Dogo Argentinos and Pit Bull are so similar to each other they are quite often mixed up, especially if he happens to be an all-white Pit. Of course, if you are the proud owner of either of these dogs, that’s not a mistake you’re going to make.
Both breeds are pretty easy-going and happy dogs, very willing to make new friends. The Dogo Argentino (also known as the Argentinian Fighting Dog) is typically a little more reserved than the Pit Bull. You’ll find the Pit Bull welcoming you to his home with a lot more exuberance than the Dogo, who is more circumspect until he gets to know you.
The title of this article is Dogo Argentino vs. Pit Bull, so there are several differences between them, and that’s what we’re going to discuss. There’s no disguising that Dogos are more discriminating when it comes to strangers than Pit Bulls, but there are also other differences.
Continue reading if you would enjoy learning more about the difference between Dogo Argentino and Pit Bull.
Dogo Argentino History
In 1928 an Argentine doctor, Antonio Nores Martinez, began to develop this breed. Taking a local dog as the mainstay of his future breed, the Old Fighting Dog of Cordoba, he began to crossbreed with other dogs, such as Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, and Mastiffs.
Initially, thought of as a fighting dog, Dr. Martinez had other ideas and took his new dog breed, the Dogo Argentino, on his hunting trips and began cementing the dog’s reputation as a fearless hunting dog with peerless skills. The dog Dr. Martinez was looking to create would become a loyal family companion dog, but with a fierce prey drive, bravery, and strong sense of smell, the Dogos hunted wild boars, pumas, and other large game.
In 1973 the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) accepted the Dogo Argentino into its ranks as the first and still today, the only Argentinian dog breed. Thankfully the AKC (American Kennel Club) finally recognized the Dogo Argentino in 2020 as the 195th dog breed and was assigned into the Working Group.
Pit Bull History
Pit Bull is a term that covers several breeds, so it’s incorrect to use the word as though there is only one dog breed. There are four distinct breeds of dogs under the umbrella term of Pit Bull; the American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers (APBT), and American Bullies. These dog breeds are passionately loved by their owners as much as the wider public seems to despise them.
The original dog behind these breeds was an English creation and bred to fight. It was a vicious and disgraceful sport, a sign of those times when commoners had little in the way of entertainment and was a relief from the humdrum and tedious life that most people in England had to endure.
The sport began with dogs similar to the American Bulldog, the Olde English Bulldog, and in the 1800s, trained to bait bears. Fortunately, by the 1830s, this ‘sport’ was outlawed in England, and the people had to resort to other ways of passing the time.
A new type of dog breed was required that was more agile than the old bear-baiting dogs. Breeders began experimenting with mixing terriers with the Olde English Bulldog to make them quicker and faster on their feet. Initially, breeders trained these dogs to kill rats in a pit; this is where Pit Bull came into being.
This pastime was outlawed, so the next step was to pitch these dogs against each other. A big part of breeding these dogs was attempting to create a breed of dog that was both vicious to other dogs but wouldn’t bite their human handlers, and so the dog’s reputation as fierce fighters but gentle to humans was born.
Dogo Argentino And Pit Bull Appearance
To compare the Dogo Argentino and the Pit Bull’s appearance, we cannot use all four dogs that come under Pit Bulls. So we are going to compare using the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT).
The American Pit Bull Terrier and The Dogo Argentino are so alike that you could mistake them for each other at first look, and as we mentioned at the start of the article, this is a common mistake when the APBT is white.
Dogo Argentino And Pit Bull Size Comparison
But look at both dogs more closely, and it’s apparent there are several differences. For example, a Dogo Argentino will grow between twenty-four and twenty-seven inches; the APBT, on the other hand, is between eighteen to twenty-one inches; that’s quite a difference already in the dogs.
You will find the same difference in weight. The Dogos are between eighty-eight and one hundred pounds, and the APBT weighs between thirty-five and sixty-five pounds. Dogo Argentinos are white dogs, and they only ever appear in this one color. They can have a dark spot on their heads, but it must cover one eye only. Should you want to show your dog in the ring, then this dark area can only cover a maximum of 10% of the entire head area.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has various coat colors such as black, fawn, blue, tan, brown, white, grey, and red. However, both dog breeds are single-coated with short, smooth coats. Neither dog has an undercoat.
One striking feature for both the Pit Bull and the Dogo Argentino is cropped ears. This practice seems to have been the norm for many years and probably relates to their respective histories where ear cropping would have prevented severe ear injuries. Many new owners now frown on cropping a dog’s ear, so thankfully, it’s becoming less common. Both the Pit Bull and Dogo Argentino have floppy ears when left in their natural state.
Dogo Argentino Vs. Pit Bull Temperament
Irrespective of the Pit Bull and Dogo Argentino being so similar in appearance, they have different personalities, which you would expect coming from such diverse backgrounds.
Dogo Argentino Temperament
The Dogo Argentino (or Argentine Dogo) has power written all over him, yet there’s still grace and style with the dog’s looks. Dogo Argentino hunting dogs would have needed this power to subdue the wild animals they were set to bring down and at all times be fearless. Surprisingly inside the home, the Dogo is a calm and relaxed family member.
This is true, providing you give them a great deal of exercise every day. The Dogo must have an owner who understands this and can offer the dog time and energy; potential owners must have an active lifestyle. The Dogo Argentino can be aggressive if they feel their family is in danger, but having an aggressive nature is not an accurate description. The dog looks intimidating and is always on guard around his family but is typically friendly, and he’s also happy to be around the family’s children.
The Argentine Dogo is not a dog recommended for first-time owners; the dog is naturally dominant and needs early socialization and training with an owner that precisely understands how to handle this type of breed.
Dogos must have an owner that is consistent, firm, but also calm and confident. The dog must appreciate boundaries and rules set by his owner and obey them. A weak owner who allows the dog too much latitude will cause problems with a dog such as the Argentine Dogo. Dogos have a high prey drive and generally are not safe with small creatures, and a Dogo Argentino can be aggressive with other dogs; as the owner, you must not allow the white mastiff to become dominant.
Pit Bull Temperament
Pit Bulls are a puzzle; some say they are dangerous others, especially their owners, say they are the most lovable dog in the world. Who or what to believe? In my experience with dogs, both statements are perfectly valid and accurate. While some Pit Bulls are aggressive and possibly even dangerous, that’s also accurate when describing many other dog breeds.
The dog’s aggressiveness might not be their fault; for example, if the dog’s owners abused or mistreated them or simply couldn’t handle the dog. It might also be the case the Pit Bull came from less than responsible breeders. Yes, the result of these issues creates a dangerous and aggressive dog, yet not an entire breed.
Pit Bulls need a significant amount of exercise every day, far more than the average family dog. Pit Bulls without sufficient exercise will soon get bored (this is also accurate for dozens of other dog breeds). Once a Pit Bull is bored and listless, he will become destructive; this dog’s size will do an incredible amount of damage to your home in next to no time. So, if you want a calm and happy Pit Bull, tire him out.
A properly socialized, trained, and exercised Pit Bull makes a tremendously loyal and loving family dog, and I include children in the family. If you ask most Pit Bull owners, they will be effusive over how loving and affectionate their Pit Bull is; they are a great big lapdog.
However, a dog can’t ignore his genetics, and Pit Bulls simply were bred to kill other animals, be it bulls, bears, rats, or other dogs; initially, that was their purpose in life. A typical Pit Bull can be animal aggressive; in fact, some cannot co-habit with other animals. Early socialization is a must if you want a Pit Bull not to show signs of aggression to other animals. Pit Bulls like the Dogo Argentino is an alpha dog, and he wants to be the boss. Allowing a Pit Bull to be the alpha because of inadequate or inconsistent training is a recipe for a disastrous relationship.
This natural desire of the Pit Bull to be the alpha is why early socialization is crucial. While the Pit Bull is very young and impressionable, it is time to assert yourself as the alpha and make him realize he isn’t going to be the alpha. The Pit Bull and the Dogo Argentino are not dogs for the first-time owner; neither are they suitable for owners who cannot treat and train in a calm, firm, relaxed, and confident manner.
Pit Bull And Dogo Argentino Health
As we mentioned, Pit Bulls are powerful and muscular dogs; nevertheless, they do have some health concerns. The primary health concerns are hip dysplasia, cataracts, and heart disease. The lifespan of the Pit Bull is between eleven and thirteen years.
Hip dysplasia is hereditary and affects the joint between the hips and hind legs. This condition can be excruciating for the dog, and when it comes on, they find it difficult to walk. Ensuring the dog doesn’t become overweight can help; however, it will not cure the condition. Only surgery will fix the problem permanently.
Cataracts form when the eye lens, a tiny transparent disc in the dog’s eye, develops cloudy areas. With enough time, these areas will enlarge, causing the dog’s vision to become blurry and, if not treated, lead to blindness. There is no natural treatment for cataracts; the lens has to be removed and replaced.
Heart disease, such as valve malformations and heart rhythm issues. Some conditions are not severe, but some may mean a Pit Bull will need surgery and medication. Pit Bulls are also known to suffer from various allergies.
Dog Argentinos do have some health issues, although in general, they are a healthy breed.
Some conditions to look out for are; deafness, thyroid problems, laryngeal paralysis, and hip dysplasia.
Deafness: there is some evidence to suggest that hereditary deafness can occur with about 10% of all Dogos. Regular ear cleaning and check-ups are necessary. If everything seems ok and the dog starts to ignore or appear not to hear you, then a more thorough investigation is needed. It might be an ear infection or something more serious.
Thyroid: dogs, in general, can suffer from hypothyroidism when their bodies do not produce sufficient thyroid hormone. If your dog develops any of these signs, he should have a blood test; anxiety, weight gain, hair loss, skin conditions, unusually aggressive behavior, and other possible behavioral changes.
Laryngeal paralysis: this condition causes the vocal cords to become paralyzed. If your Dogo develops very noisy breathing after exercise or difficulty breathing, you should take him to the vet.
Hip Dysplasia: this condition is inherited and common in Dogo Argentinos, the same as in Pit Bulls.
Bottom Line – Dogo Argentino Vs. Pit Bull
Both the Pit Bull and Dogo Argentino are powerful and muscular dogs; both love their respective families and are incredibly loyal and protective dogs.
First-time dog owners or even those with little to no significant dog experience are advised to avoid these two breeds. If you decide you can’t live without one, prepare yourself for a vigorous daily exercise routine and early socialization and training regime.