The Basenji!

The Basenji, also known as the Congo dog, is a primitive breed known for its ability to make a variety of sounds, except for normal barking. Its mood determines if it will howl, snarl, crow, or yodel. This small breed has an elegant look about it, despite its athletic tendencies. It has small eyes, straight ears, a wrinkled forehead, and a tail that curls up on its back. It has strong, long legs that give it the speed and sprinting pace similar to a horse’s.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
10 to 13 years

Energy Level:
Higher than average.

Living Conditions:
Flexible. Warm climates preferred.

Does not bark. However, it can howl, snarl, crow, or yodel.

Exercise Needs:
Alternate between long walks and vigorous yard play.

Breed Group:


15 to 17 inches

20 to 26 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Red, black and brindle, black and tan, or copper

National breed club:
The Basenji Club of America

Basenji Skills

The Basenji was a pack hunter for the native tribes of Africa, and after its discovery by English hunters in the 1800s, several attempts to bring it back to Europe were made, despite its vulnerability to sickness. The first successful attempt came in the 1930s, and prompted its further journey to America, where it gradually gathered recognition as a show dog and companion. This breed is still used as a forest guide and pack-hunter in Africa, but also well liked as a competitor in lure coursing.

Basenji Personality

The Basenji may be too lively a hound, and has been observed to have feline characteristics, including its shrewd and curious style, and rigid, aloof and autonomous nature. This breed loves to chase and play, and is highly trainable. Chewing is also a common habit with this breed, so chew toys would be useful. With enough socialization, the Basenji makes an enjoyable pet, though should be handled by adults and older, more careful children.

Exercise Needs

This breed needs a consistent daily workout to keep it from gaining weight and becoming sluggish. Try a combination of long walks and exhilarating games to meet its mental and physical needs.

Living Conditions

With its short coat, this breed does best in warmer climates, as it tends to be unhappy in wet weather. Apartment life is okay for this breed, as well as access to a small yard. The Basenji likes to have company and live quite harmoniously with others of its kind. It also likes to spend its day between the home and the yard.

Grooming Requirements

This breed can very well take care of its own grooming, though the little hair it sheds may need to be brushed out occasionally.

Health Issues

The Basenji is known to be susceptible to kidney ailments, particularly the Fanconi syndrome, as well as eye ailments and intestinal disorders.

If you liked this dog… might also like the Pharaoh hound, a medium-sized breed, which, like the Basenji, has a resemblance to ancient Egyptian dog illustrations.


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