Basenji Rescue and Transport, Inc.
Frequently Asked Questions
is a Basenji?
poised, elegant hunting dog from Africa, the Basenji is smoothly
muscular and moves with ease and agility. He is lightly built
and possesses a wrinkled head and a high, curled tail. The
Basenji is commonly known as the “barkless
dog,” but when excited, he makes a noise that sounds like a
yodel. Colors include chestnut red, pure black, [tricolor], or brindle—all
with white feet, chest and tail tip.
© American Kennel Club
You can also learn more about the
Basenji at Wikipedia.
How does the BRAT placement process work?
The first thing to do is read about information at
The next step for an adopter is to complete the
adoption application. Once you have completed and submitted the
application, you will be contacted by a BRAT representative.
The representative may ask questions in an attempt to
find the best possible match for you and the Basenji. Be patient with
this process. We are an all-volunteer organization.
Following are some examples of possible questions:
What are your expectations? Do you want a dog that is promptly
obedient and content to lie endlessly by your side, gazing at you adoringly?
Are you willing to adopt a Basenji that might chew up
your sofa or try to climb your fence? How about one that has never lived
indoors and has somewhat iffy house manners? Or one that requires
medication for hypothyroidism or is on a dietary protocol for Fanconi
How much effort are you willing to
put into helping your Basenji become the pet of your family?
What are your beliefs about training, crating, and other
dog-related issues? For instance, do you feel that dogs should be
allowed to run free?
Do you support crating? If not,
What training methods do you plan
to use with your adopted Basenji?
What is your housing situation
like? Do you rent or own? Does your landlord allow dogs? Do you have a
What is your household like? Do
other people reside in your home? If so, what is the general feeling
about dogs in the home, Basenjis in particular?
Do you have children, or do
children regularly visit?
Do you already have dogs? What
breeds and ages are they? Have they been spayed and neutered? Are there
any behavioral issues? Do you have cats?
What kind of your lifestyle do you
Being a responsible dog owner
requires time, effort, and expense, and this can be even more true if you adopt a
rescue dog. The good news is that you will not have to spend much time
grooming your Basenji. However, this is a breed with lots of energy, and
the expression, “a tired Basenji is a good Basenji” certainly holds
true. You will need to find time in your schedule to give your Basenji
an appropriate amount of exercise, both physical and mental. This means
that if you travel a lot and can't take your dog along, or if you have
so many other commitments that the Basenji would be
“just one more
thing,” now is probably not a good time to add a Basenji to your family.
Once you have completed
our application, you will
begin receiving emails describing new Basenjis and Basenji mixes
available from BRAT, as well as from shelters and other organizations.
You need only to respond if you are interested in the dog. You should
also check out the adoption listings on the BRAT website. Look at both
the purebreds and the Basenji mixes. Read the profiles carefully. As
much information as possible is provided in order to help you decide
whether or not the dog is a good match for you. If you have cats or
children, for example, be sure to note whether a particular dog does
well with them. Knowing what kind of applicant the coordinator is
looking for can save a lot of time and frustration.
When you see a dog that you think might fit well with
your home and lifestyle, email the dog's BRAT coordinator by clicking
the coordinator's link within the dog's listing. The coordinator will
receive your application and may email or call you with some additional
If the coordinator decides to pursue the placement of
the Basenji with you, a home visit will be scheduled. A BRAT
representative will visit your home for further discussion, hoping to
ensure a positive outcome for both you and the Basenji. In some
circumstances, it may be possible for you to visit the dog you are
interested in adopting. This can be particularly useful for both
first-time Basenji owners and those with other dogs. It is critical if
the Basenji is shy or has difficulty accepting new people.
When you are approved for a Basenji, you will be
expected to pay a placement fee and sign an adoption contract. The
adoption fee varies based on the age of the dog and can be found on each dog's webpage. Fees help defray costs of medical care and feeding the
Basenjis while in our care.
The coordinator will also work with you to arrange
transport of your Basenji. Often, a
Railroad (BUR) run can be coordinated, where multiple BRAT
volunteers drive your dog to you, or part of the way to you, relay
If air transport is the best option, it may be
arranged at the expense of the adopting family. The cost of flying the dog
will be dependent on location and the airline used.
If you have questions about BRAT or the placement
click here for help.
Why are these dogs in rescue? Are they bad
There are a lot of reasons why Basenjis and other dogs
rescue. Some of the most common include:
Sometimes major life changes force people to give up their treasured
companions. An owner may suffer a catastrophic illness or injury, or the
health of a family member can suddenly require all of the owner's time
and effort. Job loss or requirements such as long work hours, or
prolonged travel may mean the owner does not have time for the dog.
Marriage might bring a spouse or stepchild who cannot live with the dog,
or a new baby may take up all of the owner's time. Divorce often plays a
role in relinquishment, as may unexpected financial difficulties.
Irreconcilable differences: That
beautiful face with the expressive eyes and wrinkled forehead (not to
mention the curled tail) can appeal to people who are not really suited
to having a Basenji. They get the puppy home and find themselves unable
to deal with typical Basenji puppy antics. Some people have heard that
Basenjis do not bark and assume they must be totally silent. Basenjis
can make a
gamut of sounds that run from a barely audible squeak to a
blood-curdling scream. Others have read that Basenjis are good apartment
dogs, so they think they do not have to provide them with regular
exercise. Some hope to get an obedient dog and then discover that a
Basenji does not fit that category (See Behavior Problems below). Often
such people truly care about their dog, but recognizing their mistake in
selecting a Basenji, they may ask BRAT to find the dog a more suitable
Some Basenjis in rescue were literally
have been removed from abusive or neglectful circumstances to be
rehabilitated and placed in homes where they will be understood and
cared for. This includes dogs saved from shelters, puppy mills or seized
Behavior problems: Basenjis
are smart, strong-willed, independent, creative dogs. They require
intelligent handling. If left to their own devices, they may learn
behaviors that are unacceptable. Read the
Stories. Basenjis need to be socialized and taught what is
to relinquish the dog. These dogs are not bad dogs. They are dogs
that may be
poorly trained or under-socialized, but that can benefit greatly if someone
is willing to spend time with them, be consistent, and give them proper
training. This is not to say that a few weeks in a class will yield a
perfect companion. Training a dog is not wholly about training the dog;
the humans need training too. Please note that BRAT does not knowingly
accept or place dogs that bite and/or are viscous.
Some Basenjis come into rescue because they develop health problems with
which their owners are unable to cope. Some come simply because they're
old. These Basenjis, with proper care, can make wonderful pets.
a Basenji the right dog for me and my family?
If everyone thinking about getting a Basenji
would ask this question, there would probably be fewer Basenjis in
rescue. The best way to answer it is to think about yourself, your
family, why you want a dog, and what you want from your dog.
Consider the following:
Is your home life pretty hectic right now, with small children
and lots of activity? Are you caring for a dependent family member? Do you
need to be away many hours each day because of your job or because you
kind of dog do you want? Do you want one that is highly obedient and
lives only to please you? Do you want one that can safely be allowed to
run off-leash? Do you want one that just likes to lie around the house
all of the time? Do you want a dog that has never met a stranger and
instantly loves everyone, including small children?
“Yes” responses to any of these questions should lead
you to question whether a Basenji is right for you. Basenjis are obedient
some of the time, but they are sight hounds, bred for generations to be independent thinkers. They need
both physical and mental stimulation, and if they see anything of interest
to pursue (literally or figuratively), they will not hesitate to pursue it.
Basenjis are active, often fearless dogs that, when off-leash, may run in
front of a vehicle without the slightest sense of danger. This behavior
is driven by the Basenji's survival instinct and should not be
underestimated. Some Basenjis are outgoing, but others are more reserved
and need to be allowed to warm up to strangers before being petted. Many
are wonderful with children, but others don’t like them much at all.
Again, refer to the
Stories on this site to find out some of the truths about life
Do you want an
intelligent dog? Do you want a dog that will challenge you and may even outsmart
you on occasion? Do you want a dog that is cheerfully disobedient?
Are you willing to laugh at yourself when your dog puts one over on
If you answered “yes” to these questions, a Basenji might
be just the right dog for you.
Are you willing to put in the
time and effort it takes to be a Basenji owner? Will you go to
training with the attitude that the training is more for you than for your Basenji? Are you willing to take your
Basenji for long walks, play silly games, cuddle as needed, and provide
the consistent care and nurturing a Basenji needs?
If you answered
“yes” to these questions, a Basenji may be waiting for you.
already own a female dog and want to adopt another female. Is this a good
While there are exceptions to any rule,
same-sex aggression can often be a problem with Basenjis. In general,
and especially when dealing with adult dogs, opposite sex placements are
easier and safer.
I consider adopting an older Basenji?
Old, elderly and senior are words that conjure unfair
images of infirmity and senility. What is old for a Basenji? Like
humans, longevity is often dictated by a combination of genetic and
environmental factors. Basenjis seem to live longer than many other
breeds. This can be a good or a bad thing—especially given that we live
in such a “disposable society.”
Basenji Rescue and Transport, Inc. (BRAT) places many
dogs over the age of eight. Most older dogs adjust wonderfully to their
new homes and appear to be grateful to have been given another chance.
It is a myth that the older dog takes longer to bond.
If a dog has once been able to love, it will always be able to love. If
the dog has bonded with previous owners, it will bond again because it's
in its nature. On the other hand, a rescue that has been abused may have
issues and might take longer, but that’s true regardless of a Basenji of
Most people want to adopt a rescue aged two or three
years-old because by then the dog’s personality has been established;
the dog is no longer an unruly puppy, and the dog is still “young enough
to bond.” This is true for older Basenjis as well, and with age comes
some excellent benefits. An older rescue will not be as demanding. He or
she will be happy to follow the sun spots around the house and doze away
the day while you're away at work, and greet you happily when you get
home. The need for exercise to blow off steam diminishes. Potty walks
will be briefer and there will be less leash pulling. (All the
foregoing is said with the understanding that there are always
Often, when an applicant’s older Basenji passes away,
he will insist on adopting a young rescue to avoid the pain of another
loss. However, one Basenji can never replace another and time can dull
memories of what it is like to live with a young Basenji. One can forget
how truly energetic and demanding a young Basenji is. And, a senior
Basenji is perfect for the senior applicant who might not be able to
manage a wild and crazy juvenile Basenji.
An older Basenji also makes an excellent pet for the
first time Basenji owner to learn about Basenji ways and become familiar
with the breed.
One of the oldest Basenjis adopted through BRAT was a
sweet girl named Grace. She was raised by a man who allowed her to sleep
in bed and have free run of his home. Grace was happy. When Grace was
about 8 years old, the man married, and Grace’s happiness slowly faded.
The woman did not understand or like dogs. She thought that since Grace
was already eight years old, she wouldn’t be around much longer. She was
wrong. At first, Grace was banished from the bedroom. As the years went
by, Grace’s comforts and pleasures were reduced further and further. By
the age of 16, Grace was chained to the kitchen table and walked twice a
day. Since the owners were downsizing and moving toward retirement, they
contacted BRAT to find a new home for her. Grace lived to be eighteen,
and last two years were probably the best years of her life. She was
flown from Florida to Seattle, Washington and lived a very pampered and
well-loved life to her last breath. The adoptive home was thrilled with
Grace from the day she arrived and they were honored to have enjoyed her
gentle, good spirit for however long they had her.
People often apply to adopt a rescue because they want
to do a good deed. They can multiply the power of their good intentions
by giving an older Basenji a good home. As a reward, they can enjoy life
with a wonderful creature that is guaranteed to give more love and joy
than they can ever imagine.
want to become a Basenji breeder. Will BRAT place an intact dog with me?
No, BRAT does not place intact dogs. BRAT’s mission is
rescue and we cannot place intact dogs and remain true to that mission.
If you want to become a breeder, please learn all you
can about Basenjis first. Live with Basenjis for a while, show them, or
get involved in performance events like lure coursing or agility. Become
part of the greater Basenji family. Join a group like
Companions or search Google for a local Basenji club. Talk to other
Basenji people, including both experienced breeders and those who have
chosen not to breed. Consider the Basenji's health, temperament, and
conformation issues. Make sure you
are financially and emotionally able to deal with the risks of breeding.
Read over the
Basenji Club of America's Code of Recommended Practices
and make sure you are in compliance. If not, BRAT may very well wind up
placing the puppies you breed.
recommend electronic fencing for Basenjis?
BRAT does not approve of and will not place a Basenji
in a home that uses electronic fencing, either inside the home or in the
yard. This type of fencing—also known as hidden fencing, electronic
shock fencing, wireless fencing, pet containment fencing, in-ground
fencing, and underground fencing—or any like it that uses shock, noise,
vibration, or irritant to contain a dog, is considered by BRAT to be an
unsafe and unreliable means of keeping a Basenji contained and gives
owners a false sense of security.
With their high prey drive, Basenjis will instantly
give chase after anything that moves—a squirrel, another dog, a cat,
children, a leaf, a piece of tissue paper flying by—and will ignore the
warning beep sound, vibration, or shock they receive from this fencing.
Once out, they will not be motivated to go back into their yard. In
addition, electronic fencing does not keep other dogs, delivery people, rabid wildlife, or children who may tease
the dog, off your property.
Electronic fencing is a punishment-based system of
training and pain is involved. During the training period, you risk
irreparable harm to the much-needed positive bond with your dog (i.e.
the dog will associate the pain with your presence) and become afraid of
you. In addition, if a dog is traumatize by this painful shock system of
training he may become aggressive and/or refuse to go into the yard
The best containment solution for outside containment
is a 6-foot privacy fence. The best way to restrict areas inside the
home is by use of positive training, closed doors, crates, exercise
pens, and baby gates.
If you do not have a securely fenced backyard, you
will need to be dedicated to walking your Basenji on a regular basis.
BRAT transport dogs to their new homes?
Underground Railroad (BUR) to provide transportation for newly adopted
Basenjis. However, it is sometimes quite difficult to organize a relay
of drivers over a very long distance, and it is left to the discretion
of the coordinators whether they want to try to do this.
Sometimes air transport can be arranged at the
adopter’s expense, although this is usually not an option during warm
weather due to airline restrictions—though some airlines offer
climate-controlled environments for critter transport. Also, keep in mind that some dogs
do not travel well and/or become distraught when crated. These dogs will
need to be placed with applicants who live nearby.
much does it cost to adopt a Basenji from BRAT?
The adoption fees are on a sliding scale, based on the
age of the Basenji. Check the individual dog's listing at
View Basenji Rescues. Fees are flexible for pairs and special-needs dogs.
BRAT also requires adopters to sign an adoption contract. Please be
aware that adoption fees often do not completely cover the care the Basenji has
received, and donations are always appreciated. In some cases, when
there have been extraordinary medical or other costs, a higher placement
fee may be required.
want to adopt a dog quickly. How long will it take for me to get my
Faster is not always better, especially when re-homing
dogs. People who work in rescue are certainly aware that those who want
dogs can easily visit a pet store, hand over a credit card, and go home
with a puppy in a matter of minutes. Many of the same puppies, are given
up to rescue.
BRAT has an excellent track record for placing
Basenjis in “forever homes.” One of the most important reasons for the
high success rate is the thoroughness of the screening and matching
process. Because it is thorough, it takes time. The length of time a
potential adopter can expect to wait while being screened and approved
for a particular Basenji varies. The whole process might only take a
week or two, but more typically an applicant waits a month or more for
the right dog to come along.
While you are waiting, make sure you have done your
research by reading the
Reality Stories on this site.
They are an eye-opener! You might also
want to visit
BRAT's bookstore to get some books about Basenjis,
training, dogs in general, and canine health issues. If you buy any
books through our link to Amazon, 5% of the price will be donated to
BRAT. You do not pay a higher cost for books and BRAT benefits from your
just received an email from a BRAT representative assigned to my state. What should I do?
Usually, the first person to contact you after you have
submitted a BRAT adoption application will be the representative
assigned to your state. This person will welcome you and verify that
your email address is correct. The representative may also provide
general information about Basenjis and about BRAT procedures. If there
is anything on your application that needs clarification, you may also
be asked a few questions. If you rent a home, you may be asked to
provide a letter from your landlord approving a canine resident for the
property. Be sure to respond promptly to your state representative, and
feel free to ask any questions you might have. Failure to respond will
be interpreted as a lack of interest and will result in your application
being removed from our “active” database.
am interested in adopting a dog I just saw on the email list or the Web
page. What should I do next?
First of all, if you haven't already done so, fill out
Then, using the link included in each dog's individual posting, email the Basenji's
coordinator. Be thorough in your response to
the information requested there. After that, wait for the coordinator to
reply. If a response from the coordinator is not received immediately,
do not be concerned. Although most coordinators attempt to respond
within 24 hours, it is sometimes impossible. All coordinators are
volunteers. Also, the number of
applicants received might cause the coordinator some delay in responding
immediately. Expect the coordinator to have further questions for you.
Think about these questions carefully. You may even wish to discuss them
with your family. BRAT coordinators are not trying to be nosey or give
you a hard time. They just want a positive outcome for you and the
Basenjis whose adoptions they coordinate. You can help out by answering
the questions as honestly as you can.
This is another good opportunity for you to ask
questions too. For example, if the coordinator mentions that the Basenji
has a particular health problem or behavioral challenge, you may want to
request a more detailed explanation. If you need a few days before
responding, please let the coordinator know right away whether you’re
are thinking about adopting two Basenjis. Should we adopt both of them at
the same time or wait awhile in between?
Basenji people believe that two Basenjis are twice as much fun as one,
so if you are seriously considering having more than one of these
wonderful dogs in your life, why not adopt a pair from BRAT? When you
read about the pairs listed on the website, you will see that these dogs
have spent a good portion of their lives together and are well-bonded.
You can be sure they will play nicely with each other, and the fact that
they are being re-homed together should make their transition easier.
There are other benefits to adopting a pair. For
instance, if you have to be away from home for several hours each day,
your dogs are not as likely to get lonely, bored, and destructive if
they have each other for company.
On the other hand, if you are not quite certain
whether you want two Basenjis, it would be better to adopt one now and
then wait six months or even a year before adopting a second one.
By then, you will be in a much better position to
judge whether you and your dog would benefit by adding to your family.
Just remember that bringing another Basenji into your home may
temporarily cause some behavior issues in even a well-adjusted dog as
routines and hierarchies change. For a Basenji that has had a difficult
life, the stress of adding another dog too soon may lead to serious
behavior problems. Occasionally a dog that has had the family to itself
for sometime may start to exhibit behavior problems.
BRAT provide any post-adoption care to new owners?
Yes. BRAT not only asks that an adopter stay in touch
with the dog's coordinator, it also provides each adopter with follow-up
information in the form of a printable Post Adoptive Care (PAC) to
assure that immediate help is at hand when common adjustment problems
occur. The PAC addresses issues that are often seen in Basenjis, not
only those that are adopted. When an adopter feels that help is needed
in solving an adjustment problem, the coordinator should be contacted
immediately. Not only is a BRAT volunteer available to help through any
adjustment period, BRAT is there to help the adopter at any time during
the life of the dog.
Rev. 03/01/12 LWH