THE STORY UNFOLDS
Dating back to the time of the Pharaohs in Egypt,
the Basenji was renowned for its hunting ability
- and was used in the Congo by its African owner -
for flushing game from the dense undergrowth.
A good hunting dog was highly prized.
Red and white
The Basenji has a short coat,
in colours of red, black, black and tan, or brindle -
all with white feet, white chest, and white tip on tail.
Some are more flashily marked,
with long white legs ,
or a full white collar, or white on the face.
They have no dog smell,
and clean themselves like a cat.
Because there is no dog smell
- a weekly bath is really not necessary.
Basenjis consider that water is just for drinking,
so they won't argue about no bath!!
Grooming of a Basenji is minimal -
the use of a soft rubber curry brush when
their coat is changing
is really all that needs to be done.
"Show" people like to trim their dog's tail
to neaten it's outline, but this is not a necessity.
Nails should be kept short,
or the toes will spread
to accommodate the long nails.
Nails can be kept neat
with a good pair of nail clippers
- or a file, if you prefer -
and the dog doesn't object.
Black and white
Although the Basenji cannot bark like a normal dog,
they are not mute,
but have a more subtle way
This can range from
a single "boof!" (warning sound);
a mournful howl (mating season, or miserable);
to a happy yodel,
which can sound like a rooster crowing
or a dirty chuckle!!
The more you encourage your Basenji to yodel,
the more they will do it.
According to Basenjis,
the yodel is a good way to get out of trouble
if they have done something they shouldn't!
The Basenji has NO road sense -
and cannot be trusted to run loose,
without constant supervision.
You MUST have safe, secure fences
if you wish to have a Basenji as a companion
- they do better if they are allowed "house" time
with their family.
The hunting instinct is still VERY strong
in the majority of Basenjis
- and if they see something in the distance
that they feel needs investigating -
they will go -
regardless of the consequences.
I see you, Mouse!!
They feel the cold in the winter,
but love the heat of the summer.
Like cats they hate getting their feet wet,
and a rainy day was only made
to test how good a Basenji's bladder is!!!
Basenjis get on well with other pets, or children,
if they are brought up with them from puppyhood.
They hate being left at home
for long hours on their own.
Being a pack dog in their native Africa,
they appreciate company,
and can be miserable -
or very destructive if left to their own devices too often!
The majority are too "cluey" -
and can think up many "activities"
to keep themselves amused.
You didn't wash your head Dad!
Being "sticky beaks",
they love to be part of everything you do -
whether it's walking with you for miles,
or just sitting beside you on the couch.
3 month old "Banjo"
learning to sit with clicker training
Clicker training works well with Basenjis
- most are VERY food orientated.
Many will go through their whole repertoire
to try and get the reward from you!
If you want to do obedience classes,
check the trainers out thoroughly.
Basenjis don't do well
in an "authoritarian" type of training
"Ask" them to do something -
and they will consider it - later!!
"Tell" them to do it -
and they will say "What's it worth?"
A Basenji considers itself to be your equal -
they don't think that "man"
is the best thing to happen to them.
If you want a dog that only wants to please you
and thinks you are the best thing that has happened to it
- don't get a Basenji - get a Border Collie!
But you have to be the leader of the Basenji's pack
- and you have to earn that right.
You must be consistent - and fair.
They have a definite sense of right and wrong,
and a memory like an elephant!!
Imagine a cross between a Siamese and a Burmese
and you have a Basenji.
They can have the arrogance
and independence of a Siamese -
and the "nuttiness" of a Burmese.
They also have an incredible sense of humour,
but can be very sensitive at the same time.
They don't like being made a fool of.
They are NOT like living with a "normal" dog.
Just to make everything interesting -
throw in the behaviour of a child
going through the "terrible two's"
and you will know what to expect
from your Basenji puppy.
If after all this -
you still think that a Basenji is for you -
then contact a reputable breeder
and go and visit them and their dogs.
Not all people are suitable owners for a Basenji,
so don't be too upset
if the breeder gives you the third degree!!