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. 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 successful.
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 gentleness
- The Great Dane it’s size
- The Bull Terrier, fearlessness
- The Bulldog gave it an ample chest and boldness
- The Irish Wolfhound brought it’s instinct as a hunter of wild game
- The Dogue de Bordeaux contributed it’s powerful jaws
- The Great Pyrenees it’s white coat and
- The Spanish Mastiff gave it’s quota of power
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 legend.
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 mankind.
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 eagerness.”
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.”