Will my family be right for a Basenji?

Hi,
My name is Janine. I do not own a basenji. I have been researching many breeds to find the right dog for myself and my family. That includes my current dog. Her name is Smarty and she is almost two years old. She is Half Golden Retriever half Standard Poodle. She is a wonderful dog who needs a animal playmate.
I also have four young boys: ages 8yrs. old, twins 7yrs.old, and a 4yr. old. My husband also loves dogs and we have made the desision to add another dog to our family.
I have been reading alot about the Basenji breed and I know I would fall in love with one. It is the rest of the family I am concerned about.
I don't take pet ownership lightly and know it is important to make the correct fit. I am hoping to make a definate desicion based on the feedback I recieve on this Forum.

I am not very internet savvy so this is me again (janine) posting my questions in the reply box because I can't figure out were to write them.

Most importantly I need to find a dog that is capable of being trained to go pheasant hunting with my Husband. I have read that they are capable of being a good hunting companion, but I never see anyone discussing this at all when I log in to any Basenjis websights. Can they learn to point, retrieve, flush,…....? If they are capable are they naturals or is it very difficult to teach them any of these skills? Being so full of energy i'm sure they would love the experience but will they also be helpfull?
More importanty will he or she apppreciate Smarty? She is the friendliest dog I have ever known. She is happy to be second fiddle, she just wants to play no matter what the terms. She is a big puppy and I think she will be that way for quit awhile. She is full of energy and wants to run, swim,swim,swim and play for hours! I know they will have a lot of differences in personality. I am not looking for the same dog. I just want to be sure they will enjoy each other's company. Also, Smarty is fixed.
I am not really concerned about my children. they are very respectfull of animals. They will love another pet.
As for myself, I want a dog a can cuddle. As friendly as Smarty is she is not a cuddler. In general do basenjis enjoy close human contact?
I have read that female Basenjis are my best choice if I already own a female dog. Is this True?
I have seen many times that they are not to be trusted. If you open the front door will they run? Can you hike through the wood and keep them off leash? Of course I don't mean when they are puppies but do they grow out of alot of their puppy behaviors. Behaviorly do they mature slowly?
I think i'v posed enough questions for now. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks Janine

Hey there! Yes, Basenjis can learn to hunt as it's in their nature. In fact a nice couple hunts with their two Basenjis. They both took a Turkey each recently!

I'm going to send you their e-mail address via Private Message.

🙂

In general do basenjis enjoy close human contact?

I would say most do….but kind of on their own terms. But if we sit down on the couch, we have a dog on us, ready to snuggle.

I have read that female Basenjis are my best choice if I already own a female dog. Is this True?

I would say NO!! Usually the best match is the opposite sex for any breed

I have seen many times that they are not to be trusted. If you open the front door will they run? Can you hike through the wood and keep them off leash?

Well, yes, many will run out the door if allowed, but many Bs can be trained to wait at the door. And I know a handful of people that let their basenjis run off lead in the woods or beaches. But it is risky. Being sighthounds, if they see a squirrel or deer, they are off and they will run until they can't anymore, and then they are lost, or hit by a car.

As Annandael mentioned there is currently at least one (but probably not many more) person using their basenji as a hunting companion. And it is an awesome accomplishment….and he has had to put a LOT of work into it. He is an experienced dog trainer, and uses a variety of training methods. Basenjis aren't like some sporting dogs that you can just take out with you while you hunt, and they will figure it out. I mean, hunting does come very naturally to a basenji, but not the helping you part!

Of course I don't mean when they are puppies but do they grow out of alot of their puppy behaviors. Behaviorly do they mature slowly?

IMO, behaviorally they mature very quickly…they are little adults around 8 or 9 mos old. The "regular" puppy behaviors like housetraining mistakes, playbiting, seem to abate earlier with basenjis than other dogs...but if your basenji is the destructive type, it may last all of his life. They don't seen to grow out of things like chewing pens, stealing tissues, eating underware...and they never grow out of running off if given the chance....well maybe when they are in their teens!

I hope this answers some of your questions. There is a lot of individual variability between basenjis. Out of our five there are a couple that I might be able to train to be responsive off lead...but there are two that I KNOW there is no chance EVER of even hearing me if their leashes were off. They are all about reaction and chase..no front brain 🙂 So you really can't know how "trainable" your basenji will be, until you get one....sadly! Even in the same litter, some can be excellent workers, and some not so much.

Good luck, and kudos to you for doing so much research!

I have one Basenji, Sahara, and she is the most affectionate dog I have ever seen. She sleeps in bed with us b/c she has to be close to us, and she has to touch us in some way,leg over our leg, head on our leg, something to be close. When we are at the computer she will get herself in our chair and rest herself around our neck, she has to be where you are. My husband has a workshop that he goes to to do his projects, and Sahara will handout with him all day out there. As far as hunting, I feel they are prefect for this, with training of course, but they do have the natural instinct to hunt, my B loves to hunt down my cats, and anything else that comes in the yard. Now, if she will get along with your other dog, I don't know, I only have 1 dog. From what I have read here, I think so, but the B might want to be in charge. Since your dog is mild-mannered that is a plus, and you should get the same sex. B's take alot of work, they are worth all the effort however, I love this breed, and I am considering getting my Sahara a playmate as well. Good luck, and welcome to the forum.:D

@janine:

I am not very internet savvy so this is me again (janine) posting my questions in the reply box because I can't figure out were to write them.

Most importantly I need to find a dog that is capable of being trained to go pheasant hunting with my Husband. I have read that they are capable of being a good hunting companion, but I never see anyone discussing this at all when I log in to any Basenjis websights. Can they learn to point, retrieve, flush,…....? If they are capable are they naturals or is it very difficult to teach them any of these skills? Being so full of energy i'm sure they would love the experience but will they also be helpfull?
More importanty will he or she apppreciate Smarty? She is the friendliest dog I have ever known. She is happy to be second fiddle, she just wants to play no matter what the terms. She is a big puppy and I think she will be that way for quit awhile. She is full of energy and wants to run, swim,swim,swim and play for hours! I know they will have a lot of differences in personality. I am not looking for the same dog. I just want to be sure they will enjoy each other's company. Also, Smarty is fixed.
I am not really concerned about my children. they are very respectfull of animals. They will love another pet.
As for myself, I want a dog a can cuddle. As friendly as Smarty is she is not a cuddler. In general do basenjis enjoy close human contact?
I have read that female Basenjis are my best choice if I already own a female dog. Is this True?
I have seen many times that they are not to be trusted. If you open the front door will they run? Can you hike through the wood and keep them off leash? Of course I don't mean when they are puppies but do they grow out of alot of their puppy behaviors. Behaviorly do they mature slowly?
I think i'v posed enough questions for now. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks Janine

Janine, I have read where Basenji's can be trained for upland game, I would think it would require patience and time, but they certainly have the hunting instinct to do it. I've trained German Shorthairs to hunt, I think Basenji's can as well and is something I'd like to try.
I would reccomend a male puppy to go along with your Lab, I am of the opinion male/female pairs work best.
Some breeders I know will not sell a Basenji puppy unless you have a fenced in yard…....as others have mentioned some of them can run off on you and they love to chase cars.

If you want a dog to cuddle, as others have mentioned, they love to sleep on you and they love to be touching you as they sleep......I have six of them.

On the issue of cuddling, I have to say it took a long time for Abbey to get used to it. She was four months old when I got her. She was scared of the big city having come from the country where there weren't any traffic noises. That took some adjustment on her part. She loved to be picked up and held in my arms but she hated to be petted. If you tried to touch her head or her ears (and I love to pet her velvety ears) she would try to bite you. She acted like she didn't understand petting. She finally decided she liked petting, but only if you pet her rump! That's still the case. Don't mess with her ears, but she loves getting petted on her rump! She just stands there like an old cow as long as you'll pet her. When she was a puppy she never liked to sit in my lap either, but one day she climbed up there and now I can't sit down unless she gets in my lap. Also, no basenji I ever met could be trusted off leash. Even a car represents prey to them, and believe me, they are absolutely fearless. A car does not mean danger to them.

Hi Janine,
We have six kids and a female golden retriever mix {12 yrs old} and we moved our female Basenji puppy in a little more than a year and a half ago. We have had no problems with either the kids or the other female dog.
Jazzy does try to be the "boss" dog, but the older gal just ignores her – pushes past when Jazz is growling and trying to keep her from going somewhere, etc. Must be the golden in her, but she doesn't really get upset about much of anything.
She does love to be cuddled and held when she sleeps. {Although, at night she sleeps in a kennel, and is not allowed on the furniture unless she is in a lap}. The kids cart her around the house, she gets hugs, kisses, etc and is extremely tolerant of their loving. We do use caution around other people's kids, though, as Jazzy tolerates them well but it is not the same as with her own kids.
I will never have her off leash as her urge to chase things apparently causes her to become stone-deaf. But we do have a 15 foot lead that we take her out on, and that is helpful. We have a fenced 1/2 acre in which she is able to run a bit also.
Jazzy seems to have matured quickly -- unlike my golden who took about 5 yrs to quit being a puppy! -- the only behavior that is usually a "puppy behavior" in other breeds that she still has is the need to chew things up.
We just keep her supplied with lots of toys and chewie things, and it hasn't been a problem for us.

I could not love my Basenji girl more. She is so sweet. . . . and some claim very spoiled. . . . . but a very well behaved little girl. Great with the kids and with our other female dog.
Make sure you let us know what you decide!

my mom started out showing basenjis, my dad was a deer hunter. sometimes he would shoot and not be able to find them.
(usually it would now be dark) so he would go home, get one of my mom's b's and they would find the deer for him. some dogs would be better at this then others. i know this is not what you are talking about, but its the only experience i have with hunting and b's. i grew up with basenjis, so ours were all kid proof. now that i have a child of my own (3 yr old) i got a puppy so that they could grow up together. it is working out great. since you have the little ones too, i highly recommend getting a puppy from a reputable breeder! i love basenji rescue, but most dogs are placed in homes with only older children. please dont buy from a petstore. puppy season is almost here and i am sure people here could give some great suggestions for breeders in your neck of the woods.
my boy is affectionate, when he gets tired of being snuggled he lays on my feet. he puts up with everything my three year old dishes out. i know he loves my son because if i come home without him, fender gets very upset. he wags his tail when he sees him.

We got our Joey at 10 1/2 months so most of the "formative" years were with the breeder. We can leave the front door open and he does not dart out. He waits behind the open door until he has permission to go out. I can also say that even tho it took a month for him to adjust to us, he has become so loving and wants to be with any warm body, especially his family's.
If I would let him off leash to chase a squirrel, I know he would be gone in a split second and probably not return until he felt like it. (I guess the breeder only got so far 😉 I think his breeder could actually train him to do whatever, but I think he had a philosophy…"all in good time, my precious, all in good time". I think that is the basenji way.

Who is Joey's breeder? It is great that he did so much training with him before selling him. Good work!

Joey's breeder is Eric Williams in Michigan. I just met Joey's great aunt who is so precious! She is 4 and a tri. Eric is dogsitting Joey for a few days over the holiday and even tho I miss Joey so much already (I dropped him off at noon), I know he is in good hands! I hope Joey will want to return home!!!

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