Do you have a white PitBull, or an American Bulldog? Are you absolutely sure that is what their breed is? Maybe, just maybe, you have a Dogo Argentino. This all white breed that looks very similar to the Pitbull and American Bulldog is often mistaken for such breeds.
A very famous Dogo Argentino dog, named Oogy, was mistaken as a Pitbull when first found. The story of Oogy was written by his adopted pet-parent, Larry Levin. Oogy is a story of a loving dog that was used as a "bait dog" for training other dogs to fight, and how a family adopted him.
I read Oogy, and was extremely touched by this family, and a dog that had half of his face crushed during one of his attacks. If you're a dog lover, this is a must read.
To learn more about this wonderful and unusual breed, please read on.
Dogo Argentino Country of Origin
The name is the biggest clue here. Argentina is the country where the Dogo Argentino was developed. This is not a very old breed. Developed around the 1920's by a doctor who wanted a loyal companion dog, but with the strength to big-game hunt and guard. In the Brazilian climate, having an all-white coat was important to help deflect the heat versus absorbing it. Mastiffs, Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, Great Danes, and a now extinct breed called the Cordoba Dog, were a few of the breeds that were used to develop the Dogo Argentino.
The Dogo is a very muscular dog, and was used in Britain for illegal dog fighting. With its reputation tarnished in Britain, the Dogo is now one of three breeds that are banned there.
Not a Dog for Everyone
The Dogo Argentino dog is a very loyal dog to its family, but strangers will get a different story. They will offer protection at all cost to their family, and will not tolerate any intruders or strangers.
The Dogo is very good with children, but must have a strong presence of leadership within the family, so they understand their place. An out-of-control Dogo will spell disaster for a family that doesn't have someone able to provide the proper training, rules, and boundaries this breed needs.
Early training and socialization is imperative for all dogs, but with the Dogo, it absolutely is a MUST.
This breed is meant for a family that has "bully" dog-experience. The Dogo is not a dog for just anyone, in the wrong family, the Dogo will happily take over being a very uncontrolled, dominant dog with severe behavioral problems, such as, barking excessively, jumping, counter-surfing, escaping, digging, and aggression, to name just a few.
The Dogo is a very intelligent breed, making training easy. They are often used as police and military dogs, as well as search and rescue.
High Energy Family Needed
The Dogo is a very active dog, which was bred to have long stamina for hunting. A simple 30 minute walk is not enough for this breed. The Dogo will require a jogging, or hiking partner (don't forget to put a backpack on your Dogo for the hikes) to help maintain their energy level at a healthy state.
Rollerblading, skateboarding, or bicycling with a Dogo are other options to help exercise and drain their energy.
A fenced in-yard is ideal for the Dogo, with the care taken in making sure the Dogo won't be able to escape. They are not an outdoor dog, and don't do well left unattended, the Dogo is a family pet and they need to be with the family.
Dogo plus Another Dog?
Sadly Dogo's are used in the illegal dog fighting world, but this doesn't make the Dogo aggressive. They actually do very well with other dogs, if properly socialized as a puppy. They do best with the opposite sex, but can have a healthy relationship with the same sex as well. Neutering and spaying a Dogo will help keep their hormones in check so they don't get aggressive looking for a mate.
A pet-parent of a Dogo must keep up the proper interactions between their dog and other dogs. If provoked by another dog, an adult Dogo is known to get aggressive, and will not back down. Two stubborn and strong-willed dogs are not good playmates. Pairing the Dogo up with a laid back and submissive dog will be the perfect playmate match.
Take special care when allowing a Dogo to play and interact with other dogs. As a pet-parent, you must be actively paying attention to their interaction, making sure that each experience is positive between both dogs.
A Special Dog
Although the Dogo can suffer from deafness, a pigment-related condition common in the Dogo, as well as Hip Dysplasia, this breed is considered very healthy. They have a typical lifespan of 10-12 years.
The Dogo is good with submissive dogs and children when properly socialized at a young age. They require a strong, assertive personality for leadership within the family, as well as a human partner that can spend time exercising the Dogo appropriately to drain their energy.
I do not recommend this breed for just anyone, however, if you choose to want a Dogo Argentino, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe