This breed is a relatively new one, and while the Dogo Argentino history is rich, it is rather short. The foundation took place in 1928 when two brothers, Antonio and Agustin Martinez of Cordoba, Argentina desired a dog that could give the Fighting Dog of Cordoba the following: the Boxer's gentle demeanor, the fearlessness of the Bull Terrier, the Bulldog's boldness, the lockjaw power of the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Great Dane's size, the wild game hunting instinct of the Irish Wolfhound, and the Pointer's extraordinary sense of smell — and so much more. They also wanted a dog that, despite all these fearsome hunting, fighting and guarding traits, could be trusted to be a family companion.
Unfortunately, Antonio's dream was cut short when, in 1956, he was murdered during a boar hunt by a man who intended to rob him. Agustin didn't hesitate to maintain the brothers' project; by this time, he was the Argentine Ambassador to Canada, and he levied this influence to introduce the dog to the rest of the world. To this day, the dog is known in Canada as a hunter of moose.
By 1964, the Cinologic Federation of Argentina and the Argentina Rural Society had recognized the breed. In 1970, a Dr. Raul Zeballos exported the breed to the United States. The Argentina Kennel Club — a member of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) — saw to accepting the breed in 1973. (The Dogo Argentino is recognized by the FCI as the first and currently exclusive Argentinian dog breed.)
As the breed gained popularity worldwide, the Dogo Argentino Club of America was formed (1985), the AKC allowed the dog into its Foundation Stock Service (1996) and the UKC formally recognized the dog in 2001 by placing the breed in the Guardian Dog Group. Ten years later, in 2011, the AKC allowed the Dogo Argentino another step toward formal recognition by granting a Working Dog registration.
Due to the dog's fighting background and what breeds make a Dogo Argentino, the breed has become a very popular in dog-fighting circles, an aspect which has prompted it to be misappropriated for illegal dog fights and to be poorly bred as well as badly managed — and listed on the banned dogs registers of several countries and regions.