Should i go for a Basenji (I do want one)?

  • Hello, I have been researching on Basenji for months and I am in love with the breed (some might say obsessed). I am on the waitlist with one of the reputable breeders and as the months draw closer (I live in Oz) I am getting super excited about it.
    However, I do have some doubts when it comes to the breed suitability. I live alone in a spacious apartment at 3rd floor. Being a hound with a strong prey drive, I was wondering if it's safe for a Basenji. The balcony has a glass railing of little over 1 meter which I know is not tall enough for a hound. I did read in one of the threads that their Basenji loves sitting in the balcony and not put itself in any dangerous situation. Any advice?
    I will start to work from home when I have my pup, however, I may still need to go out for work for 2 days a week for perhaps 10 hours a day. Can the dog be left alone for that long?
    I know they are highly energetic dogs and need lots of exercise (and I am committed to provide that). I am concerned though that if I leave the dog alone for long, it might end up chewing my furniture.
    Also, I do want to leave the balcony access to the dog whilst I am gone for some air, space and in case it needs to relieve himself. Again, would it safe for him to be in the balcony when I am not around?
    Any advice would be welcome, especially from someone who have/had Basenjis in high rise apartments.

  • I would be concerned about the balcony. A Basenji could easily hop over that railing, even easier if there are any chairs to climb on. Some dogs are aware of heights and will avoid dangerous situations, but you can't count on it. I would not give access when I wasn't home or for that matter any time I wasn't out there too. Ten hours is too long to leave any dog on its own. You would need to get someone to come and take the dog out for a walk, or look into doggie daycare for days when you need to be absent for that length of time.

  • Depending on the balcony construction, you may be able to add safety netting or fencing from top to bottom and side to side to prevent any mishaps... that doesn't mean that you should assume nothing would happen. I'm only thinking that you could make it "safer" than just a meter high barrier.

    The 2 days you are gone so long really isn't ideal. Especially if you are wanting a puppy. Basenji's become extremely bonded to their people and a young one would not understand why you brought it home and then left. Are the two days back to back? Would you be able to leave the dog in the care of a family member (husband, child, sibling, parent)? If someone else in the household was able to care for the dog on those days... it might be more practical. It depends on what type of situation you would be able to arrange and if those arrangements would be consistent.

  • @elbrant Thank you El for the advice. I may not be able to get the safety netting / fencing installed due to building bylaws.
    2 days wouldn't be back to back and it may be down to just 1 day a week. I do plan to take 3 weeks off from work to settle the pup when it arrives. I live alone unfortunately with no family around.
    I want to do the right thing and give my dog the best and don't want it to be in any sort of danger. Still confused 😕

  • The balcony would worry me - and three weeks to settle a puppy in and then, possibly leaving him for 10 hours, even if only once and not back to back days. . . No, this is not the sort of life I would envisage for these hunting hounds.

    Even if you fenced the balcony, there is no getting around the fact of leaving the pup alone for that length of time. Even my adult pack was never alone for more than 4 hours and if there were puppies, certainly not even that.

    Current pups need their Alpha around. They know it and so do I.

  • @praz said in Should i go for a Basenji (I do want one)?:

    I do plan to take 3 weeks off from work to settle the pup when it arrives.

    Dogs, especially high energy breeds like the Basenji, need to exercise. Left alone all day, any day, is an invitation for them to find "creative" ways to entertain themselves. And that typically isn't something their people would have approved of. Like, when my dog killed my son's bed pillow....

    bad bed pillow

    I'm sure my girl had a reason to do this, but I have no clue what it would have been.... and since I wasn't there to see the pillow fight, she cannot be punished for it. Primarily because she would never understand what the punishment was for. There are stories all the time about Basenji's being destructive. A recent post provided a picture of a B ripping the wallpaper off a wall. So, you see... knowing that your dog will be unsupervised for extremely long periods of time is probably inviting trouble. Not to mention that you should never leave the door to your home open while you are away (even on the 3rd floor)!

    I suggest that you wait and get your Basenji in a year or two when your life is better suited to having a dog. For now, get a kitten. Cats (even young ones) only require food, water, and access to their litter box while you are gone. They can be left the entire day, or even two days in a row, without any problems. Dogs cannot.

  • @elbrant said in Should i go for a Basenji (I do want one)?:

    For now, get a kitten. Cats (even young ones) only require food, water, and access to their litter box while you are gone. They can be left the entire day, or even two days in a row, without any problems. Dogs cannot.

    @elbrant have you ever had a kitten??? They can wreak havoc as well as a young Basenji, IMO, and they don't always wait for you to be absent. Climbing drapes, knocking plants and other objects onto the floor, using your couch for a scratching post, etc. Adult, settled cats are generally easier and usually can be left on their own without too much risk, although many still like scratching up the furniture and have no problem gaining access to items placed well out of reach for most dogs, even Basenjis.

    @Praz might be better off with an adult, either dog or cat, rather than dealing with a young animal, at this stage of the game. Save the puppies or kittens to a future time when it's easier to be present in their lives, with no long absences.

  • @praz - I would be very concerned about a 1 meter railing on the balcony. To be very honest, as a breeder I would not place one in that situation unless when not home they have no access to the balcony and even when home most all dogs could get over that railing. The ones that do well with a railing on a balcony are much higher and even with bars, you have to watch the spacing as they are pretty darned good at squeezing through them. I don't believe this would be a safe idea for a Basenji or many other breeds for that matter

  • Basenji’s are a great breed to own but not ideal in an apartment setting for their safety. They are known to escape, climb and jump. I got my first basenji when I owned a townhouse with a small yard and I soon realized that she needed space to run, socialized play and exploring. It was also hard because I worked full time. It was heartbreaking.

    To make a long story short, I sold my townhouse, bought a house with a huge back yard, put a 6ft fence and got a second basenji to keep her company. On my days off they go to regular dog park play dates so that they can burn that energy they have out. It’s like another full time job but the best thing I did.

    They are my babies and I did what I had to do to make them happy. They are totally worth it!

    Wait, and plan for it, three weeks off is not enough when they are puppies.

    Best wishes 😊

  • @tanza I agree with you. As a fellow breeder, this would not be an suitable home for me.

  • They are SUPER smart. If you take them to the park or for regular walks, like clockwork be ready to comply. They are great with a routine and structure.

    They will let you know if you are late or if you forget.

  • My dear, you do sound as if you live in the land of Oz. Please for your sake and the sake of a basenji, do not do it. I assume. 3rd fl walk up has other occupants. Have you ever heard an unhappy basenji...scream. You will have land lord and possibly law enforcement knocking on your door if you leave a young basenji alone for the time you are talking about in or out of a crate. Balcony....everyone is trying to be polite in their answers but i cannot. You are inviting disaster. I have been exactly where you Re and let me list the problems. Police at my door twice because i kept saying i have a can not be mine making the noise. A screened in porch, with shards of screen and and no door, oops found it on the side of the house. Third time is the charm...drapes and venetian blinds, entire side of an upholstered chair, woodwork, edge of stair case. By then i thought a muzzle if I had to go out. Nope, muzzle was in three pieces. Poor sweet little guy was shuffled off to a rescue.....this all happened years and years ago. I still feel guilty..i am sorry if I offend but someone has to say it. To many basenjis needing rehoming and are just being put down for behaviors. over the years paid my dues with two rescues to make up for my mistakes, 5 others have helped me get over my uneducated stupidity.

  • Just remind: We walk my dog more than 10k steps every single day! She still has extra energy to destroy if you don’t play with her for a long time...

  • Two main huge points: Absolutely no balcony access then even with netting which you're saying isn't allowed. Having a dog walker come once a day for any puppy alone ten hours is not enough. Unless you can find an all day daycare for the dog, don't do it. Even for an adult dog, ten hours is too long in my opinion to be leaving your dog home alone. I agree, a cat sounds better suited to your situation.

  • Thank you all for your opinion, some rather direct. I do appreciate that you have all taken out time and answered my questions in all honesty.
    I can say that I am convinced that this is not the opportune time to go for Basenji.
    Hopefully one day though, when my situation changes. One day...

  • @praz thank you for making the right decision.

  • I agree with what the other guardians have said about basenjis; just want to add that I don't think any dogs, unless they are relatively inactive seniors, should be left alone for ten hours.

    One can't put a time limit on how long it will take to acclimate a puppy to new surroundings and to get it to understand its place in your home. You have to keep in mind that basenjis can live many years so this is a long commitment, not one to be taken lightly. I've had three basenjis and they lived to be 14, 15, and almost 17.

    They are absolutely wonderful dogs, unique in so many ways but, as the saying goes, they are not for everyone, and that's okay imho. My basenjis have always had a companion, and most of the people that I knew in Sweden, where I acquired my first two, had two dogs, not always two basenjis or one basenji and another breed.

  • @elbrant said in Should i go for a Basenji (I do want one)?:

    Like, when my dog killed my son's bed pillow....

    But, look how proud he looks!

  • A good job, well done !

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