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.