is banned in certain countries such as Ukraine, Iceland, Australia and Singapore. In the United Kingdom, under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, it is illegal to own a Dogo Argentino without lawful authority.