Basenji

Type: Sighthound and Pariah

Height: Females: 16 inches; Males 17 inches.

Weight: Females: 21 lbs; Males: 24 lbs.

Life Span: 12-14 years

Litter Size: 6. Female Basenjis usually only have one season a year which will last up to 30 days between August and November.

Country of Origin: Zaire and the Congo (Central Africa)

Activity: High

Watch-dog: High. Depends on dog and owner attentiveness; doesn’t bark to alert. If you are a stranger, you should not approach Basenjis from behind.

Guard-dog: Low


Description: The Basenji is a handsome, short, muscular dog who is also known as the African Barkless Dog. "Basenji" means "bush thing" in African dialect. They should not bark, but they are not mute. Basenjis repertoire of sounds range from a pleasing throaty crow to a keening wail made when they are lonely or unhappy. Basenjis are often compared to small deer because of their grace, intelligence and beauty. They are about the size of a Fox Hound, and very proud. One of the oldest breeds of dogs, they are native to Africa where they are used to assist beaters in flushing game out, which are then driven into nets strung up against trees. These dogs were highly prized in Central Africa for their intelligence, silence, speed and hunting power. The Basenji has a short, fine coat that tends to become more course in colder countries, but without losing its gleam. Wrinkled on the forehead, they also have a curly tail that swirls to one side of their body. Known to be much like cats, Basenjis will sometimes clean themselves by licking all over, and are said to be nearly odorless. Basenjis will make good pets as long as they are handled on a regular basis from an early age.

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Other Names: Congo Dog, Congo Bush Dog, Congo Terrier, Bongo Dog, African Barkless Dog, African Bush Dog, Zande Dog, Belgian Congo Dog, Nyam Nyam Terrier.

Colors: Black, red, black and tan. There is always white on the chest, feet and tail tips.

Coat: Smooth, short-haired, fine, silky coat. Coarser coat in colder countries.

Temperament: Basenjis are intelligent, independent, affectionate but alert. Basenjis are playful, inquisitive, and active. Sometimes aloof with strangers.

With Children: Yes, if properly socialized and supervised.

With Pets: Yes, if properly socialized and supervised; same sex aggression is common.

Special Skills: Does not bark, flushes out prey for hunters, and is very intelligent in which training comes easy.

Care and Training: Comb or brush the Basenjis smooth coat and bathe when necessary. Daily exercise will prevent obesity. House training comes easily as they are naturally clean creatures. Basenjis clean themselves like cats, and have virtually no doggy odor. Basenjis will sometimes use destruction as amusement when left to themselves, and should be trained carefully not to do so.

Learning Rate: High. Rewards-based training produces best results.

Special Needs: Fenced in living environment, an activity or job to do.

Living Environment: Indoor or outdoor dog that does best with a fenced yard and lots of exercise. Curiosity may cause them to wander if left off leash or in an unfenced area.

Health Issues: Anemia, hernias, hip dysplasia, Kidney problems, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), thyroid problems.

History: The earliest samples of these dogs were given as gifts to Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Basenji-type dogs are depicted on the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and date back to early 3600 B.C. Many details of their origins are unclear, but the Basenji is thought to have come from a purebred dog used by the Pygmies for hunting in the Congo. A pair of Basenjis were taken to England by an explorer in 1895, but unfortunately fell ill to distemper and soon died. In 1937 the Basenji was introduced successfully into England, and around the same time Mrs. Byron Rogers of New York City brought a pair of them to America. A litter of puppies was born, but unfortunately all died due to distemper except for Mrs. Rogers' older male, Bois. A female Basenji named Congo was then brought to the United States from Africa in 1941 by Alexander Phemster of Massachusetts, and soon the two Basenjis produced the first litter of Basenjis to be born in America and live. Soon other Basenjis were imported from England and Canada, and the breed grew in size and popularity in America.

First Registered by the AKC: 1944

AKC Group: Hound

Class: Hound

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI, UKC, TKC (Group 5), KC (GB)