The material that follows describes the jaws/teeth of Dogo Argentino; the way how it is required by the official standard (FCI Standard No. 292 / 29.01.1999.) and its evolution. The text is concluded by the standpoint of the majority of the Argentine breeders and judges of today in regards to this subject matter. It also includes what can be expected in the future based on the described items.
The article includes a few drawings from the book “Todo Acereca del Dogo Argentino“ written by one of the most reputable breed experts, late Dr. Victor Valino - a friend, a great man who devoted the best years of his life in the process of development and recognition of Dogo Argentino as well as in educating many generations of dogueros.
Before the text, it is not to be excessive to mention some basic terms since this article is also intended to the novice readers:
Overshot mouth - the upper front incisors project beyond the lower front incisors with loss of contact.
Undershot mouth - the lower front incisors project beyond the upper front incisors.
Scissors bite - a bite formation in which part of the inner surface of upper incisors meets and engages part of the outer surface of the lower incisors.
Inverse scissors bite - a bite formation in which part of the outer surface of upper incisor meets and engages part of the inner surface of the lower incisors.
Pincer bite - the upper and lower incisors fit evenly one atop the other.
Complete dentition - 42 in number (20 upper and 22 lower).
And the text ...
DOGO ARGENTINO: (IN)CORRECT JAWS
For Dogo Argentino, as a specific hunting breed which catches its prey and locks on with terminal grip until the hunter arrives to finish it off, jaws and teeth are exceptionally important.
The official standard (FCI Standard No. 292 / 29.01.1999.) requires:
“Jaws strong and well adapted; no under-or overshot mouth. The jaws should be slightly and homogeneously convergent. They ensure maximum bite capacity. Teeth big, well developed, firmly implanted in line, looking clean without caries. A complete dentition is recommended, priority being given to the homogeneous dental arches. Pincer bite, though scissors bite is accepted.”.
The same standard states:
Serious faults: Small, weak or decayed teeth. Incomplete dentition.
Disqualifying faults: Over-or undershot mouth.
- (Comment: Due to its function, preference is given to the pincer but majority of the breeders prefer scissors bite because of the simple reason:
The pincer bite causes the incisors to wear down - in older dogs they may be clear to the gums.
Further, in regards to the inverse scissors, the official standard does not describe it as a fault but it is not desired due to the likeliness that it will transform to the undershot bite as dog gets older.
In addition, the previous version of the standard emphasized the importance of the solid jaws:
Jaws: Well matched, without prognathism, strong with large and well placed teeth. (The number of molars does not matter while the most important thing is the homogeneity of the dental arches, the lack of cavities, no upper or lower prognathism, and especially, that all four fangs, large and clean. match perfectly while pressing to seize the prey.)
In regards to the completeness of the dental arches, at the very beginning the requirement was not very strict. Dr Antonio Nores Martinez wrote in the original standard: the lack of molars or premolars is acceptable but undesirable.
It was important that the teeth were correctly implemented without big gaps between them.
This requirement was active in the first FCI standard approved as the breed got recognized, on 31/7/1973.
Unfortunately, during the years that followed, due to the increased popularity of Dogo Argentino, different standpoints emerged in regards to the completeness of the dental arches. The interpretations of the standard were going into extremes such as that the multiple lack of molars was to be allowed as long as the missing teeth were not the ones to be adjacent or, that a big gap (as a result of missing two or more teeth in a row) was to be allowed justifying the interpretation that the gap is desired to ease breathing while pressing the prey (?!).
It is apparent that the standard had to evolute in order to set more strict and more precise requirements in regards to the dentition.
Today, the standpoint of the majority of the breeders from the country of origin is:
“Complete dentition is necessary. As the official standard does not call for disquilification of a dog with incomplete dentition (yet, as per the official standard, the incomplete jaw is considered a serious fault) be sure that such a dog cannot be placed in the conclusive classification at the shows.
The breeders set the complete jaws as one of the conditions when chosing a stud”.
At the end of this “short” review, it is reasonable to expect that the standard is to evolute in the future, and that the new version is to get more strict in regards to the completeness of the dental archess; the condition for complete jaws has been aleredy implemented by the majority of the breeders and judges in Argentina.
(by Jadranko Terzic)