Thinking about getting a basenji…

Hello all! My name is Mike and am brand new to the board. My girlfriend and I are looking for a dog. While looking for dogs that are "allergy friendly" (she has horrible allergies), we came upon the basenji. Both of us immediately fell in love with the basenji. We are looking for a dog big enough for outdoor activities, but small enough to still be somewhat of a lap dog. Before I adopt a basenji, I was hoping you could answer a few questions for me.

First, are basenjis really as high strung as they are made out to be? Do basenjis ever just cuddle up with you on the sofa?

I've been told they shed very little, if at all. Is this true?

How are they with cats? Children?

Are they relatively easy to train? How about house training?

Do they really clean themselves like a cat? I've also read that they have no "dog odor".

What is the price range for a basenji? (I know this will vary greatly). I live in southeast PA (Berks County) and work outside of Washington DC. Does anyone know of any breeders in either of those areas?

I understand that basenjis do not bark. In what ways do they communicate their needs and feelings?

Are they very up close and personal dogs or do they like to keep to themselves? Do they follow you everywhere and give licks all the time?

I'm sure we will think of more questions, but this is a good start. Thank you in advance for your help!

Regarding the allergies, please visit with Basenjis in person and more then once to see about the allergies…

Basenji are not high strung... they are "active" and excercise. They cuddle all the time... but we have a saying, a tired Basenji is a good Basenji...

They shed very little but they do shed, the thing that helps with the allergies is that they have very little dander.

Some are great with cats, some are horrible.. remember this is a hunting breed. And I am surprised that you would ask about cats if your girlfriend has allergies???.. Is she not allergic to cats? But back to cats, it is important that your breeder knows that you have cats as they will help try and choose the pup that would most likely get along with cats.

As far as children, again it is so very important that your purchase your pup from a responsible breeder, one that properly socializes their pups... after that it is up to you to educate your pup with children, regardless if you have them or not...

One way find a responsible breeder is to visit www.basenji.org (Basenji Club of America Web Site) and go to "is a Basenji right for me" there is lots of information there including a link to "how to find a breeder". And there is also a link to Basenji breeders so you can find one that would be close to you.

They do clean themselves like cats and it is true they have no dog odor.

They can bark, they choose not to bark. And if they do it is usually a single bark like a cross between a bark and woof. They make all other dog noises and then some, they howl, whine, growl, and they can "scream" when unhappy and it can rasie the hair on the back of your neck… some think (and I agree) it can sound like a child being beaten!! And they yodel...

They are an independent dog who loves its humans... so lick lots, some very little, but they do mostly follow you around the house.. just to make sure they will not miss anything!

**Hi Mike, welcome to the forum.

The short answer to nearly all your questions is -YES-.

Please take the time to research this wounderful breed. They are NOT for everyone!!

Check out the BRAT site, that's the Basenji Rescue And Transporation site. There you can find many articles on Basenji's and some of the things you can expect to encounter. The Basenji Forum is also a wounderful place for you to get educated on all aspects of living with a Basenji from the people that are. The most important thing to understand, is that Basenji's require a lifetime of patience, dedication, time and love. If you have all these qualities, you'll find a place in your soul where only a Basenji can take you and you'll never regret the journey.

Hope that helps some, good luck! 😃

**

Hello Mike and welcome to the forum. First off, I want to say thank you for taking the time to do this research ahead of time.

Basenjis are a wonderful breed and I would never regret my choice. However, they are not for everyone! I have never noticed any doggy smell on dash and we rarely bathe him. If you are a very active couple in ways that include your dog they will probably be great. They are truely a unique breed and unlike any other I have encountered. I will answer your questions from my very limited experience with my own.

First, are basenjis really as high strung as they are made out to be? yes, Commonly called the "B-500" as they bounce off of the couch and run around the house at lightening speed.Do basenjis ever just cuddle up with you on the sofa?YEs, yes yes.Dash is a cuddle bug and must be within contact of you at all time. He sleeps under the covers and is on our lap or right next to us on the couch at ALL times

I've been told they shed very little, if at all. Is this true?This is the experience I have had

How are they with cats? I have 2 cats and Dash is great with one terrible with the other. Luckily she still has claws and they have an escape route to get away from himChildren? yes, Dash has been extrememly tolerant with only one incident and I am pretty sure it was my sons doing not his. However, my son was there first.Greggy was 5 when dash came along. But Dash is very tolerant to my neighbors 1 year old.

Are they relatively easy to train? Ha! If they want to be. They will outsmart you at every turn. Training has to be on their terms.How about house training?That is dependant on how consistant you are–not the dog. If this is a big concern I would reccomend a rescue that is already housebroken.

Do they really clean themselves like a cat?yes. I've also read that they have no "dog odor".

What is the price range for a basenji? (I know this will vary greatly). I think on other threads this was decided to be about 600-800. I live in southeast PA (Berks County) and work outside of Washington DC. Does anyone know of any breeders in either of those areas?Tanza gave you great advice on this one.

I understand that basenjis do not bark. In what ways do they communicate their needs and feelings?It ranges from full out screaming to nothing at all. Dash is silent. I think this is rare though.

Are they very up close and personal dogs or do they like to keep to themselves? Again this depends on the individual dog. Dash is friendly to others but not really interested. He will sniff people and then go on his way. He is only interested in 4-legged friends. Do they follow you everywhere and give licks all the time?Dash doesn't lick. I personally cannot stand that so I don't encourage it. He doesn't always follow me but he knows where I am.

Hope this helps. Good luck on your search.

Jennifer

Hi in effort to help you make your decision…I will provide some answers to your questions in my personal experience with my two B's 😃

First, are basenjis really as high strung as they are made out to be?
Yes they are VERY active (like greyhounds or whippets) little animals...but they are NOT hyper (min pins). They need LOTS & LOTS of exercise (1 hour or more of brisk walks) & every day.

Do basenjis ever just cuddle up with you on the sofa?
They do have down time & if they have been exercised well enough they WILL sleep A LOT & they will cuddle on the couch because they love & desperately need to be with their humans. Be careful what you wish for 🙂

I've been told they shed very little, if at all. Is this true?
They do shed little (depends how you define little)...but they DO shed. Their hair is shorter & finer so it's less noticeable. But if you're very sensitive like ME then you will notice their hair. I bought a vacuum for pet hair & I have to vacuum at least 1x a week.

How are they with cats? Children?
I know many how learn to live with cats but many that DO NOT like cats as they are prey for basenjis. The same goes with children. I know many who tolerate children but other will not. They are very sensitive animals that don't like to be rough housed like a Labrador would.

Are they relatively easy to train? How about house training?
I would really answer that they are very SMART & can figure things out on their own but training requires WORK & DEDICATION. There's no such thing as easy anything with basenjis. Training will really depend on you & how much time you have to put into your B and make him as obedient as possible.

Do they really clean themselves like a cat? I've also read that they have no "dog odor".
They do groom themselves extensively. They may even groom YOU too 🙂 I would say that they don't have a strong odor like other dogs but (in my opinion) they DO have an odor. I'm SUPER sensitive with smells & allergies so it's been my experience that I can smell my dogs. However the maintenance is minimal..I bathe about every 2 wks & wash their bedding weekly.

What is the price range for a basenji? (I know this will vary greatly). I live in southeast PA (Berks County) and work outside of Washington DC. Does anyone know of any breeders in either of those areas?
Check out the Basenji Club of America website to find reputable good breeders. The cost varies but I got mine as adults & I was not looking for a puppy & the price ranged from $600-$800.

I understand that basenjis do not bark. In what ways do they communicate their needs and feelings?
This is NOT true...some do bark you'd be surprised how many. They also scream like crazy babies, they whine like maniacs, some will yodel & make howling sounds. If something is wrong you WILL know it.

Are they very up close and personal dogs or do they like to keep to themselves? Do they follow you everywhere and give licks all the time?
For the most part my dogs NEED to be where I am at all times. They don't need to be on my lap but they do need to be in the same room otherwise they will get into mischief. Sometimes they will lick compulsively with no end in sight. Sometimes they sleep 😃

Good luck

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Uh, jys....do you mean that you bathe the dogs every 2 wks? or do you only bathe every 2 weeks 😉

I agree with what everyone has posted here. IMO, Basenjis can do fine with kids and cats as long as they are introduced to them early in their puppyhood, and basic house manners are implemented and reinforced 🙂

If you get a basenji and don't get him around a lot of kids (all ages), then have a baby five years later, it maybe a little rough during the child's toddling stages. But do your foundation work early, and you should have no problem.

BWWAAAAAAHHHHH..ANDREA you're hysterical!!! 😃 😃 😃

No I actually bathe my little ones every 2 weeks. They get into tons of gross yucky stuff on their walks every day so for ME the smell is unbearable..altho if you ask DH, he's like "what smell?"

@jys1011:

BWWAAAAAAHHHHH..ANDREA you're hysterical!!! 😃 😃 😃

No I actually bathe my little ones every 2 weeks. They get into tons of gross yucky stuff on their walks every day so for ME the smell is unbearable..altho if you ask DH, he's like "what smell?"

I aim to please 😉

I have just one thing to add. My basenji has the sweetest and most wonderful smell. Especially after he's just been brushed and is warm from the sun. I tell him all the time that he smells like flowers. 😃

@tasha:

I have just one thing to add. My basenji has the sweetest and most wonderful smell. Especially after he's just been brushed and is warm from the sun. I tell him all the time that he smells like flowers. 😃

I agree. Mine all smell very good, and I rarely bathe them. Sparing the occasional roll in something gross!

I think you also have to think about where will you be during the day and how do you plan to leave him in the house.

You can crate train a basenji but it can be difficult. That high pitch scream will get neighbors calling for the police. They do not like to be alone and you have to think about where you will keep them.

Also, do you have a backyard and how secure is your backyard. Basenjis are little escape artist and will scale a fence and will get themselves out of a crate if they want.

You need to always keep them on a leash because they will run. They are sight hounds and will take off if something lures them. They are not a typical jolly-let's have fun type of dogs. So often children will want to play with them – fetch, etc. Basenjis will play when they want to play and they are not the type that will come when you call them to play.

My Talker just sort of looks at you when you want to call him to play. He'll run after a ball but has yet to bring it back. So little children might be disappointed by this breed. However, they can be little jokers and mischievous. They will steal your heart along with shoes, remote controls, toys, food, paper, etc.

I agree with BBratz..Basenjis are no Retrievers 🙂 and they are great escaping confined places.

Altho I haven't had any problems crate training mine. They don't mind being alone but they would prefer to be with me 😃 😃 My little boy C3PO will whine if I crate him & I am still IN the house. But if he hears me actually leaving the house he'll just settle down & take a nap…smart little guy!

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That is a good point. They aren't your typical 'perfect dog for kids' for sure.

Ours will chase a ball maybe 10 times before they get tired of it and move on to somethign else.

I will also second the issue with fences. A chain link fence is a ladder for a Basenji. Make sure you have somethign with a smooth inside that they cannot get a grip on.

Our 2 adults do shed a little. Like when I scratch them on the head, I will notice a few stray hairs and I can usually find one or 2 on my cloths, however, they are short hairs and not noticable if you do not go looking for them. THe puppy is only 10 weeks old so it is too early to tell, but I suspect it will be similar.

All 3 love to cuddle at times, punctuated by 15-30 minutes of wide open running every so often.

With ANY breed you'll find the "common" characteristics which all are stated above but the same goes, that with ANY breed you'll have your randoms too.

I know I've read in here that many B owners have or had a B that didn't like to cuddle hardly at all but would lay close at night time when it was time for bed. Mine does, however love to cuddle (thankfully).

Also, my girl would need to be washed once a week if we didn't want to smell any odor. She doesn't get the typical dog smell but she does get stinky and I have yet to see her bathe herself like a cat. The only thing she does is roll around on the floor after she eats something or gets something on her (not a very effective bath).

My B is very good with kids and when she sees a cat she pays no attention but we don't have one so I'm not really sure how she'd be with one in the house.

She had one period where she was shedding quite a bit but I think it was right before spring and it was probably a seasonal thing otherwise I hardly ever see any fur.

And I'm not sure if I saw anything about this in the above threads however you should definately be warned they (I'm pretty sure ALL) LOVE to chew. You constantly have to have chew toys or everything becomes a toy.

And there you have my two cents.

In the past month Goober had completely destroyed all 30 or so of Jamie's little stuffed toys. He even chewed on the cat once. That was a weird day.

I've noticed that Goober will pick up other smells very easily. Right now he reeks of cardamon from dinner last night.

He also learns commands very easily (some times after 2 or 3 repititions) but only obeys when he feels like it. The basenji is a very old breed and purebreds or some african lines still hold onto a lot of the social morays of a wolf pack, where the alfa pair aren't so much the bosses as the ones with the most freedom.

The only problem i've found regaurding children is that he needs to learn how gentle or rough is ok. with my 1 1/2 year old cousin it took a while for him to learn that nuzzling and licking was ok but not pouncing and jumping.

The most important thing with any new dog is to spend as much time as possible with them.

And also regarding children, my boy has never really liked children. He soon found out that at ages 2 to 6 (especially those ages) they lack balance… His favorite thing to do is jump up on them and then watch them fall over..

Hi Mike
Welcom to the forum.
I just wanted to give you my experiancec conserning allergic reactions to Basenjis.
Until now I have sold 3 Basenji pups to people who are allergic to dogs and everything goes very fine.
Two families in Germany visited our kennel because both woman were allergic to dogs. They stayed for at least 2 hours with our Basenjis sitting on their laps or racing around our house. Non of the two ladies sufferd from any reaction to the dogs and live, one since January 2004 and the second since February 2005 with their Basenji boys without any problem.
Another family (Dutch) is living since february 2007 with another of our B-Boys. Here it is the man who reacts allergic to dogs but not to our Basenjis.
To be complete I have to tell you that a Swedish family came to visit our dogs to see the reaction of the huspand to our dogs. This man was so allergic, he almost reacted to the word dog. They stayed for 1.5 hour at our place between our dogs without any reaction but when they were 1/2 hour on the way back home, the huspand got an allergic reaction and they were very sorry not being able to keep a dog.
Like someone else wrote, you have to visit a breeder and see if there is any allergic reaction to the dogs.
Good luck.
Erik & Ingrid
www.abuluka-basenjis.be

I've had mothers with 4 little children (ages 3 to 7 or so) tell me that they're looking for a family dog and I've pretty much discouraged them as to not getting a basenji. I don't know how a mom of 4 small kids could possibly give a basenji (or any dog) the attention they need.

I think a basenji being raised with a baby is fine and they can grow together and learn the respect and boundaries together. But I think a family of 4 getting a puppy and even a mature dog is not the best situation for the dog.

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