Hopeful Basenji Owner!

Hello everyone! I wanted to introduce myself. My husband and I have been wanting a dog for a while, and we are finally at a point where we are ready to become owners. I contacted breeders earlier this year, and we are at the top of the waiting list for a litter that will be born mid-fall.

We found out in the past year that my husband is allergic to dogs, so we began researching hypoallergenic dogs, and fell in love with the basenji. After reading in depth about them and contacting some owners near me, we know it will be a great fit for our family.

I joined this forum in hopes of learning all I can before welcoming one into our home- to ensure that we can give them a home that they deserve.

Thank you!

There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Sites that say it typically are either trying to sell you a dog, or they know nothing and are just repeating what they read.

Some breeds have less dander and shed less...but they are NOT hypoallergenic. For someone with severe allergies, even the low dander ones may be too much. And often, people with mild allergies may find they lessen...or get drastically worse.

From the AKC: While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, there are a variety of breeds that do well with allergy sufferers. These dogs have a predictable, non-shedding coat which produces less dander. Dander, which is attached to pet hair, is what causes most pet allergies in humans. "

Please, read the following then talk with your husband. Is he willing to take allergy medication if the dog bothers his allergies? Will you wipe the dog down daily to help decrease dander? Getting a dog based on misinformation means you may end up not being able to keep it, so you need to find out the breeder's contract agreement regarding returning a puppy. And finally, who is the breeder? Someone here may have related dogs.

Btw, many breeds cause less allergies.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pet-allergy/expert-answers/hypoallergenic-dog-breeds/faq-20058425

last edited by DebraDownSouth

My husband was allergic to everything, dogs, cats, birds, horses trees, grass. Really he should live in a bubble! I needed something furry to love and he just wasn’t cutting it. We like you guys discovered the basenji, but as Debra states no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. So we found a breeders dogs that were living near us and we went to meet them. I had my hubby rub his face on the dogs and sniff her carpets and couches. I made him pet her dogs and intentionally rub his eyes. No reaction. He was good! We were elated! Fast forward a million years, we have since had 5 basenjis. We went to the allergist after having had our first one for a year and low and behold he was no longer allergic to dogs! Over the years we have had 3 people react to our dogs. Mostly they would get hives where the hair would poke the skin. See if you can find some basenjis to sniff and rub on. Good luck!

@vizzy - Basenjis are NOT hypoallergenic, period. They shed, they have dander. You need to spend time (more than once) with Basenjis and see how he reacts.

Hypo literally means “less” so yes basenjis can be less allergic for people with allergies.

Welcome to the wonderful word of basenjis 🙂

Thank you all for your feedback, much appreciated.

My husband is not severely allergic. He tends to get a little congested around my parents dogs, is completely fine with Allegra, and doesn’t seem to be bothered by all dogs. We just wanted to get a dog with less allergens to mitigate any issues that may arise.

We have talked a lot about his allergies and our options. I’ve reached out to some owners in my area, and they invited us for play dates. We plan to set up a time to meet them.

We will definitely be sure to pet as many basenjis as possible to figure out if it will be a good fit for everyone! I am still hopeful, but would never get a dog if it wasn’t the right fit.

@vizzy as a basenji mama of two and allergic, I wanted to share. Basenjis may cause a tad bit less reaction than some breeds, but they shed and have dander so don't count on them being hypoallergenic. It depends on how your all around allergy conditions are as well. When I lived on the beach, my allergies where very minimal. When I moved to the country, my allergies increased... so as someone already mentioned, one visit with a dog will not determine how you will always react. I have learned that frequent vacuuming, sweeping, and washing sheets helps a lot.

Also know that basenjis are known for wanting to always be near you; when sitting on couch or in bed or doing something in the yard, they will most likely find a way to convince you to let them have their way (not to say they cannot be crate trained, this is just my experience because the first one was already allowed to sleep on the bed). Its just in their nature to be closely attached to their owners. They are house dogs (or where ever their humans reside) and will not accept being left alone (unless they want to do some sun bathing) in the back yard, if you try, they will escape... unless you have some serious lockdown situation as they are great climbers and VERY smart.

They are also very much like having a two year old when they start getting hungry or want something. They will get into everything and cause trouble to make sure you can see they want something.

All in all, this is the only breed I am really interested in having as part of my family and love at this level but they are truly unique. I just recommend doing LOTS OF RESEARCH before you commit to bringing them into your family. OH and mine jumped on the kitchen counter and busted out of the window screen to try and find me after I left the house once so I recommended keeping your windows shut if you leave the house! hahaha.

@vizzy you need to spend lots of time with a Basenji, they are great dogs, but it's not an easy breed.
Never off leash, and make sure you have a high fence.
They are very smart and will find their way around things.

Very lovable if you give them the time.

1st couple of years lots of training, you need 2, they get lonely.

And you need to read about their medical issues, can be expensive.

Make sure you really check out the breeder.

Good luck,

Basenjis are a quirky but lovable breed

Some things i wish i knew before getting a BADsenji:

Potty training is a nightmare. My boy is a year and a half and he just went nearly a week without an accident in the house until today. It's raining. So he refuses to potty outside and there has been pee and poop everywhere! Now it will take a significant amount of time to get him back to very few to no accidents in the house and as usual once he gets there it'll rain again and I'll be back at square one. I'm sure some are better than others but this problem isn't uncommon with the breed. Which i was completely unaware of until long after having him and getting absolutely no where.

Biting! All puppies bite. Basenjis are worse. You can't yelp or say ow to teach bite inhibition because that exites them and they bite harder. The last year and a half has come with many bruises and minor punctures. He no longer bites me, but he still has a go at the kids from time to time because they are not as good at controlling their reaction.

Begging! My Lord, never have i seen a dog that is incapable of being trained not to beg until the basenji came into my life. Never has he been given people food or table scraps, but that does not deter him from getting in your face (literally, nose to nose) when you have food. Instead of walking away when scolded as most dogs would, he cops an attitude right back. He knows his place command well, but chooses not to obey when there is something else he'd rather be doing.

My basenji doesn't wake up aggressive, nor is he particularly destructive. Though it is common for them to be.

Shedding seems to vary within the breed as well, mine sheds almost never, while some can have pretty significant seasonal sheds.

I have a behaviorist i work with and i have been very focused on training from day one and it's still a struggle. It's very much what i would imagine life would be like if you had a baby, bad mannered, velociraptor living in your home. But obviously a lot cuter.

Basenjirescue.org - Basenji Rescue And Transport's website has an excellent section titled The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I highly suggest reading that, especially the bad and the ugly. It's always best to prepare for worst case scenario and decide if that is something you're willing to take on before moving forward.

I love my dog, even if sometimes i want to kill him lol. And i hear they calm down at about 3 so I'm looking forward to that. But i highly stress to others that adopting a basenji shouldn't be taken lightly. I've always had dogs, i have other breeds now as well, basenjis are not comparable to any other dog breed.
Even though my kids have been bloodied and bruised by this dog, and only this dog, he is their absolute favorite dog above all others. There is something about them that really pulls you in despite all the drama and challenges.

@sandymacey

and keep in mind that Basenji can get over a chain link fence, paw over paw.

morse.stafford@gmail.com

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last edited by Gigi

@nodles91 WOW? really... I have had many Basenjis over the years and and pottty training is a time in place... it doesn't happen overnight... just because they once "get it", doesn't mean they are house trained... and when there is rain... get used to YOU need to get as wet as they do.... and it is uncommon with this breed... at least in my 30yrs in the breed. Biting... yes all puppies, Basenjis are no different... and especially if from a less than responsible breeder.... bite inhibition comes from raising with the litter and other adults in the house... they teach them way more than humans. My Basenjis go out side to potty, however many times I am more wet then they are...., my Basenjis never beg at the table... however they know that after we are done they get treats.. and there is NOTHING wrong with "leftovers".... you eat them... they can eat them... but my Basenjis know that the dinner table is not acceptable to choose to try and get food... sitting in a room other than the food table.. they really don't know the difference unless you teach them that...

Hi, everyone is talking about the allergy side, but how are your husbands nerves? This is a Basenji we are talking about....a rollercoaster ride in the form of a dog. The best and worst dog you will ever have.....the best way outweighs the worst part. Have fun!!!

@nodles91, I would say your potty training issues are unusual. Mine learned quickly, my 3rd one learned in a couple of weeks! Rain, yes, a problem. As tanza says, you will have to get wet too! And it will vastly increase your off colour vocabulary while you wait in the rain for results, but my rule was we aren't going back in until you comply. In a desperate case I would "match" to induce defecation. Generally getting a pee was relatively easy and could be done in the backyard by refusing reentry to the house until I saw a result, although the neighbours must have gotten tired of me yelling "go pee" out the door!

Begging? I could sit on the couch eating my dinner with my Basenji beside me and there would be no attempts at stealing unless my attention was elsewhere (they know!) But don't leave food in an easily reachable location and expect it to be there when you come back.

Respect is very important with a Basenji. You must respect them, but absolutely you need to gain their respect. As with any dog, consistency is key. What you allow and do not allow cannot vary from day to day. More than most, they need to know where the line is that they cannot cross (which doesn't mean they won't test it from time to time). If my last boy was underfoot in the kitchen, all I had to say was "be someplace that is not here!" and he would leave. (yeah, I talked to my dogs like that. They understood me very well).

The biggest challenge I found with all of my Basenjis was keeping a straight face when they mischievously pushed the limits. Laughing gives the game away, so don't laugh at behaviour you want to discourage! Not easy.....

Wow Basenji owners with their finger on the pulse Brilliant. My Basenji was a rescue from Spain. We got him at 10 mths and he was house trained from the start. I read everything i could on the breed ( and still do to remind me) and these are the main points that stick in my mind.

  1. Be two steps ahead of your Basenji at all times.
  2. Their attitude is 'What's in it for me'.
  3. When they run off, NEVER chase you'll just be joining in the game. They will come back when they are ready.
  4. NEVER, NEVER shout at them, you'l just wind them up.
  5. They are very loyal and want to be close whenever they can,
  6. Don't let them off the lead.
    My George is all of these things and more. His hunting instinct is for food. He can sniff out a black sack, dropped food or something revolting but tasty at about 40 yards and when he does if he's off lead, he's gone. Now he knows the best spots where he usually finds food regardless of traffic, hedges, garden etc. If he doesn't find anything then I can get him back by shaking the box of carrots I always carry. He really keeps me on my toes. He's not too good on the lead unless he has his Halti harness, the he walks along side me nicely but if he's just with a lead on his collar he pulls very hard. He can slip his collar and harness if he chooses so I have to be aware in advance of anything he may want to chase after. When I want to let him run free I have to have a good look round and if he looks towards something he doesn't come off lead.
    When he was young he would chase with other dogs and play with my other dog but now he's 7 yrs and my other dog has gone to doggy heaven. George no longer plays but sniffs out food all the time and eats anything, it's a nightmare. At home he ignores my cats and sleeps all day cuddled up to me on the sofa. He sleeps next to me on the bed at night and sometimes I wake up with George next to me and my 2 cats also snuggled up. I'm now disabled and have limited energy but with all this I wouldn't have it any other way. He's a thief, an escape artist, food fanatic, loving, cuddly, talkative boy and I love him.

@tanza yes, really. Thanks, but i already go outside with my dogs every single time they go out, wet or dry.
He's kept near me at all times in the home so he can be closely monitored and corrected. Yet he still goes potty right in front of me in the house,and holds it outside.
I have a behaviorist, I've talked to tons of basenji breeders that have worked with the breed for decades. And I've gotten no where. The only method i have not tried is matching him. With him it would be a lot more than a one time fix and i don't think that's a healthy long term solution.
The begging is more than just that, he will bite my kids trying to steal their food from them. Mind you, He is not food aggressive when it comes to his food. He is only aggressive when it comes to trying to steal from us. He is told no, i stand up, i make him move away from the table and sit on his bed. Within seconds of me sitting back down he is back again. And repeat.
No dogs are allowed on the couch in this house (unless invited) to put healthy boundaries in place. Guess which dog has to be pulled down from the couch non stop every day. Lol
Again, behaviorist, constant training, i work from home and my day is pretty much focused on him, and every day is a battle, with extremely slow improvements over time. He is not my first dog, he is not my only dog, and he is the only dog that exhibits these behaviors.
Which, according to his breeder is only because he is a dominant male... Less than ideal breeding could also be a factor.

@nodles91 - I would have to agree, less than ideal breeding is a total factor....

@tanza I've always only rescued. I thought i asked all the right questions and got all the right answers. Plus when you rescue you generally think nurture trumps nature anyways. It's how you raise them, not how they're bred (i still think this is true for most). It was only later on that i realized he probably isn't the best at what he does. He's certainly not a puppy mill or anything terrible. But i just don't think he raises good house dogs (they're outside quite a lot) or works to breed specifically for temperament. Just this last breeding season one of his boys tore his leg wide open and he posted pictures of blood gushing down his leg like it was no big deal. I think he said something along the lines of, "this is what happens when you breed basenjis!"
Now I'm no breeder so that could be the norm... I really don't know. But my initial thought was, oh that was definitely my dogs dad. Lol
Either way, I'm stuck with the little demon now so we just do the best we can. Lol

@CrazySenji

edited note: Below is said in fun...the word was invented for makeup industry..but lots more fun to discuss words than some topics. I'm not disputing your reasoning.

Lol splitting hairs, but I'll play.
Most people read it with the general medical usage. Even,gasp, Mayo clinic.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pet-allergy/expert-answers/hypoallergenic-dog-breeds/faq-20058425

Either way, vets and research agrees that breeds with continual growing hair come closest to hypoallergenic. Even then, if we really want to spilt hairs, it's not that the dog has less allergic properties, it's just that they spread it less.

hy·po·al·ler·gen·ic (hīpō-alĕr-jenik)
Property of a substance or material that indicates it does not elicit a hypersensitivity reaction.

last edited by DebraDownSouth

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