AKC Dog Breeds: Basenji

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Hound Group
Height: 15-17 inches   Weight: 20-26  pounds  Color: Chestnut red, pure black, tricolor, or brindle

Prized for its hunting prowess in its native Central Africa, the first specimens of the Basenji were brought from the source of the Nile as presents to the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The breed wasn’t successfully introduced in England until 1937, and the first litter of Basenji puppies raised to maturity in America was in 1941.The Basenji was registered with the AKC in 1944.  In Africa, the natives use him for pointing, retrieving and driving game into nets .A poised, elegant hunting dog from Africa, the Basenji is smoothly muscular and moves with ease and agility. He is lightly built and possesses a wrinkled head and a high, curled tail. The Basenji is commonly known as the "barkless dog," but when excited, he makes a noise that sounds like a yodel.

General Appearance
A handsome and athletically built dog, the Basenji is small in size, and has an eager, alert, and intelligent expression. The Basenji dog breed is a small but striking hound breed. The Basenji breed's really striking characteristics are a slim body and long legs, made even more prominent by a coat of short hair. The back is level; the legs are long, and the forehead is furrowed with wrinkles, giving it a worried look. The ears are straight and open in the front and its tail is set high and curls up over and slightly to either side of the back. Its eyes are small and almond shaped.  Perhaps most endearing to Basenjis' next-door neighbors is the fact that they tend not to bark. One of the oldest dog breeds, Basenjis have even been depicted on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs.


The Basenji is alert, affectionate, energetic and curious. It loves to play and makes a good pet, as long as it is handled regularly from an early age. It is very intelligent, responds well to training with a strong desire to please. The Basenji is known for his fastidious habits and being full of play and activity. Because he often worked out of sight of hunters, he can tend to be independent and aloof and prefers to meet strangers on his own terms. The breed is not always suited to younger children that may tease it, and should only be housed with other pets if he has been properly socialized. The Basenji can have a dominant streak too, and can be manipulative sometimes, and is therefore best suited to more experienced dog owners. The Basenji can be wary in nature, and although they don't bark they can - and do - make other sounds including plenty of whining.


Basenjis, unlike many other dogs require very little grooming other than the normal brushing. He will love being brushed, however, as they are always craving attention from their owner. They wash and clean themselves like cats, always licking themselves clean. Unbelievable to some, the Basenji does not smell so they require little bathing as well. Many owners say they only bathe their Basenji every couple of months if needed. This breed sheds little to no hair. They are the ideal dog for someone with allergies. Basenji dogs do have sensitive skin, so be cautious about using strong flea shampoos.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
This breed is prone to Fanconi's syndrome (kidney problems), which must be treated the moment the symptoms are noticed. Also, they are susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy, intestinal, and eye problems. The life expectancy of the Basenji is around thirteen years

Activity Level
Basenji dogs need as much exercise as you can possibly give them. They are highly energetic dogs that need more than just an occasional walk around the block. They are very playful dogs that need much play time and exercise to release some of their energy that they seem to consistently possess. If they don't get the exercise they need, they will exert it in negative ways such as chewing and destroying whatever they find. The temperament and disposition of the Basenji is patient and eager to please, but respond much better with older children than young. In addition to all their energy, they love to run and climb so you will need a very high fence (at least 6 feet) if you have hopes of keeping your Basenji in. They are very loving dogs with their owners, but need to have constant attention and human contact. Many owners say that their Basenji is like a 2-year-old child with their demands for attention and if they don't get it, they make you regret it by being destructive.


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