How Smart are Dogo Argentinos? Everything We Know About Their Intelligence

white Dogo Argentino dog in the snow
© Hanna Dymytrova-Kaihila/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Kristin Hitchcock

Published: November 15, 2023

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Dogo Argentinos tend to be exceptionally independent and strong-willed. They like to make their own decisions and aren’t necessarily primed to listen to anyone else. However, they are also very intelligent, which may be one reason they’re such independent thinkers.

That said, testing the intelligence of dogs can be challenging, especially when it comes to less obedient breeds like the dogo Argentino. Most methods involve teaching the dog a cue and testing to see how long it takes them to learn it.

But what do you do with a breed that may decide they don’t want to do it? For this reason, less obedient breeds tend to perform poorly in these traditional intelligence tests.

That said, many dog breeders and those who work with the dogo Argentino report that they are very intelligent and have many problem-solving skills. They do best with an owner who can be consistent and not be out-thought by their own dog. They will try to find their way around things, and they may learn how to warp training methods for their own gain.

Intelligence Isn’t Everything

Dogo Argentinos are often considered very intelligent, as we described above. However, they do not necessarily use this intelligence for training purposes. Instead, they tend to be independent and use their smarts to make their own decisions, which may or may not be what you want them to do.

Furthermore, these dogs require a lot of work if you want to use their intelligence to their advantage. They’re tougher to train due to their strong-willed nature, not because they’re less intelligent than other dogs. They may know exactly what you want them to do, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it.

These dogs are also incredibly confident, which probably stems at least partially from their intelligence. They’re confident in their ability to make their own decisions without input from their owner.

This may be a good thing in some situations, such as when you’re training them to be a guard dog. However, it also means that you have to provide them with enough experience for them to make good decisions. They need tons of socialization to recognize normal, friendly behaviors from people and other dogs. Otherwise, they may interpret completely normal behaviors as red flags, leading to potential aggression and even biting. A poorly socialized dogo Argentino tends to be suspicious of everyone.

We cannot recommend these dogs around children. Because they tend to use their intelligence to make their own decisions, they may try to protect “their” children from other children, which can lead to serious injuries if your dog misinterprets roughhousing as actual aggression.

With such as massive dog, it’s vital that you train and socialize them properly. Otherwise, they may start making decisions that aren’t the “correct” ones.

Simply put, you cannot rest assured that these dogs will take cues from you. Due to their intelligence and strong-willed nature, these dogs will make their own decision. You have to provide them with enough experience for them to make the right ones.

How to Use a Dogo Argentino’s Intelligence

Most Expensive Dog Breeds: Dogo Argentino

Dogo Argentinos tend to be “too much dog” for your average household. It takes someone very dedicated to provide them with the proper training and socialization.

©Ershov_Andrey/Shutterstock.com

While their intelligence isn’t always aimed at obedience, that doesn’t mean you can’t use a dogo Argentino’s intelligence to make them better house dogs and prevent aggression.

These dogs are very good at figuring things out. If you provide them with enough socialization, they will figure out who is a friend and who isn’t. While you should always supervise these dogs around others and teach them obedience, socialization is where they really shine.

Therefore, we recommend getting them in group classes ASAP. You can put your puppy in classes as soon as they receive their first vaccinations. Group classes provide plenty of socialization opportunities around other dogs and people. Plus, many classes occur in public places, like parks, which also provide many socialization opportunities.

When your dog is a puppy, plan on taking them in public several times a week. Reward them for making good decisions (such as being friendly to people and ignoring hyperactive dogs). Try taking them to stores, parks, and any pet-friendly establishment you can find. You cannot oversocialize a dog, but you can undersocialize them.

At the same time, you should be training your dogo Argentino daily in several short sessions. For most people, a five-minute session in the morning and one at night works well. However, if you can add in another session (even if only on the weekends), try to. Use positive reinforcement training and over-practice the basics, like sit and stay. It’s these commands that will make your dog controllable when they are a massive adult.

Practice commands when you’re out socializing, too. Tell your dog to sit while they are greeted by a friendly adult. Have them stay and wait while you get their leash ready for a walk. Teach them to sit and wait at crosswalks.

Cues must first be taught in very controlled settings. However, once your dog understands them, you must teach them in the places where you’ll actually need them.

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About the Author

Kristin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering dogs, cats, fish, and other pets. She has been an animal writer for seven years, writing for top publications on everything from chinchilla cancer to the rise of designer dogs. She currently lives in Tennessee with her cat, dogs, and two children. When she isn't writing about pets, she enjoys hiking and crocheting.

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