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:
10 to 13 years
Higher than average.
Flexible. Warm climates preferred.
Does not bark. However, it can howl, snarl, crow, or yodel.
Alternate between long walks and vigorous yard play.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
This breed can very well take care of its own grooming, though the little hair it sheds may need to be brushed out occasionally.
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…
...you might also like the Pharaoh hound, a medium-sized breed, which, like the Basenji, has a resemblance to ancient Egyptian dog illustrations.