• Each basenji is different though there are common threads. Not all will climb chain link fences - mine doesn't even though he can jump straight up 5 feet from a sitting position but his aunt could clear a 7 foot fence with a running start; not all will trail as nicely as gemurray's - my previous beastie would follow animal trails until he pooped out and not come back as readily if called and my current one will chase rabbits until he catches it or the rabbit gets through a fence (and he'll eat the rabbit); some are easy to train and others not - my obedience instructor said she has seen basenjis that just didn't want to learn and would constantly actup in class and others learned exceptionally quickly - it depends a lot on the owner and how much time and quality of training you spend. There are people on this forum who have basenjis that are champion agility dogs (talk about training).
    So bottom line, talk to different breeders and see what the potential parents are like of the puppies you are interested in. Read through some of the other threads on this forum and see the funny things they do and problems that beasties can into. Also be aware of the health issues.
    Then go for it 🙂


  • I am getting this response in other forums also. It is certain dogs in the breed that do this. Some are easier to train than others. One said he trained his dog not to climb the fence, and I am waiting for a reply as to how he did that. Does anyone here know how to train them not to climb a fence? One said that hers didn't respond well to corrections, but more treat training. My Dobe just likes to please, and will work for treats, except when we play ball, and then its down to business. The beagle looks at you like, so, what's in it for me. You show him the treat, and he's the brightest student in class. So these are the extremes I'm living with. Where in between does the basenji fit??


  • The basenji will do anything you want him/her to do … provided it's something s/he wants to do 🙂


  • @chilingoober:

    I am getting this response in other forums also. It is certain dogs in the breed that do this. Some are easier to train than others. One said he trained his dog not to climb the fence, and I am waiting for a reply as to how he did that. Does anyone here know how to train them not to climb a fence? One said that hers didn't respond well to corrections, but more treat training. My Dobe just likes to please, and will work for treats, except when we play ball, and then its down to business. The beagle looks at you like, so, what's in it for me. You show him the treat, and he's the brightest student in class. So these are the extremes I'm living with. Where in between does the basenji fit??

    The basenji is closer to beagle if not a bit more challenging. My obedience instructor said if she had to try to explain a basenji the best way she could think of was to put them in contrast to her whippet. Her whippet is also a sighthound and has a good prey drive but her whippet needs a maid and knows it, he needs some one to open the door, to feed him, to put his coat on him when he is cold. In contrast, a basenji knows there is no maid and even if there was one, isn't sitting around waiting for them to do what needs to be done. Basenjis are intelligent and persistent. They are not going to wait for someone else to solve their problems and often times people are not really pleased with their solutions.

    So basenjis do very well with positive reinforcement training because there is a clear benefit to them in doing it. Basenjis can be reinforced to respect boundaries but if the thing on the other side is more rewarding they will probably go for it. Basenjis like being with their people, they enjoy having a "job" in the family even if the job is couch warmer supreme.

    Some examples of what living with a basenji can be like. I had to buy a new refrigerator to keep my male from opening the fridge and helping himself to beef and lamb roasts. He would not open the fridge any other time but would sneak off and help himself everytime we had a roast in the fridge. The first time we didn't catch him until he ingested all 2 pounds of roast. He can also open all of our cabinets and drawers so we had to install child safety locks but he learned how to open some of those so we have to be careful what brand we install. Nicky is also quite capable of jumping up on the counter but does not only because as a youngster he accidently jumped into a cake which resulted in an immediate bath and one other time he jumped into a large bowl that soaking in the sink. He now practices look before you leap but if he can see up there then he will be up there.

    My girl Rio will happily be contained by a simple baby gate in the house while I am home but if I leave she will be over it in a heartbeat to be with the other dogs and she has always done this. She also easily leaps out of her x-pen, one person at a lure trial described it as watching me catch popcorn when I opened the lid because she would leap into my arms each time.


  • Oh my gawd - your house lvoss must be truely chaos 🙂


  • All very good replies. I can see how independent this breed is, and in a way, that's what I want in a dog–one that can think for himself. I think I'm afraid that if it runs off it won't come back. I keep thinking about what I read on how the bushmen used the dog, to push the game into nets. It can obviously be trained to work as a team also, instead of just deciding on its own what to do all the time. Does anyone have any info on how they were trained in Africa? That would be very interesting. I really like the trainability of my Doberman. He has spoiled me. He can figure things out. The beagle doesn't bug me to go play. He is more laid back. The Dobe needs me to play on a schedule every day. He has energy to burn and knows he needs to run around. Then he is a happy dog. I enjoy both of them.


  • I can certainly attest to the independence and inttelligence. When we call Dash to come he is always, always, always rewarded with cheese wether we are in the house, yard, whatever. He know this and if he does get loose he will come after much socialization with neighbors to get his cheese. Getting a B to come when called can be especially challenging in the patience arena so plan ahead.

    Dash has decided over the last few days or so that he no longer wants to be in the expen. He jumps on it until it lifts up at the bottom and then dives underneath. This takes about 5 minutes now. We have decided to comply and we gate off the upstairs. He can jump the gate but the beagle can't and he won't be alone. We just put his blanket on the couch and so far he has been content. God, I hope it lasts. That is why I am now looking in to doggie doors so they can come and go as they please.

    Our life is constantly adjusting to the dogs needs and wants. It is like living with another very pushy adult.


  • I take two of my basenjis for country walks off leash with other friends with dogs. All the dogs mostly stay together and all are rewarded frequently for "checking in" with their owners. I am always prepared to leash mine up and probably do leash mine more often than the people with other dogs. So can basenjis be off leash? Yes, but as an owner you will have to make sure the situations are ones that are safe and understand that if you are where there is a lot of wildlife you will probably have to leash them. I would not recommend a basenji to a person who really wants a dog that is going to be good offleash. Their hard wiring is to give chase and though with training you can raise your value so they are more likely to stay near by or if they give chase that they will not go too far, that hard wiring will always be there. They can be good off leash but it is not something that I would expect.


  • Nala is a big off leash hiker. She has hiked miles and miles of the Long Trail, which is only about 1 mile from our house. She seems like she can go on forever! It is very rural and no cars are even remotely close, otherwise we wouldn't have her off leash. There is a logging road that we access the trails from and she is on leash to and from the main trail.


  • ok, so the B.'s are independent, do what they want etc…. So what is it about the breed that outweighs all the negative factors. What is it about them that makes you put up with them. ??


  • Now there is the 64 Thousand Dollar question, I ask myself that all the time! Personally, I like the independence, they are not "clingy" dogs.. they are not dogs that stand there with a ball in their mouth 24/7 waiting for you to throw it…. they have a sense of humor and their people need one also... they are great bed dogs... Relative to many breeds they are pretty healthy and those of us who breed care deeply about raising sound, health, good temperaments and confomation correct Basenjis that will not only make great family companions but great show/performance dogs.


  • Basenjis are not necessarily "good dogs" but they are wonderful friends, housemates, partners. They are very smart, always thinking, which challenges you to be constantly out-thinking them (or trying to). They are clean, elegant, lovely to look at, with bright intelligent eyes. They are thoughtful creatures, sympathetic when you are ill or hurt, ready to snuggle for a week! Want to run or bike? They are great athletes, keep them in shape and a 5 month old can run 5 miles and not even pant. How do I love them, let me count the ways…..........

    Of course you MUST have a sense of humor, and show pride when your basenji outsmarts you. And you have found a great 'support group', where all of us that are truly nuts about our basenjis chat and commiserate together.

    They are fun, they are a pain, they are a joy.

    Does that answer your question?

    Anne in Tampa


  • Because they are way smarter than humans;
    Because they have great compassion for their human partners;
    Because they are mischevious and will make you laugh and cry at the same time;
    Because they don't demand you constantly play with them;
    Because they are clean and don't smell;
    Because they are houdinis;
    Because they have great expressive faces;
    Because they …
    Because ...
    🙂


  • wow. They sound like such a neat dog. I will keep all this in mind as look around. Thanks for all the replies.


  • I think the best thing is to go and meet them in person and not just one family of basenjis talk to a couple of breeders and meet their dogs. Each one is an individual and each family of dogs is a little different.

    I had one person visit with my dogs at a lure trial. My girl wanted a better view of the field and crawled up to stand on his head and scream in his ear because she wanted the lure so bad. He still wanted a basenji and came back to meet them at home where all my girl wanted was to be pet and given attention.

    I have had other people who have come over after they met other breeders' dogs and they comment on how different each family of dog is. They are all basenjis and all have traits in common but there are individual quirks that make them all a little different too.


  • As soon as I see some advertised, I will talk with some of the breeders. I will know more when I see the dogs. I always go by what my gut tells me. I will know then. But aside from the negative factors, the more positive ones mentioned are what I want in my next dog. I want a companion, snuggle bunny, something to go with me everywhere, and hiking, as I am getting out in the field more this year to study my herbs in the wild. And it would be nice not to turn around and have him/her beaming his little thoughts of "play ball now" into my head several times a day. My Dobe does that. He is fun though.


  • @chilingoober:

    As soon as I see some advertised, I will talk with some of the breeders. I will know more when I see the dogs. I always go by what my gut tells me. I will know then. But aside from the negative factors, the more positive ones mentioned are what I want in my next dog. I want a companion, snuggle bunny, something to go with me everywhere, and hiking, as I am getting out in the field more this year to study my herbs in the wild. And it would be nice not to turn around and have him/her beaming his little thoughts of "play ball now" into my head several times a day. My Dobe does that. He is fun though.

    Advertise? as in where? You usually will not find responsible breeder advertise except for their own websites and a few that can afford to try and advertise on some of the internet sites. You should contact breeders in your area by going to www.basenji.org and then to the breeder directory and/or look under the local regional clubs link and contact the clubs for referrals. Please go to a responsible breeder…

    Oh and Basenjis typically do NOT play ball...ggg...


  • @tanza:

    Oh and Basenjis typically do NOT play ball…ggg...

    Hee Hee.:D Dash will chase after it but once he gets it he kindof loses interest or rips it to shreds.


  • @dash:

    Hee Hee.:D Dash will chase after it but once he gets it he kindof loses interest or rips it to shreds.

    Exactly my point 😃 …. usually they will watch you thrown it... like to say "hey you want it, you go get it!"... and go off to do something else...


  • I have found that I really don't enjoy the ball throwing as much. The dobe wants to play 2-3 times a day. But we can't go for walks right now because of the weather, and a houseful down with the flu.
    Yes, I will call on a breeder that advertises, because I want to see the dogs. Then I will know more how I want to proceed and where, IF the breed seems right for me. I will go with the best breeder that I can find, if this is the right breed. I am taking my time. I have to think 10 years + down the line.
    Does anyone use a pack on their basenji?

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