Basenji sense of smell comparison

  • I've been looking online for stats on the breed's sense of smell. All I see are "basenjis have an excellent sense of smell." All dogs do, don't they? I keep seeing lists on /top ten dogs with the best sense of smell/ or whatever, and Basenji is never represented. I want to know how they stack up against other breeds, and how they rate in terms of scent detection in parts per trillion/billion, if that information is available. Like, I'd assume that being hounds, they have a better sense of smell than a lab, shepherd, or malinois, but I can't find any data, probably because of the rarity of the breed, or maybe because the credit would go to African tribespeople, and nobody's interested in that.

    I know some basenjis compete in scent work through the AKC. Do they stack up well against scent hounds, retrievers, and herding dogs in competition? that might be a good place to start.

  • Scent work, also known as nose work, is generally simple for any dog. The only trick is in teaching them what they will be rewarded for. Many breeds compete, and I do not think anyone has done a scientific study of which are best, but in any case the test given is not hard for any dog. Search and rescue dogs, for example, are often not hunting breeds but they follow a track just fine. Drug sniffing dogs at airports are likewise many different breeds. It's a fun area to get into, and at which a Basenji should do just fine, given the right motivation. It's actually more of an obedience test than anything else, which is where a Basenji might have difficulties if they don't find it interesting.

  • i was just curious. you hear about blood hounds and dachshunds having the best noses, and labs being more suited to tracking than shepherds. Maybe I have been led to believe that there is more of a hierarchy to it than there really is.

  • @roguecoyote - Basenji are a hound and in the hound group there are sight hounds and scent hounds. A Basenji is a sight hound. Beagles, Bloodhounds are scent hounds. If you go to you can read about "Hounds" and the ones that are considered sight or scent. That said as noted by eeeefarm, Basenji do scent and do well in scent work. There are a number of titled scent work Basenji. Our Carly is one and does quite well as is our Kobey. Basenjis hunt by sight mostly..... when you lure course a Basenji, they "sight" the lure and follow rather then going to ground to scent

  • I've frequently heard people online say that while basenjis are technically sight hounds, they are also practically scent hounds as well. Some people also list them as pariah dogs, but I can't find much info on what that's all about. That's surprising to me because on the other hand when I see people talking about dogs that are good at scent work, even outside the hound group, the basenji rarely comes up.

  • Or may be the credit would go to african

  • Tribe people and nobody would want that. What kind of crack was that?

  • What I was saying is that when a breed that is bred specifically for scent work does well at it, the credit goes to the breeder. If my blood hound is a better tracker, her pups are worth more. So it pays to know very specifically how good their nose is. Basenji's, if I'm correct, are not typically bred specifically for their hunting and tracking outside of Africa. I know my breeder is more interested in temperament. So who would bother paying for research on a how many parts per trillion of scent concentration a basenji can track? I'm not trying to take whacks. You don't need to get defensive.

  • @joan-duszka Know what? You're right. You win the argument. Just... peace. ok?

  • @roguecoyote - You know how it goes... we all have our opinions... please don't take it personal... I think it is great that you are asking questions... maybe you don't like the responses, but that is all they are... other comments. You are doing great with your pup... keep it up... But to add to that back in the day, Basenjis in Africa were bred to hunt... they hunted as a pack (or maybe a few)... and drove the prey into nets. Basenjis were part of a village... if you go to you can find a link about Basenjis and how they made their way here. It is a great history lesson that you would enjoy reading about!

  • @roguecoyote said in Basenji sense of smell comparison:

    when I see people talking about dogs that are good at scent work, even outside the hound group, the basenji rarely comes up.

    True enough, but consider that the Basenji is a relatively rare breed, and not known for obedience either, although there are some titled dogs out there. Which proves they can do the job, but they would not be most peoples' first choice for that challenge. Most of the competitions offered by various groups for different activities are not all that difficult for the dog. OTOH, for the trainer it can be more of a challenge, and Basenjis can be a challenging breed.

  • @eeeefarm - That is true but there are a number with multi titles for scent work... just not many that are doing this....and it is a pretty new venue for dogs, scent work... but I know many Basenjis with lots of scent titles....

  • @tanza, absolutely. No doubt Basenjis can excel at nose work, just not too many people who own them are into that sport.

    Actually, I meant to add that once upon a time people did hunt with Basenjis. An excellent section on hunting in Susan Coe's book "The Basenji, Out of Africa to You" describes hunting both birds and small game with Basenjis, and makes it clear that they hunt by scent as well as sight, even pointing, flushing, and retrieving birds. Sadly, not many people seem to be doing that kind of thing with them these days. What is interesting is Major Braun's description of training a Basenji for the field. He suggests that by the time a pup is four months old it should be solid on basic commands "sit, stay, and come, promptly and happily in a field situation". He also recommends teaching "whoa", to "stop the dog, steady him on point, preventing him from flushing the bird and to teach him to honour the point of another dog". There is also a bit on Basenji Field Trials, which apparently used to be held in Minnesota back in the day. There is a detailed report on a trial held in June of 1980. This comment was interesting. "When a Basenji is given a chance to hunt, he will prefer hunting over any other thing."

    Seem obvious when you consider their origins. I also note that in the section on training the only reward mentioned was "Good Dog" and gentle fondling. The recommendation was for "firm but loving discipline and plenty of praise" to turn out a willing and obedient dog.

  • @eeeefarm said in Basenji sense of smell comparison:

    they hunt by scent as well as sight, even pointing,

    I have zero hunting experience, but I will say that doodle displays hunting characteristics on a regular basis. She trees the squirrels, and poses in point for birds in bushes (or critters off in the distance). Her nose work is stellar -- she can find food scraps from a quarter mile away! 🙂

    Not exactly what you meant, I'm sure, but she is a city pup now...

  • Over here in the good old days when. . . (pre Covid) Basenjis could compete in both Sight Hound and Scent Hound events. At least they could back in the early 1980s when I started !

  • @roguecoyote Don't worry about it...You are asking good questions and taking care of little Rogue! Working with writing in a chat room like this is always difficult....often times people take what you are saying the wrong way, and sometimes you might too. It's all good. Just don't engage with anything you perceive as negative. As for the biting, if you show Rogue that she gets ignored EVERY times she bites, she will soon learn. (And just so you know, when you do something that displeases her, she will no doubt give you the famous Basenji "cold shoulder" which consists of sitting a little ways off, but still in your sight path, and turning her back to you, but periodically looking over to her shoulder to make sure you realize you are being "ignored.") It's a riot.

  • @nancyss Is that what that's all about? like, I let her come up on my bed sometimes if she lays down. I've found that laying down and peeing are incompatible behaviors for the most part. (She did pee right on my lap once when I had just given her her first beef Colligan stick. I dont' know what that was all about. She was chewing it like crazy and maybe didn't want to stop to go potty.) Anyway so when I let her on my bed, most of the time she wants to curl up in little spoon position, but sometimes she crawls away on her belly. (If she stands up, she gets to lay on the tile floor, so she's learned to crawl to get around on my bed.) I think sometimes she just gets fed up with too much petting.

  • Anyway, I think we're going to have to have a chip on our shoulders about it, and try to become a crack team for hunting, tracking, and detection. Rogue's not allowed to go very far right now, but she can pinpoint an old brown oak leaf under 4 inches of crusty virgin snow, and she loves to follow her own ground scent from the previous day. We'll train hard and get some attention for the breed's nosework. Beleive it!

  • @nancyss said in Basenji sense of smell comparison:

    when you do something that displeases her, she will no doubt give you the famous Basenji "cold shoulder" which consists of sitting a little ways off, but still in your sight path, and turning her back to you, but periodically looking over to her shoulder to make sure you realize you are being "ignored.") It's a riot.

    My boy Sunny did this when we left him at a kennel for the weekend. On our return, when they brought him to the reception room he took one look at us, turned his back, and sat down. A Basenji will definitely let you know when you have crossed the line with them!

  • @roguecoyote said in Basenji sense of smell comparison:

    She was chewing it like crazy and

    Probably just excitement... she was really enjoying her treat! Pups outgrow this.

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