Whippets are a common companion breed for basenjis. Our Bs have really loved playing with a number of shiba inus. If you’re looking for a new family member sooner rather than later, I’d recommend adopting a dog that’s in the 30-40 lb range (at least, that’s a size my dogs consider to be pretty equal). Finding an individual dog that your B enjoys is obviously the most important (when you’re adopting a not-puppy), so I’d focus on a weight range just a little bigger than your basenji.
100% agree with Tanza -- @elbrant show breeders are arguably the only ones who are turning out litters of dogs who should become pets. The vast majority of breeders' dogs DO end up as pets. Usually at least half of a litter right off the bat, with a big percentage of the rest becoming pets over the next couple of years. Responsible breeding tends to be a financial loss -- the testing before breeding, prenatal care, individual puppy testing after the birth (e.g. canine ophthalmologists aren't cheap), plus the expense of just having so many dogs around for a while all adds up. If a breeder sells their pups for $1000-$1500 and absolutely nothing unexpected happens, they might break even on a litter. With such a tight margin if you're breeding correctly, it's really only something you do if you're passionate about it.
As someone who has never been and will never be a breeder (and is, unfortunately, most accurately characterized as a "fancier" ugh), I'd never want a dog from a backyard breeder, or someone who just loves their dog so much there should be more of them, or from someone who wants their kids to see the miracle of life via puppy birth. I want a dog from someone who cares about the health of the dam, the sire, AND the resulting puppy; who cares about making sure their puppies have good temperaments (and animals who have been trained as show dogs are the best kind of chill and obedient); who cares about the reputation and perception of the breed; and who cares about the sort of environment their puppies end up in. Fortunately, in order for breeders to keep doing what THEY are doing, they need people like us who also care about the quality of the breed and of individual dogs enough to acquire puppies responsibly.
TL;DR: we have two basenjis near Dallas, would be happy to let you meet them (potentially halfway in between); message me!
[I was clearly reading too quickly initially, but since I already typed it, I'm not going to delete this paragraph; glad to see we do have the same positive opinion!] Tanza -- Signet is actually a good, reputable breeder (https://www.facebook.com/signetkennels/); one of her dogs sired the pup we got last year. We were involved a bit with basenjis in Seattle (got our first pup in WA) before we moved to TX, and in my experience, she's as good as Platinum, FoPaw, Taji, or the other breeders we met in the Evergreen club.
Slprrex, there aren't a lot of basenji breeders in Texas, unfortunately, and a lot of the ones who are here aren't currently doing a ton of breeding, so it wouldn't surprise me if Brenda and Ciara are your best bet for a breeder locally. In looking at the Mandy's Pups page on FB, they don't seem to be doing any showing, and as silly as conformation may seem to people outside the dog show world, I would hesitate to get a puppy from someone who isn't actively trying to improve the breed (most easily verified by conformation). When we were first looking here in TX we ran into more than a couple of puppy mills, and while it doesn't seem like Mandy's would fall into that category, I would encourage you to do a LOT of research, meet the sire &/or dam, see where the dogs are kept, etc.
I completely understand the need to want to meet a basenji or two before you pursue picking one up; we went to a lure coursing event and were able to ask a ton of questions, hold dogs, see how smelly they were (not very; there were a dozen in an RV and it barely smelled like dog at all, and I have a very sensitive nose), etc. Anyway!
Meeting basenjis: we have two (quintessentially basenji-ish) basenjis and we're in the Dallas area, sort of where 183 and 114 converge (if you look at a map), but we might be able to meet up closer to you. We like to take our dogs out to less-populated places to let them run around, and while we've only gone west previously to the LBJ Grasslands, we could probably find something in the direction of Tyler, maybe partway between Tyler and Dallas, and meet there. We wouldn't be able to do that any sooner than the weekend of the 15th, and would almost certainly be able to make something over Thanksgiving work. If you were super anxious, I'd be happy to meet you this weekend in Dallas, but would completely understand if that didn't work for you. I think we can send private messages via this forum, so try that and we can connect via PM, if you'd like.
If our dogs got covered in mud or slobbered on in the dog park, we just rinse them off if at all possible; when shampoo is needed we've had luck with an all-natural oatmeal shampoo that is designed for both cats and dogs (an absolute necessity, if you ask me, because of the way our Bs groom themselves; only-ok-for-dogs shampoo will likely have things we don't want them ingesting). Our dogs sleep in our bed with us, so we're pretty sensitive to their level of cleanliness. Even at that, they need an actual bath in the range of once every 3-4 months. Every 4-5 weeks is WAY TOO often for basenjis.
One of our Bs tends towards dry skin, too, so we give her the occasional spoonful of coconut oil to EAT, or even a pat of butter. In our experience, ingesting a bit of fat does wonders for her skin dryness; adding anything to the outside doesn't work for us. Healthy fats, depending on what she's willing to eat, should help a lot.
Is there any chance there's an allergy going on? One of our Bs was born in Washington State, and apparently now that we live in Texas, she's somewhat allergic to the environment. We give her Benedryl somewhat regularly (25 mg every 12 hours, probably just a few times a week) at her vet's instruction and under the vet's supervision. Her most common place for a hot spot is between her toes, because she nibbles at the area, and the Benedryl seems to stop that itching which in turn gets her to leave the spot alone.
Obviously, a photo would be most helpful, but allergies and managing those might be something worth looking into.
I wouldn't bother with the extreme. Our two Bs still use both the puppy kongs and classic Kongs without any problems (although they do chew up/destroy other things). We also have both medium and large and find they both work well, depending on how much food/how many treats we want to give them.
We were living in Salt Lake when we first decided to get a basenji, and while there is at least one sketchy backyard breeder in Ogden, I was glad we went elsewhere. We'd moved to Seattle by the time we actually got a dog (brought home Jan 2017), and so got one there locally from MaryK Quinnett, who isn't actively growing her program right now.
While doing research on the breed, we went to a lure coursing competition and talked to Kevin and Theresa (I think? people names seem to take a back seat to dogs' names) of FoPaws Basenjis, who are located just outside of Portland. http://fopawsbasenjipuppies.com/ We went with a closer breeder, but I wouldn't have hesitated to get any dog they'd have chosen for us, and it's a reasonable drive from (at least northern) Utah. There are several more in that area, I think. Plus a bunch more in Washington State. And in California.
The other thing I might recommend is to take a look everything from the Evergreen Basenji Club (www.evergreenbasenjiclub.org). They seem to be a bit more active than a lot of other clubs and tend to include just about everyone in the northern half of the western United States.
We have since moved to Texas and added a second puppy to our pack this April, and it was kind of a pain to wait after we'd decided--there was really only one legit breeder with litters in Texas this past year--but in the end it was so very worth it. I grew up with cats, so our 11/16 basenji female and 1/18 basenji male were my very first dogs, and I can't imagine how much more difficult things would have been with poor temperament breeding. Basenjis are amazing, but it seems like there just isn't much room for error when it comes to temperament and personality.
Have you met any basenjis? When visiting family in Utah with our dog I was told over and over again that the person speaking had never seen a basenji in real life (including at pet shops and doggy daycare), so I get the impression that the odds of tracking one down locally to meet might be difficult. I wish I were going to be bringing my dogs there soon so you could meet them, but maybe you've already had plenty of experience with the breed? The things I've posted on my Instagram (@zannahdo) is a pretty accurate representation of what life can be like with a basenji, if that's in any way helpful. Feel free to ask us more questions; this is not a breed for an impulse purchase (and, as you've found, supply makes that fairly impossible anyway).
First, she is adorable. Beautiful, even! The curly tail, to me, looks straight off of a shiba inu -- similar in size, also
a an ancient breed with curly tails, but are much bushier compared to the tightly rolled tail and short hair coat of basenjis. The traits you mentioned seem more like a shiba to me, too, with the pouncing esp., but there are many more experienced breeders/owners on here that may have a different take. Regardless, it's pretty obvious Parker is a really amazing, special dog. Thanks for sharing her! primitive