So, you want a Basenji? Here are some questions you should think about first....... as Basenjis are not everyone's type of dog. You have heard they don't bark? Well they can, however, they choose not to. It is usually a single bark, more like a cross between a Bark & Woof. But make no mistake, they are not mute by any means. They growl, howl, "scream" when really upset to the point it will raise the hair on the back of your neck. And when happy (or trying to get themselves out of trouble) have the most wonderful yodel..... Click to hear a Basenji yodel.
1. Do you have a sense of Humor?
A sense of humor is "required" for any Basenji owner. Expect the unexpected daily.... A Basenji is called the "thinking" dog and will try to outsmart you at least once a day.... They are not obedient as they consider the options before committing to a task. Are you willing to laugh at yourself when your Basenji gets the best of you?
2. Is your home life pretty hectic right now with small children, work, and lots of activity? Do you need to be away from home many hours each day because of your job or because you travel?
Maybe this is not the best time for any dog. A dog is a new family member and requires as much time as your children in order to properly socialize, housebreak, and train. And a Basenji is like having a Two Year Old that never grows up.... Even at age 10, they can revert back to the Terrible Twos! A Basenji does not do well left on its own for hours on end. He/She will think of things to do...
3. Are you willing to crate train?
The crate becomes a safe and happy place for your Basenji and a place you can always be sure they are secure.
4. Are you willingly to accept that a Basenji is a Sighthound, therefore may never be trusted off lead?
They chase what they see.... cars do not mean danger. They have no clue that cars kill! You have to be willing to make your house and yard secure. An open front door is an opportunity to pursue what they see or think they see.....
5. Are you willing and able to put the time and effort into proper socialization of your Basenji? And are you ready for a dog that will challenge you to become top dog in the home? It is important that you put the time into socialization of your Basenji. Your breeder will have started the process but you need to be willing and able to continue that process. The Basenji standard says "Aloof with Strangers" and they can be. A Basenji is not a Lab or a Golden that loves every strange person they meet. But socialization as a young pup goes a long way in the temperament of your Basenji.
These are just a few things to think about and things you should discuss with your breeder. A good, reputable breeder will be honest with you and if a Basenji might not be the right breed of dog for you, they will tell you so.
Basenjis come in four basic coat colors, Red & White, Black & White, Black, Tan & White (or Tri colored) and Brindle & White. The Basenji is a small, shorthaired hunting dog from Africa. It is short backed and lightly built, appearing high in the leg compared to its length. The wrinkled head is proudly carried on a well-arched neck and the tail is set high and curled. Elegant and graceful, the whole demeanor is one of poise and inquiring alertness. The balanced structure and smooth musculature enables it to move with ease and agility. The Basenji hunts by sight but also can hunt by scent. The Wrinkled forehead, tightly curled tail and effortless gait (resembling a racehorse trotting full out) are typical of the breed.
This is from the AKC Standard for the Basenji. The full standard can be found on the American Kennel Club Web Site.
As with any written standard, each person reads it differently and each breeder will decide what is the most important part for him or her.