I don't own a basenji, but I'm looking for info…

Hi everyone!

I have been reading a little bit online about the basenji. I'm hoping to get a little bit of information from personal experiances from everyone. I understand that they do not bark, but they do make noises. Are they constant whinners? I also read that they are chewers. And do they get along with cats? They are beautiful dogs and I'm wondering if this is the breed for me.

Chewers…they shred things to make a nest. Cats...maybe get along?...mine loves to chase them but does not live with one. Noises...yes and she does cry a little. They have seemingly boundless energy...they are hounds that don't like to be bridled.

@luckytigger:

Hi everyone!

I have been reading a little bit online about the basenji. I'm hoping to get a little bit of information from personal experiances from everyone. I understand that they do not bark, but they do make noises. Are they constant whinners? I also read that they are chewers. And do they get along with cats? They are beautiful dogs and I'm wondering if this is the breed for me.

Noises: Yes, they don't bark…but wow, can they make some loud noises! Most basenjis are pretty quiet, most of the time. But *some can be very loud at the worst times....like when you leave for work, or in the middle of the night. Usually the most problem noises have to do with hating being in a crate, or when the humans leave. Many basenjis also make some wonderful "happy" noises called yodels or barooing...and nobody complains about those; but not all Bs make those noises. I would say that they don't whine any more than any other breed of dog.

Chewing: All dogs are chewers when they are puppies. It helps them thru the teething process, strengthen's their jaws, and helps them practice how to use their mouths. Some dogs will chew when they have nothing else to do. If you leave the wrong things out, sometimes dogs will chew them. Some basenjis (maybe most?) will contine to chew things as adults...often paper, wrappers, plastic things....thing they snitch from you 😉

Cats: Some basenji get along fine with cats. The best combination I have seen is getting the basenji as a puppy, and allowing the cats to teach the puppy cats are not to be messed with.

Is a basenji right for you? Well, you have to have a sense of humor. And be okay with it if your dog outsmarts you. You need to respect and understand creatures that don't care for blind obedience (if you have cats, you probably already do!)

You need to be prepared to walk your dog for exercise if you don't have an adequately fenced yard...as a rule, basenji are untrustworthy off lead. You need to be aware that your basenji may not care to interact with other non-pack dogs. A lot of people find that they can't use dog daycare or dog parks when they have a basenji.

AND..you need to take care when you go out to find your perfect basenji that you talk to the breeder about temperament (meet the relatives of your puppy), and talk about the genetic health concerns there may be....if the ONLY answer the breeder has to that question is "the parents are up to date on their shots, and saw their vet last year" RUN! There are inherited diseases in this breed, and any breeder that doesn't discuss these issues with you should be avoided.

Good luck!

We've had 4 Basenji's in the last 14 years and I would recommend one (really two, since they're even better in pairs!) to anyone who:

wants a companion dog that they can spend a lot time with
likes to go on walks
can devote time/consistency for training
has a fenced in yard
doesn't want dog hair all over the house
doesn't want a barker

Basically, I'd summarize Basenji's as very smart active companion dogs that can't bark, don't shed much and who want nothing more than to be with their owners. They are very much like kids.

You may want to visit a breeder in PA if you haven't yet. Basenji Boy should be replying soon…. he's also in PA.

@cmd:

can devote time/consistency for training
has a fenced in yard
doesn't want dog hair all over the house
doesn't want a barker

My Ohio friend sums it up very nicely.:) I have 6 and would only add, if you are looking for an obedient "come here Rover" kind of dog, these may not be for you. They are very independent.

Before I adopted my Basenji it was suggested by a breeder that maybe I find a local breeder and see if it would be ok to spend time with their adault dogs. This is a good way to see how they interact with each other, their owner and strangers. This was very helpful in my decision.

🙂 🙂 This is my first Basenji and I just love this breed. My husband wanted a dog that was quiet, not overly active, not much shedding, and loyal. Well, I found him just that, Sahara, my girl is 10 mos. old, and we love her so much. She loves to spend time with us, and we love this, she does require patience as she loves to surf the tables and kitchen counters for anything she thinks is interesting. I have 2 grown cats and she does chase them, even though they claw at her, she is stubborn to chase and be in charge around them. She can be very hard on my 17 yr. old cat, and I have to step in. She was very easy to housetrain, and she does mind us pretty good, except for the cats. She just has to go after them no matter what I do. But all in all she has been just the greatest addition to our family. My only son is 23 and no longer living home, so my hubby and I are totally devoted to this dog. She is our girl. 😃

Jazzy is almost two, and I adore her! To the point where my kids often joke – I hope--- that I love Jazz better than I love them. {I am quick to point out that she doesn't sass me, eats her dinner every night without complaint, and is more than happy to go to her "room" for hours at a time when necessary. LOL}.
We have an older dog and the two get along great. We have two cats, and they could not hate Jazzy more; LOL. She is a chaser of the cats and that is the one habit we have not been able to break. Of course, it'd help if the cats would cooperate a little in that training process.
She doesn't chew things, but then again she has a toy basket full of things for her to play with and she loves her stuffed animals {we have stuffing "entrails" all over the house}
Jazz does not table surf at the counters or dining table, but does have to be reminded to leave foods set on the coffee table alone. It's just not a smart place to set a plate of food.
She expects a lot of attention, mostly in the form of cuddling, which we are always happy to give.
Her favorite pastime is sleeping next to the pellet stove in winter or in a sunbeam in the summer.

This Basenji, our first, has been a wonderful addition to our home. Not once have we regretted this decision.

Thanks everyone for all the great info!!! This has made my decision a little bit easier. Taking on a new pup is a huge responsibility, I know, and not something to take lightly. My brother just got a new english mastiff and heard all the horror stories about that breed, but he would not give up his "daughter" for the world. If anyone can think of anything else about thsi breed that woudl be of interest or concern please let me know! Thanks again.

My brother-in-law use to have an English Mastiff as well. One time she came waltzing into the room when we had our then 7 year old Basenji, Brie, on our lap. Brie felt threatened and, to protect us, lunged across the room at that 120lb slobber dog. Brie scared her so much she hopped straight up and onto a chair and wouldn't come back in the room. That Mastiff was always afraid of our 22lb Brie after that… wish the same was true for that Mastiff and kids. Brie as a very loyal soft-hearted dog that would protect us no matter what. Like our others, she was great with kids and loved all people.

It would probably help you to visit some basenji, maybe even contact the local basenji rescue and think about fostering to get to know the breed 🙂 (okay I like to push people to rescue and help!!)

They are a tough breed, very unlike most I have ever owned. 20 yrs of rotties, a lifetime of chows/chowmixes. Poodles, labs, mixed, you name it. Below is a good list of why not to get them, and they are pretty accurate.

That said, I can't imagine not having mine. The eye contact, the personalities, the intelligence… they are different, and certainly (like most breeds) not for EVERYONE. But if they are the one for you, your life will never be dull. 🙂

for basenji noises
http://www.basenjiclub.com/?q=node/7

http://basenji.20m.com/ReasonsNottoGet.htm

I would just emphasize what Andrea and Debra have said about making arrangements to visit with basenjis and basenji breeders. My experience is that it is difficult to capture in words the true essence of a basenji. Also, it is important to talk to several breeders and meet several dogs since like people each basenji is an individual and so the more you meet the more you can tell about which things might be just an individual, which are "in the family", and what is pretty much across the breed. It will also help you to decide what things are most important to you when you start talking with a breeder about getting a dog.

I read the "10 Reasons Not to.." and I just wanted to say, while it may be very true for others, I've never considered any of our 4 to be destructive nor willfully disobedient. Really. I expect some level of that since they are dogs first, but in the 14 years we've had very few items of value chewed on. That which was chewed on wasn't where it should have been anyway (they do teach you to keep a clean house). AND up until getting 2 puppies this year, our first 2 had full run of the house from 8-5 while we were at work. They do like to get into things, but that is just their curious nature. I do agree all need toys to play with and need a yard to run in (or an energetic owner).

Even walking can be up to the owner as they get older. Shamefully I must admit when we started having kids, the Basenji's (then 8 and 10 yrs old) took a back seat. We just didn't have the time or energy with a new born to walk them every day. We would go a week, sometimes 3, without walking them. Frankly they didn't seem to care and were just happy laying on the couch near us. Of course with a puppy you will want to walk them frequently (and you should with a senior as well).

However, I've also found they do well in pairs (though I've only had 4). We've nearly always had more than one so I'm speaking of someone with multiples. When we had only 1 puppy and 1 senior, I could tell the puppy was bored a lot. She was always looking for something to play with (not necessarily chew on). 6 mos later we got a playmate. With 2 they can play chase throughout the house and the yard and wear each other out. This morning for example, the 1yr olds ran outside together for 10 minutes then ran inside together for 20. Now they are on the floor fast asleep. I'm not suggesting 2, just a single puppy will definitely require a bit more interaction on your part… and be ready for another in the future!

If your are ready to make the commitment, as DDS said, the payoff is great.

CMD you have great dogs! Mine like to chew anything they can get their little jaws on. I've tried the Vicks Vapor Rub which has help keep them away from the baby gate corners and the foot of the wooden table (it was beginning to splinter). Lets see what else..hmmm :rolleyes: oh yes..the outlet safety covers was a fav until eventually I just had to get rid of all of them & put metal plates over the outlets that they could reach :eek:

I really do want to leave them to roam the house but DH thinks that would be a mistake! And C3PO can also be a bit of pain sometimes he likes to take Topaz's nyla bone while she's chewing & she gets upset with him :mad:

I would love to one day be able to do that & not need a camera to watch them 😃

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Some really aren't that destructive...but as breed, they certainly CAN be...and I think it is something that people need to take into consideration.
We are not TIDY people in our house (sad but true!)...and we have had to make changes to the way we do things so that the dogs are unable to get things they aren't supposed to have. Some people find it unbelievable that the humans in the house would change their behaviors to keep the dogs from getting into trouble! Those kind of people shouldn't have basenjis (or puppies of any kind for that matter!)
I think basenjis are a kind of dog that you really have to be ready to make changes big or small to the way you do things to accomodate your dog(s). If you want the dog to just blend in, and not be too much trouble...probably not the dog for you 🙂

@Quercus:

I think basenjis are a kind of dog that you really have to be ready to make changes big or small to the way you do things to accomodate your dog(s). If you want the dog to just blend in, and not be too much trouble…probably not the dog for you 🙂

I agree. You have to think like a Basenji and remember you are the pack leader and learn to anticipate situations that require your supervision. Each one of my six are different and require a different hand. I also agree they are easier in pairs, a bored Basenji is a scary thing….joining two adults I think would be difficult.

Oh WOW, you guys are sooooo helpful. Thanks DDS for the link, that was especially helpful. I'm just intrigued with this breed for some reason, and I'm not sure why. Reading what all of you have to say is better that the typical things that you read on the computer. They all just repeat the same thing over and over where as all of you can give me personal experiances. I know all puppies are a lot of hard work, but compared to other dog (which I see some of you have had other breeds) are they actually a lot tougher? All pups like to chew and get into trouble but are they especially hard to train. Lets say with housebreaking and such? Oh and for all of you that have cats too, do they stay out of the kitty box or are the prone to make there way there, if you catch what I'm saying. I read they they are very clean and often times will clean themselves like a cat does. Really? And they are aloof like cats? Soooo much info and I would rather hear all of this from you than get false info. HELP!!

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