There are many who would like to have a dog but are turned off by their dependence or the thought of pet odors and allergies. While there are a number of breeds that can offer less in the way of neediness or smells, the Basenji is a breed that offers these and a number of other benefits all in one package. This is because their bloodline is more African wild dog than anything else. Those who have never been able to call themselves dog people often appreciate the Basenji's independent mindset and lack of doglike odor.
As many have come to find, the Basenji is a reasonably sized dog with a cat's demeanor. A Basenji is one that often determines when and how much attention it actually wants to receive. While they can enjoy having their owner's time and attention, they are not wholly dependent on their owner's opinion of them. Those looking for a lap dog will be sorely disappointed in the Basenji. While training helps, the wild dog in them needs room to roam and they rarely wait on anyone's permission to do anything. This independent mindset is best for those who also have an independent mindset of their own.
Whether serving as greeting or a warning to others nearby, a dog's bark is a natural trait that serves many purposes. However, poor conditioning can lead to constant barking creating a great source of aggravation. Those who have had negative experiences dealing with barking dogs may find it reason enough to avoid having one at all. The Basenji is the only breed of dog that does not bark. It does, however, vocalize in howls, yips, chortles and growls. This can offer a comforting alternative to those who prefer a quieter dog and do not mind their alternative methods of communication.
One of the most attractive features of the Basenji is its penchant for cleanliness. In the wild where dogs hunt for themselves, it is important to mask or have as little odor as possible in order to stalk game. Unlike most domesticated dogs, the Basenji still keeps this trait and has no doggy odor. It devotes a great amount of time to personal hygiene and is not fond of unkempt environments. Much like a cat, they also detest water which can make giving them the occasional bath a trial.
The only doglike trait that will need great consideration is the Basenji's need to chew. Even well into adulthood, Basenjis have a strong urge to work their jaws by gnawing and chomping. There are a number of chew toys made of sturdy materials that can efficiently accommodate this need. In the long run, those looking for a good balance of companionship and autonomy will find just what they are looking for in the Basenji.