New basenji mix with ducks and cats?

  • Hello everyone,

    We're currently fostering a very, very sweet, smart girl while we're on sabbatical here in Costa Rica. She sure looks like a basenji mix to me–would you agree?

    Our family is so taken with her that we're considering bringing her home with us when we return to the State in September. We're concerned, however, because she did kill a chicken here (and was given away for it--hence she's with us for now), and we have a small flock of ducks in the the States. From the reading I've done, some basenji's can be trained to be safe around poultry. Ours are mostly penned, and when the are ranging free, we could keep the dog inside or penned. But we know, there are always accidents and escapes once in a while...

    We also have two adult cats we'll be returning to, who have never lived with a dog before.

    Is this a mistake, with so many unknowns? What we do know is that she's sweet and gentle, we've taught her to sit and stay in just a day or two, and we'll work on recall commands next. She's eager to please. We'd ready for a family dog in any case, so if we don't bring her home, we'll be adopting from a local shelter, which, of course, is always full of least this way our challenges are known ones...

    thanks very much for any advice,

  • IMO, you've got some risks there, with both your ducks and your cats. You can control the basenji's exposure to both of them, but you have to be prepared that there could be slip-ups and serious problems.
    Kipawa lives with our 2 cats, and even though he was bred in a home with cats, we still keep a close eye on things. He wants to play with the cats, but does not seem to understand that they don't want his mouth on them. They make 'disgusted' faces when they work on cleaning the dog spit he leaves on them.

    It sounds like this dog has a strong hunting instinct. You still have a little time before you come back to the States. Is it possible to find the basenji a good/no other animals home in CR before you leave?

    That said, if your heart is leaning towards taking him, you will probably need to take him to obedience classes. If this basenji has been allowed to 'run free', he's going to need to find out what your boundaries for him are.

  • Whoops, I forgot to post the pictures, in case anyone has any thoughts about whether she's true basenji or not…here they are attached.

  • After I saw some Basenji mixes on BRAT whose mother was a purebred Basenji - I think anything goes! Some of her pups would never pass muster as Basenji mixes, but there are photos of the Basenji mom with these pups. With that said, I think Basenjis have a high prey drive. I have taken three nestling carcasses out of my yard just this week, as Cody was too fast for me and killed these babies. If you can find a way to separate them, you should be okay, but if not…you might give some long thought to which animals (Basenji or duck) mean the most to you. IMHO!

  • Basenjis vary and some are definitely reliable with other animals and some not.

    This little girl sounds as though she certainly isn't! Yes its possible to separate the ducks and cats but as you've said previously there can always be mishaps. You're obviously doubtful or you wouldn't have asked. We have what we consider a secure system here (we have sheep) but there have been 'accidents' although we are ultra vigilant.

  • Dogs can do awful damage to small critters. Any breed of dog can. IMO, seperation is the way to go.

  • I can relate to you. My boyfriend found a basenji mix for me and we named him Bart. I think he is basenji and rat terrier both with very high prey drives. Me and my mother raise and show rabbits. Our cages are all wire and the highest cage floor is almost two feet tall. One is even at 18".
    Well when we first brought bart to my parents house He went nuts for the rabbits. I made the mistake of letting him jump up on the sides of the cages. He started trying bite the rabbits feet after I told him to get down. For the next two weeks he would never go outside alone. I learned to use a water bottle (this was a life saver because basenjis usually hate water) and he quickly learned the commands off and leave it. I have since enrolled him in obedience classes and he has done so well. After months of being around the rabbits as they binky and run around the cages he has learned to ignore them. Now he goes after our cats but we are learning slowly.

    I will say it took time and patience and not every dog is the same but its not impossible which you have already stated. I would never leave them unattended together even 10 years from now. You can subdue an instinct but you can never erase it.

  • @dzeiden:

    Whoops, I forgot to post the pictures, in case anyone has any thoughts about whether she's true basenji or not…here they are attached.

    If you got/found the dog in MA it is more likely a Podengo Mix.

    Go to and look at some of the pictures.

  • IMO your pup doesn't look all that much basenji, but you never know for sure. As to the cats/ducks - mine would try to annihilate both but, the cat who lives here has taught both of them that messing with her results in scars on their noses and they have learned not to annoy her any more. Ducks can fight back too, but then again, they don't have teeth, Basenjis do, and they probably would lose out in any dog/duck fight.

  • First Basenji's


    If you got/found the dog in MA it is more likely a Podengo Mix.

    Go to and look at some of the pictures.

    How in the world did you ever hear of the Podengo? Too cool! I think you hit it on the head with the breed identification. Could see where B-mix would be mistaken.

  • I am President of the club and own several (as most people on the list can tell you I can be very annoying about providing podengo information) and since I also own basenjis can understand how shelters get confused.

    Keep in mind that primitive/ancient/feral breeds all have a similar 'look'. eventually when mixes continue to mate with mixes you start getting a more dingoish looking breed.

  • First Basenji's

    I am intrigued by the primitive/ancient/feral breeds. I guess because the gene-pool has survived centuries and the DNA is so strong. Breeds that have been so (AKC…) man-made: brachocephalic's, french bulldog, min-pin, and so many more that nature did not intend and would not survive. Anyway, I am going to the website to read more; could you even describe what it is like to live with these dogs? plus the Basenji???

  • Well I will tell you a couple of differences - walking basenjis you typically have 1 boy one girl - and stay away from other dogs. I can walk 2 or 3 bigs and 1 little and they just walk along - not as dog aggressive as some basenjis can be - still as food aggressive. Similar play styles - butt up. Since the basenjis at my house a Seniors - once the bigs get BIG I don't usually let them play together because a 2 year old big anything and a 10 or 15 year old anything not a good combination.

    The hardest thing to get used to was - they bark. They are VERY attentive to everything outside of the yard when they are out and need to alert me.

    A 57 lb dog in your lap is heavier than a 20 lb dog and takes up more space. Like basenjis I have some that are on your lap, some right next to you and some within arms length in case you drop something.

    Like basenjis - they are a female led group BUT they don't seem to have to have that continuous discussion with each other on who is in charge.

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