No, Dogo Argentinos are not illegal in the United States. There is no national law prohibiting the adoption, sale, or transportation of this breed in the US.
However, various states and cities within the country consider them dangerous and have placed rigid ownership restrictions and bans on Dogo Argentinos due to their potential propensity for violence, public outlook, and ancestry.
Furthermore, many homeowners are against them, and most homeowner insurance will not cover them for the reasons mentioned above.
Before adopting a Dogo Argentinos in the United States, it is crucial to check your state policies and city ordinances regarding pets to ensure there are no restrictions or bans on this dog breed in your area.
Why are Dogo Argentinos Illegal?
Several nations and states have opted to ban the Dogo Argentinos to keep the public’s minds at rest, reduce dog fighting rings, and mitigate pet-oriented violence.
The Dogo Argentino possesses one of the most intimidating appearances across all dog breeds, so it is easy to see why people can be put off by its imposing physique.
With its primary ancestor being the Old Fighting Dog of Cordoba, the bloodline of the Dogo Argentino causes it to have some aggression-oriented traits, and its history of being used as a fighting dog in dog fighting rings has contributed to the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding this breed.
This large, all-white breed known for its courage, strength, and protective instinct was bred by an Argentinian doctor named Antonio Martinez Nores.
The doctor wanted to breed a dog that could serve as a loyal companion and a fiercely effective hunter, so he bred several hunting dog breeds, including the Fighting Dog of Cordoba (now extinct), Spanish Mastiff, Great Dane, Old English Bulldog, English Pointer, etc.
Most of the dogs listed above possess massive sizes, incredible power, unrelenting stamina, and impressive hunting capabilities. Essentially, they’re highly capable of hunting or fighting.
This ancestry, unfortunately, causes the Dogo Argentino to have a high prey drive and a potential for violence which has been utilized illegally in dog fighting rings.
Furthermore, since the Dogo Argentino bears a striking resemblance to the Pit Bull breeds (dog breeds famously used in dog fighting and adopted among gangs), the general public tends to lump these breeds together, classifying them as fighting dogs with innate aggressiveness.
Consequently, many nations have placed bans on Dogo Argentinos out of fear that they can be dangerous.
Areas in the United States where Dogo Argentinos are banned
There have been documented instances of Dogo Argentinos attacking people in the United States, and this hasn’t painted this breed in a good light in the minds of the public.
As such, Dogo Argentinos are banned or restricted in certain areas in the US, including New York, Michigan, Florida, etc., due to their classification as fighting dogs and their stranger-oriented aggression traits, which causes them to be potentially dangerous.
Below are the cities with ownership restrictions and the policies guiding them:
New York City, New York
In 2009, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) banned certain dog breeds from its apartments, including Pit bulls, Rottweilers, and, of course, Dogo Argentinos. This ordinance prohibited any breed that could be classified as a fighting breed from its premises, citing that they are aggressive and can be considered potentially dangerous.
Furthermore, the NYCHA banned their residents from adopting dogs that weigh above 25 Ibs (11.3 kg), stating that any dog above this set weight wasn’t to be kept in the apartment. As the Dogo Argentino has a typical weight of 40 to 55 kg, it is banned from NYCHA housings.
In 2006, the Aurora City Council voted to place a ban on ten different “fighting dog” breeds, including the Dogo Argentino. As such, it is illegal for anybody to breed, sell, transport, or adopt Dogo Argentinos in Aurora, Colorado. This council meeting was held after a series of Pit Bull attacks in the City.
Today, although the council’s decision has been revised and 7 out of the ten banned dogs have been removed, the Dogo Argentino continues to be illegal in Aurora. Even dogs that bear any resemblance to this breed are not allowed for any resident to own.
Although there is no statewide law in Michigan that targets any dog breed (besides the restriction on wolf-dog hybrid ownership), some counties in the state have municipal ordinances that target particular dog breeds that are viewed as aggressive.
In 2008, a restriction was placed on the Dogo Argentino and other canines deemed inherently aggressive. The law states that if any animal control finds one of these breeds aggressive, it will be put down in a humane manner if the owner doesn’t claim it on time.
This mandate was deemed a proactive action to protect the citizens of Livingston county from dog-related violence.
Although Dogo Argentinos aren’t categorically banned in Florida, any dog that shows signs of aggression towards a human or another animal can be found guilty of a misdemeanor in the state.
So under Florida’s Dangerous Dog Law, adopting a poorly socialized Dogo Argentinos is a massive risk that may end with your dog getting euthanized if it shows stranger-oriented aggression.
The Illegality of Dogo Argentinos: Right or Wrong?
Should Dogo Argentinos be illegal? No, they shouldn’t be. These dogs are capable of being dependable, affectionate, and loyal family companions.
Canine profiling of Dogo Argentinos as hot-headed, dangerous dogs is rampant due to misconceptions, irresponsible owners, misinformation, and stereotypes.
Also, they can be trained for police work, military work, and as service dogs. Their keen hunting sense makes them excellent utility dogs for search and rescue.
As shown above, this breed can be an awesome and valuable addition to a family and society at large. So rather than banning Dogos altogether, breed restrictions to regulate ownership of the breed and limit its allowed areas is the best course of action.
Animal lovers are calling for laws based on behaviors instead of breed, with the point being that dogs aren’t born inherently dangerous but rather, how they’re raised determines their temperaments.
If a dog is raised to be aggressive, it will be aggressive regardless of its breed; therefore, a dog shouldn’t be illegal because of its ancestry and appearance. Also, owners should be made to take responsibility rather than having the dog punished.
Other Nations where Dogo Argentinos are Illegal
Although the Dogo Argentino is not illegal in the United States at the national level, this is not the case in several countries. The Dogo Argentino is banned in many countries, including:
This nation has a total ban on Dogo Argentinos and other dogs that are deemed inherently aggressive. It is illegal to own or transport a Dogo Argentino in the country. Furthermore, it is unlawful to own dogs trained to attack or defend themselves or the dog owner from other people or dogs. The police or custom authorities can have the dog killed or sent out of the country if there aren’t sufficient documents to prove its breed.
In 1991, the Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced to try and stamp out rampant dog fighting rings and the ownership of dangerous dogs. Four dogs were banned, and the Dogo Argentino was one of them.
However, if a dog of one of these banned breeds can be proven safe, the government will grant a special authority to allow ownership. Although, you have to be over 16, and the dog must be muzzled in public.
The Dog Control Act of 1996 rendered the importation of Dogo Argentinos illegal. The breed was considered dangerous and aggressive, and under the Dog Control Amendment Act of 2003, it was banned entirely.
The Dogo Argentino is banned in Denmark, and according to the Danish Act on Dogs, the police are obligated to euthanize any dog they deem as unsafe or aggressive. Furthermore, tourists aren’t allowed to bring any dog considered dangerous into the country, and this includes the Dogo Argentino.
There is a strict ban on all dogs that are classified as fighting dogs in Australia, and this includes the Dogo. Importation and transportation of this breed are also illegal under national law since they are considered aggressive and dangerous.
Although Dogo Argentinos are generally not allowed into this country, they have evaluations or temperament tests they can put a Dogo through to determine if it’s safe enough to be allowed entry.
This nation has a strict ban on Dogos. The national laws dictate that Dogos should not be allowed into the country under any possible circumstances.
Conclusion: Are Dogo Argentino’s Illegal In The US? And Why?
Dogo Argentinos are physically imposing, courageous dogs that have been involved in large game hunting and dog fighting at specific points throughout history.
This violent past and various misconceptions stemming from negative media coverage have led to cities in the US and several nations introducing ordinances and restrictions that classify them as dangerous dogs and, consequently, banning them.
Although they aren’t illegal in the United States, they have a poor reputation among the general populace.
However, Dogo Argentinos can make wonderful family pets and utility dogs when appropriately trained. Training this Argentinian Mastiff can be challenging as they are strong-willed; they also require an experienced owner, the proper household, and positive socialization experiences to shape them into friendly, well-adjusted dogs.
Altogether, owning well-adjusted Dogo Argentinos will go a long way towards changing the popular opinion regarding this breed and maybe even causing the various restrictions to be revised.