The Dogo Argentino is an amiable, outgoing, powerful breed that should never be aggressive towards people. It was bred to be gentle and protective of family members, especially children. However, it also was bred to be a strong, tenacious, fearless hunter of large, dangerous prey. These qualities are sometimes in conflict, although this breed has a remarkable instinctive ability to separate its ferociousness from its friendliness. Dogos can make excellent companions for active, experienced dog owners. Some Dogos – especially intact males – are assertive, overbearing and territorial around other dogs. However, the breed generally has a kind and loving disposition and is gentle at home, easily making the transition from hunter to companion. Dogos are terrific watchdogs, being protective and loyal to their family without showing overly-aggressive behavior. A properly-socialized Dogo Argentino makes friends easily but reacts instantly to threatening or challenging behavior from friend or foe. This breed will usually try to assert itself as Alpha over other animals and people. It is important that a clear hierarchy be established within the household so that all people and pets can coexist harmoniously.
The Dogo Argentino needs lots of daily exercise to stay sound and fit and mental stimulation to keep them entertained and happy. It enjoys long walks and the opportunity to run freely in a safely-enclosed area to stretch its powerful legs and burn off energy. It especially loves hunting, tracking and following scents along a prey trail, of course always with its owner. When a Dogo doesn’t get enough exercise, or if it is left alone for long periods of time, it can become depressed, bored, frustrated and/or destructive. A dog of this size can destroy a sofa, chair or table, or bring down curtains or tapestries, in a very short period of time. Dogos are curious dogs – not hyperactive like some breeds, but still quite inquisitive about their environment.
Dogos are incredibly intelligent and are quick learners. They respond well to training when it is done consistently, gently and with positive reinforcement. When given praise, rewards and affection for proper behavior, Dogos quickly learn what is expected of them. When scolded, yelled at or punished harshly, Dogos tend to withdraw and become stubborn or unresponsive. They can also become unruly with rough treatment, and sometimes turn dangerous. Basic obedience training and socialization must start at an early age for this breed. Delaying socialization can create a fearful, aggressive dog instead of the friendly yet imposing watchdog that the Dogo Argentino was bred to be. Dogos are competitive in dog sports such as obstacle coursing and disc-catching. Obedience training is fun for these dogs. They are natural heelers and want to please their owners. If bred and raised properly, they have a steady temperament and seem to adjust themselves quickly to different situations.
The Dogo Argentino reportedly has one of the most powerful bites in the dog world. Fortunately, it was bred to be non-aggressive and gentle with people. Unfortunately, it loves to chew. In order to prevent unwanted chewing, Dogo owners should provide their dogs with sturdy, chewable toys that resist wear-and-tear by a powerful dog. These toys should be constantly available, so that the dog learns which objects are okay to chew and which are off limits.
Dogos crave close contact with their family. They are said to never lie at your feet, but rather on your feet. Dogos love to cuddle with their people, crawling up onto the couch and sitting in any available lap. Anyone looking for a dog that won’t climb onto furniture to snuggle with them, or that can be left alone for long periods of time, should select another breed. Dogos are reliable watchdogs and guardians of people and property. Their courageousness and focus in the field gives rise to an extraordinary kindness and gentleness in the home, especially with children and people who need special attention.