The Dogo argentino or argentinian mastiff is a large, muscular and athletic, white-coated dog with an unusual history. Its origin was planned by Antonio Nores Martinez, an argentinian surgeon, who decided as a teenager to create the ideal hunting and fighting dog, i.e. a dog breed that would concentrate the qualities of the "Viejo perro de pelea cordobés" (Old fighting dog of Cordoba), a dog said to stem from Spanish Mastiff, Bull Terrier, old Bulldog of england and early Boxer.
Ipajeva del Picadero
Le Lagon des Grands Blancs
Origin and History
The fighting dog of Cordoba was described as 'white, large and ferocious', so ferocious that they were said to attack their bitches while mating with them. This dog, but with more bulk and superior physical strength, and capable of hunting big game (pumas, peccaries, cougars, wild boars, etc.) was set as the target of the breeding program started by Antonio Nores Martinez and which, by the dedication of its creator and its duration, remains unequalled in canine history.
Makychi de Vianini
Le Lagon des Grands Blancs
To fully understand Antoñio's fascination for fighting dogs it is important to know the context in which both brothers grew up: they were born in 1907 and 1908, respectively, in the Argentinian province of Córdoba, in a family of Spanish descent, their father and uncles devoted to blood sports, like cockfighting, dogfighting, bullbaiting, and tauromachy, as well as hunting.
Given their background, it is not surprising that both brothers were fascinated by fighting dogs and decided to create a "Superdog" that would combine the extraordinary courage and fighting spirit of the Old Fighting Dog of Cordoba with qualities like height, hardiness, hunting instinct, air-scenting ability and speed of other dog breeds.
Antoñio Nores Martinez
Gunfire Fiero ella Val Curone
As we already pointed out, it became the work of a lifetime, and of a family, as the dogo argentino would not have become what it is today without the help, in the first place, of Antonio's brother Augustìn, but also of his father and uncles, and his brother Francesco.
The fact that his father was a renowned surgeon with good knowledge of genetics probably contributed to the success of the enterprise as well.
In Antonio's mind 'his' dog breed would have to be so tenacious, courageous and tireless, that a single dog, even hurt, would be able to catch a puma or peccary and hold it until his master arrives on the scene. (hence the need for excellent fighting qualities).
At the same time the fighting instinct oriented towards other dogs had to be eliminated, if not this instinct would have made them useless for pack hunting.
Multi Int Champion Iago de las Aguas Mansas, "Diego"
owner: Debonair Dogos, San Diego,Ca (US).
Multi CH Paulo de Manhattan
Argentinian hunts are held in strict silence by both dogs and hunters. The specific hunting conditions in Argentina make hunting dogs that signal the presence of game useless. Due to the wide spaces lacking natural or human-made boundaries, a dog unable to approach and immobilize an animal in silence would never be able to catch its prey.
Finally, the ideal dog would have to possess a remarkable endurance and be agile, rather than merely fast, due to the particularly dense vegetation of the argentinian forests.
It had to possess the necessary force to fight a puma or wild board after having chased it for hours. This implies the necessity of a large pulmonary capacity.
In this the dogo argentino differs from the traditional fighting dogs which show a tremendous power at the start of the fight, searching to dominate their adversary as soon as possible by driving their weight forward using their strength drive of the hind legs. Hindquarters with well bent stifles are necessary for proper thrust and balance in a pit fighting dog. The angulation of the joints does not allow them to run for extended periods of time. If they had to chase big game in the same Argentinean conditions they would arrive exhausted and with little energy left to spend fighting them. See: dogo argentino appearance and breed description.
Antonio also wanted 'his' dog to be an ideal guard dog. According to Antonio, a guard dog that would give up the fight as soon as it got hurt would be useless. When used as a guardian, the dogo should be prepared to fight to the death to defend its human family and home. Read more about the Dogo Argentino bloodlinesand thefoundation stock of the Dogo.
As said before, they are excellent guard dogs, but require dominant owners. Their genetic make-up makes them one of the most agile of all Molossers, therefore they excel at dog sports and activities such as: Obedience, Agility, Search and Rescue, Tracking, Flyball, etc. This exceptional dog is also used for police, guide and protection work. Read more: dogo argentino appearance and morphology.
The Club del Dogo di Cordoba was founded in 1969. Other clubs would follow all over Argentina. The breed is well known throughout Europe, especially Germany, and was granted recognition by the FCI in 1960. In 1985, the Dogo Argentino Club of America was formed.
The original Dogo Argentino standard was written down by Antoñio in 1928, at barely 20 years old. The standard contained the distinctive features of the breed, the morphological and psychological elements typical of the dogo argentino. These characteristics were primarily functional and fit for the original environment and working conditions of the dogo argentino. The original standard was first published in 1948 in the magazine "Diana".
The standard which is still used today was laid down in 1973 by Augustìn Nores Martinez in order to seek recognition of the breed by the Federaciòn Cinològica Argentina and the FCI.
One of the foundation dogs used by Antoñio
Temperament and Character
Courage, intelligence and mental stability are the most important features of the dogo's character. A dogo argentino should never be coward, nor should it show aggressivity without a good reason, which would denote an unsteady temperament.
Cowardice or an unsteady temperament are considered severe defects and dogs showing these defects should not be bred even if they are morphologically perfect specimens.