Pit bulls are a strong and agile breed that make for great pets and companions, especially if your family loves being active and outdoorsy. But the great thing about pit bulls, apart from their impressive characteristics, is that they also make wonderful parents and lend some of their best traits when they are interbred.
Several pit bull mix breeds are popular among dog lovers. The Basenji and pit bull mix—Pitsenji—however, is a relatively new and unique combination. The following is a brief profile of this breed.
Basenji Pitbull Mix: At a Glance
- Height: 15 to 17 inches
- Weight: 25 to 40 lb
- Appearance: Medium-sized short hair dog with facial features resembling a pit bull, and perky ears resembling a Basenji
- Temperament: Friendly and affectionate, but with an independent streak
- Life Span: 10 to 14 years
- Group: Mix
- Most Suitable For: Families, larger apartments or houses
The Basenji Pit Bull mix breed, commonly referred to as a Pitsenji (and will be referred to as such from hereon), is a cross-breed between the American Pit Bull Terrier and the hound breed of Basenji.
Both parent breeds have an impressive short coat and an agile, strong body. The Terrier and Hound groups are both known for their sharpness and proclivity to hunt. While the Pit Bull Terrier was developed in the 19th century and finds its origins in England, Scotland and Ireland, the Basenji is a hunting dog from Africa.
Together, the two breeds create an agile and independent mix breed that also makes for a great companion dog. Pitsenjis also have a short coat like their parents and a curious and inquisitive streak—again, something they get from both parents. It would be difficult to put a finger on when Pitsenjis came into being officially.
The breed is relatively new and is yet to be recognized by many kennel associations. However, they have certainly proven to be a successful and healthy instance of these two dogs cross breeding.
Caring for a Basenji Pit Bull Mix
Pitsenjis are strong and independent dogs that do not require constant attention like some smaller dogs might. Their coat is short, so you do not have to worry about shedding or giving them frequent trims. They do, however, come from an inquisitive hunting ancestry so it is important to keep them engaged.
They also require some exercise every day so they can maintain their strength and agility. The following are some of the areas you may have to pay attention to while taking care of a Pitsenji dog.
Diet and Nutrition
Ideally, a Pitsenji dog should be fed two to three times a day. There are no special dietary restrictions or requirements for the breed. Like with any other breed, you will have to play by the ear with your dog and see what they respond to.
Having said that, the general thumb rule is to give them at least two dry meals a day (1.5 cups). There are various kinds of dog foods in the market. Pay attention to see what your dog takes to in particular.
Of course, the dietary needs of the dog will change as they grow older so it is advisable to work with a veterinarian to figure out a customized food plan for your dog. In any case, the key is to observe your dog and see what they enjoy.
Since the breed is a mix between a terrier and a hound, it goes without saying that they will require socialization from an early age. The Pitsenji does retain many of its hunting traits and curiosity from its hound parent. This might mean that you will not be able to have them in the house along with other pets, especially non-canines. Early socialization may help, but they are not always the friendliest towards other animals.
Pitsenjis can also be great companion dogs for families with small children, but socialization is extremely important. Even with the right kind of training, it is recommended that you do not leave the pooch with a baby alone to avoid any accidents.
Pitsenjis are loyal dogs who love to please their owners, so they should not be difficult to train. But they can also have an independent personality so it is important to establish your authority from the start, while they are still pups.
You will also have to create a conducive environment for their training and socialization. Every dog will respond to training differently, but it may be useful to have some treats on hand and give them positive reinforcement when they behave well.
It is important to note that like their parents, Pitsenjis do not like being lap dogs though they can be affectionate and cuddly. You will often find them leaning on you as a sign of affection. If this is something you do not want to encourage, you can train them to not do it while you’re sitting on an expensive sofa or on the bed. However, this is the essence of their personality and how they show affection to their family, so it is advisable to manage the trait but not curb it entirely.
Related: Are Pitbulls Smart?
Again, the offspring of a hound and a terrier is naturally going to be energetic, inquisitive and agile. This means that Pitsenjis need to be kept engaged or they will become restless and possibly even destructive.
You will need to play several physical games with them, in addition to taking them on walks at least twice a day. This also means that Pitsenjis thrive best in a larger space and may not be the best option if you live in a small apartment. They love a good backyard or garden to run around in, and the more floor space you can clear out in your home for them to play around, the better it is. Since they are also curious dogs, taking them out to the park or letting them interact with other dogs is a good way to socialize them. This is the first step to teaching them how to be when they are in public or around strangers.
It would be advisable to take them to open spaces where you can take them off their leash so they can satisfy their curiosity and expend their energy. This gives them the right kind of exercise and also keeps their mind sharp. The trick to managing a Pitsenji is not to subdue their curiosity but to channel it in the right places.
A healthy Pitsenji dog can live up to 14 years. Typically, they do not have any serious health ailments but may inherit some issues from their parents. Again, hounds and terriers are small to medium-sized dogs that are generally healthy and not associated with too many ailments.
However, retinal atrophy may be one of the ailments your Pitsenji could inherit from the Basenji. This ailment is associated with the bilateral degeneration of the retina and progressive loss of vision.
Pitsenji is a short-haired dog that does not shed too much. You do not need to brush their hair out too often as the hair is short, though it is important to keep the coat clean. Maintaining the coat is not very difficult as you only need to give them a good wash every now and then, but do not have to spend too much money on hair trimming or shaving. You also will not need to invest in covers for your furniture or car seat, as the Pitsenji will not shed hair like many longer hair dogs might.
Where to Get a Pitsenji?
Pitsenjis are not recognized by the American Kennel Association and are a relatively new breed. This means that you are unlikely to find them easily at dog shelters. If you are keen on adding a Pitsenji to your family, it would be advisable to contact families that already own the breed from whom you can discuss adopting or buying the puppies.
If you do this, however, it is important to check the documents of the parent breeds so that you are aware of the dog’s mix and any possible personality traits you may need to know when you bring the puppy home. Since this is not a widely regulated or established breed, it is not always possible to find the perfect mix as one reads on paper. But this is certainly a bread that will change your life.
The information that has been provided above is a way to acquaint you with this impressive breed. From what you know so far, the Pitsenji is a friendly, loving and curious breed that harbor many of their parents’ traits. This means that they may not be the friendliest towards other non-canine animals and pets and may be weary of strangers. But with the right kind of training and socialization, you can certainly manage many of these traits.
So if you live in a moderately large home, have kids in the family and want to add a new member, a Pitsenji is the perfect family dog to bring home!