Hello and welcome to HiCotn.com! My name is CarolAnn Worsham and I hope you enjoy your visit today. In the south when you are in high cotton, you're in good times. Thus the name.
The Basenji, is a small, smooth-coated, barkless dog, standing 16-17 inches high, weighing 22-24 lbs. It is usually red and white in color, but the breed can also be black and white, brindle, and like my Peaches, tricolor. Yes, the breed is naturally barkless. They are not mute however and make sounds common to all dogs. When Peaches greets me at the door with her gutteral "ba-ruuuu," I have to laugh.
The Basenji breed dates back to the days of the Pharaohs and ancient Egypt. Another fascinating characteristic of the breed is cleanliness. They actually clean themselves just like cats. And, although I have yet to see this, Basenjis have been known to shed real tears when very sad.
Safari's Painted Peach
The Basenji is a sighthound, often referred to as the barkless dog from Africa. Actually, Basenjis emit a wide variety of sounds and can emulate a dog's bark.
It is usually one short coughing sound. When the Basenji is happy, it yodels and sometimes makes a low growl (which some interpret as menacing). Basenjis are known to be efficient hunters (pointing, flushing and going to ground after game), coursers and at the same time make wonderful pets.
However, the Basenji is not for everyone. Basenjis are not known to be an obedient family dog. They are highly intelligent and will try to distract, divert and outsmart at any opportunity. Being masters of deceit appear to be a game they enjoy playing. I enjoy playing their game and trying to stay "top dog." Basenjis were known to exist before Christ, they are an ancient breed. It is evident their high intelligence enabled them to survive so many centuries. The breed is not accustomed to waiting for a command before taking action, such as dogs used for guarding or herding. In their native habitat, the African hunter used a hunting style different from what normally is associated with training dogs to hunt. Usually the hunter plays an integral part in the hunt or at least the kill. But the method used by these hunters made the hunt solely the dog's responsibility. The dog hunts and the hunter must make it to the kill before the dog devours it. For the Basenjis to survive in the jungle, they had only their wit to outsmart whatever situation presented itself, usually life or death in the form of a much larger jungle animal.
It is this intelligence that will not permit them to be "obedient" dogs. If presented with an illogical situation, the Basenji instinctively decides what is best. This extreme independence and fearless attitude is a challenge most owners find difficult to understand. If you cannot deal with total independence, the Basenji breed is not for you. You can expect this breed to be obedient to a point. At will, they may obey you if you have earned their respect. However, you will alter the temperament of the dog if you try to correct this trait of the breed by any type of cruel physical punishment.
There is a fine line between cruel physical punishment and a strict hand and many differing opinions on this subject. Cruel physical punishment will only lead to the dog no longer trusting you. Having this independent thinking ability is just a characteristic of the breed that must be accepted and understood. Expecting complete obedience from an independent thinker is rather absurd. (You could relate this to raising a teenager.)
It is virtually impossible to teach this breed not to prey on small furry animals and birds. Being natural hunters, their instincts are too strong.
Being the canine equivalent of "Houdini," they are escape artists and cannot be left unattended even in a fenced yard or any enclosed area. They do climb fences and trees. They are quite loyal and affectionate to their family and friends, but are standoffish to strangers. This is not to say that they cannot be very sociable, they just are initially wary and take a few minutes to scope out a new situation. I have found Peaches enjoys meeting people and, given a few minutes, lowers her head and flattens her ears to be petted and loved (yes, even by strangers).
Basenjis are a dominant breed and, although they get along well with other breeds when introduced properly, situations may arise between breeds or the same sex. Basenjis are curious about the world all of their life. Having a Basenji is like having a perpetual puppy. They have absolutely no fear and eagerly anticipate the next challenge, especially when it comes to cars. Most new owners who lose their Basenjis lose them to car accidents. Once a Basenji escapes, their swift "cat-like" movement makes it almost impossible to catch them. And since they have no fear of cars, they are quite likely to run out in front of a car before the owners or driver has time to react.
Basenjis require a great deal of time and attention, as any breed of dog does. If you have any problem with the idea of crating, the Basenji breed is definitely not for you. They are known to dig and chew a bit more than other breeds, especially in the puppy stage. Uncrated they will destroy property and, as highly intelligent as they are, they do not understand the monetary value of your possessions.
In spite of everything I have said above, I would not trade my Peaches for anything in the world. She gives and receives love like no other animal on earth. She is truly sorry for all the grief she has caused me by chewing my antiques, brushes, razors, books, money, underwear and anything else I have not put away. She has taught me more lessons than I will ever teach her. I know I will always have a much more tidy house as long as Peaches is with me.