Starting in Basenjis
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  • P

    I was just wondering how those of you who've been in the breed a while first became interested in Basenjis?

    I note that several first became curious after seeing the film/video 'Goodbye My Lady' and I do indeed know a breeder of longstanding who started that way.

    Somebody else I know became determined to have one having read ' Leopard in my Lap' by Michaela Dennis.

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  • Obsessive reading of the dog encyclopedia when I was 5-8.. I literally made my parents a dossier of dog breeds that fit the family until we got one.

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  • Although we havent been in the breed for a while - we first came across B's one day we saw one down the beach in all its glory.

    From then on i done tonnes of research (for a few yrs) making sure a B would suit us, found a local breeder that was having a litter and now we have Hope :)

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  • Houston

    After my beloved Westie, Bogus, and our equally beloved mutt Lou died less than a month apart two years ago, we, my husband and I, decided to bring another dog into our home. I really like the Rhodesian Ridgebacks and my husband does too, but he wanted a smaller dog and had seen a documentary about basenjis when he was younger..so he told me what he knew and that was it….I was hooked. I read everything I could about the breed..looked at websites and soaked it all up...unfortunately I did not know the difference between a "breeder" and a breeder..I finally learned that here...months after I aquired my first basenji.

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  • When I was a teen (and this is really many years ago…ggg) my girlfriend had a Basenji... I thought it was to coolest dog I have ever seen.... Fast forward 20 years and I found myself a East Coast Transplant to California... when I lived back East I showed as a Junior and later as an adult bred and showed horses... When I moved to California, I knew that I could not afford the type of land needed to own, raise, show, train horses... and always remembered that cool little dog that reminded me so much of a well bred Hunter/Jumper. That started my search for a Basenji... I spend lots of time finding a breeder and found two... both very close to me... One became my mentor ... and as it turned out we bought our home 2 blocks away... after that I have never looked back... However all that said... dogs are not cheaper then horses, once you get past the land needed...gggg

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  • "1 year old male basenji, free to good home" is how it started for us, back in the early 70's. DH had seen "Goodbye my Lady" and I remembered reading about them in the encyclopedia, so off we went to get this near-feral little dog. He was an amazing creature and trained us well. A couple of years later "5 year old spayed female, free to good home" and we had Cindy, man-fearful skinny girl who became Don's heart-dog. When they were old, we bought a pup, then had many other 'free to good home' dogs over the years. All have been wonderful.
    I used to call all the "1 year old male basenji, free to good home" adds (and there were many) and tell people to hang on for another few months, they had just been through the worst and their boy would get better!

    Every one of ours has been the best dog ever.

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  • S

    I always loved cats. When my last one passed, I wanted a "cat" I could take on vacation and walk on the beach….
    My love for b's was born...

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  • First Basenji's

    Great thread, thanks for starting it.

    For me, uh, it was Wikipedia. =)

    Our Shiba Inu was/is our first dog, purchased from a terrible source and before my partner and I knew any better (boy have we learned!). We did it backwards – got the dog first, then did the research. So I went from articles about Shiba Inu to "primitive" breed dogs to Pariah dogs to the Basenji. I was very struck by how much their descriptions overlapped with Shibas, but also how they had other unique qualities and a different preservation history. So I started paying attention to Basenjis and noting the rare occurrences of meeting them ever since.

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  • @MacPack:

    Every one of ours has been the best dog ever.

    But Diggie lives at my house. :D

    I wanted a not-too-small appartment sized dog that was a bit unusual and not hairy. So, it came down between a basenji or a smooth fox. I just found a basenji before I found a smooth fox. I actually found my first basenji in the newspaper (way back in the dark ages before the internet) and upon driving home I wondered what I had gotten myself into. She was not the best dog ever, but I loved that little girl. And basenji #2 was my brindlewonderkid, Digital. Who really is the finest dog to walk the face of this planet.

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  • T

    basenjis always came up on my dogbreedinfo.com best matches. always. but i had never seen one. one day at a pet store (yeah, i know) i saw this little girl sitting there. i was shocked. i came home and did some specific internet research. i thought, if she's still there… i will feel so bad. nobody is going to want this dog that no one has heard of. and lo and behold, she was still there. and still there. and when i took her into the little room, she was evil. seriously. she bit me a thousand times, chewed on my clothes, peed on the floor, ran away from me, bit me again. that was it. she was already discounted by like 70%, getting old by pet store puppy standards, and i knew no family would ever buy this dog after spending 5 minutes with her. so... i had to take her home with me. she continues to be evil in the most loving and sweet and charming way possible. i love her dearly, but doubt many other people would. i'm just hoping for the best health-wise, and won't get suckered again, but this time i just couldn't help myself. and i did know better.

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  • First Basenji's

    I grew up with dogs my whole life. They were all mixes that were strays or from shelters. In my senior year of college, I moved into an apartment that was pet friendly, but dogs had to be under 35 pounds. I started researching different dog breeds that fit that requirement, but I'm not a big fan of yappy dogs, so I didn't want a chihuahua, JRT, or dachshund like most of my neighbors had. A few weeks later, I went to visit my cousin in San Diego and we went to the SD Zoo. I was absolutely intrigued by the New Guinea Singing Dogs. When I got home, I researched them a bit, and the website mentioned basenjis. I did some research on them and fell in love with their independence, personality, look, and history. Months later and still pet-less, I came across an ad on craigslist for basenjis free to a good home. I went back to my original research, then researched even more. I finally contacted the woman giving them away (and that is another story altogether), and then a week later, my friend and I drove to Virginia to pick up Cody (for me) and his puppy Remi (for her). Remi turned out to be too much for my friend, so she contacted a local rescue and he was rehomed with one of their volunteers that had recently lost one of her Bs. Cody, on the other hand, was one of the best decisions I've made even though it hasn't always been easy, and he seems happy about our arrangement as well.

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  • L

    I got my first B from the Humane Society in 1970. She was a R&W and I named her Pumpkin because she was the color of one. Basenjis were not as well known back then and of course no internet so we weren't quite sure what she was. The vet finally figured it out. She was not as rambunctious as Abbey. Didn't destroy much although she did eat a chunk of my bathroom wall once. She would climb trees to go after a squirrel, get halfway up the tree and realize she wasn't going to make it and just hang there and wait to be rescued. Tried to attack my neighbor's motorcycle and got herself run over (just bruises thank God). She was staying with my mother temporarily after my son was born and disappeared out of the back yard. Losing Pumpkin was so traumatic it took me years to want another dog of any kind.

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  • Great thread. I'm enjoying reading about everybody's "beginnings". Mine isn't all that exciting, but will still share.
    I grew up with a cat that had seniority over me, and who would never have tolerated a dog. So, I read dog breed books cover to cover, and although I do remember finding the basenji entries facinating, what I thought I wanted was a German shepherd dog. When I was finally able to get a puppy at the age of 15, we ended up rescuing a border collie mix I named Joie. (For Joie de Vivre - see attached photos.) Only got to meet her mom, the bc, but by the time Joie was about 4 months old I was referring back to my old books thinking that she looked an awful lot like a basenji! But with the border collie influence - imagine a mostly obedient basenji who barked. ;)
    Joie lived to be over 15, and was joined eventually by a German shepherd mix named Sassy, who was the epitome of a "Good Dog". The differences in their personalities were enormous, and although I still admire GSDs and think maybe someday I'd like one, that unmistakeable basenji personality had won my heart. I had been subscribing to the Basenji magazine since the early 90's, and the more I read about them, the more I loved them. I started my basenji puppy search after Joie died, hoping for a black/white female. The only black/white female in Jigsaw's litter was spoken for, but since I really liked the breeders and was comfortable with them, I decided on a red/white female instead. And it was evident almost immediately after I brought Jigsaw home that Joie was indeed part basenji. The similarities were almost spooky. If I believed in reincarnation, I would have believed that I had Joie back, albeit in a different colour!
    But, I still needed that black/white, so add Indy to the mix 3 years later, and now I'm completely sunk. :) It's basenji all the way. Although, I DO missing having a "Good Dog" now and then. :D
    attachment_p_131378_0_joie-aug-29-1994.jpg
    attachment_p_131378_1_joie-spring-1990.jpg

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  • @sharronhurlbut:

    I always loved cats. When my last one passed, I wanted a "cat" I could take on vacation and walk on the beach….
    My love for b's was born...

    Oh my goodness, Sharron. This so much sounds like me. Many years ago Darrel and I saw a cat riding in a pick-up with a fellow. He had built up a 'box' on the passenger seat and the cat was riding shotgun, claws digging into the carpeting around the box. It is still something we talk about today.

    When I saw my first basenji (before I met Darrel) I thought they were the most beautiful creature I had laid my eyes on. Fast forward years later, researching, joining this forum and learning as much as I could. I read somewhere that basenjis were rather 'catlike' dogs. I was hooked.

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  • Well, Patty, I'm sure you've heard my 'Beginnings' story a thousand times.

    Back in 2001 we (hubbie and I) had just bought our first house together. We had 2 kittens and a recently acquired farm-bred BC. Sitting in our living room one Thursday evening in March 2001, we were flicking up and down the SKY TV channels. Suddenly something amazing caught my eye and I said 'Hey, wait a minute, go back to that channel'. On the screen was the most amazing dog I had ever seen. We continued to watch the program and discovered that the 'amazing' dog had won a prize at the biggest dog show on Earth -Crufts. Something about that dog made my tummy flutter so we made a point of watching the Crufts TV program for the rest of that week. On the Sunday evening we were glued to the TV watching 'Best in Show' and to our amazement the 'amazing' dog won!!!!!! Well, I am a huge believer in Fate and something made me see that dog on the screen and something made me see it winning Best in Show. It was meant to be. From there on I decided to do some research on the breed - although I kept forgetting the word 'Basenji' so had to keep asking my mother 'What was that dog called again?'. I bought a dog magazine and looked up the breed directory at the back. Through this I was put in contact with a breeder not too far from me and I arranged to visit the breeder and her dogs. In August that year, we visited the home of Kalrinda Basenjis and there was a litter planned for later that year. In February 2002, Benji came home to live with us. In 2004 we got Benji a little girl friend from Patty and the rest is history :)

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  • 25 years ago when I was in high school, my brother had a girlfriend whose sister bred and showed basenjis - following this so far? lol. The girlfriend owned one of the basenjis (Zeke) that she showed and when my brother and the girlfriend married, they all came to live with my parents - Zeke included. Well, Zeke basically became my dog - he became very attached to me and vice versa. I would take care of him after school, he would sleep with me - he would, on occasion listen to me when I wanted him to do something. Oh, and lets just say that 25 years ago, basenjis didn't have the temperaments they do now, lol.. Basically he was my dog unless my brother and the wife were fighting and then the wife would take him away from me :(. Anyway, they eventually moved out and got their own place and Zeke went with and I went to college.

    Fast forward 20 years and I had a really successful petsitting business - didn't want my own dog as I travelled so much and was away quite a bit. My favourite client was a JRT (Apatche) and as he got up in age and had health problems, I scaled back my business so that I was available to always take care of him whenever his owner went out of town. Apatche passed away at age 15.

    When Apatche passed on, I knew I finally wanted to get my own dog and knew that my lifestyle was a better fit. I was 99% sure I was getting a JRT. Then I saw an ad in the paper for a basenji. Now I absolutely knew I wasn't buying the one in the paper because I knew to research breeders and I don't make a snap decision about buying anything - and certainly not something as important as a living, breathing animal. So, I went to look at the basenji anyway - without my checkbook. Immediately upon seeing him (he was a brindle puppy - brindle wasn't a basenji colour/pattern when we had Zeke) and the other adult basenjis this woman had, I remembered all the things I loved about Zeke and knew then that I wanted a basenji. I left and went home and started my research. I did a month's worth of obsessive research - starting at the Basenji Club of America's website, then researched breeders, etc. and then went to visit breeders. 2 months after I started my research I adopted a 2yo retired show dog (Ruby).

    The rest as they say is history. I now am owned by 4 basenji (2 - 6yo retired show dogs that I adopted as adults - Ruby & Brando - both R&W) and 2 that I got as pups (Aaliyah - 2yo - Brindle/white and Ozzy - 1yo - Black & White).

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  • When I was 13 I read the book "Good Bye My Lady" in the school library. I was fascinated by the basenji, but my parents never let us have a dog until HS and then it was an Airedale from a BYB (my Dad's choice). I loved Argus and he always lived with me, but I always wanted to pick my own dog. After I was married in 1991 I started my research and decided I wanted either a Basenji or a Borzoi! My husband, who has animal allergies, went to the Curby's with me to see how his allergies would do (he wasn't keen on Borzoi and we didn't have a ton of running room) and look at their show quality pups. We fell in love with their half af male, Scrapper, CH Kibushi Prime Target, and on the spot decided to take home his daughter. We named her Winnie, CH Kibushi Arwen of Signet, CD. She got her first leg on her CD at the National by going first in Nov A. Had one litter and then died quite suddenly from a fungal infection in her lungs. She was my partner and my best friend and 15 years after her untimely death and 3 years without a basenji in my life, I'm ready to jump back in:)

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  • Great thread.

    When my wife and I first moved in together she had a cat. Although I am quite allergic to cats we tried everything we could to make it work but after about six months my mother-in-law had to adopt the cat into her pack. I had always felt a bit guilty about this. I am also allergic to most dog breeds. I told my wife that I knew there were some dog breeds that I was not allergic to because we had a toy poodle and a poodle/schnauzer mix as a kid (I had some small allergies to the schnoodle). She never showed any interest in getting a dog. She is a true "cat person."

    About 5 years later I started doing casual research on the internet about the list of supposed hypoallergenic dogs. Most of them were breeds I was familar with and had no desire to own. When I saw the picture of a Basenji I knew I had never seen one in my life but I thought it was the best looking dog I had ever seen. My wife and I didn't even know how to pronounce Basenji, and we still joke about the moment we first saw that picture. We were hooked and we didn't even know it yet.

    Everything about the Basenji appealed to us. They are the right size for us, hypoallegenic, barkless and had so many cat-like characteristics. Even all of the idiosycrocies were fascinating. The only problem is that we live in a small town and we had no hope of finding a breeder locally and could not even confirm that any Basenjis lived anywhere near us. We could not risk getting a dog that I might be allergic to so we had to find a way to meet a Basenji. After a couple of months, one fine day I was hiking on a local trail and I saw a woman walking towards me with 2 dogs on leashes. I did a double-take. They were both Basenjis! I accosted her and her dogs (Lexi and Bubba). We became friends, fell in love with her dogs. Most importantly, we confirmed that I am not allergic to basenjis. A few months later we had Ella.

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  • Seems like a lot were influenced by the book/movie 'Goodbye My Lady'. I never saw it but a good friend did and bought two of them. She got me hooked on them and I've only gone a couple of months with out one.
    Mac

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  • LOL I had seen Goodbye My Lady. I still didn't want one. I am a BIG DOG PERSON. Rottweilers and Chows most particularly (btw, my 5th gen took BISS at Hoosiers Rottweiler Club Show last week.. am SO proud of her breeder, my best friend).

    I got a stupid small dog because my child wanted a small dog and we were on a list for a Chinese Crested (powderpuff) and the breeder got cancer (is fine btw) and didn't breed both bitches… didn't want to wait a year. Another person offered us pick of Basenji litter, and here we are. I can't imagine my life without them.

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  • I had cats all my life - my friends always called me the "cat lady." I loved them and still do, and still have one remaining old girl, who is a terror. When I retired and got bored with no challenges in my life any more, I decided I wanted a dog. A small, loving little lap dog. My husband said "no dogs" and so of course I had to get one. I read up on lots of breeds, and when I found the basenji, I was so fascinated by its temperament, catlike behavior, and elegant, proud looks. The fact that it was a primitive animal specifically brought over, who hadn't changed in all the years was wonderful to me. I thought about it for quite a while, and one day, by happenstance, I saw an ad in the paper "Basenji puppies, all girls, mother and father in home." Well, hadn't been on this forum, did not think about breeders, called and ran over there. There were only two left, in less than a week. The litter originally had 9. The minute I laid eyes on my little girl, the runt of the litter and the bounciest little thing I had ever seen, I knew she was the one. When I brought her home, Husband's words were "No, No, No" and he sulked for the rest of the day. That evening though, Shaye jumped up on his lap to be cuddled, she played with his fingers and the buttons on his shirt, and looked up at him with that little wrinkly face and those beautiful brown eyes, and his next comment was "You did good this time." YAY - we have gone through some unmitigated hell as she grew and went through her chewing, destructive, separation anxiety stages, but when we got her basenji mix companion, most of that went away. She was the easiest thing to potty train I could imagine, and she now rules the roost, including her bigger "sister," and I cannot think of life without either one of them. She is and always has been a very good teacher, and she has taught us well.

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