10 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Basenjis
Is it really true that
basenjis don’t bark?
Yes, as a general rule the basenji is the
“barkless” dog. Keep in
mind that barking really has no function and is a part of the noises
young dogs and pups make while developing.
It is believed that most domestic dogs are trapped in adolescence
because of human meddling in genetics which perpetuates the barking.
The basenji originates from wild canids that do not bark. After all, silence
and stealth are a key part of survival in the wild.
more information about why dogs bark, read “Hark! Hark! The Dogs do
Bark...and bark and bark” by Raymond Coppinger and Mark Feinstein in
SMITHSONIAN, Jan. 1991 issue.
“What are they
Basenjis are mischievous. They
love to play and are very intelligent.
Basenjis tend to be dominant dogs and it’s necessary to
understand dominance and dog behaviors when owning one.
“Do they shed?”
Yes, basenjis shed. However
they keep themselves very clean with their own grooming methods.
Most dogs shed and basenjis are no exception.
Their coats are so short, though, with some vacuuming, you’ll
Other wonderful features about a basenjis
are that they have no doggy odor and are very finicky about their
good with children?”
While basenjis love to play and usually come with a good nature,
you must also ask yourself “Is my child good with dogs?”
Children, like puppies, go through many growth phases and must be
taught how to treat animals with respect.
Basenjis, like many breeds, are hard pressed to tolerate unfair
treatment. All play with
dogs and children should always be supervised.
Because puppies tend to “mouth” everything, fast hands and
toys waved in a dog’s face encourage this behavior.
Hence, parental supervision will keep growing puppies and
children moving towards positive development.
“I’ve heard basenjis are
destructive. Are they?”
Basenjis, like many breeds, like to chew; in fact, they like to
chew on everything and anything...shoes, socks, newspapers, chairs,
sofas, rocks, metal fences, mini-blinds, trees, and especially you.
Puppy-proofing is very important; as is keeping things out of
their reach. Providing plenty of exercise and the right chewy toys for
your basenji should help eliminate the need to chew on “forbidden”
objects. Also note that
basenji breeders advocate crating the basenji when you are not home.
This will keep him out of trouble
“Is it better to own a female or
Both make good pets. However,
bitches tend to be, well, a little bitchy to other bitches, and males
tend to be aggressive to other
males. If you want more than one basenji, either get them both as
pups or mix your sexes. Males
do tend to be a bit scrappier with other dogs.
Females do tend to be dominant as far as people are concerned.
The solo basenji owner might consider this and choose a male.
The owner with other non-basenji dogs might consider getting a
“I want to do some Obedience.
Is the basenji a good choice?”
First, keep in mind that a basenji is a hound and hounds have no
accountability to humans. Basenjis
have a desire for purpose, and to a basenji there is no purpose to the
constant regimentation of obedience instruction.
A basenji has to have fun performing.
It learns very quickly, but as soon as the training gets boring,
it quits, or worse, becomes counterproductive to his owner’s goals.
Basenjis always seem to put their own unique “spin” on every
command. The sits might be
crooked; they might take their time sitting down, their minds and
attention might wander. Since
basenjis are very “eye-contact” dogs, you can alter their behavior
just by looking at them a certain way.
While a basenji is a bright and adept pupil, just remember that
it’s just as bright and adept at creating its own training routine
“Why is the basenji so
Just think about the basenji’s origins.
It freely roamed jungles for thousands of years, surviving as an
independent quick-witted hunter. It’s
not likely to fetch your slippers just because you say so.
It will, however, if it loves you dearly and sees a reason to do
so at that particular moment!
“I have allergies and understand
that basenjis are hypo-allergenic.
Is this true?”
Basenjis do not have doggy odor and have limited
dander. Many people who
suffer with allergies are able to live with a basenji in their home. If this
applies to all allergy sufferers, we can not say for certain as the
extent of allergies differs from one person to another.
Visit a breeder and spend some time with the dogs to see if you
experience any sensitivity while around them.
“I have cats.
Is this a problem?”
Basenjis are pretty fun-loving and
playful. Getting along with
cats is really determined on a case-by-case basis.
It really depends on the cat.
A more reclusive animal might not appreciate the activity and curiosity
of a basenji. The more
outgoing cat might look at this as a new sort of playmate.
Starting with a puppy is probably a good idea, but the right
adult basenji has been able to live in harmony with many felines.