Too old?

Is it normal for a breeder to "get rid of" her main bitch just because she is 9 years old?
This bitch (the dog) has produced several litters and has been mother and protector of the new replacement (from her last litter). What's she going to feel when farmed out to someone else after all these years and then to leave her little daughter behind? Just seems a little uncaring to sell her off because she's not going to produce and she's not even that old.

IMO, not normal… you just don't throw out the oldest just because she is of no use to you anymore. Not something I would consider responsible. There could be reasons for placements and it might be a perfect placement, but what you describe sounds totally like "OK can't make any money off you, out you go"! SAD

very sad….................................. I hope she finds a fantastic new home where she will be loved for herself

Oh gosh.. oh wow. From one point, I understand your horror at this. I do. And emotionally I feel the same.

But I also totally understand the whys of doing it.

First, it is not abnormal in most breeds. here is why.

You have dedicated yourself to breeding. Realistically, you can only keep so many dogs and give the the love and attention they need. If you are at your limit, your choice is to stop breeding until the older ones die or find homes where those dogs can get the kind of special love and attention you cannot give. It is hard for most good breeders to let a dog go, but it can also be the best act of kindness and love. Typically, though, a bitch is bred 2 or 3 times, still pretty darn young, and has produced a replacement bitch or 2 that is superior. That is the ideal. So you have a 5 or 6 yr old dog, not a 9 yr old. That said, if you were talking large breeds, you'd be talking about a dog with only a year or 2 left and it would make no sense– keep them til they die. But a Basenji could easily live another 4 to 6 yrs.

So I guess it depends on the situation. Did they intend to keep her but now she is fighting with another dog they NEED to keep? Did their situation change and they need to cut back on dogs? Is she being neglected or they simply feel she really needs more attention than a multi-dog home can provide? I think it really boils down to what is going on, and that rehoming at any age is not evil or uncaring depending on what is up.

Bottom line also is that no matter WHY they are doing it, if the dog gets in a home that does want her, it is a win for the dog.

I have a friend who is a breeder…...not Basenjis......and she has placed some of her older dogs when they don't fit her breeding program any more. I don't think it is entirely a bad thing, depending on circumstances. She has been very careful in who they go to, and the dog or bitch has moved from being one of many to being someone's very personal companion and pet. It can be a win/win if handled correctly.

I haven't talked with the breeder directly just getting it second hand from a mutual friend. But from the sound of it - the older dog is of no further use. I will say the only point in her favor is she is asking people she knows to adopt the girl. Still it just seems so cold-hearted.

I agree with you wizard…. that is how it sounded to me also. No further use.... but as stated maybe the best thing for that bitch... to find a loving home that does care for her!


I have a friend who is a breeder…...not Basenjis......and she has placed some of her older dogs when they don't fit her breeding program any more. I don't think it is entirely a bad thing, depending on circumstances. She has been very careful in who they go to, and the dog or bitch has moved from being one of many to being someone's very personal companion and pet. It can be a win/win if handled correctly.

A CARING breeder will do what is best for THE DOG. Letting an adult dog go is a very emotional issue. It takes me a long time to evaluate the situation and to make the decision about whether to let a dog go or not. Then I keep the dog for as long as it takes to find just the right home. It may take a year or longer but I always know in my heart when the right person or family is found. I feel a bit sad right after the dog leaves but talking with the dog's new owners frequently afterward quickly eases my mind and I know that I made the right decision.

I have never re homed a bitch because she is 'no longer any use'. After all, who knows what the future brings? I can see why some breeders do this and it is their choice but never for me.

When my beloved Meligi died after whelping, her mother reared the puppies and made such a good job of it as many can testify. Basenjis can and do produce milk for other bitches puppies and this can be very useful to the mother especially if she develops sore nipples or an infection.

Who REALLY knows what the breeders words were about this bitch?
This is third hand information and a good breeder WILL take the time to carefully consider placing adult dogs that he/she feels are not getting as much attention as they SHOULD be getting.
An active breeder CANNOT keep all of his/her dogs.. it just is not possible.
Knowing when your house is full and when you need to let your older dogs go to homes where they are the epicenter of the family IS the right thing to do.. it is not cold-hearted in the least.
Kudos to the breeder to allowing this older girl the opportunity to live out the rest of her life without having to share it with a bunch of other dogs.

I can say there are times for the safety of a older bitch that she might be placed. I have had to place two older bitches do to bitch fighting that could have gotten them injured. This fighting did not start between these girls till later in life (Over the age of 7 years). Their option if they stayed with me was to live part of the day in a crate and then have a few hours out and then back in the crate again at bed time. This to me was not a fair life. They both now have wonderful homes with good friends near me they both come to visit and I can tell how they have latched onto their new owners that I made the right choice. They always act like OK new Mom we came said hi now I go home with you. These girls will always have a special place in my heart and their owners know if they ever have any issues no matter what I am there to help, I have even driven 1 1/2 to the ER clinic when one of the girls had a issue to be with her and her owner. I will also be with both these girls at the end of their lives also which I hope does not come for years and years.

I can appreciate what people have said about rehoming being the best option for a bitch no longer able to produce pups or perhaps being replaced by a superior bitch with better breeding prospects. However personally I cannot reconcile myself to this attitude. A good breeder expects I think that each pup placed will become part of a family and form bonds with their people, yet I cannot help think that some breeders give away part of their family ? It seems as if the dogs are being treated more as commodities rather than part of the family.

Shelley, you might try to consider this.

You breed, and your goal is to continue the breed with the highest quality dogs you can produce. You are not making money, you are bleeding it out if you do it right. It is a love and commitment to the breed. To do this, you must add new generations of your line and often bring in outside lines.

As a rescuer for a billion years, I can assure you that however sentimental we might be in thinking dogs ONLY love one person, I have yet to see a stable dog that didn't come to LOVE their new homes. When I see dogs left to sleep on a grave or where someone died, I don't think how wonderful, I think WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE THAT THEY DON"T GIVE THAT DOG A GOOD LOVING HOME.

So, you are a breeder, you have only so much time to give to each dog. You reach a limit. So what is best– stop breeding and do a disservice to the breed, keep breeding and selfishly decide that almost NO attention in YOUR home is better than anywhere else, or acknowledge that you have reached a limit where a dog or 2 or 3 might be happier in a home that can lavish them with love.

Give away a family member-- well you know, your children grow up, move out and have their own families. While I know no one will ever love my daughter quite the way I do, I sure as heck hope she finds someone who loves her in ways I never could and she loves them back in ways that have nothing to do with parental love. Now, I always HATE when people compare people to dogs, but since you want to talk family-- it seemed relevant. If you extend YOUR thinking, then how can they possibly give up the puppies? I can tell you the only way it was ever possible for ME was to find homes I knew would love them as much as me and give them a better life than they could in my multidog family. I don't see rehoming when it makes the dog's life better as selfish. I see hoarding as selfish. I see keeping more dogs than you can give time and attention to, or meet THEIR needs for less competition or even single dog families etc, as selfish.

Back to the children comparison, btw. There is a couple (very rich) who were self-congratulating themselves on adopting nearly 20 children. Their house run much like a camp. It made me angry. With their money, they could have HELPED 3 dozen families adopt most of those children and more, given those children to homes with few enough children to provide one-on-one love and attention and care. How is their home better than the orphanages they pulled them out of other than wealth? So yeah, I apply the value of individual time to dogs and humans. If you think all they need is food and shelter, then a breeder is horrible to place older dogs. If not, then often it really is the very best, least selfish act.

Hi Debra,
Would just like to clarify that when I say our dogs are part of the family, I don't look on them as children. I do have two sons who are my children, the dogs are the canine part of my family,lol
I understand what you are saying about some breeders, breeding to improve the breed and each person must do what is best for their circumstances.However I still say that it is not something I could ever feel comfortable with. For me a Dog is for life if at all possible.

Where did your dogs come from? In some way, they had to have been bred by someone that is a 'breeder', whether good or not.
That person cannot continue to produce great family companions for others if they keep every single dog they have used for breeding.
I know that my dog and puppy owners would NOT be happy if I quit breeding because I had a limit and I could not breed until several dogs lived out their lives with me. I have many many owners that come back for a second and third dog. They know that my dogs have superior temperaments and health. Where would they go for their next dog when they are ready for another companion? I can't breed, so should they go to someone else that may not have the temperament or health they are looking for in their next companion?

Hi Kathy,
both my dogs came of course resposible breeders in the UK. I could be speaking out of turn here and i hope someone in the UK will correct me if i'm wrong but UK breeders in the Basenji world as far as i am aware don't tend to breed that many litters to warrant moving a dog on to make room.
The Basenji population in the UK is still quite small

But Shelley, that isn't the point.
What happens when your dogs pass and you want another dog.
You don't want a rescue.
You don't want a puppy.
But you for sure want a Basenji.
That is when you are thankful for those breeders willing to let you be in the presence of one of their "golden opportunity" adult Basenjis.

From the dog's point of view, it is far better to move on to a loving owner where they will have lots of time and attention than to remain one of many, possibly spending too much time in a crate. With the best will in the world, a breeder who holds a full time job has only so much time to go around. Too many dogs, and the attention available to each becomes diluted. Naturally the breeder is going to spend more time on the producing bitch, or show puppies, out of necessity. Only a selfish person would hold on to a dog that they don't have enough time for instead of allowing that dog the luxury of its very own home with loving owners. JMHO, but from my point of view I think the person who holds on to a dog out of misguided loyalty is doing a disservice to the older animal, not the person who finds that old girl or guy a loving home.


Hi Kathy,
both my dogs came of course resposible breeders in the UK. I could be speaking out of turn here and i hope someone in the UK will correct me if i'm wrong but UK breeders in the Basenji world as far as i am aware don't tend to breed that many litters to warrant moving a dog on to make room.
The Basenji population in the UK is still quite small

Sorry, but I doubt it.

Lets say you have done it all right and you are starting out with ONLY one bitch. You breed, you keep a bitch. Now you have 2 bitches… breed the original bitch again once the next year, may now have 3 bitches. Next year you may skip I guess, so okay, couple of years later you breed 2 litters (original and at least one of the other 2). So now 4 yrs out the original, 2 daughters, and probably one or 2 from the new litter. You now have 5 dogs. Can you really manage and give attention to 5 dogs? if you have kids and family, sure. What if you want to add an outside dog, or a puppy or 2 comes back, or even the next years breeding-- you can easily be up to 8 or 9 dogs. Doesn't matter if you are in the UK, USA or France, if you are seriously breeding, you are going to accumulate more dogs unless you place the older ones too.

I understand it is hard. Heck I kept and spayed a very doggy bitch (Rottweiler) because my child and husband fell in love with her. Fortunately I had a cobreeder with her half-sibling who took the next generation and sent me the 3rd. But those are ROTTIES who are often gone by 8 to 10 yrs, not much longer lived Basenjis. If you can't do it, don't get into breeding. Either you are serious about moving the breed forward which means a long term plan and generations... or you just want to breed once for the experience. If you are in a breed that is not already bleeding out with massive overbreeding, and you do it right, many once-only folks produce puppies for which there are homes and I don't fault them. But those who are dedicated and keep at it for decades are the keepers of the breed and my hat goes off to their work.

Btw, you want horror stories -- try the Benkisers who had an accidental breeding they didn't want to ever breed from but decided one would be good for working sheep-- so they (their phrase for it) "grew them out" to 6 mos, picked one and SHOT THE OTHER 5. Add in they had a 6 yr old daughter-- well I have never spoken to them since and it's been some 12 yrs. Or Felicia Luberich -- another Rottie breeder, who posted on the AOL boards that she had a litter of puppies she couldn't sell and was going to euthanize them all. Rescue folks BEGGED HER to let them spay/neuter and find them homes. She said if she couldn't get her $2,000 per puppy, no one could have them and she was going to kill them.

Perhaps when you work in rescue as long as I have, you appreciate people who do what is responsible for their dogs. And rehoming a dog at almost any age just isn't irresponsible to me.

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