Is a Basenji the right dog for me?

I'm glad you are doing some research before running out and getting the first Basenji that you can... but, a lot of your questions can't be answered: I'm pretty sure that none of us can see the future... None of us can tell you if you are going to be allergic to a Basenji, or if your dog is going to keep you awake at night, or if your dog is going to chew (specifically) the electrical cords (btw, puppies chew everything), or if your dog will annoy your neighbors.

But, you can control much of this.
@tanza is right, visit someone who has Basenji's and find out if you are allergic to them. Check with your local Kennel Club, Veteranarians, or Dog Trainers -- it's almost certain that you will find someone who can help you find out if you are or aren't allergic to this breed.

Be prepared to wake up during the night (at first). Puppies have small bladders. A midnight dash outside shouldn't be unexpected. Decide now if your dog will be welcome to sleep on the bed, on a dog bed nearby, or in a crate. Puppies are quieter when they sleep with you. If you choose a crate, place a blanket over it when it's bedtime. If it's a dog bed.... put one of your dirty gym shirts on it so the pup can smell you and feel like you are nearby. (You might not get that shirt back)

Chewing? Yep, puppies chew. Keep your place clean. Put your shoes in the bedroom closet. Then close the door. Pay attention. If your dog is showing curiousity about something they shouldn't be messing with, very firmly, say "no!". You do not have to strike the pup, or yell at them. A firm "no!" is usually enough. Then distract the pup by providing a toy or a game that is okay.

Is your dog going to annoy the neighbors? Most certainly! Your neighbors are going to be beside themselves with questions about this little pup. I have people pull up alongside me at traffic lights, "What kind of dog is that? How do you spell that? Is the breeder local?" OMGosh! Has no one else discovered "Google"? 😃 Noise is the least of your concerns.

Whatever breed you end up with... give your dog attention, exercise, good food, plenty of water, and make sure that it feels loved and safe.

Based on what you have written I would say a Basenji is not a good choice at this time, particularly not a puppy. Actually, a puppy of any breed is not a good choice in your circumstances. I understand the impulse. I got my first Basenji when I was still living with my parents, and I wanted her so very much. Despite all the support at home (my Mom would walk her when I couldn't be there) I did not have sufficient time to devote to such an active dog and I ended up rehoming her with a wonderful family, and kept in touch with them all of her life. I've since had four more Basenjis over the years and they are wonderful dogs, but I would never consider having one if I had to leave it for eight hours at a time, and certainly not a pup in those circumstances. A settled, mature adult might conceivably work, but even then it is not a sure thing. These dogs are "independent" only in that they want to do things their way, but they require company and don't do well if left alone for long periods of time. Separation anxiety is a common problem and difficult to deal with. Save yourself and the dog a lot of grief, and postpone you Basenji experience until you are more settled, unless you can afford doggie daycare or hire someone to visit and walk your pup.

I agree with all the comments made by the other contributors of this forum. Even though my basenji has free run of my home and she’s not destructive and has access to a doggie door - I would NEVER leave her alone for 8 hours.
My husband recently asked me if I’d get another basenji and I really am not sure. I love my dog as if she were my own child and she brings me such joy and happiness - that said it takes a tremendous amount of commitment and responsibility to give this breed what they deserve. As I get older, I don’t know if I can give a basenji what they need and deserve. I walk Kembe EVERY day - 2 to 3 Xs a day - for a total of 3- 5 miles - they need to be physically and mentally stimulated and challenged. When it rains or snows, I drive her to an underpass where I walk her (when it’s raining or snowing - she makes a beeline to my vehicle - she knows). In fact she KNOWS everything that goes own in our house because she watches and listens to EVERYTHING we do. Basenjis are an incredible breed, I’m glad you’re doing your homework and asking the right questions.

@johnnyr56 - Go to and you can search for breeders by state. Even if a breeder is not close to you they would be able to hook you up with some of their puppy people for a possible visit. You can also find breeders/owners on facebook.

Even with a long walk before and after being left alone in a crate for 8 hours - I would be very against this treatment of ANY dog, let alone a Basenji. These are hunting dogs, not toys you can put in the cupboard when you don't want to (can't) play with them.

Wait a few years until you can give a Basenji the life it deserves. A great deal of life with a B is COMPROMISE (!) and in the scenario as you describe it, the Basenji would be the loser on all counts.

They are worth waiting for - believe me.

last edited by Zande

@zande said in Is a Basenji the right dog for me?:

Wait a few years until you can give a Basenji the life it deserves. A great deal of life with a B is COMPROMISE (!) and in the scenario as you describe it, the Basenji would be the loser on all counts.

........completely agree - It sounds like a Basenji would be a great dog for you but the timing just might not be right at this moment. A lot of things in life are based on timing. Base your decision on your head and not your heart. It sounds like you have a great future ahead of you and a good head on your shoulders! You’ll definitely have a basenji in your future!

last edited by Kembe

@zande - my only comment is that if you have to crate your pup because you don't have a secure area when you are not home... if crated during the day they should be loose after work and the evening/night... and as a young pup, you really need to be able to attend to them (feeding/walking) after about 4 hours tops... be that with you or a pet sitter...

Thank you all for the replies! As much as I'd like a dog right now, I think I agree with the timing issue. It sounds like Basenjis are quite a handful and I wouldn't be able to give it the life it deserves in my current situation. However, I am glad that I found a breed I look forward to owning and once I'm in a stable place I can make the move. I really appreciate the advice ladies and gentlemen!

I think you have made a wise decision. When your circumstances are such that you can rise to the challenges and rewards of a Basenji I hope you enjoy this truly remarkable breed. They are definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you have patience and a sense of humour they are endlessly entertaining and wonderful companions. With other breeds you can have a dog but a Basenji will change your life in unexpected ways. They become, if you will, a way of life. 😉

First, thank you for the honest evaluation of your situation.
Basenjis are dogs that consider who they live wit, to be part of their pack - family.

They only chew or destroy things when they are bored, or mad at you. (Yes, I know people will disagree, but I have had basenjis for 25 years and have witnessed this activity. This included one dog jumping on the table, with me sitting 3 feet away, and peeing in a circle, as if saying, "There, take that!”)

A young basenji, under say, 8 years, will do this when left alone for so long.
(Yes, I know people will disagree, but I have had basenjis for 25 years and have witnessed this activity. This included one dog jumping on the table, with me sitting 3 feet away, and peeing in a circle, as if saying, "There, take that!)

You write that you live with 3 roommates. You do not mention if this will change, so I will assume it will not. Personally, I think it is very unkind (to them AND the dog) of you to bring a basenji into this living arrangement. Unless ALL the roommates understand, and agree, to sharing their lives with a dog that will require so much of their time. The tiniest thing left on the floor could be destroyed, and could even harm the dog. Bathroom doors left open? A basenji might not be able to find anything as much fun, grab the toilet paper, and run. Fun, fun, fun!!! For the dog.

You are researching enough to show that you are checking really well to see if a basenji will fit into your life. In my opinion, not just yet. Maybe later when your life has settled a bit.

Oh, just remembered you mentioning you studying, the dog doing its thing. It might happen, but if the dog thinks your attention should be on him/her, you may not like that something.
Best of luck in your studies, and with where ever your life leads you!

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