Interview with Richard Lee, Breeder of Del Caritas Dogo Argentino
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Richard Lee: Del Caritas Dogo Argentino is currently located in El Paso, Texas. I have personally been involved with dogs all my life; approximately 50 years. I have been breeding the Dogo Argentino for almost 30 years, since 1992.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Richard Lee: My kennel name is Del Caritas Dogo Argentino. I currently have 25 adult Dogos.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
My show dogs that are noteworthy winners in my program are:
AKC Grand Champion Nasvay Iz Beloy Sotni (the first Grand Champion Best of Breed AKC National 2020 and Best of Breed, owner-handled, the year the Dogo Argentino was recognized—International Champion, Eurasian Champion, Russian Grand Champion, and other titles)
- AKC Grand Champion Mahal Del Caritas
- AKC Grand Champion Mahusay Del Caritas
- AKC Champion Blanca Del Caritas
- AKC Champion Magnada Del Caritas
- AKC Champion Ol Glory Del Caritas I Was Born Game (the first Dogo to win an Owner-Handled Best in Show)
- AKC Champion Del Caritas Ol Glory You Hit Only What You Aim For
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Richard Lee: The most notable sires in my program are Nasvay Iz Beloy Sotni and Chambria De El Tumi, and the most notable dams are Tara De El Tumi, Mahal Del Caritas, and Palanga Del Caritas.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Richard Lee: My kennel set up is split into two different areas. The main area is occupied by 20 dogs, with interior and exterior kennels and a common play yard in between. It is set up with multiple gates and enclosures for the safety of the dogs. I don’t believe in fence-fighting barriers, since the Dogos must coexist with each other, with enough spacing between them to deter fence-fighting. Our breed must be a pack-hunting breed.
My pups are always whelped in my home, and from the day they are born and for the first four weeks they are bottled-fed and human-handled. There is the implementation of submission training and constant human touch, along with the different noises of a home.
Once they are 4 weeks old, they are then moved and raised in an indoor puppy pen for their initialcrate and potty training. When they are 6 weeks old, they are transferred to their outside pen for livestock pack-training where they live 24/7 with ponies, cows, goats, chicks, and ducks. Once they are 8 weeks old, they are then transferred to the big kennel where they get dog socialization training as well as kennel training. They live there 24/7, interacting with all of my adult dogs. Finally, they are moved back to my home for their final crate and potty training prior to leaving for their new forever families.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
I like to use the word “breeding” quality rather than “show” quality for my selection process as I can’t guarantee that the pup I pick will be winning in a show. I do, however, evaluate each one on the basis of head structure, bone density, muscle density, length and height of the body, teeth configuration, tightness of the paws, thickness and length of the tail, angulation of front and rear, and their movement from “day one” till the day I make a decision at 42 days.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Richard Lee: My pups are prepped for the show ring, starting at 3 months old, by force-stack and free-stack. They are moved at different speeds to fine-tune their personal gait that is comfortable for them.
My breed has to show a lot of confidence and have expression, so my pups are socialized in many different environments and situations so that they become very comfortable in any setting.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Richard Lee: Due to the Dogo Argentino just being AKC recognized in 2020, our breed still has a lot of variable differences in the show ring pertaining to the phenotype… but it is getting better. The judges are becoming more knowledgeable about our standard, choosing the right dog or bitch as their winner. More education is needed not only for the judges but for the breeders. Therefore, I believe our breed will benefit as time passes.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Richard Lee: As a breed, we have hearing issues and issues with hearts, hips and elbows, eyes, and cancer. In my opinion, our breed needs a very balanced diet along with a lot of physical and mental activities to stimulate the body and mind.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Richard Lee: Our breed is already seeing issues with its popularity, and there are a lot of Dogos in shelters now at an alarming rate. We are seeing a tremendous number of puppies being born and sold with breeding rights. It is my opinion that it will only get continuously worse.
The trend is that many people make our breed out to be a big, lovable lap dog. All dogs can be this way, but it is a huge mistake. Our breed is very intelligent, opportunistic, and dominant. Our breed needs continuous, consistent training for socialization and structure, but more importantly, training in obedience.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Richard Lee: Our breed can be a great family dog, but not all dogs are bred the same way or raised the same. So, there are variances. They can be a great dog as long as the people who own them are willing to sacrifice time and energy, pertaining to training, during the lifetime of the dog.
The best candidate for owning our breed is someone who has had various amounts of ownership with large and dominant breeds, and is willing to learn about our breed. Be willing to take criticism in a positive, constructive way. The best candidates are people who are truthful about sharing any type of behavioral issues, from the beginning, with the breeder. The best candidates are people who want this breed for what this breed represents and not for the individual’s ego.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Richard Lee: In my opinion, there aren’t enough preservation breeders who breed for form and function. There are a lot of breeders who are just breeding with no regard for health testing and temperament testing, and they are selling pups with full breeding rights with no regard for quality. In my opinion, preservation breeders will dwindle as time goes on.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with my breed?
Richard Lee: This question is sort of funny due to our breed being such a serious breed, and I myself am a serious type of person. If I had to state something, then it would be that our breed is very “humanistic” in character, in the sense that they sit down like us, lie down on their back constantly while sleeping, and they get their feelings hurt and will sulk and mope around.
Are you looking for a Dogo Argentino puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Dogo Argentino dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
Dogo Argentino Dog Breed Magazine
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Read and learn more about the courageous Dogo Argentino dog breed with articles and information in our Dogo Argentino Dog Breed Magazine.
Dogo Argentino Breed Magazine - Showsight