Interview with Kristin Winter, Breeder of Nemesis Dogos
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Kristin Winter: I live in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I have been in dogs for 27 years, breeding for 22 years.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Kristin Winter: My kennel name is Nemesis Dogos, formerly “Gone to the Dogos.” I currently keep 25-35 dogs.
Which show dogs from the past have been your noteworthy winners?
Kristin Winter: Noteworthy wins include Multi. BIS GCH Gone To The Dogos Kilo, ranked No. 1 in UKC in 2008 (prior to AKC acceptance of the breed), and his son, AKC GCH Gone To The Dogos Baymax, No. 1 in AKC in 2020 (the first year that Dogos were fully accepted by the AKC).
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Kristin Winter: Both of the above males have been the most influential.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Kristin Winter: We currently have natural earth kennel runs with shade and shelter from the elements. Puppies are whelped in the house. They are raised to be respectful and polite in public settings as well as at home. We have to take them out a lot as puppies in order to have them social enough to participate in dog shows. Their nature as a breed tends to be leery of strangers, and dominant with same-sex dogs.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Kristin Winter: We evaluate them from “day one” but make the first official cuts at approximately 5 weeks after BAER (hearing) testing. We then evaluate the remaining pups from 6-10 weeks to see which pups are structurally most correct. We also take their temperament into consideration.
I don’t really make final decisions on the best dogs in a litter until they are over a year old. Their toplines and bites can change a lot while they are growing, and typically, a 6-month-old won’t have the proper topline yet… but by 12-18 months old, they should. They also have a very tight window for height in the breed standard, so we can’t evaluate whether or not they are within standard for size until they are about 18 months old.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Kristin Winter: We take them to as many shows as possible and/or take them out in public as much as possible. We have as many people pet them as possible so that they do not see people as a threat. We put them on the grooming table at least once a week starting at 6 weeks, tape their ears if needed, check their teeth/bite, cut or grind their nails, and practice stacking them. Plus, they must see you, the handler, as the alpha.
They are not a breed that you can allow to be in control of you or they can easily become dangerous. If they don’t feel that you have the situation under control, then they will take control.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Kristin Winter: I think too many dogs that don’t conform to the breed standard are being presented, and the lack of judges’ education/knowledge has caused a lot of Dogos with poor conformation (even disqualifying faults) to obtain championship titles.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Kristin Winter: Deafness, hip dysplasia, and allergies are the major concerns. There can be nutritional needs due to their allergies. They don’t tolerate a lot of commercial kibbles, and many owners choose to feed raw.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Kristin Winter: No. There is currently a huge wave of backyard breeders who don’t health test, or work and/or show their dogs, who are breeding just to make a quick buck; and they sell all their puppies with full AKC or UKC registration for cheap because they aren’t putting anything into their dogs. This causes the cycle of more and more backyard breeders to emerge because they aren’t being educated by their breeder on the proper health tests to have done before deciding to breed in the first place.
Over 40 percent of Dogo hips submitted to OFA are dysplastic, so obviously this trend is going to get worse and worse as fewer breeders actually submit health testing before breeding. And the overall lack of knowledge, experience, and care that these breeders have for the pups they produce has created a huge influx of Dogos being dropped off at animal shelters by owners who don’t have support from their breeders. Thousands have already been euthanized due to this toxic cycle.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Kristin Winter: Yes and no. If the owner is an experienced pack leader and all family members are alpha to the dog, it can work. If you are not a firm, consistent owner then a Dogo Argentino is not for you. This is not a breed you want to spoil or cater to. You can’t be wishy-washy or feel bad about disciplining them calmly. You also need to be able to meet their needs for exercise and attention. They tend to destroy things when they get bored. Alpha people who are calm and consistent, and do not see the dog as their equal, are the best candidates to own the breed.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Kristin Winter: Not really, there is a small handful in this entire country.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with my breed?
Kristin Winter: I enjoy watching my kids work with and handle these massive, powerful dogs. The dogs have great patience and understanding with children when raised properly. It’s amazing that a child who weighs half of what the dog weighs can walk them and feed and train them.
My daughter, who is only 12 years old now, shows our Dogos in both the Breed ring and in Juniors. She has been incredibly successful, thus far earning Best Junior in Show twice and Reserve Best Junior in Show once. She also masterfully handles these powerful dogs in the Working Group amidst lots of other Working Breeds, and there is no greater joy for me to watch the product of so many years of selective breeding being expertly presented by my own children. Keep the passion alive!
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
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