Hello from the Pacific Northwest, USA!

  • Hello everyone! My name is Annette and my puppy is Bridget.

    Bridget is a basenji mix and is about 4 1/2 months old. Oddly, when we got her there was no mention of basenji in her lineage - but there was something about her, to me, that seemed basenji-like. After scouring online sources I am more convinced than ever that her looks, yes, but more specifically her kind of strange (it seemed to me at first) behaviors point to basenji. I am so delighted - she is absolutely the most fascinating dog I have ever had the pleasure of being owned by. The more I find out about her the more I appreciate her.

    I am finding, to my puzzlement, that many people either don't like basenjis or seem to wish they did not exist. Have any of you found this to be true? When I have taken her to the vet for her shots the vet and her staff extremely quickly try to squash the idea of her basenji-ness. ("No, no, she must be corgi with those ears!" "Her crazy racing around? It must be an aggression issue." Or when I mention her cat-like behavior I am met with just a silent blank stare.) Since I am very new to the basenji life I am wondering if any of you have noticed similar reactions to your dogs. (Please tell me I'm not crazy.)

    Anyway, I am so happy to be here, and am looking forward to finding out more about all your dogs - and by extension Bridget. And I feel extremely lucky to have found this forum!

    Annette and Bridget

  • Most people don't know a lot about Basenjis, and I include vets in that…most people don't like to admit ignorance! Just this evening I was in this conversation. "Sweet dog, what breed is he/she?" "He's a Basenji" "I've never heard of them. Is it some sort of a cross?" "No, it's a Basenji" "I've never heard of them" "C'mon Butu..."

  • So you're not crazy and welcome. Pics, please!

  • I usually get one of two reactions when people see my guy. Either "is that a Basenji?", or "what kind of dog is that?". Either way, people seem quite interested in him. I don't get negative reactions at all. Most people think he is beautiful and elegant. I get "like a little deer" a lot. 🙂

  • Keep in mind that many years ago Basenjis did NOT have the best of temperaments. Over the last 40+ years responsible breeders have worked really hard to be sure that the Basenjis they are breeder are of good temperament. And many rumors abound about Basenjis…. some hard to live down... and if your Vet had a bad experience with a Basenji, they are not likely to forget it

  • True to what Pat said! Unfortunately my boy lives up to some of the bad hype..he's particular about things, people and other dogs…my advice is to be super confident in the breeder you choose and make sure temperament is a big deal to them because it will always be a big deal to you as the owner! His vet and staff "knows him"..lol

  • @tanza:

    Keep in mind that many years ago Basenjis did NOT have the best of temperaments.

    I hear this all the time, but it just doesn't match my experience. I had my first girl over 40 years ago, and she had the best temperament of any Basenji I have ever seen (and better than most dogs I have seen). She was great with people, especially children, and fine with other dogs. No problem at the vet's, and my Mom took her along at Tag Day for the humane society, where total strangers grabbed at her and picked her up, resulting in a very loud yodel and nothing else.

    My second Basenji I got in 1975, and she was also extremely tolerant of children, indifferent to strangers, but same sex aggressive. At the time I visited a number of breeders before I got her, and none (zero!!) of the dogs I saw had bad temperaments, and I saw and interacted with quite a few, including handling their pups. The males were pretty laid back, and the breeder I got my third Basenji from seven years later had multiple dogs of both sexes running together (although she did run 2 packs). Again, none were aggressive with people.

    My current Basenji is the only one I have worried about with strangers. His attitude has gotten worse since my husband has been unwell. Perry doesn't like people (nurses) who arrive and cause his person pain, and I can no longer trust him with new people, but I think that is pretty understandable.

  • @QuizBasenji:

    "Sweet dog, what breed is he/she?" "He's a Basenji" "I've never heard of them. Is it some sort of a cross?" "No, it's a Basenji" "I've never heard of them" "C'mon Butu…"

    I can't count the number of times I've had similar conversations. We've been asked many times if they are a Shiba mix, if the Basenji is a new breed/cross-breed, just 2 weeks ago someone asked if they were a Pharaoh Hound mix.

    Annette, I haven't come across a negative reaction really. We did run into one woman at a dog park who stated outright that she did not like Basenjis because when she was little her grandmother had one who was mean and aggressive. She warmed up to Loki though after watching him for about an hour and seeing that he had no issues with dogs or people. I've found that even most people who can recognize a Basenji still don't really know much about them unless they've actually had one or seriously researched into getting one.

  • eeeefarm…... Might not be your experience, but it is true.... even old time breeders will tell you that and old time judges too. My old vet, now retired NEVER tired of telling me how terrible they were... but he liked the breed and followed up by saying what a good job breeders have done to improve the temperament

  • I think back in the day the emphasis was out more on building the numbers in the breed more than the temperament. Not to say all dog had issues or all dogs these days are great (I've got one I have to be super vigilant in almost all situation; it's a 24/7 babysitting job!)…but I think now that the breed is more established that breeders can focus on getting the best out of them more than when the number were so few and there was a perceived rush/need to build the numbers.

  • My experience has been that either people like them, or they don't. People assuming they're like "normal" dogs might not like them. Anybody who expects militaristic obedience out of their dogs will not have good things to say. And I agree, most people haven't heard of them, and if they have, it's usually the "no barking" that is the only thing that they know about them. Ditto anybody with no sense of humour….

  • We often get asked what is it? not too happy with that one, it's a dog of course I feel like saying. Most people love the tail and the elegant trot, think he is foxy and love it when I mention no bark then have second thoughts when I say they can scream when they are unhappy and baroo when happy. More people than I thought know of Basenji but say they have never seen one in real life and seem to like the size he is. Other people who THINK they know what a Basenji is like will not have nice things to say but I know what Kaiser is like and he's just right for me

    Jolanda and Kaiser

  • I prefer people not to know about them because I don't want their whim of interest to land them one..I guess I feel if you want one you stubble upon them yourself…I imagine a lot of bad "purchases" happen by those that come across one and thinks it's a good idea...certainly don't want a movie as popular as 101 Dalmations coming out about our breed!

  • Agree Chealsie508, so if I feel they are too interested I like to mention the hunting dog, not good at recall, can't be trusted off lead, can scream if unhappy, can be destructive if not exercised, very smart and then they think twice and I know they have lost interest, they are definitely a dog for people who understand why they do what they do and can live with that. Those that stay interested and do their research a lot of info makes the Basenji sound like a difficult dog and nearly made me have second thoughts until I did the home visits of some owners and their dogs were well behaved and friendly and I fell even more in love.

    Jolanda and Kaiser

  • I always ask people whether they like cats. I tell them a Basenji is a lot like a cat in a dog's body. They're smart, know what you want, but prefer to please themselves rather than you. Then I give them my tag line (which I use for Arabian horses as well) 😉

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