Thinking of getting a Basenji but i have a few questions!

  • So I’ve always wanted a dog but my mom is allergic so that’s always been an issue. She would even get sick around my cousin’s toy poodle. But I finally convinced my mom to let me get a dog but it has to be a clean dog that doesn’t shed, or doesn’t shed a lot at least. After doing some research I’ve realized Basenji’s are a great breed for this criteria. I think they are also super super adorable. I have allergies myself with dogs but I don’t care about it.

    My questions are,

    Do Basenji mixes shed more than pure bred Basenji’s? Like a Pitbull and basenji mix for example? Any Basenji mix with a breed that does shed regularly, does that mean the Basenji will shed more than a Basenji that is pure bred?

    I’ve read some people say their Basenji’s don’t shed at all, and some do a lot. Do you think owning a Basenji in Michigan is a factor?

    And do you think Basenji’s are great for first time dog owners? I have a lot of experience with dogs because I dog sit often. I’m completely committed to doing whatever it takes to train and provide the best care for my dog. But I’m sort of jumping the gun right now because I won’t get one until I graduate so that I can have the most time to spend with my future pet. I’m just excited so I’ve been doing research now so I know what to expect when the time does come to finally get one.


  • Basenjis shed, period. Some more that others and they have dander. If your Mom had reactions to a poodle then I would say a Basenji would NOT be a good choice. There are no Basenjis that do not shed at all.... that is a false statement. Their hair is fine so sometimes it is not seen as easily as other breeds. And they can shed heavy once a year, this has nothing to do with where they live. And a mix would shed as much as any other breed, mix or not.

  • Basenjis are NOT hypoallergenic. That is a total myth. And they shed. I don't think a Basenji in Michigan will shed any less than a Basenji in Moscow. It's a habit the Breed has.

    If your mother gets sick around a poodle I don't think she'd be happy with a Basenji.

    I have no experience of mixes - would guess it would depend on the mix but I would expect shedding to some extent.

  • Sarge sheds twice a between those times it is great, but during the shedding a lot of brushing and vacuuming is going on. My daughter can't come around then it bothers her....she is allergic to dander.

  • Vanessa, I hate to be discouraging but along with the the Basenji’s light shedding and dander is a more significant issue. Basenjis are NOT a good FIRST DOG. They are very unique in the canine world and come with unique and sometimes difficult characteristics that might easily overwhelm an inexperienced owner. I myself was raised with numerous dogs and for a time was a dolphin, sea lion and penguin trainer. All of that experience and training were required (and sometimes fell short) when I got a Basenji. I had never experienced a dog, or any animal for that matter, with such complex characteristics and it took nearly 18 sometimes difficult months for “Doc” and I to come to an understanding of each other fully. That being said, I will now never own another breed. It is impossible for me to go back.
    Start with an easy dog that wants nothing more than to please and love you. Get to know and understand life with a dog and the commitment it requires. Then, when you feel you’re ready for something more challenging and fascinating, get the last breed of dog you will ever own...
    A BASENJI !!
    Good luck to you and I hope you find your dog.

  • I might be able to give you some idea of how much shedding you can expect. One of our robot vacuum cleaners require that we manually empty it. This makes it easy to see what is being picked up. More human hair for sure but plenty of dog hair as well. Shows up even if the vac is run every day (not usual).

    A couple of times a year they seem to blow their coats more -- I have a friend in Texas who has to empty her vac three times to do the bottom floor when this happens -- but between these events there is constant shedding.

  • Basenjis are not for the meak they are a hand full but we love our Basenjis. Paitence and love is what is needed they are a peoples dog and they require a lot of exercise and they are going to sleep with you. They dont like being alone for long periods and they dont need to be caged for long periods.

  • @vanessap said in Thinking of getting a Basenji but i have a few questions!:

    My questions are,
    Do Basenji mixes shed more than pure bred Basenji’s? Like a Pitbull and basenji mix for example? Any Basenji mix with a breed that does shed regularly, does that mean the Basenji will shed more than a Basenji that is pure bred?

    No one can accurately answer hypothetical questions. Every dog will be slightly different from the next dog, even if they are from the same litter. But (almost) all dogs shed. Even Pitbull's and Basenji's.

    Your Mother and you, both, have allergies... but she's willing to let you have a dog if it's "clean and doesn't shed"? I'm not sure such a dog exists. A "clean" dog? Dogs are animals, they instinctively roll around in the stinkiest stuff they can find, and then climb up on your bed. Clean? I suspect your Mother has sent you on a wild goose chase.

    I’ve read some people say their Basenji’s don’t shed at all, and some do a lot. Do you think owning a Basenji in Michigan is a factor?

    I don't think your location will affect shedding. It might mean that the shedding is more pronounced in some months, but it might not matter at all. Again, every dog is different.

    And do you think Basenji’s are great for first time dog owners?

    No. I think something like a Brittany, or an Aussie is much better suited towards a first time dog owner. But I also think that you need to do some research on hypoallergenic dog breeds. And I think you need to consider that it would be better to wait and get a dog after you move into your own place. That way your Mother isn't affected by your dog on a daily basis.

    In the meantime, you can volunteer at the local Humane Society, or a nearby Veterinarian's office, and learn as much as you can about taking care of your future dog.

  • @vanessap you have a breeder? email me at [private email]

  • Oh gosh. We have loved and cherished Izzy-Bella, a 3/4 Basenji-1/4 Min-Pin Mix for over a decade. She was a rescue, adopted at 18 months old. She turns 13 at the end of June, and seems to have more energy and personality now than she did a decade ago. She does not shed, like other dogs. But, her little short black hairs are all over the white chair she likes to cuddle in with me when we watch HGTV and Food Network. Tee hee. There is hair, lots of it, but not flying tufts of hair that you find with other dogs. I think there are more cat hairs all over our floors than dog hairs. But, boy, those black hairs scream out on white furniture!
    Basenjis--or even mixes--are definitely NOT for first-time dog owners. They are unique, to say the least. Our Izzy has mellowed so much now that she approaches her 13th birthday, but she still revels in stealth-stealing tissues; and she sleeps under the sheets and blankets in bed with us every night, between my legs. Lots of destruction in the beginning,(she even won blue ribbons for her badness--Basenji Owners are weird, to say the least, even weirder than their dogs) when we adopted her at 18 months; much destruction in the house. But, just the beloved tissues (it seems that Basenjis might possibly require tissues in their diet, since so many love tissues so much) now at almost 13 years. But, she prances and dances and goes berserko when "walkies" are imminent. Neighbors cannot believe she is almost 13. We have enjoyed many beloved dogs of various breeds, but this little Basenji Mix is the ne plus ultra. I sincerely hope Izzy lives as long as our beloved Malti-Poo, who died at 17 years. But, we are not exactly young and sprightly, so adopting another Basenji down the road could be problematical. But, they are THE BEST, if you know how to read them and coexist with them and deal with their very special personalities.

  • @vanessap - I disagree with all that are saying that a Basenji is not a good first dog... it depends on the owner and how much time they are willing to spend with their pup. I have placed Basenjis with first time owners and they have done very well... again, depends on the human and their life style and how they can adapt to having a "thinking" dog... Positive training is a must with this breed....
    Again on the subject of shedding... they shed! Period....

  • I have a basenji and a mix and they both shed, the mix sheds much more though. My daughter had a chinese crested which are almost hairless, my daughter had allergies but did good with the chinese crested breed. Of course that breed also comes in powder puff which has a full coat of hair they also don't shed very much at all. They are a very playful and easy to care for breed, except for the powder puff which has a lot of hair. U may want to research that breed, they are about the same size as a Basenji.

  • One advantage of being a first time dog owner is that there is nothing to compare to. Another we have found is that educating our children how to interact with a cautious Basenji who doesn't like over handling, has taught them how to act respectfully around dogs in general.

  • @isabob - They are much smaller than a Basenji, they are considered a toy breed and in the toy group... (Crested)

  • Michigan basenjis Do shed, probably more than west and south. They get a nice under coat to help keep their little african bodies warm. Come spring....lots,of hair coat and a bunch of fluff. Not much dander tho. Great dogs but not for a beginner. How old are you. Are you still in,school...who takes care of dog while you are outside the home? Mom? How about your income? Do you have any idea about the costs of raising a dog? You probably wont be able to find anything this year. Read the forum for info on that. Just saying...

  • @joan-duszka - I am in No California (San Francisco area) and mine shed LOTS especially after being in season... do not believe that it has anything to do with the climate that they live in. I can send a pile of hair if anyone wants it... however, I groom them outside and then the birds take the hair for their nests... LOL....

  • In Iowa our Basenjis shed a whole lot in January for some reason. There is moderate shedding the rest of the year. I would not recommend a Basenji as a first time dog. I raised German Shepherds for over 30 years and found all the training you used with other breeds does not work with Basenjis as they are independent thinkers. Basenjis want to please themselves not you. On that note I have not have anything but a Basenji for over 20 years now as they just steal your heart.

  • As far as not having a Basenji as a first dog, it could actually be an advantage. If you have prior dog experience, you might expect the Basenji to respond in the same way as your previous dogs, which people on this thread have been at pains to inform you isn't so. Better to start with no preconceived ideas of how a dog should be trained and figure it out by learning from others or by experience. OTOH, prior cat experience could be useful! 😉

    Within the breed there is a lot of variation. Some respond more like "ordinary" dogs, others not so much. Part of this is genetics, part is environment. The very first Basenji I owned I treated very much as I had the previous dogs in my life. Guess what? She was the most reliable Basenji I have ever owned, had a rock solid recall, and was absolutely wonderful with any and all people and dogs we encountered. Nature or nurture? Who knows. Below, Val in my parents' unfenced backyard in the city of Toronto, no collar or leash. Just posing for a picture. Circa '60's.


  • @tanza I always thought the Crested were much smaller also but my daughters was considerable taller then my maltese I had at the time.

  • As previously stated, basenjis are not hypoallergenic. Not only are shedding and dander a concern, but also saliva. Some people have terrible reactions to being licked. Whether a basenji is a good "first" dog depends on many factors and is why a good breeder or rescue group is invaluable in the decision of who gets which pup. Shelters do not screen homes for compatibility or appropriateness.

    It sounds like you are a minor, living in the home of your parents (or at least a mother). That means you have no control over whether or not you will be able to keep a dog if/when the head of the household decides he/she can no longer tolerate living with a dog. The decision will be out of your control. I would recommend you wait until you have complete control over your living arrangements and have the right circumstances (i.e., time, funds, etc.) to get a puppy or rescue a dog.

    I'm sorry if that means you have to wait, but I hope you can be selfless enough not think of what YOU want, but what is best for the dog who will have no say in the matter.

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