How to approach a good breeder

I have been doing lots of reading, and I think I understand how to identify a good, responsible breeder.

Now, I am curious how to open lines of communication with a good breeder.
I am looking to add a Basenji puppy in about 2 years.

I have only had mixed breed dogs, always rescues. My older dog is 9 and my younger dog, who is the one we think is a Basenji mix is 4, so I am thinking 2 years will be a good time for us to add a puppy. Katie, as a Katrina rescue, had very serious PTSD that we are working through. We are finally ready to start training her for her CGC, so I think that we should have Katie's CGC by then. Petey shouldn't be too old to tolerate a puppy by then, and I should be out of grad school by then.

I feel like now is the time to start looking for a breeder and opening lines of communication. I feel like I need to be able to prove that I am worthy of the sort of puppy I want despite having never had a purebred dog before.

I know I want to look for a puppy with both parents "titled at both ends." I want to get a puppy I can do Lure coursing and agility with. I also think I might want to get into conformation. I have been looking at the names on the BCOA versatility page, as well as names on the ASFA top 20 lists of the past few years, and looking for kennel names on both lists as places to start.

I am also pretty sure that kennels like that are pretty strict about who they will adopt puppies to, and I don't want to be dismissed right away.

Any suggestions for me from breeders?

Thanks

Nicole

Just be open and honest about what you are looking for, be upfront that you are looking for maybe one or 2 years… ask to visit with them and meet their Basenjis. Tell them why you are considering a Basenjis, what you like about them, why you think that a Basenji would be a good choice for you lifestyle. Many breeders have questionnaire's on their sites, fill them out.... Get to know your breeder and them to know you...

Also, make sure they do all the health testing that is available now for b's.
Some say they do, but have no proof.
Health testing is so very important.

That's correct, you should always check for yourself and see that the tests they claim were done and are listed on the OFA website. In some cases you will find breeders that for things like eye exams, they might not pay to have the results on the OFA site and in those cases, you should ask to see the CERF report.

@tanza:

Just be open and honest about what you are looking for, be upfront that you are looking for maybe one or 2 years… ask to visit with them and meet their Basenjis....

Pat,

Thank you so much for how responsive you have been.
You opinion is important to me since your kennel is one of the ones with Basenjis on both lists!

-Nicole

I agree with Pat just be honest about what you are looking for. I would also add, go out and meet people and their dogs. Attend some events like lure coursing, agility, and conformation and see what you like and who you like.

My experiences, having 2 basenjis with master versatile basenji titles, is don't count out breeders who don't have dogs titled at both ends. My Digital, the brindlewonderkid, has excelled at everything I've asked and his sire only has his Ch and his dam not even that. But he has done wonders in agility (top 3 in AKC for 7? years running; and finished up #5 in 08 where he was "competitive" for only 1/2 the year; he's since been moved to preferred), conformation (took us a little while but he did get a group win and several nice breed wins; all that with a novice handler), rally (didn't go too far due to me, but he did get his RN with 2 firsts and one second place with a high score of 99), lure coursing (got his FC in 4 runs with 2 Best in fields; ran Mother's day this weekend at 12 years old and qualified) and he's a wonderful -therapy dog (doing that tomorrow). Jet the tri-ing has also done respectable in all those areas; his biggest downfall was having Digital as a big brother. Zest, my superstar in training, is also going to excel at all of those too. She's started in conformation and coursing, and her debut in agility is in the next few months. None of these dogs come from a pedigree with performance titles. All are Jerlin dogs, and as much as I love Linda and her dogs, I just don't see her taking up agility any time in the near future. <shrug>But her dog's do seem to have potential for it; at least they do in my house.

I would suggest that the dog's temperment and health is more important than his/her pedigree. I would also tell you that there are very few basenji breeders that I would trust to assess an agility prospect. Most basenji people just don't do agility and I don't think the best LC prospect is going to always translate to the best agility prospect. My breeder, for which I'm forever grateful to, let me choose between the 2 female pups. The reason I chose Zest was she had more desire to work/interact with me. There were several things I considered, but this was the biggest consideration. And I don't know if someone else would have a different conclusion. Is what I saw something between me and this individual pup, or would she work better than the other puppy with anyone? No idea.

THE most important thing, however, is a getting a dog that fits your household. Yea, I do a bunch of stuff with my dogs, but the majoritiy of their time is spent as house pets. I think just talk to the breeders, be open and honest. Just like you did here. I'll let you in on a secret, basenji breeders are just people.

Also, why not do an agility class with your b-mix now? Mixed breeds (aka All Americans) are welcome and encouraged to do many different agility venues and it looks like the AKC will also welcome them soon. Might as well figure out if that's something you really want to do with your next dog AND you'll have lots of fun and learn lots in the journey. You may start doing it and find out you don't really want to do that (although being such an agility junkie myself, I find it hard to believe that that would happen). Many LC clubs offer fun runs; most dogs of nonsighthound origin enjoy this. By doing agility with your current dog, you will get a better idea of what you want with your next dog; you will also show you prospective breeder that you're committed to the sport and know what you're getting into. A basenji breeder may tell you that basenjis aren't really suited for agility/obedience and by showing that you already have, you will be in a better place to convince the breeder "yes they can!" Although, I think this attitude is less than it has been and I must admit that nobody ever told me that. But by the time I would have asked about that, Diggie already had agility titles.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. If you're a BCOA member, I'm the only Kim McNeill from Colorado. And if you're not, JOIN! By all means, join.</shrug>

@agilebasenji:

I would suggest that the dog's temperment and health is more important than his/her pedigree.

I sort of disagree with this statement. I think pedigree is important but that the most important thing to many of us is the health and temperaments in the pedigree. When I look at a pedigree, I want to see dogs that have good health, sound temperaments, and long lives. I also appreciate seeing different types of titles in the pedigree and as a novice it was nice to know that I would be able to get advice about the different events I was considering since the breeder was doing those things with their dogs. It is not a requirement that the dogs have titles in multiple venues, and many lines that do not have dogs with titles in different events do have individual dogs that excel in those areas but again as someone starting out it is more difficult if you don't have a mentor to help guide you through.

I've met a number of the breeders in the Illinois area and everyone one I've met has been extremely helpful and friendly. There are a number of basenji events in the Northern IL/Southern WI area that you can go to if you want to meet some local breeders and basenji fans. The Chicagoland Basenji Specialty is on June 13th so that might be a good opportunity….that is as long as it isn't right before they are going into the ring. Otherwise, I've found email works pretty good too.

@nkjvcjs:

Pat,

Thank you so much for how responsive you have been.
You opinion is important to me since your kennel is one of the ones with Basenjis on both lists!

-Nicole

Thank you, we are proud of our kids, but even more so of our puppy owners, while I love showing and breed only when I will be keeping one (99% of the time), it is obvious that I can only keep one or at the most two… so after that the home is the most important... and if they decide to then maybe have an interest in showing or performance events then that is just "icing" on the cake...

@agilebasenji:

…All are Jerlin dogs, ...But her dog's do seem to have potential for it; at least they do in my house.

Jerlin is on my list, actually because I saw your dogs on the versatility page!
I have 8 kennels on my short list that I want to make contact with.
Is that too many?

@agilebasenji:

Also, why not do an agility class with your b-mix now?

Unfortunately Katie isn't an agility dog. She can't quite handle that much noise and activity. We lure course every chance we get, and we do some Rally, but I am not very good at it. We have had a long haul with Katie. She came to us as one of the most terrified of everything dogs I have ever met. She is coming out of her shell very nicely, and is becoming a wonderful
dog, but I don't think she will ever have the confidence for agility. After she gets her CGC we will probably do some APDT Rally with her. We love coursing with her though, and I am sure I want to get a dog that we can compete in coursing with.

@agilebasenji:

You may start doing it and find out you don't really want to do that … By doing agility with your current dog, you will get a better idea of what you want with your next dog.

We did agility with Petey, and we absolutely loved it. He was really good at it too. But Petey is an interesting dog. Herding dog and terrier mix of some sort. We are his 4th home, and we didn't get him until he was 6, so there is a lot of history to overcome with him. He got expelled from his agility class when he broke away from my husband on a run and went after a GSD running in another ring. It is so frustrating, because he was doing so well, and we were getting ready to enter him in his first APDT competition, then this happened.
I really want to get back into agility, but I can't trust Petey, and I won't put Katie in a position that I think might be overwhelming for her.

@agilebasenji:

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. If you're a BCOA member, I'm the only Kim McNeill from Colorado. And if you're not, JOIN! By all means, join.

Thanks so much. I will definitely join. I wasn't sure I was allowed to since I do not have a Basenji yet.

-Nicole

Okay, now I understand about Katie. I had a lovely little foster basenji, would have made a fun little performance dog if she wasn't soooo terrified of everything. She found a nice home where she could be a house mouse. I still miss her and if I'd wanted a nice pet, I'd have kept her. Unfortunately I want performace dogs and didn't feel right asking that much out of her. I wish I could have had her at 8 weeks. She was so bright and funny.

As far as Petey, I'm so sorry. I sort of fell into teaching Control Unleashed classes the more I do them, the more I realize there is a missing link in agility training/teaching that CU fills. I've never known an agility class that teaches the dogs to ignore other dogs doing agility (or anything) right next to them. CU teaches this. (get the book, get the dvd, i think you'll be amazed! find a class for Petey if you can)

I've done CU stuff with Zest and I'm really impressed with her. I took her to a drop in agility runs Monday night. This is in a big arena where whe normally have many agility trials. It's big enought to comfortably fit 2 rings and some crating. And stands with lots of seating. It's a wonderful place for agility trials. Zest has been there not competing quite a few times and Monday was her first drop in there. There was a course on one side and lots of open space on the other side, no tape or gates to section off the ring area. I figured she'd run amuck a bit because it's new and running is how sighthounds blow off stress. She's also been totally homeschooled for her agility training with the exception of a couple of seminars. So add in the stress/excitement factor of other dogs and new/different equipment and a little zoomies isn't too unexpected. I ran her and she had one little sort of wide turn, but came when I called her and finished the course (20 obstacles) beautifully. And her second run was even better. She knocked my socks off! We went to the other side and played fetch with her squirrel after each run. She retrieved beautifully and was not distracted by the other dogs around. So I came home and entered her in a real trial in July. The reason I'm telling you this is not to brag on Zest (gosh knows I hate to do that :rolleyes:) but I really believe so much of this is due to the CU program. (Now that i've said all that, she's sure to embarass me at the trial.)

I agree with what everyone's said. Just be yourself. Get in touch with the breeders you're interested in and let them know what you want and that you're willing to wait to find the right dog. Try to get to a few shows/trials to meet and pick their brains. 🙂 And Kim is right, health and temperament is going to be the most important, more so than any titles the parents might have. Most breeders stick to just the showing, so don't count them out either. My kids have certainly done many kinds of things over the years, and they come from mostly just show dogs, with a little lure coursing mixed in. Every puppy is an individual, and the breeder can help evaluate what might work best for you. Plus how you raise/train the puppy will make a difference in their career too. It's a good idea to work out some kinks now on your other dogs, so hopefully things go smoother with the new pup. (Which it looks like you've already worked on, good deal!) Something else to keep in mind is that you may not mesh well with every breeder that you think might have the perfect puppy for you. You'll want to go with a breeder that you can freely communicate with for many years.

Good luck, and keep us posted in your search!

When you are first looking for a breeder, "the more the merrier"… as far as I am concerned... as you want to be comfortable with them as for most breeders, puppy owners become family... not just someone you sold a pup to.... and so you need to hook up with someone you like and they like you...
And when you first talk to them or meet them, just tell them that you are just starting to talk to and get to know different breeders...

@Nemo:

I've met a number of the breeders in the Illinois area and everyone one I've met has been extremely helpful and friendly. There are a number of basenji events in the Northern IL/Southern WI area that you can go to if you want to meet some local breeders and basenji fans. The Chicagoland Basenji Specialty is on June 13th so that might be a good opportunity….that is as long as it isn't right before they are going into the ring. Otherwise, I've found email works pretty good too.

We would love to come to the specialty. Is it possible to bring dogs to the event that are not being shown? I don't want to board ours if I don't have to, but it would be wonderful to see the B's!

@EskiLovr:

We would love to come to the specialty. Is it possible to bring dogs to the event that are not being shown? I don't want to board ours if I don't have to, but it would be wonderful to see the B's!

It is fine to bring them to the event, but be prepared, if the specialty is on site where there are all-breed clubs, it would be highly likely that there could be a rep there and they could ask you to take your dog out of show limits.
Probably not too likely, but there is the possibility, so just be prepared.
If you have a crate, and your dogs were in them, then it isn't something they'd go looking in to check. They do need to be at least 20' away from the rings though, as that is what is considered the 'show limit' for unentered dogs.

One of my puppy owners will be bringing his pup to our specialty so he can watch and she can play with my dogs… I use just ex-pens at our specialty and let my pups play all day, with the exception of the times they are being shown. Then my dog owns don't feel guilty about being gone all day and leaving their pup at home.

Most importantly.... HAVE FUN!!

@Nemo:

I've met a number of the breeders in the Illinois area and everyone one I've met has been extremely helpful and friendly. There are a number of basenji events in the Northern IL/Southern WI area that you can go to if you want to meet some local breeders and basenji fans. The Chicagoland Basenji Specialty is on June 13th so that might be a good opportunity….that is as long as it isn't right before they are going into the ring. Otherwise, I've found email works pretty good too.

Thanks. I was at the BCOSW fundraiser at Lure Coursing Fanatics a few weeks ago. I didn't get to talk to too many people though.

I have definitely been planning to go to the Greater Chicagoland specialty to meet people.
I printed out the form to join the BCOA, and I need 2 current members to sponsor me, so I am hoping I can meet some people there so I can get involved.

-Nicole

@agilebasenji:

I've never known an agility class that teaches the dogs to ignore other dogs doing agility (or anything) right next to them. CU teaches this. (get the book, get the dvd, i think you'll be amazed! find a class for Petey if you can)

Congrats on Zest's performance at the drop in. And very, very cute pink weaves you have :).

I looked at Leslie McDevitt's webpage, and I am definitely going to get the book and DVD. I'm waiting for them to come from Clean Run.

Thanks,

-Nicole

@nkjvcjs:

Congrats on Zest's performance at the drop in. And very, very cute pink weaves you have :).

I looked at Leslie McDevitt's webpage, and I am definitely going to get the book and DVD. I'm waiting for them to come from Clean Run.

Thanks,

-Nicole

I don't think you are going to have any trouble finding a great breeder. You sound like have a wonderful grasp of what you want, and what dogs need…you have a goal, and you have thought everything through...I think that is what responsible breeders look for 🙂

Oh, and I agree that at least with Basenjis, pedigrees aren't so important when looking for a perfomance dog. I have found that in every line there are some dogs that are very human oriented, and happy to please (to the extent that Bs can do that)..and there are dogs that are so prey driven and easily stimulated that they just don't do very well in obedience/agility. A huge piece of the puzzle, as Kim said, is picking the right puppy, and doing the right kind of training. But as Lisa said, it would be very helpful to have a mentor in your breeder for the things that you are interested in.

Good luck, I can't wait to see how things unfold for you..please keep us posted!

keep in mind that the relative ability of a dog to get a title at the other end is the committment of the owner to do a couple of things - for lure coursing - letting go of the dog - I have a hard time with that - just can't do it - but the gentleman that I co-owned several dogs with was quite ok with it so I did have dogs with my kennel name lure course - but not me - I am also a dismal failure at Obedience - I just don't devote enought time to training - too many other things on my plate.

So when you are looking I think that the more information that a breeder is willing to share with you - the more agreeable the dogs are - the more likely you will to find what you are looking for.

Hard to predict who will be breeding or have a litter in a couple of years so leaving yourself open to the possibilities might be useful to you.

Good luck finding the perfect companion when the time comes. Great to see people doing their homework

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