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About Basenji - breed characteristics


The basenji is very unusual breed of hunting dog, it comes from central Africa (Congo) and it is classified as a hound. Basenji is small size dog with very elegant appearance - noble poise, sublime look, velvet short-haired coat, graceful neck, tightly curled tail, erect ears and inquisitive eyes. Dogs typical weight is about 11kg, bitches 10 kg. Basenji is a square breed (as long as tall), stands about 40cm at the withers. The Basenji is recognized in the following standard colorations: red, black, tricolor and brindle, all with white (see Photogallery). It has typical wrinkled forehead and his body shape almost makes him look like lovely baby-deer. But when the dog is on the run you can hardly recognize if that flash of imperishable energy is some kind of flying deer, gazelle or the dog… Basenji does not bark in the way we expect from the dog, but he produces an unusual yodel-like sound. Every basenji is a little bit different in their "talking" - sometimes it sounds like very specific kind of howling, sometimes they can do quite deep growling, you can also hear very long yelping or just hair raising screaming ….some individuals even think that they are probably goats : - following this model some of the basenjis (especially when they play with other dogs) are bleating!


As for temperament, Basenji is alert, affectionate, energetic, demanding and very, very curious. Due to its natural origin Basenji tend to be extremely independent dog, so the training is not easy at all. Actually, basenji has a lot of in common with a cat - nature and behavior - so you have to treat it in a little bit different way than the other dogs. Especially in the early age it is very important to give the dog great attention. The owner should focus on positive interaction in the first place. Although basenji is somewhat aloof, it has very strong bonds with its owner. This dog will enjoy your company for all day long, so it can be very stressful for him to stay alone for long hours - you might be surprised by the fact, that your basenji is destroying your furniture just because you are half an hour late from work! If you feel that this could become a problem you might want to consider a dog crate. A crate will give your dog a place to call his own and give him a sense of security while you are gone. You might consider a wood dog crate. Although wood dog crates tend to cost a little more than your traditional crates, they can also serve as a piece of furniture in your living room. Basenji also like to chew a lot, so plenty of toys and chewing bones would be a great idea if you want to keep your home in original condition : You should also be aware of climbing and jumping skills of the breed - basenji can easily get over wire fences or other kinds of standard dog "prisons". There is an array of dog dog containment possibilities available giving dog owners many choices in how they contain their dog. In fact, if you decide to acquire the basenji, you will have to deal with very intelligent kind of animal. Be armed with a lot of patience in the first place, than give your attention, give your love, give your home …Basenji is clever enough to give you back.


The Basenji is one of the most ancient dog breeds. Originating on the continent of Africa, it has been venerated by humans for thousands of years. Basenjis can be seen on steles in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, sitting at the feet of their masters, looking just as they do today, with pricked ears and tightly curled tail. The Basenji had almost totally disappeared from the West when Europeans came across it in the Congo in 1895. There, the Basenji was prized by locals for its intelligence, courage, speed, and silence. They were assistants to the hunt, chasing wild game into nets for their masters. Several attempts were made to bring the breed to England, but the earliest imports succumbed to disease. In 1923, for example, Lady Helen Nutting brought six Basenjis with her from Sudan, but all six died from distemper shots they received in quarantine. It was not until the 1930s that foundation stock was successfully established in England, and thence to the United States by animal importer Henry Trefflich. So it is that nearly all the Basenjis in the Western world are descended from these few original imports. The breed was officially accepted into the AKC in 1943. In 1990 the AKC stud book was reopened to several new imports at the request of the Basenji Club of America. Basenjis are also registered with the UKC.

Some other detailed Basenji characteristics

Wikipedia  - detailed description of the Basenji breed

Basenji FAQ  - full-scale Basenji description by Troy J. Shadbolt

Basenji Companions  - lovely pages devoted to Basenji, characteristics, photos, FAQ and more...

Colorado Basenji Rescue   - all about the breed

German Basenji Web   - very good Basenji specifications

Denmark Basenji Web  -very humorous insight to soul of The Basenji - see all pages - FANTASTIC !

10 Reasons Not to Get a Basenji  - few tips for everyone considering Basenji companion

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