The history of the Dogo Argentino and the two brothers who created
the breed is as colorful and passionate as the history of Argentina
itself. Antonio Nores Martinez was not quite 18 years old and Agustin a
year younger in 1925 when Antonio first conceived and took the first
step in his vision of a big game hound created specifically for the
varied and rugged Argentine countryside.
"I still remember as if it were yesterday... the day when my
brother Antonio told me for the first time his idea of creating a new
breed of dog for big game, for which he was going to take advantage of
the extraordinary braveness of the Fighting Dog of Cordoba. Mixing them
with other breeds which would give them height, a good sense of smell,
speed, hunting instinct and, more than anything else deprive them of
that fighting eagerness against other dogs, which made them useless for
pack hunting. A mix that would turn them into sociable dogs, capable of
living in freedom, in families and on estates, keeping the great courage
of the primitive breed, but applied to a useful and noble end; sport
hunting and vermin control."
- Agustin Nores Martinez, History Of The Dogo Argentino
The "Fighting Dog of Cordoba"
It is important to point out that the Fighting Dog of Cordoba, a
breed established in that area consisting of Mastiff, English Bulldog,
Bull Terrier, and Boxer, is now extinct. Much of the early work on the
new breed was devoted to eliminating the fighting eagerness and
developing the hunting instinct. An effort that was essential and highly
The formula Antonio started was:
- The Fighting Dog of Cordoba, to which he added blood from..
- The Pointer to give him a keen sense of smell which would be
essential for the hunt.
- The Boxer added vivacity and
- The Great Dane it's size
- The Bull Terrier, fearlessness
- The Bulldog gave it an ample chest and
- The Irish Wolfhound brought it's instinct as a hunter of wild
- The Dogue de Bordeaux contributed it's powerful
- The Great Pyrenees it's white coat and
- The Spanish Mastiff gave it's quota of
The brothers gathered ten Cordoban bitches as their nucleus and began
bringing in the first of the contributing breeds as studs until the
early offspring showed promise in the desired direction. At a certain
point in the program they had as many as thirty bitches in their care.
This undertaking would not have been possible for two young men still in
school had it not been for the help given them by their family and
friends of their father. The senior Martinez hired a kennel man to care
for the dogs while Antonio and Agustin were in school and the brothers
spent all their pocket money on food for the dogs. They were also helped
by food donations given by their father's friends. Such help was gladly
accepted by the brothers in those early years but the dream and the plan
on how to make it a reality was Antonio's. His was the genius that
guided the program and Agustin was always at his side. Later in life
when Antonio became a respected surgeon, his medical knowledge improved
and refined his dream. He wrote the first standard for the new breed in
1928. Sadly Antonio never lived to see his dream become reality. He was
killed by a man who intended to rob him during a boar hunt in 1956.
Agustin then took over the dream, working on the new breed, bringing it
back from near devastation and moving the headquarters for the breed
from Cordoba to Esquel, located in Patagonia in southern Argentina.
Agustin Nores Martinez was the Argentine Ambassador to Canada and he
used this opportunity of travel to spread Dogos throughout the world.
Big game hunters in Argentina and it's neighboring countries were using
the Dogo on boar and puma. The Dogo Argentino was fast becoming a
The Dogo Argentino is an endurance hound much like his Irish
Wolfhound ancestor. He is expected to track the wild boar across vast
pampas, corner the animal and attack and hold it for the hunters. He is
capable of dazzling bursts of speed for short distances, but his forte
is covering long distances at a gallop (hence the arched loins to give
impetus at the gallop). Having cornered the boar, he must have enough
strength in reserve to attack and hold a wild boar weighing up to 400
pounds. In a traditional boar hunt the hunter will jump on the boar and
kill it with a knife thrust to the heart while the Dogos are locked on
with a death grip.
In A Brief History of the Argentinean Bulldog, by Agustin Nores
Martinez, as translated from the original spanish:
"I feel as a conscience imperative to make absolutely clear,
which is the bulldog's background, the breeds that took part, what is
what we intended to do, and which are the requirements or conditions
that a bulldog must meet to be a typical example of the breed. This
present extension, is a ratification of what was written in my first
book. The fears I point to in the prologue to the four editions are
confirmed a lot of times, when we see young people who ten years ago had
never seen a bulldog, taking the part of "judges" in
exhibitions, and who seemed to dream with "an own bulldog"
awarding specimens which are far away indeed from what a good bulldog
must be, as my brother Antonio and I intended in fifty long years of
work and achievements.
To the enthusiasts and honest judges, who really want to know what
the bulldog must be like is dedicated this knew (sic) book containing
the objective history, step by step about how the bulldog was achieved
and the extensive glossary of the standard that I make in chapter XV of
this book. To the others, those who mix the bulldog with the Bullterrier
to make them of lower height and weight, fighters against their own kind
is not this book addressed, but a piece of advice: To devote themselves
to the breeding of the Bullterrier in any of it's two varieties - White
and Color Bullterrier, or the Staffordterrier (sic) - breeds which were
created for fights, really noble animals, by the way, of extraordinary
courage to fight against on another and with those dogs, let their low
instincts loose if that is what they want, but, for God's sake!, do not
spoil a breed which was made, after great sacrifices to be useful for
Since 1937 - more than forty years ago - a group of enthusiasts have
been developing in Patagonia, with real sacrifice, the hunting instinct
of the bulldog and trying to take away from them the ancestral fighting
On the other hand, a few generations of bulldogs fighting between
them will have make (sic) it involutionate, and we have painfully
confirmed it already, to the useless Cordovan fight dog, insociable with
it's own kind, harmful for domestic animals an (sic) useless as hunters
or watching dogs. Happily there is, both in the country and them
for big game or they train them as watch - dogs, with which each
generation will gradually improve and coming nearer and nearer to the
goal we intended more than half a century ago."
Agustin Nores Martinez,
The Dogo Argentino was recognized by the Cinologic Federation of
Argentina and the Argentina Rural Society in 1964. The Argentina Kennel
Club, a member of the Federation Cynologique International (FCI)
recognized the breed on July 31, 1973.
Undoubtedly a big game hound, the attributes of the parent breeds
also give versatility. Early on in Argentina the Dogo was used for
obedience, military, police work and as guides for the blind. Much has
been said about the Dogo's courage and tenacity in the field, an
honestly inherited trait courtesy of the Bulldog. However, this same
courage and single mindedness of purpose gives rise to a great
sensitivity and kindness towards humans especially the youngest and
those most in need.
The following paragraph was written by Dogo
Argentino Club of America member Adrianne Jordan. Mrs. Jordan teaches
retarded children with the help of her Dogo Argentino, Carlotta.
Carlotta was introduced to the children as a puppy and has had no
special training. "She is 3 years old now - and very mature and well - behaved.
My students adore her and are very proud of her - somewhat possessive
too, when it comes to sharing her with non-disabled peers! Carlotta gets
more than her share of hugs, petting, and walks at school, and handles
even the roughest of my students with impressive tolerance."