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breed
breed

Basenji

avatarAlanna Mallory, BS, LVT, VTS (SAIM)

Height16 - 17"
Weight22 - 24 lbs
TypeHound
Life Expectancy12 - 16 years
Area of OriginAfrica

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

The Basenji is an Egyptian sighthound and scenthound that has been around for over 5,000 years. They cannot bark and are, therefore, known as the "barkless dog." Instead, they vocalize by yodeling or chortling. They're known for their elegant appearance and intelligence, as well as a catlike aloofness and cleanliness. However, you won't find this breed napping all day like a cat. They are tireless, requiring constant stimulation and exercise to keep them from becoming destructive. The Basenji is very cautious of strangers and does best in a household with older children (as long as properly socialized) or adults. Early socialization and obedience training are recommended, though training can prove difficult for this curious little breed, as they are independent and lose interest quickly. They groom themselves regularly and curiously lack the typical doggy smell.

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

Where Are Basenjis From?

The Basenji has been around as long as the Egyptian Pyramids, and their image has been captured by artists for over 4,000 years. The earliest Basenjis were gifted to the Pharaohs and the breed’s resourcefulness has sustained them over centuries. After the fall of Ancient Egypt, these sight- and scenthounds remained in central Africa as successful hunting dogs for tribesman, but were unknown to the rest of the world.

There is mention of a pair of Basenjis in England that were brought from the African bush by an explorer in 1895. They were called the African Bush Dog, but succumbed to distemper soon after their arrival. In 1937, a pair of Basenjis were brought to New York City by Mrs. Byron Rogers, whose only surviving male dog was successfully bred a few years later. Subsequently, the Basenji Club of America was founded in 1942, and the breed became registered in the AKC Stud Book in 1943. To sustain the breed in the States, American breeders ventured to Zaire in 1987 to import more Basenjis in hopes of widening the gene pool.

A Basenji received Best in Show at the Crufts international dog show in 2001.

Where Are Basenjis From?

The Basenji has been around as long as the Egyptian Pyramids, and their image has been captured by artists for over 4,000 years. The earliest Basenjis were gifted to the Pharaohs and the breed’s resourcefulness has sustained them over centuries. After the fall of Ancient Egypt, these sight- and scenthounds remained in central Africa as successful hunting dogs for tribesman, but were unknown to the rest of the world.

There is mention of a pair of Basenjis in England that were brought from the African bush by an explorer in 1895. They were called the African Bush Dog, but succumbed to distemper soon after their arrival. In 1937, a pair of Basenjis were brought to New York City by Mrs. Byron Rogers, whose only surviving male dog was successfully bred a few years later. Subsequently, the Basenji Club of America was founded in 1942, and the breed became registered in the AKC Stud Book in 1943. To sustain the breed in the States, American breeders ventured to Zaire in 1987 to import more Basenjis in hopes of widening the gene pool.

A Basenji received Best in Show at the Crufts international dog show in 2001.

Care

What Kind of Diet Does a Basenji Need?

These energetic little dogs need to stay trim to maintain their hunting ability, and require a diet built for their lifestyle and specific age group. Monitoring weight and caloric intake is also essential.

Caring for a Basenji

What Kind of Diet Does a Basenji Need?

How Much Grooming Does a Basenji Need?

Are Basenjis Healthy Dogs?

How Much Training Does a Basenji Need?

How Much Exercise Does a Basenji Need?

What Kind of Diet Does a Basenji Need?

These energetic little dogs need to stay trim to maintain their hunting ability, and require a diet built for their lifestyle and specific age group. Monitoring weight and caloric intake is also essential.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of a Basenji?

Basenjis stand anywhere between 16″ and 17″ tall (based on gender) and weigh 22 – 24 pounds. They are small, hunting dogs with short, shiny coats. Their wrinkled foreheads, erect ears, and curled tails are characteristic of the breed. They move in an elegant manner and have an intelligent expression upon their faces.

Basenjis have dark hazel or dark brown almond-shaped eyes and wrinkled foreheads, caused by their triangular and erect ears.

The Basenji has a small to medium-sized build. They should be trim with a well-defined waist.

Yes, the Basenji tail curls forward to either side. It is white at the tip and set high on the hind end.

The Basenji’s forelimbs are long and straight. Their toes are arched and small. Dewclaws are typically removed.

Basenjis can be black, brindle, chestnut red, or tri-color (pure black and chestnut red). All colors include white markings on the feet, chest, and tail tip. Their haircoats are short, smooth, and shiny.

Their hindlimbs are muscular and parallel. Toes are arched and dewclaws are removed.

Basenji Facts

1

The Basenji has many different names, one of which is M'bwa M'kubwa M'bwa Wanwitu, meaning "the jumping up and down dog."

2

The Basenji only has one breeding season per year, much like its relative, the wolf.

3

Since Basenjis are barkless dogs, making them silent hunters, they have been known to don bells to alert their owners to their whereabouts.

Other Breeds to Explore

Choosing an Ibizan Hound
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Choosing a Boerboel - Boerboel Breed Profile

References

  • Morris, Desmond. Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. Trafalgar Square, 2002.
  • American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. Random House Digital, Inc., 2006.
  • Wilcox, Bonnie and Chris Walkowicz. The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World. T.F.H Publications, Inc., 1995.
  • Basenji Dog Breed Information. American Kennel Club, 2020.
  • Update on Fanconi Syndrome and Cystinuria. World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress, 2015.

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