• Hi to all. I am hoping to get any information I can about adopting a Basenji puppy. We are hoping to get a new puppy in early May and and have our hearts set on a Basenji. We had a Lab for 11 years and had to have him put down a year ago because of cancer. He was a great dog, excellent with the kids but the shedding drove me crazy. He had skin conditions that made him itch and smell, not nice for him or us! From what I have read on Basenjis they are low shedding, which would be great. We have a lot of allergies in our house and bad dander can be a problem.
    So…I have starting looking in my area and there doesn't seem to be any Basenji breeders. Grand Rapids, MI would not be too far for us to drive to to get a puppy. What do we look for in a puppy? Are there genetic problems/issues we need to be concerned with. I know with our Lab we had a certification on his hips because that was a common problem of the breed. Any advice,info. would be very helpful. I would like to go into this with some education!
    Thanks, Toni:)

  • That is great that you came on here! I'm sure many breeders will be able to help you out.

    Here are a list of health tests we usually do:
    Hips (it CAN be a problem in Basenjis but isn't as common due to responsible breeding practices)
    Eyes (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)
    Thyroid (Hypothyroidism)
    *Fanconi (a monthly test for this syndrome is mandatory after 3yrs of age…it's something that strikes older dogs and causes the kidneys to shut down)

    Fanconi is the main concern in my opinion...but responsible breeders should have had tested their dogs for all of the above.

    You should check out the Basenji Club of America site...they have a breeder list.

    And also check this out! It's cute and educational on puppies!

  • I am sorry to hear about the loss of your Lab.
    As for a Basenji…they do shed but not much at all. Basenji's are smart..sometimes I think too smart! They require a lot of time and patience. They are unlike any other dog. They can be...no I take that back..they are distructive. Just yesterday while I was sitting down, our puppy destroyed a toy in just a few short minutes. Basenji's never really grow out of that "distructive stage" many, many people talk about what there dog did on the forum 🙂
    Please educate yourself on this breed. It takes a certain kind of person to care for a basenji. Unfortunately, many people realize too late that a Basenji just doesn't fit in there home...Thank god for BRAT! Have you considered an older dog? This forum is great for advice, concerns and anything else.
    Good luck in your quest for a B!

  • Hi Toni,

    First of all, if you LOVED your lab, and everything doggy about him…a Basenji *may not be the right dog for you. They are pretty much the antithesis breed to a lab. Basenjis can be difficult train, you can't use the same methods that you could get a way with with a lab. They don't retrieve, they don't swim, they don't do anything just to please you (in general folks...I know some of you have retrieving, swimming basenjis!)and they really can't be trusted off lead, and you need to have an adequate fence (six feet high) to contain them in your yard.

    Please don't get a Basenji simply because they don't shed as much as a lab...if that is your main interest in the breed, you will be very disappointed. They are challenging, crafty, naughty, and sometimes monsterous! 😉 NOTHING like a lab 🙂 But obviously, there are lots of people who like them...look at how much of us visit here just to talk about our crazy dogs!

    There are quite a few great responsible breeders in Michigan, and several more in neighboring Ohio (myself included :)), Indiana and Wisc. If you decide that you might be interested despite our scare tactics, you should contact some breeders to see if you can visit, and meet some Basenjis in person. I am about 20 minutes south of Blissfield MI...and always willing to have people over to meet Basenjis!

  • I can only add about the allergy part, since that was my introduction to the breed when I was very young. I only got one 8 years ago after a lot of research. It's been hard at times, believe me…they are not for everyone. So, having said all that IMHO….they still have dander and shed minimally a couple of times a year (mine does anyway, I'm sure they vary) and I have gotten acclimated to her dander. I have a friend who Nala licked and she broke out in hives. Everyone is different - so I think what Andrea says is right on - go to a breeder and meet them, spend time with them and see if whoever is reactive is okay around them, puppies and adults alike.
    They are wonderful if you are up for the task!! Let us know what happens!!

  • My lab was very head strong and challanging to train. When I get a pet he or she will be part of the family and we will spend just as much time training them as we do with the children! I plan on getting a crate for the times when we are not home, especially during the puppy phase. We used a shock collar with our Lab because it gave him more freadom to run than a leash but still gave us control to keep him safe. Has anyone out there used a shock collar with their Basenji for control in keeping them in their yard? We have three acres of land and from what I have read about Basenjis, fences don't keep them in.

  • Please see the thread somewhere here about Basenjis and invisible fences. A six foot privacy fence is a hundred times more likely to keep a Basenji in than a shock fence. Not everybody has the option for that…but it is WAY safer.

  • Hi Toni,
    One key thing to remember when owning a basenji, young or old, you must never let them out of your sight! Not even for a minute or else you will come back to a big suprise. Basenjis can NEVER be taken off lead because they will run. They are sighthounds which means sprinters who have an eye for anything moving, especially cars. More too often do you see them getting hit because they just run away.
    With proper training and education you will have yourself a wonderful pet!
    I spent about 2 years reasearching this breed. I too liked the idea that they were small, clean and did not bark. Boy was I in for a Huge awakening 🙂
    Barkless…Naaahhhh! They scream! Scream at the top of their lungs!!!! To the point that my neighbors start asking questions. 🙂
    Not even a good pair of earplugs will help 😉
    Crate training is essential for a basenji because you can't leave them alone in a home. They will destroy everything! Including your couch. 😉
    Here are some websites to check out:
    Check these websites out..there is a ton of information.
    Good luck and check out the BCOA breeder directory..There may be someone in/near your area where you could go to spend some time with them.

  • I understand never leaving them alone beasuse our lab once ate our whole kitchen floor! Is it going to be possible to find a pup in May? I have heard that they only go into heat in the fall and pups are only available in the winter, is this true?

  • @gregtoni:

    I understand never leaving them alone beasuse our lab once ate our whole kitchen floor! Is it going to be possible to find a pup in May? I have heard that they only go into heat in the fall and pups are only available in the winter, is this true?

    May would be very difficult. Yes, it is true most Basenjis come into heat Sep. thru Nov. so puppies are ready to go their new homes January thru March. Some Bs have a spring heat…we have one that often comes in in March...so those babies would be ready in July-ish. But it is usually REALLY hard to find puppies at unusual times. Often, though, breeders have puppies to place in the spring/summer that they either couldn't find homes for in the winter, or they were growing them out to see if they wanted to show them. And many breeders have grown dogs that have finished their show career, or their breeding career, have wonderful house manners, and are just looking for a home and family where they can be the pampered star of the family! And, of course you can adopt a dog from rescue at any time of the year.

    People usually start getting on waiting lists toward the end of summer for puppies from responsible breeders. And by responsible, I don't mean you will have to pay extra for a "show kennel" name. In fact, most responsible breeders charge just about the same price, and it is far less expensive than pet stores or online puppy brokers. There is a long thread here about what is a responsible breeder.

    I can't stress enough how important it is to not feel pressured that 'I have to have a puppy available in May, and this on-line seller has one' There are so many reasons that you want to form a relationship with a responsible breeder...I don't want to list them here, because this post is very long already 😉 Please find the various threads about what you want to look for in a breeder 🙂

  • I have underground fencing in my yard for my B, she will not go over the barrier. She did jump over it like a gazelle 2 times when I first got it to go after a cat, but she now does not try it. I have it set high enough that the shock prevents her from trying it now, she would have been hit by a car by now if I did not have it. She loves to chase cars when they pass my house, I live on a busy street. She loves to go after cats also, she will sit in the yard just shy of the barrier and watch the neighbors cat, and she will not follow me pass the line. It was quite expensive, about $800, but my baby would not be here if I didn't have it. She loves to run, run, run and she has this option b/c of the underground fence, it is not a favored way to keep her in the yard, but I had to do what I needed to do to keep her safe while at work. Good LucK!

  • I will probably get the hand held shock collar for our new dog. We used it for our Lab because he loved to chase the wildlife, it worked pretty well. Thanks for the info.

  • I have an underground fence too, but I think the hand held is more risky…I wrote in another thread of others that tried it on another breed and they were very smart and knew if you didn't have the remote in your hand...Basenjis are crafty little buggers...lots of luck - whatever you decide.

  • @gregtoni:

    I will probably get the hand held shock collar for our new dog. We used it for our Lab because he loved to chase the wildlife, it worked pretty well. Thanks for the info.

    There is another thread out there about this as well. Please, please, please…don't do this to your dog. Just put the dog on a leash. There are so many reasons not to use one of these devices. One is that very few people are good enough trainers to be able to use them the way they were intended. They are NOT intended to be a "hearing aid" for your dog because they don't normally listen to you.

    I can tell you, there is not a responsible breeder out there that will sell you a puppy if you are planning to use a remote shock collar on your dog. Nor will rescue allow you to adopt a dog.

  • We never used our hand held as a "hearing aid" for our lab, and we went through a lot of traing on how to use the collar properly and had great success with it. I am not an idiot who would just start shocking my dog at random because he or she went out of site. When training our dog I am also outside working with the dog and I put a lot of time,effort and love into properly training my dog so he/she is safe. Thanks for the opinion though. -Toni

  • I actually have experience with this. I placed a dog with someone who - in spite of what I said about they can NEVER be off leash, they thought that way out in the country with an electronic collar would be fine.

    They didn't notice that the batteries were weak, gravel truck down road, basenji dead.

    Basenjis are not an off leash dog - they are hunters and if they see it or smell it they are gone. NO you cannot train that out of them. They have been hunters for thousands of years and will ALWAYS revert to that.

    re: allergies. Here is something that I do when people say they have allergies.

    Use a cotton swab (q-tip) to swab inside the dogs mouth and set on a paper towel.

    Take a very fine tooth come and scrape on the skin of the dog in several different places and wipe off the skin dander and hair (even if you get a little) on the paper towel as well.

    Fold it up and put it under the pillow of the person with the allergies. If they break out or have a runny nose - the dog most likely won't work for you.

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