BULLMASTIFF VS DOGO ARGENTINO
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HISTORICAL DIFFERENCES So, let’s get started with comparing the history of the Bullmastiff – a young breed originating in mid-19th century England. The Bullmastiff was created by gamekeepers who crossed the Old English Bulldog with the English Mastiff. In this way, they created the perfect dog for their needs. Which were to prevent poachers from hunting game. For that purpose, those gamekeepers needed a dog able to track down and hold those poachers - until they themselves could capture them. Whilst the Bulldog equipped this new guardian breed with the necessary prey drive and aggression, the more slow and mellow Mastiff brought the body mass and restraint needed for the job. Due to the gamekeepers’ superb work, the Bullmastiff’s guarding skills soon made these dogs popular far beyond England. In 1934, the breed was recognized by the AKC. Since then, the Bullmastiff has become a popular guard dog in many countries. As its name suggests, the Dogo Argentino is an Argentinian breed. First developed in 1928, this intrepid dog was created primarily for hunting large game such as wild boars, stags, water buffalos and even pumas. The dog’s role consisted in tracking, cornering, and holding the prey until the hunters’ arrival. For that purpose, the breed’s creator, Antonio Nores Martínez, crossed the (now extinct) Fighting Dog of Cordoba with other breeds such as the Great Dane, the Pointer, and the Spanish Mastiff. The result of Mr. Martínez’ work is an absolutely stunning dog: Beautiful and elegant in appearance, but fierce and fearless on the job. Apart from its original role as hunter, the Dogo Argentino quickly made a name for itself as an extremely capable property guardian and personal protection dog.
DIFFERENCES IN LOOKS Both the Bullmastiff and the Argentinian Mastiff are giant breeds. Whilst they both have tall, well-muscled bodies, they are actually very easy to tell apart, because the Dogo Argentino comes exclusively in White. Bullmastiffs have blocky heads with marked stop and pronounced jowls. They have the deep facial folds characteristic for brachycephalic breeds. The elegant, light-footed Dogos are not nearly as bulky. Actually, they look more like large American Pitbulls than like “actual” Mastiffs: They still are very muscular, tall, and strong - just built lighter and lacking the jowls of the typical Mastiffs. Fully matured male Dogo Argentinos stand up to impressive 68 cm at the withers – which amounts to 27 inches. They can weigh up to 45 kg – that is 99 pounds. As with any breeds, the females are slightly smaller and lighter. And whilst Bullmastiffs are only slightly taller, they are considerably heavier: Male adults reach heights of up to 69 cm – or 27 inches -, and weigh up to 59 kg, or 130 pounds. Again, the females are built slightly smaller and lighter. Contrary to the Bullmastiff with its with uncropped ears and undocked tail, the Dogo often comes with cropped ears. Both dogs have short, soft, and naturally shiny coats. And whilst the Dogo’s satiny coat is exclusively white, the Bullmastiff can come in brindle, red or fawn.
INTELLIGENCE & TRAINABILITY DIFFERENCES In terms of intelligence, the quick-to-learn Dogo ranks higher than its English cousin. But when it comes to their tendency to think independently, they are quite alike: These are strong-willed dogs who have a distinct stubborn streak. Which makes training them quite interesting. Conventional methods and harsh corrections lead nowhere with these stubborn, yet sensitive breeds. What will work is a balanced approach with lots of positive reinforcement. And, of course, patience. Lots of it. Both Mastiff breeds need to be socialised from puppyhood onwards to become well-rounded and safe dogs. But whilst the Bullmastiff carries the docile English Mastiff’s gentleness in its genes, the Dogo does not have that benefit. Which makes obedience training and diligent socialization absolutely crucial with this breed. Dogo Argentinos are not beginner dogs – they need a calm, consistent leader to train and guide them. Provided with such leadership, especially the smart Dogo can reach quite high levels of obedience. The Bullmastiff is a bit slower in everything, but with patience and persistence, this bulky protector can be trained to impressive levels of manners and obedience as well.
TEMPERAMENT DIFFERENCES Both of these majestic Mastiffs make excellent guard- and personal protection dogs. Conveniently, neither breed needs any training in this field, as they share a profound wariness of strangers and are born with strong protective instincts. With that said, the Bullmastiff tends to be more balanced in its approach to guarding than the quick-to-react Dogo Argentino. True to its original purpose, the Bullmastiff will rarely charge forth and outright bite person, unless it sees no other option. The Dogo is more proactive when it comes to defending its own: A trait possibly inherited from the Cordoba Dog. This natural aggression that runs in the breed is probably the reason why the Dogo Argentino is banned in various countries. Whilst the Bullmastiff is not overly prone to dog aggression, the Dogo can pose a serious threat to other canines. Unfortunately, the breed seems to have inherited a good portion of dog aggression from its ancestor, the Cordoba Dog, who was known to fight to the death in dog fighting pits. When it comes to their loyalty, devotion, and affection for their owners, the two are almost on the same level: Extremely loving and devoted, both the Bullmastiff and the Argentinian Mastiff form strong emotional bonds with their family. They definitely should be allowed to live in the house and be included in family life. Also, they are surprisingly calm and laid-back indoors – and they both love a good cuddle.
EXERCISE AND GROOMING DIFFERENCES Bullmastiff are quite low in their energy levels and exercise requirement. They are true gentle giants in the house and quite happy with two nice walks a day of around 30 minutes each. Of course, they still enjoy their playtimes – they just do not need as much of it as the energetic Dogo Argentino. When it comes to grooming, these breeds are again very similar, as their short, smooth coats are quite easy to clean. Both Mastiffs require little more than a weekly once-over with a soft bristle brush. Outside of shedding season in spring and autumn, these dogs hardly shed. The Dogo Argentino’s smooth, white coat is easy to care for and stays remarkably clean. Dogos are known to be neat and clean house dogs with little doggie odor.