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Dogo History

Together with his younger brother Agustín, Dr. Nores Martinez crossed various breeds with Cordoba’s unrelenting fighting dog in an effort to give it the missing traits that would make it a peerless hunter and effective pack dog. The Pointer enhanced scenting ability, while the harlequin Great Dane added height. The Bull Terrier contributed the white coat that has become the breed’s hallmark – as well as the occasional “pirate” patch that is sometimes present over one of the eyes (the only place where a Dogo can have an allowable black patch). Yet-another white breed, the rare Pyrenean Mastiff, imparted a steady, calm temperament, while the Boxer gave additional tractability as well as agility. The need for powerful jaws occasioned crosses to Bulldogs.

In 1928, several years after he started breeding, Dr. Nores Martinez wrote the first Dogo Argentino breed standard, accompanied by his drawings of the ideal Dogo. Some two decades later, the breed was popular enough to have this description published in a national magazine, and Dr. Nores Martinez organized a demonstration to show off the dog’s gladiatorial capabilities, pitting his Dogo against a boar and a puma. Of the three, only the dog survived.

Unfortunately, Dr. Nores Martinez himself did not live long enough to see his breed recognized on the international stage. Out bird-hunting without his Dogo in 1956, he was murdered, along with a friend, presumably in a botched burglary.

In the aftermath of Dr. Nores Martinez’s death, his brother Agustín was jailed as a political prisoner, and the kennel disbanded. Somehow, after his release, the younger Nores Martinez tracked down some of the original dogs, and restarted the breeding program, intending to see his brother’s dream come to complete fruition. A prominent attorney, he was named Argentina’s ambassador to Canada, a high-visibility post that permitted him to travel the world, publicizing the Dogo Argentino along the way. 

© The American Kennel Club, Inc. 2022. All rights reserved.

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