Hi, I’ve been a member of this forum for a while, reading/ getting info about basenjis but never had one. At this point after our Great Dane and 3 of our Shar Pei passed at the ages of almost 11, 12.2 , 14.2 and the last one just in April.. 12.4 years old... cancer.. We are down to one lazy 4 y.o Border Collie, 3 cats, 2 ducks and one Blue and Gold Macaw parrot. Just wanted to ask for advice if this breed can possibly be a good match for us. We are not necessarily considering a puppy, more like an older dog. The breed attracts us because like Shar Pei they are independent and cat like clean, and very smart. The concerns are.. being destructive while left alone, but we only go for vacation once a year for about a week and have a pet sitter living at the house. I work from home. Both front and back yards are fenced and there’s almost 15 acres next to refuge to walk. And also cats and birds that used to be around dogs and are not scared of them at all. Kids are 16 and 12 y.o.., been around animals their entire life. We are in CT.
Getting an older dog is a plus as you can evaluate character. Must be one that gets on well with cats as many basenjis believe cats are prey. You have a big advantage that you are home all the time. Basenjis want to be with you constantly. Fenced yards are good but not chain link as they can climb it, they are also escape artists and can burrow under / through fences. It depends on the individual dog though.
They do need walking 3-5 miles a day and in the winter / wet weather when you can’t, then they need mental stimulation to compensate.
Working with a good breeder will help you evaluate a suitable dog.
Yippie another potential basenji owner!
That being said kudos to you for doing the research on whether a b would fit your family! From my own experience owning a b, some of what a "basenji needs" can really vary with age. If you are looking at an older b, that has pros and cons. My own guy definitely slowed down around 8 to 9. Before that, 2 to 3 walks, toy time, training time or thinking toys were essential or he got into trouble. Luckily for me, he mostly just overturned laundry baskets and hid the items all over the house. Once older, he has been fine with 1 or 2 walks and a little play time/brain time. If I can do more, we do but he's a lot more patient. He has also never figured out chain link fence, but I have seen others who have. My guy figured out how to use the rotating rack inside an entertainment center cabinet to get out the squishy VCR boxes he liked to try to chew. They each learn nasty tricks in their own way.
That said, older dogs are a bit more set in their ways. I could never get him to not sleep with me at night now and he has never met a cat he couldn't chase. Took on a 35 lb Maine coon cat without batting an eye.
You'll definitely want to have some trial time in your home to see how he/she fits with the other animals. I would check on here and with AKC chapter near you for local breeders. They may have know of dogs retiring or BRAT fosters in the area plus breeders usually want the dog back if it doesn't work out. There's lots of really knowledge breeders and BRAT folks on this forum - just ask!
Yep, read Zande's Put-Off first. I don't worry about your cat being scared of the new dog, but more the new dog harassing the cat. Our basenji doesn't give the cat a chance to breathe (and the basenji has the scars on the muzzle to prove it). I'll be sitting quietly reading somewhere and then I'll hear a loud squeal - 'yep, the cat got the dog again!!' But, I would be more worried about the ducks and macaw. Our girl is obsessed with birds. Someone once told me that basenji's hunted birds as well as vermin, and I can sure see it in our girl, ducks in particular - she'll do anything to get them, as prey! If you find a basenji anything like our dog it'll be obsessed with the macaw and spend 23 hours of the day planning how to get it and the 24th hour attempting to get it. As Dagadingo says you'll have to evaluate the character. Good luck and best wishes with your decision and thank you for taking the time to seek advice and get the info before hand.
P.S. Here is our girl stalking a possum in the tree (most of her morning gone just doing this). And even though our breeder said that our girl was a climber she's never been over this small fence once, yet!!
I agree with Pippi on the birds being in the biggest jeopardy. I have 3 chickens which my girl is fascinated with. She goes out to feed and check for eggs 2 times a day with me, all I have to say is "chickens" and she is at my heels, but they are safely in a large secure area which she is not allowed to enter. I am sure she would pick them off if I gave her any chance. I am not sure there are enough treats in the world to break that drive.
Piper loves my cat, but my old cat just tolerates the antics of the energetic 2 yr old. She has gotten a few smacks on the nose but they can be trusted together all day.
I have to say that just reading the headline my initial thought was: "no, a Basenji is not for you". But Shar Pei's are, IMO, not the easiest dogs to deal with. Plus you have something of a pet menagerie, the maintenance of which requires no small amount of pet skills. So my guess is that you would be fine.
The great thing is that if you get an older dog from a reliable breeder you will have a very good idea of what you're getting. Puppies are more hit and miss in that it's hard to tell at 12 weeks how they'll turn out. So if you can find a Basenji which has the right personality you might have a good situation, enjoyable for both you and the dog.
My only question would be the cats and birds. Put crudely, Basenjis are killers. That would be something to consider.
Thank you so much for your input/ responses.
At this point I really doubt that it will be a good fit unless it’s some kind of ideal situation. The cats were around dogs pretty much their entire lives and they would probably walk right to a new dog with no hesitation. Same with ducks. They are in the pen in the back yard at night but they walk around the yard with dogs and cats during a day. The parrot, it’s a large Macaw and I would not worry about him, he can be very intimidating and has quite a vocabulary to scare anyone away!) After having Shar Pei for over 16 years, in my experience, they are the nicest/ easiest dogs to have with some exceptions. My vets loved all of them.
Getting a Border Collie I was kind of prepared to deal with something like a Basenji and everyone around was saying.., oh! a crazy dog. She is a bit weird but not in a bad way, I guess because she was raised with Shar Pei she is a lazy couch potato.. and that’s one of a reason I want to get a companion for her, to make her move..My daughter wanted to ran a marathon with her.. she ran 1 1/2 circles - perimeter of our yard and came back home. No interest in freesbes either.
Another Reddie!! Sally's "put offs" should be part of everyone's research.
I had chooks (chickens)until two of the four hunted them and destroyed them, but they leave the wild birds alone, and don't hunt them at all. If they come across one that is in their path, wild or domesticated, then they will go after them, but usually give up pretty quickly.
I have grown to look for potential trouble, rather than let it happen. Sheep are another "prey" that they will chase until the sheep lies down through exhaustion. then it is a time to save the sheep and rescue the dog before the farmer takes to them with a rifle or shotgun - allowed to kill dogs interfering with stock here in Oz.
The joys and trials of Basenjis are something to keep your mind active, to keep in front of the Basenjis. They can cuddle up when it is cool, and leave you to your own when it is hot. But they love company.