* Petmoo is reader-supported. When you buy products via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Dogo Sardo – Dog Breed Information With History And Traits

Dogo Sardo
Rating: 5.00/5 (1 votes)

Dog Pregnancy Calculator And Timeline

Among the many rare breeds, we share with you now is the Dogo Sardo (or more correctly the Dogo Sardesco or Cane Sardo), a Rare and fairly unknown breed outside Italy.

This is a typical lightweight molosser used as a guard dog, livestock guardian dog, and a working dog.

In their homeland sardinia, Dogo Sardo has many monikers. They are also known as the Sardinian dogo, the Gavoese Shepherd, sorgolìnu, cane perdigatzu, Pertogatzu, Jagaru, trighinu, Dogo Sardenesco, Cani Trinu, Beltigadu, etc.

They were thought to be extinct but it was rediscovered due to the extreme efforts of canine expert Roberto Balia in the year 2000.

He tracked down several specimens of Dogo Sardo in the heart of Sardinia, then publishing the results of his research in the book “Canis Gherradoris” in 2005.

Thanks to his work, interest has grown about the revival of this breed that has remained unknown for centuries.

Still today, the Dogo Sardo is present in Sardinia in smaller numbers, mostly in the rural areas of the region.

This geographical isolation of the breed has also strengthened the purity of the blood, guaranteeing their appearance to be almost unaffected for centuries.

The rare breed has always supported Sardinian farmers by doing all types of work in the countryside and this has tempered their attitudes.

At first glance, his appearance seems that of an aggressive dog, but he is an excellent pastoral dog for the protection of livestock and a delicate as well as a caring companion to farmers.

Dogo Sardo Breed Characteristics

  • Origin: Italy
  • Size: Large
  • Dog Breed Group: Working Dog
  • Purebred: Yes
  • Lifespan: 10-12 Years
  • Height: 55 – 65 Cm (22-26 Inches)
  • Weight: 35 – 45 Kg (77-100 Lbs)
  • Coat Appearance: Short, Smooth, Dense
  • Coat Colors: Red, Grey, Fawn And Frumentino, Brown, Black, Brindle, Combinations Of Above Colors
  • Temperament: Alert, Aggressive, Loyal,  Hard Working, Intelligent, Keen, Vigilant
  • Good With Children: Yes, Older Children
  • Intelligence Level: High
  • Good With Pets: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Grooming: Average
  • Shedding: Average
  • Barking: Yes
  • Suitable For Apartments: No
  • Need For Exercise: High
  • Easy To Train: No
  • Good For First Time Owners: No
  • Health Issues: Hip And Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, Ectropion, Patellar Luxation, Bloat
  • Litter Size: 4- 8 Puppies

Dogo Sardo History

The ancient Sardinian autochthonous breed – Dogo Sardo is speculated to have existed for over 3000 years in Sardinia- the second biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

That is about 800 years before Sardinia was invaded by the Romans. Inhabitants of Sardinia and inhabitants of the isolated Basque countries are the only non-Indo-European people in Europe.

Comparable to the origin of the Sardinian people, the origin of Dogo Sardo is shrouded in mystery as well.

There are two breeds of dogs native to Sardinia – the Pastore Fonnese or Mastino Fonnese, a breed of herding dog and the Dogo Sardo which is a molosser type of guarding dog.

Archeological findings and small clay statues of the dog suggest that dogs similar to Dogo Sardo were available around 3000 – 1800 B.C.

Historical traces of the Sardinian dog are also present since 1700 when it is mentioned as similar to the greyhound in some aspects.

This breed has been instrumental for the Sardinian’s triumph during Napoleon’s invasion and in the Italian colonial wars with Libya.

Dogs that fight in battles were trained to work in twos – one would bite the neck and the other would bite other parts of the body.

Many vintage photographs reveal that the soldiers belonging to the Sassari Brigade used this breed.

Unfortunately, today still the origins are not clearly established. Initially, it was believed that it descended from the same root stock from where the Corso dog, Calabrese Bucciriscu, Cane de Braco and the Neapolitan Mastiff originated.

Some canine experts state that the descendants were traced in the English Celtic dogs and for others in the Mesopotamian war dogs.

To add to the confusion, it has been speculated that there are two breeds connected to Dogo Sardo, one is the Fonnese Pastore, which is a long-haired, shepherd dog and the other the real Dogo Sardo (locally known as Pertiatzu Cani and has short hair, like the Cane Corso).

This confusion comes from this name Fonnese Mastino (or Mastiff Fonnese) which has wrongly been attributed to Dogo Sardo.

In fact, the Fonnese Mastino is the variety of smooth layer of race Pastor Fonnese (Fonnese Sheepdog), bred from the crossing of a Pastor Fonnese with a Dogo Sardo.

The breed was in the brink of extinction two decades ago. Fortunately, due to the work of many breed enthusiasts, the Dogo Sardesco is getting more popular on mainland Italy as a dedicated guard dog and personal protection animal.

While the breed is becoming increasingly popular throughout Italy, it has not yet established itself in Europe or other parts of the world.

It is unclear if any dogs have been exported to other countries, but even if it is getting exported it should be of a very small number of individual dogs.

The Dogo Sardo is not currently recognized by any many international kennel clubs, and it doesn’t seem that that this will change anytime in the near future.

Dogo Sardo Infographic

Dogo Sardo Infographic

Dogo Sardo Size And Lifespan

  • Height – 55 – 65 cm (22-26 inches)
  • Weight – 35 – 45 kg (77-100 lbs)

Dogo Sardo Lifespan

The average dog life-span is about 10-12 years sometimes as long as up to 14 years old.

Dogo Sardo Coat Color And Appearance


As of now there is no specific Dogo Sardesco breed standard and the breed varies extremely in appearance, anything about their appearance is more of a generalization than a rule.

They are usually classified as a Molosser and one of the least typical members of that family, Dogo Sardesco is a light brachycephalic molossoid.

This breed is usually large but is not so massive. The Dogo Sardo weight is heavily influenced by gender, height, build, and condition, but most of them range from 77 to 100 pounds.


This is a very muscular, athletic looking dog, but in fact, a Dogo Sardo should be agile and lean (but its conformation should display immense strength) rather than bulky or thick.

They have well proportioned, square-shaped heads that are nicely in proportion with the rest of their bodies. They have muzzles slightly shorter to the length of the square skull but their muzzles are quite long for that of a Molosser.

Eyes And Ears

The round eyes are brown or amber colored and relatively smaller in size.  The overall look in the eyes of most breed members is intense, disturbing and serious.

They have a black nose but maybe a lighter color depending on the color of the coat. They have small to medium sized natural ears that fold down close to the sides of its head.

Their ears are traditionally cropped to look short, hardly extending from the sides of the heads. Prominent and pendulous lips with the well-developed jaws that have Complete set of dentition which meets in a scissor or pincer bite

They have moderately long and nicely arched powerful necks with sloping shoulders. Their ribs are nicely sprung with a good depth to their brisket.  The Dogo Sardesco’s long tail is left in its natural state or docked to a short stump.

Dogo Sardo Coat Color

 Sardesco’s tight skin is characterized by a short, thick coat of various colors. They have short hairs that are not smooth or worse but still as shiny as the boxer.  Many dogs also have black masks.

  • Red
  • Grey
  • Fawn and frumentino
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Brindle
  • Combinations of above colors

Dogo Sardo Temperament

The Dogo Sardo has been bred as a guard dog for thousands of years and has demonstrated its abilities in herding and protecting cattle as well as in hunting large game and in being a dependable watchdog.

Renowned for its fierceness and aggressive temperament, this robust dog has also excelled in wars and dogfighting.

Due to its intimidating appearance and fierce temperament, it is highly valued for its protective nature and guarding abilities.

They tend to be tremendously loyal to their families and this breed can be nearly impossible to re-home as they form extremely close bonds with its family.

Owners of Dogo Sardesco can leave their dogs in their property or homes and can go on vacation for longer periods of time rest assured that it will be kept safe.

Dogo Sardesco is not recommended for families with young children under the age of 10 especially if the dog is not socialized and properly trained.

They tend to be very dominant over little children and are generally not tolerant of roughhousing. This breed is not recommended for apartment living and for first-time dog owners.

He’s generally quiet and will remain aloof, but he loves to romp around in your backyard or garden. This breed exhibits all forms of dog aggression including predatory, territorial and possessiveness.

Socialization and training and can significantly reduce aggression issues, but it may not remove them completely.

This breed does best in places where it is kept as an only dog, or with a single member of the opposite sex.  o their own thing rather than what others tell them to do.

Dogo Sardo Food

There is no health studies have been conducted on the Dogo Sardos, which makes it impossible to make any definitive statements on the breed’s food requirements.

However, it is safe to assume that foods that are suitable for Mastiff/ molosser breed or large breed dogs suit them as well.

Considering this, the favorite foods that should be fed to Sardos:

Best Dry dog foods

  • Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold Formula
  • Canidae – Life Stages All Life Stages Formula Dry Food
  • Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food
  • Blue Buffalo’s Blue Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Holistic Select Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food



Dogo Sardo Training

Sardos are a fantastic breed for experienced owners. Training can be difficult but not so tough.

They are very dominant and will not respond completely to any person that they think is inferior to themselves on the social totem pole, this means that owners should keep up a position of authority always.

Owners or handlers must exercise a considerable deal of patience and spend significantly more time.  Also, they would also need to gain the trust and the respect of the dog.

Since Sardos tend to be of above-average intelligence, they do not respond well to any sort of heavy-handed training methods or bullying tactics. They do respond well to positive reinforcement.

Socialization is of paramount importance as this breed has the propensity to be aggressive with other dogs.

As the dog would grow bored with repetitive exercises and activities, Obedience training can be a challenge. So make the training interesting and challenging.

They are a working breed and they followed the flocks wherever they went in the fields of Sardinia.

They have high energy reserves and ideally should receive a minimum of 1 hour of physical exercise every day, but would love some downtime as well. So plan some downtime as well in your vigorous exercise regime.

Those who have trained the Dogo Sardesco successfully can eventually tame any dogs, not to mention your spouses.

Dogo Sardo for first-time owners

Forget about Dogo Sardesco… and get a pug or a Lab. Dogo Sardos is, in fact, loyal monsters.

If the dogs don’t feel you are respecting them as an equal (irrespective of your feeding, walking and caring), then you will be skating on thin ice. The usual dog stuff won’t cut it out.

In fact, forget the baby talk completely, it’s condescending. They are easily offended when talked down to or ordered around for no good reason (in their opinion). Bring a Dogo Sardo home and the battle of the will begins.

For any information regarding other breeds, you can refer books or Google it or you can check with owners who already have that particular breed of dog.

But for Dogo Sardesco, if you need to get any sort of handling advice, you need to take a flight to Sardinia, Italy.

But those who welcome intellectual challenge and have always liked the idea of being a handler; they can certainly consider this breed.

It’s fun to own a Dogo Sardos. Constantly working out how to get their way and watching the progression of their dogs is really entertaining.

Dogo Sardo Shedding, Grooming, And Caring

They are a low maintenance breed but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to groom them at all. They are short coated and so they don’t need extensive coat maintenance.

We cannot find any reports on Dogo Sardo’s shedding. But, it is perhaps, safe to assume that this breed is at least a moderate shedder. Regular brushing will help keep hair under control during shedding seasons.

Like any other dog, cleaning teeth, nail clipping, checking ear should be done regularly.

Dogo Sardo Health Problems

We could not find any health studies that have been conducted on the Dogo Sardos. This makes it impossible to make any conclusive statements on the breed’s health.

Most Canine experts seem to consider that this is a fairly healthy breed. Dogos experiences lower rates of common health problems than most other Molosser breeds.

This does not mean that the Dogo Sardo is genetically immune to common health problems. However, it is comparatively healthier than similarly-sized purebred dogs.

Major Health Problems That Affect Dogo Sardo

A full list of health problems that have been identified in the Italian breeds would include:

Hip and elbow Dysplasia: You’ve probably heard of hip and elbow dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes multiple developmental abnormalities in hip and elbow joints and may lead to lameness

Entropion: This is an inherited abnormality of the eyelids. It makes a portion of the eyelid is inverted or folded inward towards the eyeball.

It makes the dog scratch the surface of the eye continuously. This condition leads to corneal ulceration or perforation which can interfere with vision. This can happen in one or both eyes, in the lower eyelid, upper eyelid or both eyelids.

Ectropion: This canine disease is reverse of entropion. This condition in which the margin of lower eyelids droops or everted. There is visibly pink or red tissue below the whites of the eyes (sclera).

This can result in painful keratitis (dry eye) and chronic conjunctivitis.

Lens Luxation: The lens is either partly or completely dislocated out of its normal position. It moves either into the front or into the back of the eye.

When left untreated, it will almost cause pain and results in vision loss.

Progressive retinal atrophy: This is similar to human retinitis pigmentosa (RP). This is an inherited group of a heterogeneous disease of the retina that leads to blindness in affected dogs.

Bloat:  After cancer, this is the second leading killer of dogs. This life-threatening condition occurs when a dog’s stomach becomes bloated or overstretched and rotated. It happens if it’s full of food, excess gas, foam, fluid or foreign material

Dogo Sardo Puppies Names

Dogo Sardo Male Puppy Names

  • Jasper
  • Kobe
  • Loki
  • Boomer
  • Scooter
  • Toby
  • Duke
  • Moose
  • Vader
  • Vader

Dogo Sardo Female Puppy Names

  • Holly
  • Lexi
  • Missy
  • Rosie
  • Emma
  • Gracie
  • Angel
  • Bailey
  • Chloe
  • Luna

dog care
dog health
dog breeds
dog food
dog training
dog insurance


Petmoo Tools
Essential Tools for Pet Owners
Top Rated Services In Your Neighborhood