Looking to get a Basenji, but not sure with my 2 y/o
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    Hi all, new member here and very new to the breed. Long story but please help.

    I have been looking into Basenji's wondering if they are right for my family. I dont think they are right now but I would like to know before I get my heart set on one and get dissappointed.

    I have Belgian Malinois that I have had for right at 2 years. When I first got her I was single and it was just her and I. I love her to death. But now I am married with two step children (2, 15). Been with my wife for over a year and half. But here lately she has gotten very jealous, which is my fault because I havent spent much time with her, and been spending it with my wife and son. Well the other day Cinnamon nipped my son on the side of they face…not bad but something I can not risk happening again. So I have been looking to get her into another home. I could put her in a kennel out back but after being an inside dog for so long and being able run all over I believe she will develope kennel aggression.

    I hate to get rid of her I have been around her since she was just a few days old. I got her from one of our narcotic officers and was able to go to his house and play with her when ever.

    My wife has never been to excited about having her in the house because of her size (65lbs) and she tends to shed a decent amount. And my wife is kinda a neat freak and has small pet allergies. But she understood she comes with me like the kids with her (I love the kids and plan on adopting my Brayden, his biological father decided it was too hard when she was on bed rest and ran off then when he was born had some health problems and has a feeding tube in his stomach, hoping to get out soon :) ) but she always said if she ever nips or bites either of the children she has to go and I agree I love her but it is unacceptable because I can no longer trust her for home protection when my wife or I am not here. I cant have her around my son or nephew (1.5 y/o).

    So I know now probably wont be getting a Basenji but I am hoping to get one in a few years when my son is bigger, I am not a fan of small dogs (yes i consider basenji very small because i normally think bigger dog better Love great danes!) But i looked on a website of small dogs and found the basenji and immediately fell in love with the look. They kinda look like a minature Malinois especially in the face. And the fact that they dont shed much and have no smell the wife will be more ok with having one.

    But I need to know if you guys think they will be a good fit. We live in the mountains of NC and have a decent yard to play in.

    Thank you for your help and reading the long winded post.

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  • I'm not exactly sure what sort of info you're looking for, but I have had malis and basenjis so maybe I can help with comparing the 2 breeds. Yes, basenjis shed a LOT less. and their energies are similiar. But the attitudes are very different. With my first mali, it took about 3 days to get a really good recall on her (I could call her off chasing a rabbit). Digital the brindlewonderkid has 30 titles (mostly agility) to his name and if I call him when he's chasing a rabbit, he'll chase the rabbit. Of course he's almost 15 now and is pretty deaf, but I do still have to tackle him to prevent him from fence running. (I actually let him do it for a few reps if it isn't 90 degrees. He's happy to with very high temps, but I'm afraid he'll overheat.) I do a lot of agility and so I'm actually around a lot of herding dogs. I've often heard the herding dog people talk about high prey drive. The basenji prey drive (VERY high) is coupled with a compelete disregard to your wishes when they are engaged. This is not the sort of dog you can let off lead in an unsecure area. The can also be escape artists.

    I've found the mali's can take corrections. Basenjis translate "No" to "don't get caught doing that". Basenjis tend not to respect people who use traditional corrections.

    People ask if basenjis are smart; I reply that they are clever and that usually gets the point accross. They are inquisitive, whismical little creatures.

    What actually gives me the most pause in your post, is that I'm left wondering about how your wife feels about getting a basenji. It sounds like she doesn't really want a dog. Basenjis are actually a lot of dog for someone who doesn't want a dog. It is possible that she will change her mind after spending some time with a basenji, but in my experience, if momma ain't happy, nobody's happy.

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    Thank you. Yes the mali's are very smart just about anything I teach her she catchs on fast. She knows English, German, and hand commands. Listens pretty good for the most part.

    My wife is not a big animal person but she knows that I am so she is ok with it. Even let her daughter get a Shih Tzu Pekinese mix for inside. Im not big on the dog which is because it is always yapping…which from what I have read the Basenji does not do much of. The baroo is actually kinda cool :)

    How does the Basenji do with small children? Say around 4 y/o. My son is very active and does have a sensory disorder he can be a bit much for some people.

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  • every basenji is different and will actually tolerate different people differently. and it depends on the situation too. food, dominance, tone of voice. …. I just look at my two basenji as perpetual 2 year old children. because that is what they act like. only wayyyyy smarter. and even sometimes a little vengeful ..... :() gotta love em.

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  • sorry that frowny face was supposed to be a big big grin face.

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  • @ACrawford36:

    Thank you. Yes the mali's are very smart just about anything I teach her she catchs on fast. She knows English, German, and hand commands. Listens pretty good for the most part.

    My wife is not a big animal person but she knows that I am so she is ok with it. Even let her daughter get a Shih Tzu Pekinese mix for inside. Im not big on the dog which is because it is always yapping…which from what I have read the Basenji does not do much of. The baroo is actually kinda cool :)

    How does the Basenji do with small children? Say around 4 y/o. My son is very active and does have a sensory disorder he can be a bit much for some people.

    good i'm glad that's what you were looking for (more or less). I find clicker training is a GREAT thing especially with basenjis. Lure based training also works pretty well. Zest! knows "go right" and "go left" (spins to the rt and left). She's the first dog I trained rt/lft because I have such a hard time with rt/lft. Sad when the dog is better at that than the owner.

    Kids - some are good, some not so much. My 3 basenjis are all certified therapy dogs and do well with all sorts of strange human things (walkers, wheelchairs, etc). I don't have kids, but my breeder has grandkids, so the dogs were socialized with kids. I do lots of socialization with my dogs (VERY important for basenjis, as with mali's), but I admit we aren't around a lot of kids. However, I was never so proud of Jet the trying as the day when we were at the dog park and a child put him in a headlock (i'm sure the kid thought it was a hug). Jet just stood there and waited for the kid to finish. He may have rolled his eyes if that's possible for a dog. When she released him, he just trotted off.

    Given that there are young kids, you may want to look for an older pup/young adult from a good breeder. Some basenjis can have a bit of a sharp temperment. Breeders will sometimes have a potential show dog that for some reason didn't pan out. Or a retired dog that they aren't keeping for their breeding program (or a male that they've collected from). These dogs will often be young adults or older pups. Old enough to know what you've got in way of personality and usually house broken. ;) I got Digital at 10 months old and really, he's been the best dog ever. :cool:

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  • finding a good breeder will involve you being familiar with health testing (offa.org) AND talking to people who own thier dogs. I've gotten my dogs from Linda Ehlers of Jerlin basenjis and I cannot say enough good things about their temperaments. However, she's in Missouri so that's a bit of a hike from you. Before I got Digital (my first Jerlin dog) I did talk to several people who have Jerlin basenjis in their home. They all had wonderful things to say about how nice the dogs were. (My first basenji had issues with pretty much everyone. But she loved the guy that later became my husband, so we kept him ;) )

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    You came to the right place to find info on b's and good breeders. I know there are several folks in your area, who can give you info. I am sure they will chime in shortly.

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    Thanks. That is what I have been reading is there are not a ton of Basenji's and not available all over. Ill probably be looking at driving around 4 hours just to look at one when the time comes. But to get a well bred k9 that is from a respectable breeder that knows what to do and be able to tell more about the tempermant is worth the drive.

    But thanks for the info about maybe getting an older Basenji, I have always got pups right at 6 weeks. But I will definately look into a young adult or so around a year old.

    Jonny I think Ill probably be waiting awhile to get a basenji. Already have one going through terrible 2's dont know I can take another right now ha ha. But a Basenji sounds like a K9 that is for me. Hopefully. I was trying to find which markings I like better Black and white coat or red and white. But they both are excellent looking!

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  • If I were looking for a dog that was good with kids, I would get one that was already proven good with kids. I'd be looking at a rescue (of whatever breed) but very specifically a rescue or re homing situation where the dog is looking for a home because of circumstances that have nothing to do with the dog's behaviour. (owner going into an apartment or nursing home, or some such, and can't keep the dog) You want a dog that is good in the house and good with kids. Not impossible in a Basenji, but not the "average" one, either.

    IMHO, what you don't want is a pup. Kids are not kind to puppies, and often the result is a nasty bite when the pup is old enough to retaliate. I realize I am generalizing here, but I well remember when we got a Sheltie when I was seven years old. Of course, I teased the dog. But when I came crying "Daddy, the dog bit me" my father's immediate response was "What did you do to the dog?" No sympathy for me! And I learned to avoid the behaviour that had prompted the bite. But really, it's better to avoid the whole issue, and get an older, settled dog that tolerates kids and their behaviour.

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  • Coat color won't matter as much as temperment. Find one that suits your personality and that of your kids. I have a R&W and B&W they are both beautiful dogs. My RW is sweet and loving but does not like kids at all (she nips them, I think she is afraid of them) and my BW boy loves kids but is a little food aggressive and definatley is dominant. Find temprement over color.

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  • I don't want to be a downer here…but I think you should think about this for a while. I get the feeling that a Basenji might not be the right dog for you...and I think you should definitely meet several individuals and talk to many responsible breeders before you decide. They are not 'normal' dogs...and they can be very frustrating and naughty. A Basenji isn't the kind of the dog that you get because their charcteristics fit the specifics that you or your spouse want/need. You have to really find that you love all quirks of the breed...or at least love the breed enough that you can get past the quirks... :) Good luck, and let us know how it goes...

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    Andrea might be right that you wait until you child is a bit older. B's are very 2 yr oldish and you sure don't need 2 of those ages running around.

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  • First Basenji's

    I agree, you should definitely meet some basenjis and breeders before making a decision. The one thing I wish I had done before rescuing mine was to actually meet a few ahead of time. It gives you a better idea of how they really are (it's one thing to read about destructive habits, and another to come home to the destruction your little bundle of joy has caused) and how very different they all are.

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  • @ACrawford36:

    Thanks. That is what I have been reading is there are not a ton of Basenji's and not available all over. Ill probably be looking at driving around 4 hours just to look at one when the time comes. But to get a well bred k9 that is from a respectable breeder that knows what to do and be able to tell more about the tempermant is worth the drive.

    But thanks for the info about maybe getting an older Basenji, I have always got pups right at 6 weeks. But I will definately look into a young adult or so around a year old.

    Jonny I think Ill probably be waiting awhile to get a basenji. Already have one going through terrible 2's dont know I can take another right now ha ha. But a Basenji sounds like a K9 that is for me. Hopefully. I was trying to find which markings I like better Black and white coat or red and white. But they both are excellent looking!

    You will find with most all Basenji Breeders the pups do not leave until at least 8wks and more like 10wks. 6 wks in any breed is just to young to be removed from its littermates and Mom/other adults.

    And Basenji are good with children as long as the children are respectfully of the dog. Basenjis do not do well with "wild" children. And keep in mind that an open door is an invitation for a Basenji to dash out …. Basenjis have been lost to cars more then health issues.

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    I totally agree with Quercus, please think well about your decison. Visit with as many Basenjis and their owners as you can.

    If you were in this country I would invite you and particularly your wife together with the children to come and visit my Basenjis as often as possible before making any decisions. I'm sure this is true of all responsible breeders.

    Welcome to the forum and I do hope you find a good home for your Mali.

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  • In fact, responsible breeders insist on meeting the entire family when placing pups. While you might have some in the family on board, some may not be… and unless you see how they interact with the pups/dogs you would never know.

    And I agree with Quercus post, it was right on!

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  • Before you consider another dog (and I utterly think a Basenji is wrong for you–a Basenji is a full time FAMILY dog that will often destroy and find ways to drive your not-pet-oriented wife to distraction)-- why not get a behaviorist in and try to fix the Malinois issue? Why not figure out where you and your wife failed to provide adequate supervision and training of both toddler and dog and figure out a way to keep the child safe and the dog alive.

    Because right now, your only options are to do that, or euthanize the dog. You cannot place a dog that nipped a child no matter the situation. And if you put the dog in an outside kennel and spent the time and energy with it that it needs, your wife is not going to be happy. And if you place the dog and it hurts someone, they can (and should) sue you into the next century. Commit to the dog and getting it right if possible.

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  • @Quercus:

    I don't want to be a downer here…but I think you should think about this for a while. I get the feeling that a Basenji might not be the right dog for you...and I think you should definitely meet several individuals and talk to many responsible breeders before you decide. They are not 'normal' dogs...and they can be very frustrating and naughty. A Basenji isn't the kind of the dog that you get because their charcteristics fit the specifics that you or your spouse want/need. You have to really find that you love all quirks of the breed...or at least love the breed enough that you can get past the quirks... :) Good luck, and let us know how it goes...

    ^ This…

    Especially since you are used to a serious working breed like Mal...

    Our Watson is pretty mellow by basenji standards, but even he is a quirky, little comedian. If bored he will come up with his own interpretations of commands given.

    It is true that they are not barkers, but that does not necessarily mean they are always quiet. Other than the famous baroo there are grumbles, mumbles, yowls, howls, chortles, and even shrieks they can make depending on the situation.

    When Watson is displeased he has a "little" song that he will sing for us to share the misery... I am amused, but not every person would be.

    They are rather clean, but they do like to entertain themselves by for example taking tissue and shredding it into itty-bitty pieces all over a room (hooray ticker tape parade)...it does not sound like your wife would appreciate such high-jinx?

    Me I love a quirky dog with a bit of attitude...if that is what you are looking for and something you think your wife can deal with then a basenji is a good choice...

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    Thank You everyone for your input. I have done a lot more research on the forum and web since I posted yester day and I do want a basenji because well I like a dog with its own attitude, but I think I may be waiting longer than I was originally hoping. I was looking at like 2 or 3 years down the road but I think it will be 5 or 6 now, that way my son will be 7-8 and which should help with teaching him how to interact with the basenji and yes I would definately be spending time with the pup and breeder before actually getting one since I have never been around them before. I have cleaned up plenty of messes from the mali and well thats just part of having a dog. She used to sleep in the bed with me and I have had to replace pillow cases even comforters from where she would chew at night. I still want a basenji but like I said it will be down the road a ways. My best friends dad has wanted a shar pei for 20 years and has gotten 2 in the last year. So doesnt matter if you really want the dog you'll get it in time.

    Debra yes some may do the training but I am not going to risk it. She nipped him in the face while he was just sitting on the floor doing nothing. And I am not going to risk his face/life. She is a 1 owner kinda dog unfortunately absolutely best dog when its just me and her, and I do love her but not going to risk her doing that again.

    I actually have a friend that is retired Wildlife Officer and now part-time with my dept. He travels all over the country to put on classes at confrences for tracking and cadaver, some narcotics. He is thinking about taking her or trying to place her as a working dog.

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  • A basenji is a big dog in a small, fabulous body. They want to be treated respectfully, and they will respect you in turn. But they do need a firm, kind and loving leader.

    When people ask me about kids and basenjis, I usually ask, "If the kid is chasing the dog or hurting an ear, and the dog gives a corrective nip–no blood or puncture, just a 'leave me alone' nip, do you consider that a bite?" If they say, yes of course and I could not tolerate that, I tell them that most basenjis would not be right for you. They are 'fair' and may give a grrr or nip to another basenji or to the kid, if cornered or frustrated. But attack for no reason and chew their face...never heard of such with a basenji. Many years ago a basenji of mine appeared to bite my grandson, my son used great restraint and didn't drop-kick my dog, and when we looked at the child, there was not a mark to be seen. But we saw the strike and the child screamed. The dog just had excellent mouth control and did a "could have had you, now behave" move. And the 2 year old child DID respect all the dogs after that.

    My Nicky was evidently raised with kids, she loves them...for their toys and for low-held food. My friend Ginny was raised with basenjis and raised her 2 boys with basenjis in the house, but she is a "what did you do to the dog?" person. And her sons always put away their shoes and toys if they wanted to use them again!

    Basenjis are perpetual toddlers, so I would not consider getting one, even a nice mellow adult, till your boy is 7 or 8, old enough to participate in care and training, and to really understand mutual respect.

    They are my favorite breed, obviously, but they are not usually a 'lay on me, beat on me, pull my ears' dog !

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