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.