• All,

    I am new to the forum… I have had 2 basenjis -Tanner (12 with fanconi) and ALi (16 plus) that have passed and added so much life and fun to my life. ALi had so many funny "moves" and "spaz" moments - he was a comic that was just a sheer pleasure. Ali I put through obedience school- he was not too snarky. Loved other dogs -not too much on the people side. Tanner was agressive, I got too young from the breeder (5.5 weeks) . He was insecure and protective of me. He was snarky and did not like other dogs. But the two got along well, until late in thir old age - then they tolerated each other.

    I am ready for another 1or 2 and just wanted to get a check from all on my experiences with my boys - were their traits common to basenjis ?? or did I not train them enough ??

    1. OBS #1: they were only affectionate on their terms and didnt like to be petted or picked up.Is this more common than not. They wanted to be by you, but hands off for the most part.

    2. OBS#2: Off the leash - they are unpredictable and may not come when called. Had some wild roaming experiences at the off-leash beach. Always kept treats -and 95% of the timeit worked.Can you train them to counter this? or is this a stretch ?

    3. OBS#3: Not snuggly

    4. OBS#4: Only looked me in the eye when I had food- everything was a distraction.

    5. QUES#5: I know all dogs are different, but whats the best and worst scenario for getting two ??? 2 males,both puppies,fromthe same litter ? This would likely create a training nightmare I would think . Are they better with other Basenjis or not ?? what about a basenji and another type of dog ??

    6. QUES #6: Looking for a breeder that does the good fanconi test and does temperament testing on the eastcoast .. ANy recommendations ??

    Viv in Northern Virginia

  • Obs 1 Having had experience of many Basenjis My own breeding and not) I would say that this is more common than not. Very loyal though.

    Obs 2 Basenjis can be trained to counter this but it does depend on the Basenji. Some are easy to train and some not and it does not depend on your training ability. I have trained some to come when called and others are never reliable I would say the latter are in the majority. It can always depend on their prey drive.

    Obs. 3 Again varies with the Basenji, in my own experience most are snuggly on their own terms.

    Obs 4 They can be easily trained to look you in the eye.

    Obs 5 I have had 2 brothers from the same litter but I would always prefer opposite sexes whether from the same litter or no. There is quite a bit of disagreement here but I can only speak from my years of experience. If there was a worry of temperament I'd go for another breed with a Basenji but that is a personal decision as I've not had as much experience of other breeds with Basenjis.

    Obs 6 As I'm in the UK I leave this to others.

    I'm sure you'll find different opinions here so in the long run its up to you to make your own decisions.

  • #1. Well, my guys and gals for the most part have enjoyed being petted and will seek it out when they are in the mood. Especially with visitors…...after the first few minutes of aloofness or cautious interest, they seem to want to "hang out" with their new friends and pester them to be rubbed or scratched. Being picked up is no problem if they are used to it from a young age. I should add no Basenji likes to be moved or picked up when they are comfortable, and you will often get a snark for this, depending on the dog. My second boy was not used to being held, and was like a stiff little board in your arms, but he eventually learned to accept it if not love it. They also all love to lean on you!

    #2. Of five Basenjis I have had two (my first girl, my current boy) that were good off leash, one that wasn't bad but I did have to be careful where I took her, and two that were unreliable, possibly because I didn't work with them enough. Full disclosure, I use a remote collar on my current boy. Not with any of the others. Perhaps I am getting lazy in my old age. 🙂 (I do not recommend e-collars unless you get instruction on how to use them properly, as you can certainly damage your relationship if you don't train the dog correctly)

    #3 Au contraire! All mine have been, in varying degrees. And I would say the boys moreso than the girls.

    #4 Every Basenji I have ever known can out stare me! (we have contests!) Mine are never, ever reluctant to meet my eyes, unless they have done something truly awful and know that I know it was them. I find Basenjis far more willing to give you eye contact than just about any other breed of dog! But if you want "watch me" on command, simple to clicker train.

    #5 I had two girls, and one was bad for same sex aggression, the other just hated any other dog on principal, but they got along. Likely because I got the younger one when she was 7 weeks and my older girl was 7 years. After a couple of days of walking around stiff legged and growling, the older girl decided the youngster was her responsibility and "adopted" her. They were inseparable after that. But having a boy and a girl is certainly easier and less likely to result in problems. When I got my first boy I had a neutered male Border Collie, and they did manage to get along. The Basenji was a "real boy" (soon remedied) and spent the first week trying to hump the BC, much to the latter's disgust. 😉 I personally don't recommend getting two pups.

  • #1 - Each one is an individual but most of mine (and I have had a lot of Basenjis in the past 20 years) enjoy touching and being touched. They aren't really "lap dogs" but they like to lay next to me with their bodies touching me. They enjoy being stroked and petted. I have only had one that was grouchy about being moved when asleep and that was my first Basenji. I handle my litters so much that they are fine with being moved around, asleep or awake.

    #2 I would never trust a Basenji 100%. I would say that your 95% of the time is very good.

    #3 See #1

    #4 It is normal for Basenjis to be easily distracted but you can teach them to look you in the eye and focus on you. Just don't try working with them when they are excited or focused on something else. Get them tired and work in a quiet environment at first. You have better results that way.

    #5 I have raised many pairs (and trios) of pups and it's hard. Not only do you have twice the expense, you have twice the work. You also have the problem of the pups bonding to each other instead of to you. If you don't separate the pups regularly for socialization you may end up with 2 dogs who develop separation anxiety as adults. I generally recommend that a person get one pup and spend a great deal of time and energy training it. Once you reach this point you can add another puppy. The new pup will learn from the older dog. If you do elect to get 2 puppies at the same time, make sure they have complimentary temperaments. In other words, do not get 2 strong-willed pups as you are setting yourself up for failure. Get 2 in which both have easy-going temperaments or 1 is happy to be a follower to the other. Two neutered boys or a neutered boy and spayed girl tend to have fewer issues than 2 girls.

    #6 I'm in Georgia and I do a lot of health testing. I have not finalized breeding plans yet but I will be happy to talk to you if you are interested. 🙂

  • #1 Of my current two girls, one is a lap dog and loves pets… the other, no so much and is not a lap dog... she will cuddle next to you in bed, sometimes...gggg. Early socialization is important with lots of touching, holding, petting as newborns continued by the folks of their new homes. Certainly 5.5 wks is way to early. My pups go at 10wks in most all cases unless they are prior Basenji owners or have an adult dog in the home, then between 8 and 9wks.

    #2 Basenji should NEVER be trusted off lead... if you get to 95% that is pretty darn good... I would not chance it. Safe to say, that doesn't include when coursing and racing, typically they are focused on catching the bunny that they are pretty easy to catch (however there are those Basenjis that do not read the books)

    #3 See #1

    #4 I prefer not placing littermates..... they have already spent a number of weeks competing against each other for Mom's milk, Mom's attention, Food, Toys, etc.. that this IMO can lead to life long competition between them. Usually boy/girl works best... Again, not 100%, but I would say 95% of the time. I have two bitches now (both intact), not littermates. They do just fine as their temperaments mesh with each other... but as we say, it works till it doesn't

    #5 Go to www.basenji.org and then breeder referrals. Good place to start. As far as testing, especially for Fanconi, you can check it out for yourself at www.offa.org as Fanconi results are public record (as all health testing should be). If you go to my website and then visit the pages on my girl, my boys, litter plans, news you will see OFA Links that will take you to their health testing. So regardless of what people tell you, you should always verify for yourself.

  • Hi,
    We have 2 girls, sisters 1,5 en 2,5 years old. Our first dogs, so our replies are limited to these wonderful 2:
    1. Binti loves to be cuddled at all times, Lela a bit less. When out walking they do not like to be petted, even by us.
    You can pick up Lela any time, Binti is more particular, especially with strangers.
    2. They are predictable in the sense that when they notice something interesting, they will be off. They always come back, though. We find that when they look up from what they are doing, it works to call them - their attention seems to be more open then. And they do want to know where we are. We have found that ANY irritation or force in voice, energy or posture works counterproductive. Be nice and they will come back much easier.
    3. We cannot sit on our couch without one or both landing on or next to us. They love to be near us.
    4. They look us in the eye a lot (they start!), and follow us around the room, with eyes only or trailing behind (something fun might happen!). Binti can sit next to you and keep looking up into your eyes - we completely melt…
    5. and 6.: out of our expertise.
    Good luck!

  • #1-Mine like to be petted but I train my rescues and I am able to pet them when they are sleeping. Only one of my dogs has not liked to be picked up and I think that is because he is tall and difficult to hold-he squirms a lot.

    #2-I do not let mine off leash outside of a fenced yard unless it is for lure coursing.

    #3-Mine are usually snuggly but they have their times when they want to sleep elsewhere and not with me in bed. The male who does not like to be picked up is the most snuggly he will stand outside and look at me until I let him under the covers. When I used to travel years ago with the dogs for coursing and shows, my friend and I would get a room with two double beds so there would be enough room to sleep with the dogs.

    #4-Mine will look me in the eye-staring when they want me to open up the door so they can chase the squirrels! I am never fast enought for them-thus the staring.

    #5-I think the worst is getting two puppies-many times they will bond to each other and not enough to humans and training can be a nightmare! I have had good luck with same sexes but the majority of mine have been rescues and normally neutered/spayed. The few I have had that started fights were aggressive and it did not matter if the other dog was female or male. I think it helps if the dogs are close in age like within 2 or 3 years of each other.

    #6-Pat already mentioned the website but please do not just concentrate on Fanconi testing as there are other health problems in the breed so make sure the breeder is doing all of the necessary health tests. I am particular about eye exams and thyroid testing.


  • 1: Oakley is affectionate to me on his own terms but when I comes to me giving him affection, the more the better…I can pet him, scratch his belly ( even in a dead sleep, he has not an OUNCE of snarkiness) and I always pick him up and becomes limp and let's me do anything to him for as long as I can hold him...he loves for me to ogle over him like a slaving idiot, and in his own way I know he loves me but IMO basenjis don't outright show it
    2: Oakley is rarely off leash, and even then it's 50/50 he will obey me, but because he's so attached he doesn't like to be too far from me if I walk away. Again, IMO basenji's are rarely reliable off leash
    3: like I said, basenjis aren't usually outright affectionate but Oakley loves to snuggle next to me, never wants his own dog bed...sometimes he licks me a tiny bit or he runs his whole body against me as if to "scent me"..they are subtle ways but I've become familiar to his cues of affection
    4: I get what your saying, Oakley barely looks me in the eye....he's always distracted, even when getting treats he focuses on my hand for signals to tricks rather than my eyes. I've tried teaching look but it was a meek outcome. It isn't because he's shy or not confident but because hes so busy with all the things around him more interesting than my face!
    5: I only have one but I often hear opposites are best in this breed, and after visiting my breeder to see oak interact with others in hopes of adding a second I agree. I like boys but I want the best outcome and that means increasing the odds by pairing. I'm not against two at once but seeing that youve had observations such as you have, having two together as pups could increase the chance for history to repeat without sufficient one on one with each separately.
    6: I got Oakley at Eldorado basenjis in MA, they are listed on the basenji club website, as always hips, eyes,fanconi are all things to take seriously when picking a breeder. It's going to be the start of the breeding season so securing a placement with a breeder soon (next few weeks) is ideal

  • Keep in mind that Loki is our first Basenji and is now 9 months old, but I'll answer in regards to my experience thus far with him as much as I am able.

    1. Loki can be affectionate on his terms certainly, but he loves attention and being petted so pretty much anytime I or my husband want to give him some undivided attention complete with a massage and belly rub he's game. If he feels he hasn't had enough attention and pets, he has no problem doing whatever it takes to get some, even if that means laying on my laptop, belly up, and smacking me in the face just to be sure that I know I need to rectify the situation pronto. I can also pick him up and do whatever I please with him even while he's in a deep sleep, but that is something I worked with him on from day one of him coming home.

    2. I only let him off-leash at the dog park and even then I don't expect him to always come when called. Though he's very good about checking in with me and always keeping a look-out for where I am in the park. When I began taking him at 4 months, I never stayed in one spot. I constantly moved around and would also hide from him so he got used to needing to find me and now is very good about keeping tabs on me.

    3. He can be a total snuggle bug. He rarely sleeps at the foot of the bed, prefers to be squished in as much as possible even when he has the whole other side to himself (my husband works nights). And when both my husband and I are in the bed, he will try to snuggle with both of us, even if we're a bit far apart, by laying with his bum tucked in by one of us and his head with the other. We have a queen size bed right now, but will definitely be going to a king at some point, especially since we know we want B #2. During the day when he's just hanging out after sunning himself, he will come also come by one of us for some snuggle time. At the very least he prefers to be touching whoever he's laying closest to.

    4. He has the attention span of a gnat sometimes, but also has no problem looking anyone straight in the eyes.

    5. For 2 my understanding from reading on here is that male/female pairs work best though some find that 2 neutered males work well. We do not have a second yet though we hope to add one soon. And I personally would never bring home 2 puppies, especially littermates. Everything would need to be done separately, even having crates in 2 separate locations to ensure that each pup bonds with you rather than each other. And littermates can turn out to have huge problems with one another the older they get.

    6. Ditto on what's already been said.

  • I can only comment on my experiences with Kipawa, my first basenji, who is just shy of 2 years old.


    1. OBS #1: they were only affectionate on their terms and didnt like to be petted or picked up.Is this more common than not. They wanted to be by you, but hands off for the most part.

    2. OBS#2: Off the leash - they are unpredictable and may not come when called. Had some wild roaming experiences at the off-leash beach. Always kept treats -and 95% of the timeit worked.Can you train them to counter this? or is this a stretch ?

    3. OBS#3: Not snuggly

    4. OBS#4: Only looked me in the eye when I had food- everything was a distraction.

    1. Kipawa is just an extremely affectionate dog. His affection for me is special, but he recognizes all family members and care aides who come into the house and enjoys their attention and gives it back. He loves being petted and adores being massaged, but has a preference for it being from someone in his 'pack' (family members and care aides). He will tolerate being picked up by anyone, but prefers it when I do it. He is a little uncomfortable when turned on his back, however, we practice this quite a bit and he's getting better at it, especially if tummy rubs are included.

    2. The only areas Kipawa is off leash is in our backyard or dog parks that are fully fenced. For these places, he is predictable, because he is very used to them. He usually comes when called, but if it doesn't work, I carry the squeaker part of a squeaker toy with me, and that most always brings him back. If he needs to come to me based on an emergency situation (say he got onto a street by accident), I have a word/sound that I only use in emergency situations. He is excellent at responding to that. All this said, if he spotted a bunny in the dog park, I don't think the emergency recall would work. Based on his breeders seeing him this summer, they have indicated he has a very high prey drive.

    3. Kipawa is super snuggly all the time and is also a 'velcro dog'. We are tightly bonded. He is on my lap when I watch TV, or at least laying against me. He sleeps under the blankets on my side of the bed.

    4. He easily looks me in the eye. If I am talking to him, we have full eye contact. He enjoys when we give each other 'soft eyes' - the slow blinking a person/dog might do when fully relaxed or before settling down for a nap. If he is distracted (only happens outside) I use the command 'watch me' to get eye contact. Usually 95% success rate, but that would go down to zero should he see a bunny.

    I can't answer your other questions. Kipawa will be a solo dog in our home. As for the breeders, his breeders were Therese and Kevin Leimback (FoPaws Basenjis) from Washington state. We researched for a year before selecting them. Their breeding program concentrates a great deal on temperament.

    Hope this helps.

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