The Dogo Argentino and the Pitbull are often confused as the same breed of dog. Both of these dogs have a large, solid muscular build, and often imposing look about them. Dogo Argentinos and Pitbulls share a number of common characteristics, as well as unfortunate reputations.
Is a Dogo Argentino a Pitbull? The Dogo Argentino is a completely separate breed of dog from the Pitbull. There are a number of differences in size, lineage, and temperament that separate these dogs as uniquely distinct breeds. Though very similar in appearance, they are entirely different breeds.
The Dogo Argentino stands as its own distinct breed, recognized as such by the American Kennel Club. The Pitbull however can refer to the American Pitbull Terrier, or the “Pitbull type” dogs. These Pitbull type dogs are usually referring to the American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Bully.
For the sake of this article I will be referring to the American Pitbull Terrier. Though the Dogo Argentino is also a distinct breed from the “Pitbull type” dogs as well. Stick around and learn some interesting facts about these two amazing dog breeds.
What Is The Difference Between A Dogo Argentino And A Pitbull?
There are 3 distinct differences between a Dogo Argentino and a Pitbull. Appearance, history, and temperament. At times a Pitbull can resemble a Dogo Argentino, there are very specific physical traits that separate the two. The history of the two breeds is also very distinct, leading to differences in temperament.
To understand why a Dogo Argentino is not a Pitbull we must first look at the differences in appearance.
One of the primary differences between a Dogo Argentino and a Pitbull is size. On average the Dogo Argentino is much larger than the Pitbull. Dogo Argentinos are around 24-27 inches tall, weighing around 85-100 lbs. Pitbulls are around 18-21 inches tall and weigh much less at 40-65 lbs.
Dogo Argentinos have a very distinct breed standard when it comes to coloring. All Dogo Argentinos have white coats, with allowable dark patches on the ears, head or eyes. The size of the spot must be in proportion to the size of the head, not exceeding 10 percent of the latter.
Oftentimes this is where the confusion may come between a Dogo Argentino and a white Pitbull. They can appear very similar, but Pitbulls can come in a variety of different colors, whereas a Dogo Argentino is always white.
History Of The Dogo Argentino
Many people think that a Dogo Argentino is a Pitbull mix, or even a divergence in breeding lineage. This is false. The history of the Dogo Argentino and the Pitbull are very different. Though the Dogo Argentino is a mix of various pure breed dogs, the Pitbull Terrier is not one of them.
The Dogo Argentino was created by Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez in 1928. Dr. Martinez was from, you guessed it, Argentina. Martinez had a passion, some may call an obsession, for selectively breeding the ultimate hunting dog.
Through meticulous cross breeding of various purebred dogs Dr. Martinez aimed to create a tremendous large game hunting dog. The Dogo Argentino was made to be a tenacious, brave, and savvy hunter, with the power and agility to bring down large puma and wild boars.
Dogo Argentinos began with the breeding of the now extinct Cordoba Fighting dog. The Cordoba was a ferocious fighting dog with an incredibly high pain tolerance. Using the Cordoba as a base, Dr Martinez introduced many other purebred dogs to accentuate their various features of strength, tenacity, agility, and speed.
These breeds included:
- Great Dane
- Spanish Mastiff
- Old English Bulldog
- Bull Terrier
- Pyrenean Mastiff
- English Pointer
- Irish Wolfhound
- Dogue de Bordeaux
History Of The Pitbull
The history of the Pitbull Terrier stems from the bull-baiting era of early 19th century England. Pitbulls were bred with bulldogs and terrier dogs to create strong, tenacious, and fearless fighting dogs. These bull-and-terrier breeds had no official breed standard. The best fighting dogs were bred to create even more fearsome pit fighters.
In the attempts to establish a breed standard we saw a conflict between the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. This dispute created a split. What is now called the American Pitbull Terrier, a recognized breed by the UKC, and the American Staffordshire Terrier, recognized by the AKC.
Both breeds now have very distinct standards, but at one point were essentially the same type of dog.
As the horrific blood sport of bull-baiting and pit fighting became illegal, the Pitbull became more of a family and service dog. Because of their affinity towards people they became excellent family pets and excelled in various jobs such as search and rescue, therapy, and police work.
The differences in temperament between the Dogo Argentino and the Pitbull can be subtle. In many ways the Dogo and Pitty have very similar temperaments when it comes to their love and affection for family. These two breeds of dogs are highly loyal, loving, and excellent companion dogs.
The Dogo Argentino is a loving family dog, but is also a protective guard dog. These dogs have the DNA of protective hunting dogs imprinted in them, and they can be very wary of strangers. It is not uncommon for a Dogo Argentino to be used specifically as an estate guard dog, or personal protection breed.
Whereas the Pitbull generally loves every human. Pitbulls are far more likely to be friendly with strangers of all sorts. This is also part of their DNA that stems from the early pit fighting days. Handlers of pit fighting dogs would not tolerate any sign of human aggression from their dogs. As a result Pitbulls were bred to be very friendly towards people.
When it comes to energy levels the Dogo Argentino and Pitbull are very similar. They both require a good deal of exercise every day to remain balanced and behaved. The Dogo however can become far more destructive and frustrated when their exercise needs are not met.
The working and hunting dog DNA of the Dogo can easily lead to boredom when not properly addressed. This excess in pent up energy and frustration can lead to destructive behaviors, and potentially dangerous aggressive behaviors towards other people and pets.
Are Dogo Argentinos Related To Pitbulls?
Despite the similarities in appearance Dogo Argentinos are not directly related to Pitbulls. Based on its origins to the Cordoba Fighting Dog, Dogo Argentinos are considered to be a Mastiff breed. The Pitbull stems from the bull-and-terrier breed type of dog that consisted of Old English Bulldogs and terrier dogs.
Though Dogos and Pitbulls are not considered to be directly related, if we look back far enough, we can draw some shared roots in the Molossus dogs of ancient Greece. Molosser dogs were large, broad chested dogs that were bred as warriors, flock protectors, and guardians.
Many breeds of dogs are descended from this breed in one form or another. These include the Dogo Argentino and the Pitbull. The Dogo Argentino from it’s Mastiff roots, and the Pitbull from it’s English Bulldog roots. Both Mastiffs and Bulldogs are considered to be Molosser descendant dogs.
Is A Dogo Argentino A Bully Breed?
The Dogo Argentino is considered a Bully breed because of their roots to the Molosser dogs of ancient Greece. These Molosser dogs are believed to be a common ancestor of many of the Bully type breeds we know today. From French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers to Dogo Argentinos and Pitbulls.
The history of the Molosser dog, and the definition of what makes a Bully breed dog can be complex. I have a full breakdown of all the most popular Bully breeds in my recent article “What Is A Bully Breed? – The 22 Popular Bully Breed Dogs”
Though Dogo Argentinos and Pitbulls have more things in common than they do different, they are both unique breeds. Understanding the difference between the two is very important when considering bringing one into your home. Each has their own temperament and tendiancies based on their individual histories.
Dogo Argentinos and Pitbulls both make loving and loyal family pets. They can be a wonderful companion animal for committed owners willing to take the time to attend to all their needs. Learning as much about the breed of your dog will help in creating a stable, well balanced and obedient dog for your family.