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  #1  
Old 05-02-2011, 09:36 PM
ChrisWB ChrisWB is offline
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Default Breed advice: Basenji or Shetland Sheepdog.

Hey everyone, I've been a member for 5 years but have never posted. Go figure!

My beautiful long-haired dachshund passed away last year and the house has felt empty; living alone is hard to adapt to after living with a dog! I've been on the lookout for a sweet, healthy puppy to add to the family and two local breeders have caught my eye.

One breeder breeds and shows Basenjis. His dogs are absolutely beautiful, and they're wonderfully trained. However, the stories that I have heard and read about the basenji breed leads me to believe this is the exception to the rule.

The second breeder breeds Shetland Sheepdogs on his ranch. He's not a backyard breeder, but he does not seriously show his dogs. The dogs themselves have a fantastic lineage, a great health record, and friendly temperaments.

I have a small house with a large front and back yard. Both yards have a 8ft fence around them. I'd be with this dog for the vast majority of the day; he or she would be my work and travel buddy.

What breed would you guys recommend?
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:47 PM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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Depends on what you are looking for in a dog.

Basenjis are very independent. They can be trained but it takes a lot of consistent work. They also could take you or leave you, meaning they won't be your shadow. Cat-like is a true description of the breed.

I haven't ever owned a sheltie but herding dogs in general are very willing to work with you. I know shelties are a little more independent than say a border collie but not to the extreme of a basenji. These dogs are easier to train than basenjis but will require a lot more exercise/mental stimulation as well.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:49 PM
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Personally I could never have a basenji. Just not my type of dog. However, I've adored all my shelties. But shelties are definitely NOT the breed for everyone (or most) either.

What do you want in a dog specifically?
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:13 PM
ChrisWB ChrisWB is offline
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Sara and Laurelin,

Thank you for your replies. The description that Sara provided of Basenjis is true to what I've heard and read.

I'm looking for a dog that is bright, affectionate, non-threatening towards strangers (my college students), and adaptable. The dog should also be friendly towards other dogs. I would prefer a dog that's trainable which gives points in the Sheltie's favor.
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:53 PM
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I've met a few basenjis who are rather friendly and affectionate...obviously not the same friendly and affectionate towards strangers and even their owners as breeds like a lab or pit bull or something, but not a completely aloof cat-dog, either.

If you spend a significant amount of time with the breeders dogs and like their personalities, I say choose a dog based on that, rather than what you read in a book or on the internet or see from someone else's dogs.

By "trainable" do you mean you want a dog that's easily housebroken and taught to ride calmly in the car, etc. or do you want a dog to do tons of cute tricks or dog sports? Because a basenji probably isn't going to learn to roll over and fetch the paper, but you could certainly teach one basic commands and house rules.

I think a sheltie would be more likely to play with other dogs, but they might also try to herd them. The few basenjis I've known have been pretty aloof towards other dogs, but not aggressive at all.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:40 AM
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Aleron Aleron is offline
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I have probably been around more Basenjis than most non-Basenji owners. They are appealing little dogs in many ways - nice size, good looks, athletic, intelligent. But they can be extremely hard to motivate for training, are very independent and can quite reactive when upset. Many strongly dislike being confined and some can become quite destructive. Keep in mind they are a rather primitive breed. They are thought of as "the barkless dog", which makes people think they are quiet. They aren't at all quiet. They shriek...YouTube - Basenji Cell Phone Reaction
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:02 AM
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Another thing to consider is grooming/shedding. A sheltie is going to need to be brushed at least once a week, if not more, and sheds more than a basenji. Basenjis shed too, but not as bad and need less brushing/coat maintenance.
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:06 AM
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Basenjis on are on my 'someday' list. I really like them.

For training, sure they can be a challenge, but how much training do you need to do? I mean its one thing if you want a good companion that doesn't pee in the house, walks on a leash and does a few tricks, its another thing if you want to do dog sports...

Most I know are great family pets. Not for everyone for sure, but people own cats just fine and they are even less trainable. I would worry more about how YOU fit with these breeds as they are very different. Shelties are not for me at all (I have lived with one, she was sweet, but not for me) Too loud, too hairy, and often too busy (and yes this comes from a JRT breeder)
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:12 AM
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I also just re-read that you had a dachshund for many years...I think, having worked with both, though a few less basenjis, that they're not less trainable or more difficult to train than a dachshund.
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWB View Post
Sara and Laurelin,

Thank you for your replies. The description that Sara provided of Basenjis is true to what I've heard and read.

I'm looking for a dog that is bright, affectionate, non-threatening towards strangers (my college students), and adaptable. The dog should also be friendly towards other dogs. I would prefer a dog that's trainable which gives points in the Sheltie's favor.
Shelties are fantastic dogs. But they do bark a lot and are very vocal. And their coats require quite a bit of upkeep. The flip side of their trainability is that shelties were originally a herding breed and tend to need a 'job' to do. It doesn't have to be anything major, but you have to keep them busier than a lot of breeds. Sheltie can also have quite a bit of energy so they need some real exercise every day.

They can also be pretty aloof with strangers. Many shelties are shy, which is not correct for the breed, however, it is very common these days. I would be very careful to make sure the parents and lines your sheltie comes from are not overly timid. Fearfulness is a huge problem in the breed.

If you have any specific questions ask away! I had the breed over 16 years and there's quite a few other sheltie people around here.

Quote:
Shelties are not for me at all (I have lived with one, she was sweet, but not for me) Too loud, too hairy, and often too busy (and yes this comes from a JRT breeder)
I think that's funny. I didn't find my shelties to be very busy at all, at least compared to my papillons. I would say my shelties had the most adaptable energy level of any breed I've ever owned. Even as youngsters they seemed to turn off well (Beau is about the same age now that Nik and Trey were when we got the paps and he's about 10x the energy)
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