The Basenji

The Basenji is a small short haired hunting dog that originated from Africa. It is considered as one of the oldest breed of dogs around. This dog used to accompany African tribesman during their hunting expeditions because of their keen eyesight, above average speed and a well-developed sense of smell. From Africa, the Basenji’s were given as gifts to pharaohs in Egypt and as time passed they were brought to England, eventually making their way to America.

This dog is generally characterized by its short stature and lightly built body. Having a wrinkled forehead, almond shaped eyes and small pointed ears while having a tail set high and curled gives it a balance of elegance, alertness and cuteness.

A Basenji’s coat is short and fine, and their color vary from chestnut red, pure black or a combination of chestnut red, black and white. They usually have white fur on their feet, chest and the tip of their tail. Due to their short coat, grooming this breed can be somewhat of a breeze, generally requiring an occasional bath, a quick once over with a brush and regular nail trimming to avoid any discomfort to the dog while it’s walking or running.

This dog is quite well-known for not having that doggy smell and can sometimes act just like cats because they have a habit of cleaning themselves, which adds to the dogs appeal. With its short fur, occasional shedding can be expected from this breed which should be considered by those who are suffering from allergies or those who live with people who have them.

A male Basenji can grow to a height of around 17 inches while a female one would be around 16 inches. Their weight should be about 24 pounds and 22 pounds for male and female respectively. With their size, they tend to be the right fit for people who can’t decide between either an indoor or outdoor pet. A Basenji’s life expectancy is around 13 to 14 years, but with proper care and constant checkups they can certainly live beyond that.

Basenjis are among the breed of dogs that are quite independent and smart. They are capable of cleaning themselves just like cats. A high level of energy should be expected from this breed giving way to a very active dog. They require a lot of regular exercise to keep them from getting too bored, playing with them over a long period of time is a good way to lessen these dogs’ boredom.

If they don’t burn off their excess energy throughout the day they are inclined to turn to destructive activities such as chewing. However, it is also recommended to never let them run loose since they are prone to running off due to their urge to chase anything that catches their attention. They are quick so you may have a hard time trying to catch up to them. This dog can be a good match for athletic types who always want to be on their feet.

Socialization and training is a must for this dog due to their energy and love for mischief. Basenjis learn readily since they are quite intelligent but they also lose focus easily. Each training session should only last about five to ten minutes. This breed is just at the boundary of being hard and easy to train, so a little patience always goes a long way.

Being alert and careful around strangers are two of the common characteristics of this breed since they are very territorial. They prefer to be the first ones to approach an unfamiliar person instead of the other way around. But when it comes to people they already know, they usually tend to become social and interactive.

With a lot of excess energy, even though this dog is on the small side for its size, it won’t be a good fit for closed off living spaces such as an apartment. They best suit a place with a backyard or even a small outdoor space where it can run around is much more suitable for this breed of dog. It is also more of a match for owners who are active in their lifestyle since timid people might find this dog a handful.

The Basenji is also known as the “barkless dog”, it makes noises much similar to yodelling instead of the usual barking noise that other dogs make. So if a dog with a unique bark, high levels energy, and a fondness for cleaning itself is what you prefer then maybe the Basenji would be a right fit for you.



Energy Level


Good with kids