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Shibas and Basenjis
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    This just made me laugh, so I thought I'd share.

    I was at the Akita speciality show today. I was happy to see one Shiba--he was along for the ride with his owner who was showing her Akitas. (and he looked pretty grumpy about being with those "other" dogs!)

    But I was even more happy to see quite a number of Basenjis, who weren't showing today, but will be tomorrow. I was noticing how their mannerisms are so like my girl Shiba's mannerisms, and what smart looking dogs they are (they look like they have a plan. All the time!)

    Anyway, I said to my friend that I was with that I really did want a Basenji some day. A woman grooming her Akita looked at me and said "No you don't. They are terrors. You should make sure you know a lot about them before getting one." (Always good advice, of course!)

    I said "I have Shibas." She looked at me with a bit of pity, then laughed, and said "Nevermind then. You'd be just fine with a Basenji."

    And a little later I was talking to a woman with a fox terrier, and when I told her I had Shibas, she said they might even be "worse" than her fox "terrorist" as she called him!

    Shibas and Basenjis, the terrors of the dog world!
    Post edited by curlytails at 2012-06-01 04:07:23
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Haha. You know I appreciate this cute story. =)

    We saw a woman at the park today with three Basenjis and a Shiba. And a dachshund-terrier mix.

    I remember going through an adoption application for fox terrier rescue and thinking some of the questions they asked were pretty intense -- and reminded me a lot of my experiences with Bowdu. Terriers have a reputation!

    Another combo I see a lot is Shibas and Huskies. It makes sense, at least superficially!
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    My vet is always saying "why don't you get a nice golden retriever?" (She usually says this while stitching up one of the Shibas). I pointed out that she had no room to talk as she has fox terriers. She did finally concede that point to me.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    A breeder friend in Shibas also boards Basenji. The only thing she didn't like was the musky smell from the intact males, but were darling otherwise.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • teehee. i'm sorry, but i'm not that familiar with the other nihon ken... so are akitas more behaved (lol) than shibas?
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    The one Basenji I've met so far (Helios) was pretty chill. He and Conker got along great since they were so "eh, whatever" about everything. The woman who owned him agreed that he, just like Conker, was a bad representation of what their breeds truly are! She and I both have to explain to other people that our dogs are NOT normal for their breeds, and are one in a thousand in terms of chill-ness.
    So many people say "I want a Shibu Ibu now!" (bad spelling intentional) after meeting Conker despite his stranger shyness, and Helois's owner said many people say the same thing but about Basenji's to her.
    That's the cue for the explanation of what a Shiba or Basenji truly is, and people often rethink it after that.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    I find my Akita to be much easier than the Shibas. He's easier to train, partially because he's much more interested in trying to figure out what I want him to do. He wants to be with me more, too. Probably non NK people would find him slightly aloof, but for me, he's a good mix....he'll follow me and lay down near me but not touching me, like near the sofa if I'm on it, or under the table if I've there. A lot of the American Akitas I've run into who have good temperaments are like him--they're kind of goofy, and calm and confident around people, and pretty willing to please. Not like a lab or anything, but certainly more like that than a Shiba. The Akitas at the show were much more friendly than Shibas, too. A couple came up to me and dropped their big old heads in my lap for me to pet them (while they tried to root around in my pocket for a treat!), and several of them jumped up's kind of annoying, but very typical of a friendly Akita to want to put their paws on your shoulder and lick you on the face!

    I talked with one of the Shiba owners today. Her little girl is named Pepper and she's a top bitch, but I totally forgot who her breeder was....but anyway, she was pretty sweet, but I noticed like every Shiba in the show we say, she struggled a bit with getting on the table and standing for the judge. The basenjis did the same thing, and both Shibas and Basenjis gave that characteristic "shake" afterwards, as if shaking off the hands of strangers! Anyway, I was telling this Shiba person how much I was enjoying the Basenjis, and she said what I've heard so many Shiba people say: well, they're kind of like shorthaired Shibas, and if you can handle a Shiba you can handle a Basenji!

    I have to admit I was totally in love with the Basenjis. I've always kind of wanted one, and today just made me want more. Maybe someday!
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2011-05-15 00:00:20
  • RyanRyan
    Posts: 293
    My old man has always owned basenjis and I grew up around them. I've thought about one often as a companion for Bella- lovely dogs, pretty much a more docile short haired shiba.
    Bella (Sherae Aka Akicho) | F | Born 27/1/2012
    Suki (Aust. Ch. Betlin Takaisuki) | M | Born 03/02/2005, adopted 10/09/2012
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I had narrowed it down to shiba or basenji when I'd decided to get a dog and still think it could be my second dog, they are gorgeous. I'd love to read more about peoples' experience with them. Juni's met and played really well with a few.
  • We've had some Basenjis at our dog park. They and the Shibas play well together.

    Maybe I should consider a Basenji in the future. They have been on my "short list" of other breeds I might like to have, along with Corgis and medium sized NKs.

    Sukoshi has been kind of subdued since Hoshi passed away, so I've considered getting another companion dog for us. Last weekend I took her to the local SPCA and did a doggie social to see if she would get along with another dog. The other dog was a very cute, lively little Pom/Chi mix. Well, she totally ignored him, even when he sniffed her nose. So this wasn't a good match and he didn't go home with us. Guess she wants another Shiba or maybe just wants to be the Shiba princess again. (Note: The little guy was adopted by someone else the next day!)
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    I do think Shibas and Basenjis go well together, but obviously I'm biased. ;)

    Our seven-year-oldish Basenji female Bowpi is about as old as Bowdu, but we've only had her for about two years. So I'm no expert, but I've gotten a chance to meet a bunch of other Basenjis in the meantime (including an upcoming "fun day" held by the regional breed club in Livermore TOMORROW, @sukoshi's mom if you're interested I can message you details). I think it's a great breed with a supportive group of enthusiasts, breeders, and rescue. I definitely hope to always have a Basenji around.

    That said, I think our female is a bit atypical. She's quite gentle, which we've noticed is not usually the case with other females B's. Same-sex aggression warnings seem to hold more true for female B's, though there are always individual exceptions.

    She's a HUGE snuggler, which I've learned is not atypical at all. Bowdu will snuggle, sure, but he doesn't seek physical attention the way Bowpi does. I never thought I was much into lapdogs, but I have to admit that it's incredibly endearing to have a dog who makes you feel like your company is richly desired. =)

    Both are really obstinate and difficult to train, in accordance with their reputations. Positive reinforcement and gentle handling go much further than aversive methods -- Basenji breeders knew this and recommended this even in books from the 1950s. I honestly don't do much training, so I can't actually speak much on this score. But I wouldn't call either breed "eager to please." Bowdu is very rewards-driven, and responds well enough to what I want him to do. Bowpi, on the other hand, is... not sure how to describe it... environmentally sensitive in such a way that her focus seems permanently shot. For example, take a simple command like sit -- she HATES to sit on bare tiles, so even if you're dangling a whole fish in front of her face, she WON'T do it. She'd rather run up to the futon, sit briefly there, then run back to check that you're following with the fish... *laugh*

    Anyway, I have a lot of respect for Basenji breeders in general, as they have been transparent and proactive about health issues in a way that I find refreshing. Make no mistake that this breed is plagued with some serious health issues owing to a limited number of founding dogs. And there have been dips and rises when dealing with these issues. But at least from what I've seen in my limited perspective as a "pet person" in the U.S., breeders have tried to act as a group to push health changes while still holding onto the breed. They've sponsored health surveys to establish a sense of what to focus on, set up a breed-specific health foundation, etc. They've pushed to develop a DNA test for Fanconi, an incurable simple recessive kidney disease that is prevalent in the breed but could easily be eliminated with proper testing and breeding. They lobbied the AKC to open the studbooks twice so that new Basenjis from Africa could be imported and help diversify the gene pool, a task which is logistically and politically fraught with more difficulties than importing any Nihon ken.

    And like I mentioned, there is great unity in the national breed rescue network (specifically the US here), which always tries to work with original breeders to take back their dogs (unless a puppy mill), and really strives hard to ensure good rescue placements -- in part because they have the luxury to be picky, working with a relatively uncommon breed. You hear some extremely sad stories too, but overall, Basenjis are somewhat protected from the kinds of heartbreaking rescue stories you hear happening to Shibas over... and over... and over. It's worth considering, I think, when you're looking at the breed as a whole.

    (Sorry so long.)
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
    Post edited by curlytails at 2012-06-15 18:11:23
  • @curlytails-

    Thanks for the all the info on Basenjis. Would have to weigh their health issues, since I am still up to eyeballs in Sukoshi's health issues (heart, small liver for her size).

    We have our Shiba meetup tomorrow in early AM (good because of heat!) Thanks for offer about the Basenji fun day.

    I think I'm going to "relax" on getting another dog, since Sukoshi didn't appear to be wildly enthusiastic about the option. My attitude is that the dog will appear when the time is right. (Kind of like the old adage-- when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.)
  • koyukikoyuki
    Posts: 1244
    My partners sister has a basenji, who i am yet to meet but apparently she is a bit of a nasty pasty! She also had a basenji that she showed while they she was a teenager, aswell as the family's Akitas and shiba, and that Basenji (rosie) wasnt the nicest either. My father in law tells me that all the Akitas hated her, as she would always stir them up then prance around like a princess afterwards. The only dog that ended up tolerating Rosie was Red, their sesame shiba, which is lucky because they outlived the Akitas and were the only two dogs living there for years! These are the stories i hear while my partner tries to convince me to someday get a Basenji! We are planning on getting another dog some day, but i am set on another NK.
    Koyuki - red female
    Takeo- cream male
    Kenji- black and tan male
    Suma- sesame female
    Haruki-brindle Japanese Akita Inu
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    @sukoshi's mom, that's somewhat my approach, too -- "the dog will appear when the time is right." I think, having your ear to the ground w/ the rescue networks too, you're in tune and an opportunity WILL come up, sooner or later. Sukoshi will let you know. =)

    On health issues, at least some of the most severe, scary issues (like Fanconi, Hemolytic Anemia) are simple recessives and there are DNA tests available. Conscientious breeders WILL test, so it really doesn't need to be a concern if the proper testing has been done prior to breeding. Apparently there are some other major eye issues -- not glaucoma so much as PPM and PRA -- that I don't have any experience with, but the "good" breeders whose pups have come down with such conditions have been diligent about following up on pedigrees so they can make appropriate choices. I first learned to watch for symptoms of hypothyroidism from Basenji people because it occurs often enough in the breed that they know to look for it, and are quick to recommend thyroid testing if any of the signs show up. No breed is without health problems, but I'm learning that how the members within a breed group are willing and able to talk about health problems provides such a huge support system -- you WANT these issues to be acknowledged openly so everyone can be more informed.

    The main structural issue that I can think of that would have a direct effect on health is dental health -- which is a concern with all sighthounds, due to the way their mouths are shaped. I find it really hard to keep up with Bowpi's runaway breath and may end up having to shell out more for full dental cleanings in her lifetime than Bowdu will EVER need...

    And as for temperament, LOL @koyuki's "nasty pasty" comment. I didn't know just how atypical Bowpi was until I started meeting other Basenjis as a group, and also strangers would comment to me that all the Basenjis they used to know were really mean. Apparently they had this reputation for being really sharp, temperamental, snarky critters, especially in earlier decades -- sounds familiar? =) Some breeders I've asked about this specific issue have mentioned that they've seen a change over time, but I think it still depends on the breeder's priorities and how much consideration they actually give to temperament alongside everything else.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • @curlytails- For dental health, you might want to try " Get Naked" available at PETCO in different varieties (joint health, digestive, etc.) Sukoshi gets the glucosamine/chondroitin due to her hip dysplasia. She really likes it and her teeth seem pretty clean according to recent vet exam.
  • Sarah_Jay12Sarah_Jay12
    Posts: 316
    @Curlytails, You mentioned that Sibes & Shibas make sense together superficially - can i ask what you meant by that?

    I'm sorry for it being sort of off topic, but Maggie seems to adore my best friend's 2 yr old husky, which makes us very happy because we would love to get a husky as well. Bad idea?
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    @Sarah_Jay12, I just meant that there are a lot of similar physical qualities about the two breeds that seems to draw people who are interested in dogs of a certain form. Both are spitz types with an intense, distinctly "wild" look (replace "Looks like a fox!" with "Looks like a wolf!"), resemblance of fur and face. But they were bred to do very different things, and I personally find that they differ quite significantly by temperament, though I've never lived with a Sibe. Bowdu would NEVER let me. *laugh*

    That said, there are lots of folks including on this forum who manage both quite well. But I do think it would be a mistake to think of one as a smaller or bigger version of the other, as I so often hear from casual conversations. With due diligence and a willingness to regard them as ultimately different breeds with different needs, I think it can be a winning combination -- just as any others can be, if you know your specific dog(s).

    @sukoshi's mom, I haven't tried Get Naked, but Bowpi does get daily supplements of PlaqueOff, which has different ingredients but does something similar. I also brush her teeth, scale her teeth with a metal scraper (still hard to reach her back molars), give her raw meaty bones and dental chews. We do what we can! Veterinary prices being what they are in California, I hate the idea of having to regard full dental work as a semi-regular expense... but it is what it is. I have heard of B's and other sighthounds with CUPS that basically HAVE to get their teeth professionally cleaned every six months. Yikes!
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
    Post edited by curlytails at 2012-06-17 13:38:46
  • Sarah_Jay12Sarah_Jay12
    Posts: 316
    @Curlytails, thanks for the explanation! Will definitely keep that in mind! David and I have always been very drawn to Spitz-type dogs and were so thrilled to find a breed so unique as a Shiba for our home now. Hopefully when the time is right (definitely a bigger townhome/house? Comes first), we'll be able to add a Husky to our little pack.

    (Or an Akita... that's what Ill be rooting for... lol)

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