Basenji or whippet? Anyone have both?

Hello!
I am looking into different breeds and both the Basenji and Whippet are the top two breeds I’m considering getting in the future. I have young children a 2yr old and a 5yr old but I’m not planning to get our next dog until our current dog (lab mutt) passes about 4yrs from now. What I don’t like about our lab mix (we love her! but there are parts of her personality I would like to avoid in a future dog) I don’t like how needy, Velcro she is! Always leaning on me! I love a dog that doesn’t mind pets and cuddles but only on occasion! I don’t like how smelly she is no matter how often she is bathed. I was told by the vet it’s a labs natural oily coat. I want a smaller dog, she is 75#.

What I’m looking for in a dog:
-likes pets and cuddles but only on occasion, so somewhat independent
-can get along with family cat (I know, I know, they are sight hounds. But I love cats too and plan on always having one so the dog needs to be able to live with one) why I plan on getting a puppy.
-tolerate of children Ages 6yrs +
-naturally clean, no oily coat

  • smaller 20-40#
    -enjoys going places with family like trips to the beach (on leash), hikes (on leash), camping (on leash) haha
    -somewhat independent. Doesn’t mind being home alone 6ish hrs while at work
    -medium exercise need. Okay with walks daily. Somewhere between a greyhound (lazy coach dog) and boarder collie (crazy go go go). Doesn’t mind longer hikes on occasion but doesn’t NEED it every day.

Any input is welcome! Thanks all!

Many Basenji owners have Basenjis and Whippets.... They do quite well with each other... Depending on the temperament, both breeds can be needy... depends on each dog. And honestly, they (both breeds along with other breeds) want pets and to be assured they are part of the family so while independent, that does not being included in the family pack... they both need to be part of the family, not just when it is OK for the family to relate to them...most all dogs will demand "their time"... not just when it is OK for you... Basenjis typically have no smelly coats and do not need to have a bath on a regular basis. Whippet's could, but I don't have them so you would need to talk to Whippet owners/breeders on that. Note that with any dog, children in the family need to be respective of the dogs...

@tanza thank you for your reply! I hope I didn’t come off as I want the dog to be perfect and only ask for pets when I want. I WANT a dog to enjoy being a part of the family and want to cuddle. Just not being pet 24/7 like my current dog, Piper. Piper is very much a Velcro dog in that she literally will lay on me, or try to ALL the time. I just want a dog that is okay to sit and chill SOMETIMES. Still in the house with the family, just not slobbering all over me all the time. Hope that makes sense. I’m the type of owner that LOVES their animals and would choose to go on vacation to places that are dog friendly so our dog can join us. I don’t expect any dog to be perfect. Both my children are amazing with all animals. I’ve worked very hard in teaching them how to interact with them properly. Even my 2 yr old is learning amazingly. I also NEVER leave them unsupervised with our current dog and cat. Anyways, thank you again for your reply

go to the Zande website which has an excellent write up about Basenjis, and things to be aware of, in dealing with them in the home environment. Read the put-off.

@hazyj said in Basenji or whippet? Anyone have both?:

medium exercise need. Okay with walks daily. Somewhere between a greyhound (lazy coach dog) and boarder collie (crazy go go go). Doesn’t mind longer hikes on occasion but doesn’t NEED it every day.

This kind of made me cringe. Basenji's seem to need the oppostie of this. Daily walks/hikes of the hour+ + variety every day with the occasional day of a shorter walk. Or, two 30-45 minute walks, one in the morning and another in the evening. Without it, they tend to express their displeasure with (cough) "destructive" behavior. Naturally, the same can be said with most breeds. Dogs, especially young ones, need more exercise than a weekend outting with the family would provide.

@elbrant - Totally disagree... Not true in my experience and that has been for over 30yrs. And the amount of time spent with them in the evenings if you work.
Depends on the activity during the day... and especially with two dogs.. and also working the mind... and if you have a yard, then walks are not as needed as they can play with each other in the yard. I don't and never have walked mine...but on now and again. They do not need long walks/hikes every day... mine do not and I work and 8hr job... granted I do not have to crate them as I have the house set with a dog room with access to the yard...

last edited by tanza

@hazyj “ likes pets and cuddles but only on occasion, so somewhat independent”

Yes they are, but what they lose in “clingyness” They make up for with demanding and needing supervision. Plus they bond with their owners very tightly, they expect to be included in everything you do and plan...until they are sure it’s not something they need to be involved in. They are naturally inquisitive. Other dogs are less intensive.

“-can get along with family cat”

Most can if they are used to cats, they will still chase if the cat runs though in my experience.

“-tolerate of children Ages 6yrs +”

If the children are respectful and fairly well educated about dogs yes.

“-enjoys going places with family like trips to the beach (on leash), hikes (on leash), camping (on leash) haha”

They are very inquisitive and explore happily.

“-somewhat independent. Doesn’t mind being home alone 6ish hrs while at work“

Some are ok and others are not, if you get a pair they seem to do better in my experience. They can be highly destructive if left alone when younger, think walls and doors chewed through, my first even chewed out of his metal dog crate. They are highly determined and can be stubborn.

“-medium exercise need. Okay with walks daily. Somewhere between a greyhound (lazy coach dog) and boarder collie (crazy go go go). Doesn’t mind longer hikes on occasion but doesn’t NEED it every day.“

They need exercise, especially when young. If you live in a colder climate they can substitute walks for play, interactive activities etc for short periods. They are very demanding, especially for the first 7-10 years, after that they slow down.

Mine need 3-5 miles a day to keep them content and happy, usually over 3-5 walks. I rotate through a dozen or so parks so they get variation. Here in the U.S. many dogs are spoiled with food, treats and love yet neglected when it comes to walks. Both mentally and physically they need walks to fulfill them and keep them healthy and happy.

@tanza said in Basenji or whippet? Anyone have both?:

Not true in my experience

For comparison(s) sake:
I have one pet and no yard. So, doodle seriously needs to get rid of the angst. She gets a daily walk, usually 3 miles. She also gets playtime at the dogpark, and outings (ex: hiking in woods) for some variety throughout the week.

Whereas (it sounds like):
You have multiple pet(s) and a fenced yard. The animals play with eachother, thereby exercising together, throughout the day which eliminats the need for "walks".

So, maybe the real determination is the specific circumstances of the dogs home, schedule, and family structure?

@elbrant said “Or, two 30-45 minute walks, one in the morning and another in the evening. Without it, they tend to express their displeasure with (cough) "destructive" behavior. Naturally, the same can be said with most breeds. Dogs, especially young ones, need more exercise than a weekend outting with the family would provide.“

Hmmm, I never said just a weekend outing. Seems like you are miss reading my text. I am perfectly capable of providing, and do for my current dog, 30-45 min walks twice a day. But some breeds, so I have read, ie border collie, Dalmatians, Vizlas, German Wire hair pointers, etc. need MORE than a 30-45 min walk twice a day. But other breeds demand less, bull dogs, Mastif breeds, some could argue grey hounds, Etc prefer less. I don’t want to force a dog to do more than they can and don’t want a dog that requires more than I can offer. So someplace in between the two extremes. I understand every individual needs very, as is with everything in life. I hope I’m making it clearer. And I do value your opinion. Thank you for your input.

@dagodingo Thank you! This is the info I was looking for. I’d say I can provide this MOSTLY. If I’m being honest the 3-5miles a day I may not be able to provide daily. Most days sure but it’s closer to 2 mile walks (I’m guessing. I haven’t calculated my usual route). Depends on how often my dog wants to stop to smell the roses. 😆 I do love providing mental stimulation. My current dog is one to be envious of in the obedience factor but it’s not a requirement. I know and understand Basenji’s are stubborn. And harder to train. I feel me saying I want a more independent dog has upset a few people. Yet Basenjis are said to be a more independent breed? Just because I want a independent dog doesn’t mean I will love them less, not treat them as family, and not spoil them rotten. Anyways, thank you for your thorough response.

@tanza said in Basenji or whippet? Anyone have both?:

They do not need long walks/hikes every day...

Absolutely ! Mine have always had long walks on days when it is convenient to me ! Tuesdays for example I teach crafts to a visually impaired group, so no walkies. In any case I don't technically 'walk' my Basenjis. I load them into the car, drive to the forest and they leap out and run free while I walk for a couple of miles. They probably do 6 - or even 8.

Now I am down to just one, same thing applies. But new puppy coming in 3 weeks (!) and he will be taught to walk on a lead but also to come back when called and to run free.

And there are more articles on my website than just the Put-Off, although that is probably the first thing you should read. The thing about not doing the breed a disservice is important too.

I am intrigued - how can you be sure your dog will last another four years - or did I misread something ?

Long walks are great if you have the time for them, but not really necessary if you can provide play time. Two definitely will do better than one if you aren't home for long periods of time. My girls were good company for each other, easier to leave them than when I had only one, although my last boy was fine on his own once I got him through the initial separation anxiety, the key being no crating!

In winter it gets pretty cold here, and long walks are not really practical when all your dog wants to do is go home! Mental exercise works well, and I spent time with Perry teaching him to listen and separate the words that pertained to him from rambling speech, something that was fun for both of us and kept him engaged. Hiding his toys or playing hide and seek were also fun. Yes, Basenjis are independent in their own way, but when they decide they want to be with you, they can be very persistent! Privacy can be hard to come by when your dog doesn't tolerate a closed bedroom door. 😉

@hazyj said in Basenji or whippet? Anyone have both?:

Hmmm, I never said just a weekend outing. Seems like you are miss reading my text

I wasn't suggesting that. Just offering the contrast between daily interaction and... not.

@zande 4 years was just a estimate. Could be longer or shorter. She is 9 years old now.
Your comment brought up another question, Basenji’s, when trained properly, can have good recall? I’ve read whippets can never be trusted off leash so if a Basenji can be trusted off leash that would be another positive to add to my list. I don’t mind having to keep a dog on leash but if they can be trusted off leash in safe areas like the beach or woods Away from streets that would be nice.

@eeeefarm I don’t mind, and actually prefer, a dog that demands attention from time to time. I think if you all new how much ‘velcro’ my current dog is you would understand a bit more. Independent is not in her vocabulary. I love her and do let her constantly lean on me, lay on me too. Nothing like a 75lb lap dog! I’m not saying I want a 100% independent dog. Why get a dog if that was the case? Basenji’s sound wonderful the more I read. I’m like get how you all are stating they do demand attention sometimes and do love their owners. Honestly, from reading other posts and articles about them I was under the impression that they are not that loving and just wanted to be left alone most of the time. But watching videos of them I felt that must not be true. I do plan on meeting a few before I make my decision.

@hazyj Personally I would always keep them on a leash. They have recall right up to the point when they see “prey” and then they are gone. Much like leaving them uncrated, it works until it doesn’t and then the consequences can be death, so to me it is never worth the risk.

Two mile walks twice a day would be fine if you could do it. I would not get a basenji if I did not have the time or capability to walk them enough. Sure they can survive but it doesn’t fulfill their natural desires and needs. I use extension leashes so for the 3-5 miles we do, they do about 6-7 lol. Although it takes time and concentration to use them safely.

Most of the people who come on here with problems and looking for advice, generally can be helped just by increasing the walks. Even taking them to the same park gets boring for a basenji, unless maybe it’s a dog park but they have their own problems.

From my own experience, during winter I walk them as much as possible but they are more stressed, have more problems with behavior etc. in the summer with 4-5 walks a day including one good two mile walk, they just want to come home, sleep and then get back out there. A tired basenji is a happy, good, well behaved basenji. In the wild dogs migrate as a pack, the more you emulate that, the better it is for the dogs health and well-being.

The walks are the key to everything. The reason I keep them is intelligence, they will keep you on your toes constantly and will outwit you. To keep a basenji you must be half as smart as the dog lol.

Recall and off leash are debatable subjects. Of five I have owned, my first was solid on recall, my last also was good but I did use an e-collar to ensure it, which is frowned upon on this forum, my second girl was good out in the wild, not so much in familiar territory, and the other two were unreliable. I wouldn't count on reliability off leash. Depends on the individual dog, and even more so on your relationship with said dog! On the beach or woods can be doable.

With my first Basenji I treated her like any other dog, walking her off leash in the city of Toronto! She was trained (as were my other dogs) never to go on the road unless at heel. Seems incredible looking back, but at the time I didn't know you can't do that with a Basenji, and apparently neither did she!

@hazyj - Basenjis and Whippets are hounds... they are a "thinking" breed... as in request them to do something their immediate response is "What's in it for me?" They are not in my opinion stubborn...

I only know one other person in this country who regularly lets her Basenji (singular) off leash - but in all my years I have been able to let my pack off and they come back. I live out in the countryside and don't let them off except in the woods where they are far from any roads or cars. And they are always friendly with other dogs we meet. I get to know the names of the dogs who frequent our forest far quicker than I ever do the owners.

I am getting very intermittent internet connection at the moment. Gales and heavy rain. I just refilled the generator in case we lose power. Internet is spasmodic. . .

last edited by Zande

@elbrant I guess the whole “this makes me cringe” made me think otherwise. I was saying I wouldn’t be able to give strenuous exercise daily such as long hikes but as I stated, walks I can most definitely provide. And to add mental stimulation I can provide too.

Does anyone have a whippet as well and can give some input on the differences between them? Characteristics that may make me prefer one breed over the other. Or I just might have to get one of each! 😆

last edited by hazyJ

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