Thinking about getting a Basenji, need help!!
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  • M

    Hi, im new to this forum and im thinking about buying a Basenji and i have a bunch of questions. Please help. First off, are they good pets? I know most likely there are but what are your general opinions on them. They are rare dogs and i have never seen one in person. Im very willing to walk them and exercise with them everyday. Im willing to be patient and train them. I understand they are not easy to train, but how hard is it to train a Basenji to do tricks? to house train the dog? to behave on walks and around people? They are independent but how independent are they? I know they are like cats, but from seeing other peoples cats, they just lay in one place and never leave.i I want my Basenji to cuddle with me and be around me. Also, i know they dont bark, but how much do they yodel? Im assuming it depends on the dog since not all dogs are the same. Now here are my major major major questions. 1, I've been allergic to dogs all my life. Last month my friend brought their dog over that isn't hypo-allergic and i played with the dog all day with no symptoms whatsoever. I believe my allergies are starting to subside. I know the Basenji is hypo-allergic and that doesn't mean its completely allergy free, but do you guys think ill be fine? The problem is there are no Basenjis around the area that i live that i can visit. I checked every website and animal shelter. I found a reputable breeder. She neuter's/spays the dogs at 8 weeks old. Is that too young? She says that both the parents a fanconi clear so that's good. next question, 2. My mom is big on no shed. I understand the dog sheds a little, every animal does, but how much? Will it be really noticeable or not noticeable at all. We fully clean our house every 2 weeks. And the third final and biggest question. 3. Im going to college in a year and a half. I dont think im going to go to one really far. I want to stay at a dorm. I plan to come home every weekend and all the breaks and the summer. Since i will be the primary owner of the dog, will my Basenji be okay with me leaving or will it become depressed? Staying at home is an option. I was thinking about just getting a small apartment next to my college but i dont think i will be able to afford one, Me leaving to college is what i worry about the most. I dont want to leave my dog. Im sure im going to have more questions but these are all i have for the moment. Please help me guys I love the look of this dog.

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  • K

    Lots of good questions. I'll give my take on each of them.

    • First off, are they good pets? YES! We have two sisters and they bring joy to us every day.
    • willing to walk them and exercise with them everyday. This is a MUST. I have a good workout every morning (including off-leash); they sleep the rest of the day. Otherwise, they might destroy your house…
    • willing to be patient and train them. They train YOU to be patient, no way around it. Anger, irritation are counter productive. They must feel you really love them.
    • I understand they are not easy to train, but how hard is it to train a Basenji to do tricks? Some of them do tricks. I'm not interested in it, so I didn't try; check YouTube.
    • to house train the dog? We found it easy, within 2 weeks you're fine.
    • to behave on walks. Sometimes. Walking one is much easier than two. Don't expect to walk with a loose leash at all times.
    • and around people? Teach visitors to ignore him/her at first, then offer a treat. Let the B sniff and get acquainted.
    • They are independent but how independent are they? Not more than any other dog. They like to run around outside, hunt, play, explore but they always keep an eye out for their human. Never off leash in areas with traffic or prey.
    • I know they are like cats, but from seeing other peoples cats, they just lay in one place and never leave.i I want my Basenji to cuddle with me and be around me. They will cuddle you to death. They like to be warm and comfortable. Here, they sleep all day.
    • Also, i know they dont bark, but how much do they yodel? Im assuming it depends on the dog since not all dogs are the same. Really depends on the individual and the occasion. Lela yodels a lot around play. Binti does it for food. They scream at cats. They whine when it's cold.
    • allergies. You'll probably be fine.
    • She neuter's/spays the dogs at 8 weeks old. Is that too young? WAY TOO YOUNG. Females should not be neutered before the first heat, otherwise you will get a dog with infant hormonal balance. Do it after the first heat. Males I'm less sure, but I would say not before their first year.
    • She says that both the parents a fanconi clear so that's good. GOOD
    • the dog sheds a little, every animal does, but how much? Not much but you'll notice the hairs on the couch. We use a lot of fleece blankets to protect the couch (and the car interior) so no problem there.
    • College or home. If it is YOUR dog, staying home, at least the first months would be better. Walking every day, feeding him/her, playing, really ties a bond, and any dog won't like it to be left by the pack leader (which you will be, and have to be). And should you decide to live in a dorm, you will have to decide if your parents are willing to give him/her the right care and - very important - lots of exercise.

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  • Personally, I'd wait until I was not living in a dorm. I know, waiting is hard. I got my first B when I had one more semester of college and i was living off campus in an apartment. It's not really fair to your parents or the dog to get a dog and then go off and leave the dog. And then if your dog bonds more with your parents, you'd be uprooting the dog when you finished college and found a job somewhere else. Not fair to anyone at all.

    Otherwise, here are my answers to the other questions: (thanks Kjdonkers for putting it in a format i can easily cut and paste.)

    • First off, are they good pets? absolutely, but you're asking that of a biased group. if you are used to labs or another breed that adores its human just b/c you're a human, this might not be the dog for you. they are more like cats in that regard.
    • willing to walk them and exercise with them everyday. That's a good thing, but you'll need to be creative in the winter. I use interactive toys where my dogs have to work to get the kibble out. This helps work their brain and that is just as important as physical exercise.
    • willing to be patient and train them. good - you really have to bond with the basenji to get her to work with/for you. Or have really, really good treats. My girl would be happy to work for anyone with the right treat.
    • I understand they are not easy to train, but how hard is it to train a Basenji to do tricks? this is actually a misconception, IMO. Basenjis can be difficult to motivate, they are easily distracted by the environment, they get bored quickly (so lots of repetitions are BADBADBAD). But they are clever little dogs and lots of fun to clicker train. If you're looking at performance dogsports (obedience, agility, etc), they do tend not to do well as other breeds because of the reasons i've listed AND b/c they are independent thinkers. I've done agility with my b's for years and it can be hit-and-miss, but when i ask for tricks at the nursing homes, they love to perform.
    • to house train the dog? Unless you are trying to housebreak during the rainy season, i've found them very easy to housebreak
    • to behave on walks. I don't really understand what you're looking for. Perfect heeling - no.
    • and around people? Basenjis do need early socialization with lots of good experiences. Mine are great and are certified therapy dogs.
    • They are independent but how independent are they? Compared to???? Labs/goldens/border collies? Entire different world. Terriers, other hounds - maybe a bit more so than terriers, but about the same as other hounds.
    • I know they are like cats, but from seeing other peoples cats, they just lay in one place and never leave.i I want my Basenji to cuddle with me and be around me. Some are more cuddily than others. My brindlewonderkid liked to be near me and certainly in the same room, but not a lap dog. My trying dog is about the same. My fiesty redheaded girl is very cuddly and will usually be happy to sit in my lap.
    • Also, i know they dont bark, but how much do they yodel? Im assuming it depends on the dog since not all dogs are the same. Individual thing. Brindlewonderkid was very vocal. they loved to hear him "talk" at the nursing home. Jet the trying will sometimes yodel for his food, but only once or twice in public. Zesty redhead is very, very quiet. (I actually love the vocal ones)
    • allergies. You'll probably be fine. (ditto, but i have found a difference in individuals. my brindlewonderkid had a harsh coat that did make me itch if it had been more than a couple of weeks since his bath)
    • She neuter's/spays the dogs at 8 weeks old. Is that too young? WAY TOO YOUNG. Females should not be neutered before the first heat, otherwise you will get a dog with infant hormonal balance. Do it after the first heat. Males I'm less sure, but I would say not before their first year. (again, ditto, I like my males to fill out before neutering and i would not spay/neuter before the growth plates have closed - generally around 15 months
      or 2 years. )
    • She says that both the parents a fanconi clear so that's good. GOOD
    • the dog sheds a little, every animal does, but how much? My first basenji shed for about 3 days twice a year. My current ones I don't even notice.

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  • I will add my .02…. Just telling you that they are Fanconi Clear is NOT good enough. If they have been DNA tested they will be listed at www.offa.org and you should check that out for yourself. Find out the registered names or their registration number and do the research. Fanconi testing is of course mandatory, but there are other health issues in the breed. What else have they been tested for? PRA (another DNA test), Hips, Thyroid, regular eye exam?

    I don't believe I know of any responsible breeders that spay/neuter at 8 wks, way to young! While it is good if you can wait till they are around a year, I don't have a problem with a bitch spay close to when they would have their first heat cycle and a male neuter at 9 to 10 months.

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  • Where in NY are you from. There are breeders in NY. 8 weeks is way, way too young. And Pat is right about the Fanconi, who has been DNA tested?

    Agilebasenji is also correct in that living away from them, it probably will not be 'your' dog. And, unless it's your parents wanting the dog, it's not fair to them either.

    Some basenji's shed more than others and some are more vocal than others. I have some that are very, very vocal and then I have some who don't utter anything. Just depends.

    Allergies are not usually a problem.

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  • Speaking as a college student myself, I would NOT get an animal until after you are done socializing. The dorm environment (first couple years of college life) is for being rowdy, getting wasted, being a complete idiot, and learning the ins and outs of human socialization. As well, you may decide you'd like to study abroad and want to leave for a year or so, which I would recommend despite the costs. I got that all done ahead of time before I ever decided to get my dog, best decision I ever made.

    …lived with a roommate (who had a dog) who continued going out a lot even after getting her husky puppy. It doesn't mix well. The dog loses, you lose. Even if you don't think yourself a social butterfly...force yourself to go through that right of passage first.

    However, I do disagree with the other posts that the dog would become 'irreparably bonded to the parents' if left with them for extended periods. The parents might become bonded with the dog. But, I move my dog back and forth - from place to place and Beo has always remained "bonded" with my family who he doesn't see for stretches at a time, and mentally healthy. A dog should not become depressed after leaving a family environment. Dogs should not have those humanesque attachments; absolutely a human created scenario when it does happen.

    The issue, ultimately, is would your family be able to bond with this dog on their own terms? That is to say...would this dog be their dog for all intensive purposes if you were to leave. Do not get an animal and leave it in that environment if your family has no desire to bond and care for it when you're not there. Basenjis do shed, they rip **** to shreds (just ask my two seat belts and the carpet in my last apartment), and they make messes. All animals will have the occasional accident. Basenjis throw up A LOT, get diarrhea at 4 am in the morning, and slide their butts across that beautiful cream, brand new carpet. That's just the way it is.

    I love my dog but compared to say...a golden retriever? Very high maintenance personalities. If all that sits well with you? Go for it.

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  • Basenji puppies can scream at the top of their lungs for hours while crate training, for months on end, thats difficult in apartments, wait till you have graduated and can work out a better living arrangements, not fair to you or the puppy.

    Basenjis are not truly hypo allergenic, they do have dander and can shed like crazy at the change of seasons, when mine blow their winter coat the hair is everywhere and I have had people allergic to them.

    No reputable breeder neuters at 8 weeks, I can't belive a BCOA member would do that. Not healthy for the puppy. Contact the Rip Van Wrinkle basenji club if you want to meet NY basenjis in person, there are members all over the state and in NJ. The only breeders I know of that do that are those selling thru places like next day pets which are not reputable at all.

    Basenjis must be on a leash at all times when outside or in a fully fenced yard, they will run and not come back as its the sighthound in them. Major concern is the puppy darting out an open door, electric fences do not work either, they are so stubborn they will run through it or get attacked by another animal that comes into the yard.

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  • ?

    You have asked a lot of good questions and got a lot of good answers, Me myself I would wait till you had time to spend with a puppy as they need a lot of time put in to get a well socialised and confident dog, which makes life easier. Finding a reputable breeder would be your first stop after learning what a reputable breeder is, health tested/temperament tested parents of your puppy is a must again makes life easier. Don't rush to get a puppy, most people have to wait on a breeders list and can it be 1 to 2 years waiting for a pup suitable for a first time owner.

    I find our boy sheds a lot at times but brushing him everyday during those times helps. Learnt tricks very quickly with food rewards. Baroos when happy playing or trying to make himself understood. Sleeps a lot, but loves to cuddle and plonk himself on top of you. Always on leash except fenced dog park, as moving objects are attractive. Toilet training easy if YOU follow the rules, easier during the warm dry seasons. Independent/curious but with one eye on the owner and checking in. Walks everyday but not interested on wet days just finds a warm spot and sleeps and dog park in the weekend for runs and socialising. Crate trained and always exercised before crated. Quiet alert dog as long as happy.
    I would say Basenji are a special dog who need a special owner who understands their needs or things could go bad so pick the right time/breeder/pup and in the mean time learn as much as you can and try and find some to visit, maybe go to dog shows.

    Jolanda and Kaiser

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  • If you are eager to join the ranks of Basenji owners (otherwise known as Basenji staff), you might consider an adult rather than a puppy for your first experience. In your current situation a pup may require more time than you have to give. A settled, older animal might just fit the bill for you, as well as providing a home for a deserving dog. Please consider it.

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  • M

    Greta answers guys! i really appreciate you guys taking the time to help me out. Im deciding between two breeders at the moment. the first breeder sells puppies for $1200. They are cleared for Fanconi and have the DNA results to prove it. They are also health certified with results to prove it. They do not neuter their pups. Also, this breeder lives a little closer to New York then the other one, but still a very far way. I have not discussed shipping yet with this breeder. Then we have the second breeder. He also has DNA proof that they are Fanconi clear and are health certified. He does live a little further from me and will ship the puppy to my house for $200 ground shipping. Estimated delivery date it between 4-6 days. Or i can pay $350 for air shipping which would take 4-6 hours. He is the breeder that neuters his pups at 8 weeks old. His prices are $800 dollars for a neutered pup, and $1200 dollar for a pup that isnt neutered. I am more than willing to pay more money if it means that my dog will be healthier. The good thing about this breeder, is the parents of the puppy that he is offering are Dog Show champions. They have great traits which will insure that i get a dog that will be playful and fun. Im really not sure which one to chose. I know that getting a dog after college may be a better option, but i have been waiting to buy a dog ever since i was a kid. I was always allergic to them and now i might finally be able to handle it. If i decide to get a B, I will get it at the end of June because im going on vacation in June and i dont want to give my 5 month old pup to a kennel. I feel that that is way to young for a dog to leave its owner for a week. This will give me the entire summer to train and spend time with my puppy. Im afraid that after college, i wont have enough time to spent time with my dog,. I will have way more responsibilities then i have now; work, girlfriend, maybe even a family who knows haha! This is my first dog and although both my parents had dogs when they were kids, im still nervous that i wont be able to handle a Basenji. I need a dog that is medium size, hypo-allergic and shed a very minimal amount. All the dogs that fit these traits are not breeds that i want. The Basenji seemed like a gift from heaven, the perfect dog. I just want to be able to give my dog a happy life. Also to answer nomrbddgs question, Im from Staten Island, New York. I cant not find one breeder that is close by, The closest ive found was in Georgia. Im willing to drive over 2 hours to pick up my dog so it doesnt have to go throuht eh process of shipping. Thats so much stress on the dog, I cant drive to georgia as that takes 15 hours. I know im probably a pain but im extremly nervous/excited to get my first dog. Ive been waiting for this for such a long time. I dont know if i cant wait until after college.

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  • How does your family feel about your acquiring a dog? If you go off to college and leave the dog behind, who is going to be responsible for its care? Basenjis aren't the easiest of dogs to manage. If you don't have an enthusiastic partner in this venture, I think there could be an unhappy outcome down the road.

    Do yourself a favour and read about some of the problems people have had with their pups. Look under "Behavioral Issues" on this board:

    http://www.basenjiforums.com/forumdisplay.php?12-Behavioral-Issues

    Also check out the training threads: http://www.basenjiforums.com/forumdisplay.php?11-Basenji-Training

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  • K

    Hello Joe & Lisa,
    I beg to differ on your opinion about on/off leash. I walk our 2 sisters off leash every day, even in areas with lots of birds, an occasional rabbit or jack rabbit (but always out of reach of traffic). They sometimes chase a bit, but always come back to me by themselves within minutes. They really want to keep an eye as to where we are, and when they don't see us anymore, they panick. We have a yard with a 2 ft. fence, and they have never shown any inclintation to leave the space. They want to be with us in the garden when we are there, when we go inside they come inside too - they don't want to be outside when we are not. And what kind of animals come into your yard to attack your dog?

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  • coyotes and loose neighborhood dogs. I can't even walk in my neighborhood without macing the stay pit bulls that come up on us, and I'm sure staten island still has a stray problem, it did when I lived in NY.

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  • I just saw a PBS documentary on Coywolves 2 nights ago.

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/meet-the-coywolf/infographic-a-field-guide-to-the-coywolf-or-eastern-coyote/8663/

    I don't think we have them here in Colorado yet, but I have seen coyotes trot across my property (and jump my 5 foot fence like it was nothing). I'm lucky I live in the rural area, people in town have bears and mountain lions to deal with.

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  • "Show Dog Champions" have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with good health - or personality. I would recommend you choose someone close to where you are now, and go meet them in person. This will allow you to see the puppies and meet the parents to see if they are actually hypoallergenic.

    Paying MORE MONEY will not guarantee a healthier dog BTW. I paid 700 dollars [ price dropped down because I took the time to fly out from AK] for Beo and he is the healthiest dog I've ever had. You want a healthy dog? Get a dog from a 'responsible' breeder.
    Otherwise you might as well be talking out your ass.

    Health testing isn't just so you can look good, it's so you can thoroughly check to see if there are any problems… most of which will cost you a buttload of money BTW. You will not be able to get your money back for a puppy that ends up having fanconi/hip displaysia if you buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder. Trust me, it won't happen. It will come directly out of your pocket.

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  • And again, I will remark, it is up to the buyer to check out health testing… these are public records, if the breeder has had the DNA tests done, there is NO option then to have the results public regardless of the results.

    I always, always recommend that potential buyers check it out for themselves.....

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  • I'm going to answer these questions with my own experiences with MY two basenjis. They are/were not exactly the same and didn't aways follow the "rules" of the breed. Each dog is different and by taking your time and talking to breeders you will find the right one for you.

    First off, are they good pets? There is no perfect breed of dog that is OK for every person on the planet. -I- Think they are the perfect breed of dog for me! My two are/were wonderful dogs who make my life better! However, if you are dead set on a dog who will be always obedient, rarely get into mischief and can be fully trusted then you may want to look at other breeds.
    tricks? to house train the dog? to behave on walks and around people? Of they like food they learn tricks pretty easily. Just keep the sessions short because they get bored! Cody took awhile to house train and Elliot was trained in 2 days. Each dog is different! My dogs have ALWAYS been good around people. Kids, adults, either gender.. fine. They were both well bred and very well socialized! This breed can be snippy so socialization is a must! Neither are too fond of other intact males..
    They are independent but how independent are they? Cody was far more independent than Elliot. I could have left him alone for a week and he would have figured out how to feed himself where as Elliot is very clingy to the family. Extended family members have referred to the breed as "stuck up" (ps I hate that family member) because they would sniff guests and then go about their business. That being said.. they LOVE to cuddle!! Warm person with blanket? YES for a basenji!
    Also, i know they dont bark, but how much do they yodel? Cody would yodel when he was very happy or if he wanted something and at 16mo Elliot has yet to yodel. They make a lot of other noises from whining to screaming. If you step on Elliot's foot your ear drum might rupture. They are not shy about letting you know when something is upsetting them. If I lived in an apartment for Elliot's first few months I would have been evicted.
    I've been allergic to dogs all my life. I'm allergic to most animals to some degree. For me the general every day interaction with my dogs doesn't bother me but if I rub them on my face it does itch a bit. Elliot LOVES to be carried and I love to snuggle him so it's something I deal with.
    She neuter's/spays the dogs at 8 weeks old. Is that too young? EEK! No that's not OK! Shelters do it to adopt pets out quickly and to ensure they don't reproduce but I have never fully been OK with it. To hear a "breeder" is doing it makes me sick. My two Bs have been show dogs and have remained intact but I were to have it done I'd wait to closer to a year for a dog and right before first heat for a bitch.
    She says that both the parents a fanconi clear so that's good. I'm going to echo what others have said and say that just saying it isn't enough. It's very easy to check yourself and I would personally still get my dog tested. Both of mine are/were carriers.
    I understand the dog sheds a little, every animal does, but how much? I have two cats and a golden retriever so I don't notice basenji hair. Elliot shed a lot while loosing the puppy coat but hasn't shed much since.
    Will my Basenji be okay with me leaving or will it become depressed? I don't know. I don't allow my dog to become so attached that they can't be without me. He loves my whole family and I have always been able to hand my dogs off at shows with little issue. Elliot does get upset when I leave but I didn't give in and rush back to him and he got over it. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be sure your parents want and will love this dog as much as you do! My parents have always loved my dogs and it makes things so much easier! If they don't want the dog or are "eh" about it then all the bad things the dog might do will make things that much stressful. Please wait if your parents aren't all in!!!
    Cost You get what you pay for. Testing, health, temperament and performance is a must for me personally. I will not buy a dog who's parents don't have all of that. There are some breeders who will breed to a dog who isn't a champion and that's not always a "bad" thing if the reasoning is sound.

    If you feel comfortable listing the breeders you are looking at please do so. A lot of us know each other and might be able to tell you if it's a wise choice! :)

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  • Yes, Jean is about 4 hrs from you. But worth it. But you should at least contact her. don't know if she had puppies this year, but you could ask her. She is Hounds of Timar-you can google her.

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  • K

    Basenjis are amazing creatures that form strong bonds, not based on loyalty, but respect and trust. Just be aware that if you leave for school, you may not be your basenji's first choice for leader when you return. Rebuilding that trust will take time and patience.
    If your parents aren't able to actively love, train, and maintain the leadership role with your basenji, it will not work out. It will act out and things will be destroyed.
    How do you feel about taking on a dog that can live 15+ years? That's a pretty big commitment.
    Also, "the dog ate my homework" is a very valid statement when you mix school with a basenji… Mine ate my ultrasound request form last week.

    You need to be honest with yourself and your situation. I was lucky that my parents were at least okay with my first basenji while I was in school. But they were thrilled when we moved out. He destroyed a lot of their stuff while acting out.
    I know a girl out here who got a basenji when she was in school. Her parents weren't as lenient. She ended up returning him to the breeder. It was not a great experience for her, her parents, or the puppy.

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  • M

    Sorry for taking a while to answer guys. I checked Jean out and it seems she only breeds tri color basenji. Im looking for a red and white basneji. here are the two sellers im looking at. This one is the breeder who neuters at 8 weeks and the pups have champion bloodlines. http://www.topdogbasenji.com/index.html
    This is the other breeder that im looking at which is a tab bit closer. http://www.basenjipuppy.com/
    I will definatly contact Jean and ask her. Ive also found another New York breeder, "Donald, John Kudabin in Orchard Park, NY". Anyone ever buy from him? Is he good?

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  • It's nice that they seem to be testing at least some of their dogs but I would personally never purchase a dog from the websites listed. Neither appear to be breeding to standard and that is very important to me. If they have nothing to offer the future of the breed then they have no business breeding.

    Sometimes you need to be willing to travel to get the right dog.

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