Basenji Personality

The points you mention could apply to a dog of any breed. Many are destructive, which I perceive as one reason for the popularity of crates, which when I was growing up were pretty much unheard of other than for use by breeders at dog shows. But our society has changed, dogs are often left to their own devices at home, busy schedules prevent people from doing the training necessary, etc.

I have owned five Basenjis. All different. Only one really persistent climber.....yes, chain link can be a ladder.....but even he could be thwarted by hanging PVC pipe just under the top of the fence, and another obvious solution is a physical fence backed up by "invisible fence". A digger or climber isn't going to pursue that route if being close to the fence is uncomfortable. But my boy much preferred to be inside, so his climbing was seldom an issue.

Blocking off an area inside the home may be trickier, but again, there are solutions. The "cheap & dirty" one would be a barrier backed up by a "scat mat", something that worked for me when my husband and I didn't want canine company, or to have our bedroom door scratched to pieces! (again, the culprit was the boy, the girls never wanted to participate!) There are always solutions to problems, with a bit of patience and inventiveness, and it's entirely possible that the dog you choose won't present too many challenges. You could opt for another breed and end up with exactly the issues you are trying to avoid!

@fetchit said in Basenji Personality:

1). Can be destructive if they don't get enough exercise, are bored or crated too long.
2). They can be escape artists. I worry if we gate off an area inside my home, they'll easily defeat it and destroy something (or get into someone unsafe). The other issue is that one side of my backyard has a chain link fence that I'm sure can be scaled easily if the dog was wanting to escape.

  1. Any dog can be destructive if they don't get enough exercise... think of a 2yr old human child....if bored they will find something to do themselves... and they will not ask permission first. Basenjis need both physical exercise and just as important, mental exercise. You use the mental exercise for bad weather or late from work... regardless you need to make sure you make time for the dog, again regardless of the breed.
  2. Many Basenjis are climbers... so chain link is in my opinion a problem. You can possibly put a hot wire on the top to deter, however if (remember they are sight hounds, they chase what they see) there are critters on the other side... that might not stop them. In the house, open doors are an accident waiting to happen.... if you gate off areas, you need to make sure it is a secure gate, period (again in my opinion after 30+ years in the breed).

@crazysenji said in Basenji Personality:

I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as a “1st time dog breed “.

I wouldn't place a Rottweiler, Chow, Akita and a lot of dominant dog breeds with a first-time owner. There are breeds that generally do need a more experienced owner. I also believe there are people who don't need to own a dog because their life situation simply doesn't make room for care of a dog.

But I absolutely agree that you're better getting the breed you want instead of what other people say you should get! I would choose a puppy owner in love with a breed and willing to make adjustments so it works over someone picking a dog for convenience any day. 🙂

Basenji's are wonderful dogs and can be very affectionate. Playful is not exactly the right word. I have two with lots of land and they basically run around all day chasing each other with short rest times and plenty of time to get into mischief. Mischief and curiosity are prime traits and you, as the owner, have to be way at all times of leaving anything chewable within reach. I mean anything. Pens, food, paper, clothing, shoes, anything. This tapers off a bit after a couple of years, but not much. My dogs have many chew toyes which they only use when they see nothing new is available. They are great dogs but take a lot of effort and guidance. They absolutely don't like being yelled at but the yelling does not change their behavior much. They just get sneakier. They are extremely tied to the pack leader ( you or your child) and generally love to cuddle. You can't get away with much. If your kid leaves toys on the floor, they will be chewed, So be prepared and please don't get one and them give him away, They get very attached quickly.

I am so happy and impressed that you are reaching out to Basenji owners to research this unique and quirky and oftentimes, difficult, breed.
The Basenji is a pip and not meant
for the faint of heart. YES, they are destructive--extremely so; and YES, they are escape artists--extremely so (at least in their early years.)
I actually coexist with a now 10-year old female rescued Basenji Mix (3/4 Basenji, 1/4 Min Pin, and the latter share several characteristics with the B's, such as prey instinct and escape artistry).
In the early days, my husband had to resort to extreme measures to secure the fencing in our yard: giant rocks and wire mesh to cover up and fill in the gaps under the fence where the little brat dug and dug and dug her way to China, or wherever. On one epic escape, I--at an advanced age--chased Izzy-Bella on foot
through the neighborhood and eventually literally tackled and body slammed her to the ground to catch her. Pathetic.
However, I am happy to report that she has mellowed enormously. She obeys us (mostly, sort of); there have been no escapes in years; she has gotten smarter and more intuitive each year and amazingly reads our behaviors so perfectly; and she is the best most fun and funny intelligent observant dog ever. BUT, the destructive instinct is slow to die. I suspect it is a hunting instinct thing, And this notion that massive amounts of daily exercise will dampen that instinct is just plain balderdash! When they get all hyped up with play fever and excitement, their jaws just start going into overload. Blankets, afghans, throw pillows, socks, tissues, the sweaters and blouses you are wearing--yum yum. When my granddaughters come to visit and bring their precious favorite stuffed animal friends, they make a big point of putting the stuffies way up high and out of Basenji harm's way. 'Cause, vad

I currently have 3 basenjis and I have had 6 over the last 17 years. They all have unique personalities but they all have similar things in common as well. I’ve had some that can never go off leash and I have had others that are great at an off leash park. I choose one that is fenced and away from any roads just to be safe. I knew a lady that took hers for years and one day her dog ran onto the highway and was killed. So that prey drive can rear its head anytime! I have baby gates everywhere! They just aren’t trustworthy. Some love to chew plastic some like to chew sheets and pillows. You just don’t know until you get your pup. Some don’t like to be alone ever, some don’t like other dogs, so you have to be willing to figure it out when you get your dog home. I had one that was a jumper so I had to get a super high gate to keep her in the kitchen. They have all loved to cuddle and sleep in the sun. They have all loved to chase squirrels and be chased around the yard. My newest puppy even plays fetch which is super unusual for a basenji! Keeping your house tidy and keeping them away from roads is a big must. They are super sneaky and will even trick you to get what you want. They don’t really do well at home alone for long periods, they typically need some company a cat or another dog, but if you get an adult basenji be careful with cats or other small animals as their prey drive can make that not work either. No matter what I’ve done or learned every dog is unique and special. If this is the breed for you, you will fall hard for them and no other dog will be quite what a basenji is to you. Good luck! If you are committed to this you will make it work, and it will be so rewarding!

@debradownsouth said in Basenji Personality:

@crazysenji said in Basenji Personality:

I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as a “1st time dog breed “.

I wouldn't place a Rottweiler, Chow, Akita and a lot of dominant dog breeds with a first-time owner. There are breeds that generally do need a more experienced owner. I also believe there are people who don't need to own a dog because their life situation simply doesn't make room for care of a dog.

But I absolutely agree that you're better getting the breed you want instead of what other people say you should get! I would choose a puppy owner in love with a breed and willing to make adjustments so it works over someone picking a dog for convenience any day. 🙂

If they do their homework and know what they are getting into I think they should get the dog they want. If someone has always dreamed of an Akita how many labs must they own before they can have one? Level one lab, level 2 GSD, level 3 Akita? Nah. Sure there are people who are drawn to powerful breeds and have no business owning a dog at all let alone a more challenging breed. I know a lot of great dog people who’ve started out with them and do wonderful. Right person who gets the right dog from the right breeder.

As was quoted by a member in another list: "A Basenji is a slob's best friend." Meaning whatever you do not pick up and put away, the B has full permission to do what they do.

I try to always have two barriers between them and freedom. There are always "slips" with a single gate. In the house we have two childproof (?) gates, that the dogs respect, but occasionally when we are slack, they will open the gate and allow themselves into the kitchen (a banned place for them, and me!).

The boundary fence if it looks a challenge, the B will take the challenge and try to defeat it - by whatever means. If they decide to climb, a couple of strands of saggy wire towards the top will most usually defeat their attempts. Especially if you can put some of the stays cranked inwards, so that by the time they get to the wire, it will sag, and they will fall back into the shrubbery which after a couple of times will pass the message onto them that this is not the way!

As for digging, lay some reo wire mesh flat on the ground, with squares about 75-100 mm (3 to 4 inches) spacing. Use any reo that you can find and fix it with tent pegs or similar, to keep it stationary. This should be placed close to the fence as possible, so that the lawn mower can still control the grass.

Do not expect miracles at first, but mine are left alone while we go shopping, (and the regular shops are 40kms (about 25 miles) away), so it is never for 10 mins. They now know to behave, as we usually come back and they get a treat. Today was raw beef brisket bones (RBBB). they love these, and they leave nothing behind for other insects, animals, or motor mowers to use as missiles to throw at the windows of the house. Do not use the "marrow bones" as they can crack and damage the teeth unless you want a closer relationship with your vet. These are the thick thigh bones of the cattle, and if you weigh about a tonne (ton), you would want strong bones to hold you up. The RBBB is the breast bone, and comes at about 1metre (3 feet) long, but the butchers usually discard them, so get to know when they are available, and shop for them.

That is enough for now, but feel free to ask questions about your young B. They are 2yo children, that want to be loved as part of the family.

Ahhh..such great questions, good for you! Me, myself and I have owned many different breeds, but my ALL time favorite is the Basenji!! But you need to know that they are not for everyone, they are everything you have read about and MORE! Yes, they are real BRATS as little B's, but once you get thru the terrible 2's etc., they are really great!
Yes, they will and can destroy everything in their path, or not in their path because B's believe everything is their's..really they do.
I have rescued 2 and now only have one, Rickie, and believe me when I say he was a terrible guy at 1 1/2to about 5 years old. He is now 11 and what a GREAT guy he has become. I taught him early "those important Basenji rules" and this breed needs to know you are the master. Personally, I don't believe in crating, there have been terrible stories about Basenji's pulling out their teeth trying to get out..so baby gates do/don't work sometimes.
Do you have young children ( toddlers), please be aware that B's want to "NIP" and this may not be comfortable for you or the child. Yes, they can escape anything..anything! There is a collar called "the no-slip collar" which most are familiar with and I was advised to use ( which I have) on my B's. The B's little neck is the same size as there head ( width) so they can easily slip from a collar or a harness, which they cannot in the no-slip collar.
I really hope you get the breed you love...and if it is a Basenji, you and your family will be consistent and loving long enough to see and experience the wonders of this truly unique dog. 🙂

@crazysenji said in Basenji Personality:

If they do their homework and know what they are getting into I think they should get the dog they want. If someone has always dreamed of an Akita how many labs must they own before they can have one? Level one lab, level 2 GSD, level 3 Akita? Nah. Sure there are people who are drawn to powerful breeds and have no business owning a dog at all let alone a more challenging breed. I know a lot of great dog people who’ve started out with them and do wonderful. Right person who gets the right dog from the right breeder

With that scenario, you are right. Especially if they fostered, had friends with them, actual experience. I hate comparing children to dogs, but your point is appropriate. Everyone who has a child is a "first timer". I'm just locked on the damage a wrong call can end up with when it's a powerful dog.

Having worked in rescue so long, as well as breeding, I find woefully few who do the work. But I've said here before... I was beyond dog savvy, with hard dogs and dominant breeds. I laughed at the idea of some 25 pound dog challenging me. We all know how that went. 🙂 Thanks for the redirect.

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