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Argentine Dogos: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Dogo Argentino temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Argentine Dogo dog breed

Argentine Dogo Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Dogo Argentino Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Powerful, yet possessed of an almost feline grace, the Dogo Argentino is fearless yet sensitive; vivacious outdoors yet calm indoors.

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.

Despite his intimidating appearance, the Argentine Dogo is usually friendly, yet is also a vigilant guardian with a thunderous bark. Early socialization is an absolute requirement to build the stable, discriminating temperament this breed is known for.

Though tough to the core, Argentine Dogos love to be petted. They crave close physical contact, leaning against you and lying on your feet.

With his dog-fighting ancestry, dog aggression can be a problem. The Dogo Argentino should be thoroughly socialized with other dogs from an early age. He should not be kept with another dog of the same sex.

With his strong prey drive, Argentine Dogos should not be kept with cats, either, unless raised with them.

Strong-willed and independent, but also highly intelligent, the Argentine Dogo will respect an owner who is equally confident and consistent. Because of his hound heritage, the Dogo is constantly intrigued by the exciting smells around him, so you must work to keep his attention during training sessions.


If you want a dog who...

  • Is a large, muscular, mastiff-type dog
  • Has a short, easy-care, white coat
  • Thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities
  • Looks imposing, so makes an effective deterrent, yet is usually non-aggressive with people
  • Carries himself with a steady, dignified, impressive presence

An Argentine Dogo may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • A large dog who wants to sit on your feet and lean his weight against your leg
  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
  • Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
  • Aggression or fearfulness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
  • Aggression toward other animals
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Slobbering or drooling

An Argentine Dogo may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy


More traits and characteristics of the Argentine Dogo

If I was considering a Dogo Argentino, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Argentine Dogos MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Dogos can make a shambles of your house and yard.

    If you simply want a pet for your family, and don't have the time or inclination to take your dog running or hiking or biking or swimming, or to get involved in weight-pulling, or tracking, or agility (obstacle course), or advanced obedience, or schutzhund (protection), or a similar canine activity, I do not recommend this breed.

  2. Providing enough socialization. Most Argentine Dogos have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone, which could lead to biting. Some Dogos go in the opposite direction -- without enough socialization, they become fearful of strangers, which can lead to defensive biting.

    If you have children, I do not recommend an Argentine Dogo. Young Dogos (up to about two years old) can be bulls in a china shop. When they romp and jump, they do so with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people. In addition, Dogos may try to protect their own children from other children, which could lead to tragedy if kids are simply roughhousing and your Dogo decides to stop it. With such a massive dog, I wouldn't take the risk.

  3. Animal aggression. The Dogo Argentino was developed to hunt other animals. Most Dogos are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Many have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures. If anything goes wrong in the breeding, socializing, training, handling, or management of this breed, it is capable of seriously injuring or killing other animals.

  4. The strong temperament. Argentine Dogos are not Golden Retrievers. The best Dogos are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Some Dogos are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Dogo to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Dogo Argentino Training Page discusses the program you need.

  5. Slobbering. Some Dogos, especially those with loose jowls, tend to slobber or drool, especially after eating and drinking.

  6. Legal liabilities. Because they vaguely resemble pit bulls, Argentine Dogos may be targeted for "banning" in certain areas, or refusal of homeowner insurance policies. Your friends and neighbors may be uncomfortable around this breed. In this day and age, the legal liabilities of owning any breed that looks intimidating and has a history as a guard dog should be seriously considered. People are quicker to sue if such a dog does anything even remotely questionable.

    Frankly, most Argentine Dogos are "too much dog" for the average household. This is a serious working dog with tremendous strength. Very few people really have the knowledge or skills necessary to manage this breed, or to provide the activities that keep him satisfied.


book cover To learn more about training Argentine Dogos to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book,
Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Argentine Dogo the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.



book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Argentine Dogo puppy. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.


If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Argentine Dogo might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.


book cover Once you have your Argentine Dogo home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.



Please consider adopting an ADULT Argentine Dogo...

When you're acquiring an Argentine Dogo PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Argentine Dogos who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter

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