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Dogo Argentino
Dogo.jpg
Dogo Argentino
Other names Argentine Dogo
Argentinian Mastiff
Nicknames Dogo
Country of origin Argentina
Traits

The Dogo Argentino (also known as the Argentine Dogo or Argentinian Mastiff) is a large, white, muscular dog that was developed in Argentina for the purpose of big-game hunting, primarily cougar and boar.

Contents

Appearance

The Dogo Argentino is a large, white (sometimes spotted), short-coated dog with a smooth, muscular body, displaying both power and athletic ability. The minimum height for the male is 62 cm (24.3 inches) at the withers, for the female 60 cm (23.5 inches). Maximum height is 68.5 cm (27 inches). The length of body is just slightly longer than tall, but female dogs may be somewhat longer in body than male dogs. The length of the front leg (measured from point of elbow to the ground) is approximately equal to one-half of the dog's height at the withers. The head is powerful with a broad, slightly domed skull and a powerful muzzle that is slightly higher at the nose than the stop, when viewed in profile. Ears may be cropped, never to hang naturally, close to the skull. The tail is set low, thick at the base and tapers to a point.

Health

Due to pigment-related deafness, as in the dalmatian and the white bull terrier, the dogo commonly experiences an approximately 10% deafness rate overall with some dogos afflicted unilaterally (one deaf ear) and some dogs bilaterally (deaf in both ears). It is impossible to adequately diagnose deafness, particularly unilaterally-afflicted dogs, through behavioral testing. Due to the advancement of BAER technology, veterinarians and dog breeders are now able to adequately identify congenital deafness at a very early age. This means that breeders are now are able to actively select against pigment-related congenital deafness in a way not possible before the advent of BAER technology. Studies show the incidence of deafness is drastically decreased when only breeding stock with bilaterally normal hearing is used[1][2][3].

As with all large dogs, hip dysplasia is potential though highly uncommon in lines actively worked. With careful feeding and prudent exercise during the growth stage concerns with CHD are uncommon in this breed.

Temperament

Dogos are very athletic

Like all dogs of any size or breed, dogos require obedience training and socialization; no dog should be left unattended with small children. They are protective of what they perceive as their territory and will guard it against any intruder. They get along with other dogs as long as they have been properly socialized, but will usually not tolerate another dog trying to assert dominance over them and might not coexist peacefully with another dominant breed of dog. They can develop an aggressive or dominant temperament if not socialized with other dogs at an early age, particularly with other dogs of the same sex. Dog aggression per se is absolutely not a desirable trait in the Dogo Argentino, as it is at odds with its intended purpose as a pack hunter. A single "pet" dogo without a working outlet for energy and drive may feel himself to be "king of the mountain" and carry himself accordingly, though the same dog may work perfectly cooperatively with other males while hunting.

Dogos are typically strong-tempered animals not suitable for the novice dog owner; they do best with an experienced handler. Dogos are recent comers to suburban life. Unlike many breeds classified as "working dogs", dogos are not "historically" working dogs, but dogs currently and actively selected for working function and temperament. Pet owners interested in the Dogo Argentino would do well to remember that these are working animals with a serious need for exercise and outlet of hunting driven by way of activities such as tracking, trailing, or sport work.

Dogos Argentinos are accomplished big-game hunters, and are used today in a variety of ways from tracking, search and rescue, general police work including narcotics detection, military and family dogs. They are even occasionally used as guide dogs, or as service animals, though their primary work remains boar hunting. Due to their very great prey drive, physical capabilities and strong temperament, they are not dogs commonly suited to be suburban backyard pets, though they do make excellent companions for exceptionally capable and dedicated dog owners.

Fighting and legality

The dogo argentino was bred primarily from the Cordoban Fighting Dog. It was bred to reduce certain aggressive traits inherent in the Cordoban Fighting Dog, specifically its lack of ability to hunt cooperatively in a pack, as the breed was intended to function as a cooperative pack hunter. In particular areas of the world where dog fighting as a bloodsport remains culturally acceptable, some people have bred them for fighting. Dogos of these lines are extremely aggressive and not suited for big game hunting, unlike the original dogo argentino. In the United Kingdom it is illegal to own dogos argentinos without specific exemption from a court per the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The Australian government has banned the importation of this dog. In neither country was there a population of dogos at the time the breed-specific laws were passed. The dog is also illegal in New Zealand[4] and Norway[5].

History

An Argentine Dogo puppy

In the 1930s in Argentina, Antonio Nores Martinez set out to breed the ultimate big game hunting dog, a dog not only capable of taking on dangerous game such as wild boar and cougars, but a dog also capable of being a loyal pet and family guardian.

Martinez picked the Cordoba Fighting Dog to be the base for the breed. This breed is extinct today but was described as a large and ferocious dog that was both a great hunter and fighter. He crossed it with Great Dane, Boxer, Spanish Mastiff, Old English Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Great Pyrenees, Pointer, Irish Wolfhound and Dogue de Bordeaux. Martinez kept improving the resulting breed via selective breeding to introduce the desired traits. The first standard for the Dogo Argentino was written in 1928. The Dogo Argentino was introduced to the United States by Dr. Raúl Zeballos, of Las Pampas Kennels, in 1970. Las Pampas Kennels has been continuously breeding Dogo Argentino's since 1950 and upholding the original breed standard.

See also

References

  1. ^ Deafness assessment services by means of the brainstem auditory-evoked response. Strain GM. J Vet Intern Med. 1993 Mar-Apr;7(2):104-5.
  2. ^ Heritability and segregation analysis of deafness in U.S. Dalmatians. Cargill EJ, Famula TR, Strain GM, Murphy KE. Genetics. 2004 Mar;166(3):1385-93.
  3. ^ Brainstem auditory evoked potentials in veterinary medicine. Strain GM. Br Vet J. 1992 Jul-Aug;148(4):275-8.
  4. ^ "NZ department of internal affairs". Peabody S.. 2009-10-07. http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Resource-material-Dog-Control-Key-Facts?OpenDocument.  
  5. ^ "Forskrift om hunder". Lovdata. 2009-08-25. http://www.lovdata.no/for/sf/jd/xd-20040820-1204.html#map0. Retrieved 2009-08-25.  

External links

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