Friday, March 19, 2010


The large group of FL basenjis recently transferred into BRAT’s custody includes some puppies, but BRAT usually does not get a lot of puppies in rescue. Since many of the dogs that end up in rescue come from puppy mills and back yard breeders, I attempt to educate people who ask about puppies so they can select responsible breeders and skip the whole rescue step altogether. I gathered the following information from experienced basenji folks to share with prospective basenji parents:

To find basenji breeders, go to the BCOA web page at: and select Finding a Basenji. Contact one of the persons listed as referral contacts on that page. If you have any problems getting them to return your post, please let me know. When you contact the breeder, tell them you were referred by BRAT.

If you are considering purchasing a Basenji puppy, BRAT recommends buying from a reputable breeder. The following link has some good information on how to differentiate a reputable breeder from a puppy miller/ back yard breeder. (Thank you to Katie Campbell for allowing me to include this link.)

Here are some things dedicated basenji enthusiast Betsy Polglase wrote about finding a responsible breeder:
~~ Reputable breeders home raise their dogs with a lot of socialization with people, sounds, sights, smells, and other dogs. This probably means that reputable breeders don't have the time or the facilities to adequately raise more than one or two litters of pups in the house each year.
~~ Reputable breeders keep their puppies until at least eight weeks of age to allow lots of time for socialization. The puppies learn that people are wonderful - petting and treats happen when people are around. Their puppies also learn to get along with other dogs and to "pull their bites" with their siblings (and with people!) during this time. Those who bite too hard end up with no one with whom to play. Many times pet store dogs are taken away as early as 4 weeks and miss this valuable socialization and learning time.
~~ Reputable breeders keep track of health problems in their lines and can warn you of issues for which to watch. This input is unavailable with a casual breeder or pet store dog.
~~ Reputable breeders test their dogs with diagnostic tests which are proven to rule in or out any major health problem in their own stock, and they don't breed ones who test positive.
~~ Reputable breeders are careful of the health of young puppies. They keep their puppies in clean conditions which are conducive to the physical and mental health of the puppies, and they give the shots and health checks that their veterinarians recommend. Puppies from puppy brokers (middlemen), who hold the puppies before they are shipped to pet stores, frequently have serious health problems, or even deaths, because of the volume of puppies going through. Pet stores are not trained to care for young puppies, and they are exposed to germs which might be carried on the clothes of anyone who cares to look at them or from any other pup who is in the facility.
~~ Reputable breeders tell about characteristics of the breed. Pet store owners frequently don't have adequate information to pass on to the new owner about the breed characteristics.
~~ Reputable breeders screen applicants carefully as to suitability for owning one of this fascinating, but sometimes trying, breed of dog. Reputable breeders look for a good home first. Pet stores tend to sell to whoever has the money to buy and are not in the business of screening.
~~ Reputable breeders offer the pups at a fair price which is consistent with other dogs of the breed in the area. Frequently, pet store dogs are sold for 1/3 to 1/2 again as much as a dog from a reputable breeder.
~~ Reputable breeders use written contracts and give sole ownership title to purchasers of puppies desired as family companions, and they don't require them to be bred or shown before doing so. (These pups may also be sold on a limited AKC registration which doesn't allow puppies bred from these dogs to be AKC registered.)
~~ Reputable breeders keep in touch with their puppy owners during the lifetime of the dog and offer help and advice when needed. Pet store owners and casual breeders are not geared for follow-up.
~~ Reputable breeders help to re-home any of their puppies who don't workout for any reason. 80% to 90% of the Basenjis found in rescue/adoption come from pet store or casual breeder origin, and not from reputable breeders.
After the information about responsible breeders, I include email groups that might be of interest to someone about to adopt a basenji: The Basenji Companions website has some very good articles on all sorts of topics related to basenji health and well-being Click on "Tips" for a list of articles. You might also consider joining the Basenji Companions group or basenji-l basenji-l@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM . Both of these lists have members who are happy to share their experiences and suggestions on how to keep your basenji healthy and happy.

Then I wish them well and make sure they know they can contact BRAT with questions.

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