Basenji

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20-24 lbs
15-16"
Central Africa (Zaire and the Congo)
Congo Dog, Congo Terrier

The Basenji is described as a mischievous and lively breed with a “barkless” feature to his personality. The Basenji is said to have originated in Africa and became highly revered in Egypt. In Egypt, the Basenji was gifted to the pharaohs as a sign of respect and loyalty. The Basenji was known as a hunter who loved to hunt rats and other small rodents, also serving as a companion. The Basenji has a short, fine coat with pricked ears. His forehead is wrinkled, creating an expression of endless worry. The Basenji’s personality is described as being cat-like in regards to his independence and hygiene. The Basenji is known as an intelligent breed with a highly curious streak. The Basenji is fairly easy to maintain; his short coat would require weekly brushing with a curry brush to help reduce the amount of shedding.

Purpose
hunting small game
Date of Origin
ancient
Ancestry
african bush dog

Basenji Health

Average Size
Height: 16-17 inches Weight: 22-26 lbs
Height: 15-16 inches Weight: 20-24 lbs
Major Concerns
  • PRA
  • Fanconi Syndrome
  • Basenji Enteropathy
Minor Concerns
  • PPM
  • PK
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Dna Test For Pk
  • Fanconi Urine Test

Basenji Breed History

While the exact timeline of the Basenji is unknown, the Basenji ancestors were said to have originated in Central Africa. The origin of the breed name Basenji is derived from ancient Congo and Sudan dogs, with the word “Basenji” meaning “bush thing”. It is also said that the Basenji dog was presented to the pharaohs as gifts due to their companion status. While there are pictures of similar dogs in ancient Egypt, it is difficult to provide details as to whether the Basenji were the breeds depicted. The Basenji breed was introduced to England in the 1930. There had been attempts to bring the Basenji to England in 1895 but the dogs succumbed to distemper. In 1941, this canine was introduced to the United States as a pet and show breed, though the original purpose was to hunt small game. The Basenji would find its prey and lure it. The Basenji has appeared in some media in the past such as Goodbye, My Lady in 1956. In the movie, the Basenji is emphasized due to its signature yodel rather than traditional bark. Additional Basenjis were imported from Africa in the 80’s in order to help breed out hereditary problems and widen the gene pool. There was also a push to introduce more colors to the Basenji breed such as brindle. It was around this time that the Basenji was officially recognized as a sighthound and competed in trials. As for official breed recognition, in 1942, the Basenji Club of America was formed and the Basenji was formally recognized as an official breed in 1943.

Basenji Breed Appearance

The Basenji is described as having a light build with a swift gait. The Basenji has high legs which appear to be longer in than its torso in proportion. His muzzle is described as being shorter than his skull and he has eyes that are small and almond-shaped, ranging in color from dark hazel to dark brown. Additionally, his head is wrinkly and maintains an expression of worry and thought. The Basenji’s prickly ears are locked on top of its head, allowing for easier hunting techniques. His coat is short and wiry and can come in colors of black and white, black, tan and white, brindle and white, or red and white. The Basenji maintains a white-tipped tail, white underbelly, and white paws. The Basenji’s tail curls over his back. This breed’s pose is described as elegant and graceful with striking poise. This sleek dog does not have a traditional bark and instead yodels as a form of communication. 

Basenji Breed Maintenance

The Basenji should be brushed at least once weekly with a rubber curry brush to reduce the amount of shedding. The Basenji should be bathed once every 4 to 6 weeks to prevent the natural oils from being overproduced. The Basenji is not hypoallergenic but does experience low-level shedding, especially seasonal shedding. The coat is odorless and only requires minimal care. Nails should be trimmed every 2 to 3 weeks to prevent damage due to overgrowth. The Basenji requires daily exercise to prevent boredom, which may result in destructive behavior. High level activities will able him to remain entertained; obedience training is always a good place to start. This breed would do well with more than one Basenji present in the home. The Basenji should have extra space to be able to run around and explore his environment. However, he should not be left alone without some entertainment. The Basenji would be happy to live indoors with his owners and will provide great companionship. This dog fares well in climates where the temperature is not too extreme. The Basenji does not have any known specific dietary needs.

Basenji Breed Activity Requirements