How to Differentiate a Pit Bull From a Dogo Argentino

Pit bulls love to dig, pull and chew and excel in agility and obedience trials.
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Bred for different purposes in different hemispheres, the American pit bull, or American Staffordshire terrier, and the dogo Argentino may look similar at first glance. Not for the beginning dog owner, these athletic breeds are territorial, powerful and courageous. The ownership of either a dogo or a pit bull is a serious commitment that requires careful preparation and lifelong dog training.

Canine Coats and Colors

One of the most marked differences between the dogo Argentino and the pit bull terrier are their coat textures and colors. Pit bulls may be any color, solid, parti or patched. A coat that is more than 80 percent white, black and tan or liver is not desireable. The dogo, on the other hand, is almost always completely white, according to the American Kennel Club, although a black or dark patch circling the eye is permitted as long as it covers less than 10 percent of the dog's head. The pit bull boasts a coat that is stiff, shiny and short. Although the dogo's coat is also short, the texture is smooth and uniform , and between half an inch to 1 inch in length.

Dramatic Size Differences

Although both the dogo Argentino and the pit bull terrier are muscular and powerful, the dogo is larger, standing up to 27 inches at his withers. Females of the breed can be no less than 23 1/2 inches. The dogs can weigh in excess of 80 pounds. Though the AKC states that the weight of the pit bull should be in proportion to his height, they normally weigh under 60 pounds. Larger pits may weigh up to 75 pounds. The pit bull stands at heights of up to 19 inches, and the females are only slightly shorter, standing between 17 and 18 inches.

The Ears Have It

The ears of a dogo Argentino are sometimes cropped and if so, should appear triangular in shape. The length of the dogo's cropped ear should not exceed 50 percent of the front edge of the natural ear's auricle, according to the AKC. If his ears are not cropped, the dogo's ears are medium length, thick and rounded at the tip. There may be small spots on his ears that are covered in smooth hair and hang in a position that covers the back of his cheeks. While some pit bulls have cropped ears, the dog's natural ear is preferred. Set high on the dog's skull, pit bull ears are short and held half-pricked.

Disposition Discrepencies

Both the dogo Argentino and the pit bull are intelligent dogs that require plenty of exercise and socialization from a young age. Unless specifically reared with cats or other dogs, they may view them as prey items and try to chase them, according to Large, independent dogos require frequent interaction with their owners in public and at home for well-rounded socialization. Dogos need a yard with a high fence to keep them safe. They also require a job to keep their minds busy. Playful pit bull terriers are friendly dogs, even when confronting strangers, unlike the aloof dogo. Pit bulls enjoy jogging with their owners, and can keep up with bicyclists as well. They may express themselves with a variety of vocalizations when attempting to communicate with their owners.