Hello from new member and first time basenji owner

  • Hi, I'm from Buenos Aires, my girlfriend brought me a Basenji as a surprise… of course the first surprise was "its a dog"... then "its a basenji"... and later we both came with "basenjis are quite different from other dogs! and may be quite a challenge"
    He came home with 9 weeks and he is 4 months now, his name is Chaco.
    We are satisfied with his overall behaviour, not very destructive when he is alone, learns fast, already walking him and starting to socialize with other dogs and people.
    But I'm somewhat concerned with all that I read about the Bs and what people who have them tell me.
    I realise that Chaco is still too young to demonstrate aggression or growling right? I love dogs and never tolerated growling, food agression, or agression toward people... but from what I've been reading and hearing I don't know what to expect with this breed. I keep finding mixed opinions about teaching them not to be dominant over you or other family members...
    We don't allow and won't allow getting on our bed, and at feeding time he is behaving great, I give him the plate with food, he sits and looks at me till I say "now" or "go" before touching it.
    So any opinions from your experience would be great, as well as a recommended book of the breed behaviour or training.
    I attach some pics of him

    Thanks a lot

  • Hi and welcome to the forum, I too was a bit worried about what I have read about Basenji but so far it has turned out good. My boy is now 17 months old an the hardest part was the puppy nipping stage which we just used the ouch sound and replaced our body for toys and stopped play if too nippy and put in crate to calm down, took time as everyone has to do the same thing so the dog understands and doesn't get mixed messages, so that's what worked for us for that. I also really worked on his socialization with people, dogs, noises everything and of course puppy school. Recently he started to get possessive of my sons bed and some sleeping spots but if he growls he is put down and told off, he has learned quickly but we still have some work to do. Best thing is catch the bad habits before they become a habit and be consistent. Chaco looks to be a lovely calm boy, start teaching him tricks as they come in handy when you want to distract him or calm him down, they learn quickly. Have fun with your pup.

    Jolanda and Kasier

  • Welcome, and what a beauty he is!
    In my experience, all that you read about B's is a bit exaggerated. They are all in all not more difficult than other breeds - every breed has its own issues. And it sounds you already know a lot about dogs.
    The less you 'expect' and the more you are 'in the moment' with everything that happens and changes, the easier it will be for all.
    Just be consistent, patient and loving. And don't take yourself seriously all the time.
    As for training. I would recommend a SMALL class (less than 8 dogs) - waiting is very hard for a B-pup. We have watched Cesar Mill?n a lot on National Geographic and found his approach very helpful.
    As for dominance, not every dog wants to be the boss, and not every gesture or posture that is described as dominant, is really that. As long as they sense that every human in the pack is above them in rank, you'll be fine.
    And as for beds: let us know how long you can keep them off… Our sisters Lela and Binti are allowed on everything, as long as they behave.
    Have fun!

  • If you are confident and consistent, I don't think you will have a lot of problems with your boy. Basenjis, like most hounds, are not so biddable as herding or guard type dogs. They are independent thinkers, and things like reliable recalls do not come easily with them. I have yet to own a Basenji that didn't object vocally to being removed from a comfortable place if they are napping and if it is done without consideration for their feelings, but again, if you give them a modicum of respect and otherwise ignore any protest, you shouldn't have a problem with this. Like any dog, they learn your expectations, and kind but firm and consistent handling should result in a dog you will enjoy. They do have their quirks, but mostly these are amusing. Good description of common behaviours at this link:


  • Congrats– Chaco is a very handsome guy!

    It's a misconception that the breed is aggressive-- many Basenjis are outgoing and social, especially if they are exposed to all sorts of people, places and animals from puppyhood. They are inquisitive, however, and easily bored. A bored Basenji can be an expensive Basenji... unless you were looking to redecorate and replace many of your possessions!

  • Please forget about the dominant garbage. I've had 3 basenjis with top agility titles, conformation titles, coursing titles and they were certified and working therapy dogs. just think about things. If you like the behavior, reward it; if you don't like the behavior, redirect the dog or ask for an incompatible behavior. if you don't like him jumping on people, for example, don't give him attention when he does - ever. AND you can train a "sit" and ask for that behavior before he jumps on people and reward that sit. If he growls at people when he's on the bed, call him off the bed and reward that nice "come". Won't get off the bed, you need to work on "come" separately and maybe keep him on a short leash (say 4 feet long) when he's in the house so you can safely "help" him off the bed.

  • Congrats on your puppy…. has he (or his sire/dam) been health tested for Fanconi and PRA with the DNA test? Very important this if this has not been done for his Sire/Dam that you have your boy tested. And even if they have been tested, never hurts to follow up with having him done also.

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