My basenji, Zoey, has always grabbed other dogs (and my cat) by the neck…she's been doing this since I brought her home at 9 weeks of age. My 100 lb rottweiler mix doesn't mind at all, and even my cat tolerates it. There must be some reason why she does this to nearly every animal she meets. She is extremely gentle, but sometimes I worry that another dog may get the wrong idea. Is this a common basenji trait? Perhaps she's just crazy!
I think it's pretty normal behavior for B's. Both my PB Shaye, and my mix, Gemma, grab each other by the neck all the time when they are playing, same when they play with other dogs. The other dogs do the same thing to them! It used to be scary to watch Ruthie, a doberman, totally eclipse Shaye's neck while they are playing, but she's gentle. As a matter of fact, Shaye's favorite trick is pulling Gemma's collar off and running away with it. Gemma chases, they jump up at each other and the madness begins, collar forgotten - she has ruined two already doing that. Sorry to say neither are puppies - one's 3 1/2 and one's 4, so it probably won't stop with age.
Zest! loves doing this with the malinois! Always has. (although I would NOT use the word "gentle") Word of caution **With our first malinois, Z got her lower jaw caught on the mali's collar - twice. So now nobody has collars on in my house. ** I also know of a couple of different people who lost dogs due to strangulation this way. Very sad.