New Puppy Advice

Hi! I've been reading the forum for a couple months, but I'd like to introduce myself and hopefully get some advice. My boyfriend and I picked up our Basenji puppy 2 weeks ago, from a breeder outside of Dallas, TX. Our puppy, Grizzly, is now 8 weeks old and exactly as described in most of what I've read about Basenjis (loves to play, nibble, and prone to temper tantrums).. My only concern is his weight. At his last visit to the vet, 7 weeks, he was 3 lbs..I know weight can vary depending on the litter, but I haven't seen it this low on any site and wanted to know if anyone could provide any insight on why this might be, or tips to help us get him back on track.

Open to suggestions!


Here's a picture too :))


Hello, how old was he when you got him? And wow 3lbs? I have never had a Basenji puppy that only weighed 3lbs at 8wks. And breeders keep puppies till they are at least 8 to 10 wks before placing them. Basenjis are not socially ready to leave their littermates before that. I keep puppies to 10 to 12 wks. I would question any breeder that is letting puppy be place earlier than 8 weeks at least.

Have you talked to his breeder about his weight? What are you feeding him? How often?

He was 6 weeks old when we got him. We told the breeder we were from out of town so only certain dates would work and he said he would be ready at 6 weeks. When we picked him up we mentioned his size and the breeder told us he was the runt, but comparing him to his litter mates through facebook posts they look to be around the same size.

We feed him at least 3 times a day. Mostly wet food w/dry mixed in bc he was having a hard time chewing at first. Trying different brands--Nutro, Wellness, some Pedigree- but we try to stay away from it.

The breeder...wasn't our ideal choice. Definitely not as reliable as others we researched. However we have been happy with our pup since day one and are trying to do the best for him now.

@Destiny-Galimore - You know it is not legal to place a puppy under 8 weeks? Honestly you would not have been able to do that from a responsible breeder. Hopefully this puppy has been or both parents have been DNA tested for Fanconi and PRA at the very least? Those results are publicly posted at so it is not something that you have to take someone's word for it.... And if this has not happened, I would suggest that you do so. It is a test kit via cheek swab that you do your self and send in. Here is a link to testing recommendations and you can also order the DNA tests for Fanconi and PRA -
The reason he would be having problems with chewing is because of his age. Buy foods that are labeled small bites. Grain free foods are best, I like Fromms Surf and Turf or really any of the Fromms grain free, also I like Natural Balance Small bites, you can also soften it up with warm water or you can grind the kibble up and mix with wet food or warm water. My puppies are on ground kibble until 7 to 8 weeks. Be prepared for socialization problems as he gets older. Taking a puppy that early from the litter and Mom they miss much socialization such as "soft bite" as their littermates will "scream" if the biting is too rough.... Puppies learn so much from littermates and from adult dogs. Is he registered AKC? Do you know the registered names of his Sire and Dam? I would have to say that the size issue most likely is because of poor breeding.

Texas 16 TAC § 91.113 Licensed breeders, which is defined a dog or cat breeder who holds a license issued under chapter 802. V. T. C. A., Occupations Code § 802.001(13) A dog or cat at least eight weeks of age. Sell, trade, or give away

If you go to my website ( and then to Tanza Girls and Tanza Boys links, you can see pictures of puppies at ages 6 wks to 14wks. For the girls, Carley is pictured sitting in the puppy pen at 7 weeks C-Me at 11 weeks, Franie at 9 wks. Tanza boys, Trip at 9 weeks.

last edited by tanza

Hi @Destiny-Galimore! I think I know the breeder you're talking about, and unfortunately, he's pretty sketchy. "Backyard Breeder" would probably be a nice term for him. When my husband and I talked to him on the phone, he offered to let us pick up a puppy at 6 weeks, saying we just needed to give it formula, and that it didn't really matter. He has so many litters every year, and he doesn't typically require any of the puppies to be spayed or neutered... Anyway, I hope Grizzly turns out to be a great puppy (despite "basenjicrazy"'s methods, or lack thereof). We just moved to the Dallas area from Seattle, and while we were sad to leave the super-helpful Evergreen basenji community there, we've found a lot of great, responsible breeders here in TX. If you ever decide to add to your pack, definitely check them out! We're anxiously waiting for our reserved puppy to be born and get big enough--April seems like AGES away--but it really is worth it, especially with basenjis.

Definitely wet down the dry food; we used to add water or diluted chicken broth to create what I called "puppy cereal," and that works really well. Plus, once the kibble has soaked up all the liquid, you can shove the extra bits into a puppy Kong, freeze it, and offer that as a treat, especially as Grizzly starts teething.

The other thing you might want to be concerned about is socialization; the 5-8 weeks age is when puppies are learning a LOT about dog manners from their dams and their litter mates. If possible, I'd get him into a puppy preschool of some kind, go to a playgroup that's monitored by dog trainers (so they can stop bad behavior, encourage good behavior, and help you learn what's acceptable and what you need to stop), and try to have visitors and appropriate canine companionship. That will make a huge difference in temperament, which can be a problem area when the breeder isn't as careful.

Regardless, congrats on the new pup! He's super cute, and if the experience we've had with our basenji puppy (born Nov 2016; came home Jan 2017) is any indicator, that cuteness will result in completely falling in love!

ETA: (I clearly need to read better before posting, since a lot of what I said has already been covered. Sorry, and still: he's adorable!)

last edited by Zannah

@Zannah - Thanks for your response Zannah, you are spot on.... and yes there are wonderful responsible breeders in Texas and if they don't have something for you, they can/will refer you to other responsible breeders in the area. I will say that many "pre" school places will not let pups there before all shots are given... so that could be an issue. To Destiny-Galimore, you are going to have to assume the roll of littermates, adults to teach the things that this pup would have learned from its littermates and/or adults....

last edited by tanza

@tanza I wasn't aware of that. He had a video of him doing Fanconi testing from a few years ago and told us that the dame was registered through AKC, but we got very little paperwork from him so it's hard to know what was true. We are planning to have it done just to be sure.

Thanks @Zannah !! He definitely wasn't my first (or second, or third) choice. My boyfriend found him through puppy finder, it wasn't until we got closer to picking Grizzly up that I found out how irresponsible this breeder was. I had contacted much more reputable breeders from all over before, since I'm currently stationed in Virginia and my boyfriend is in Texas. However, none that were anywhere near us had any puppies available. Ideally we would've waited, however we have Grizzly now and we are so happy with him!

*If all goes well with Grizzly, I could definitely see us getting a second. I will plan ahead next time and be sure to wait for a more reliable and trustworthy breeder.

I really appreciate the tips so far! I have already looked the puppy socialization and found a puppy kindergarten in the town where my bf lives that works perfectly with his schedule! We'll try out the the suggestions on his food and see how that works.

Thank you both!

last edited by Destiny Galimore

@Destiny-Galimore - Glad to hear that you will do the DNA test, sooner the better for your peace of mind. These two tests are 65.00 each, well worth the price. And you just order the test and since it is a cheek swab you do it yourself and then just send it back. On the OFA homepage ( there is a link "order OFA DNA tests". Then select Fanconi Syndrome and Basenji PRA. Good luck and I hope that your boy is at worst a Carrier. A Carrier will never get Fanconi or go blind from DNA.

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