Basenji Dog Overview
The Basenji is a square-proportioned dog with a high leg.
This breed is much more lightly built and longer-legged than most other primitive breeds, allowing for good speed and the ability to do the double-suspension gallop.
The upright ears of the Basenji aid in the detection of the game in dense bush and may also assist as heat dissipators.
The short coat of this dog also helps it cope with Africa’s scorching heat.
- Basenjis do not generally bark, but they can be very noisy, emitting sounds such as yodels, whines, and screams.
- They are difficult to train. Basenjis have thrived for thousands of years because they are autonomous thinkers. They don’t understand the point in obeying humans. Constant training can work to some extent, but they will choose whether to obey.
- Basenjis have a high prey drive and should never be left unattended unless in a well-fenced area.
- Basenjis are masters of disguise. They will utilize a chain-link fence as a ladder, hop up and over a timber fence, or bolt open doors.
- Basenjis have a lot of energy. If they are not given outlets for this, they will become destructive or find other ways to expend their energy. When not supervised, crates are advised.
- Basenjis consider themselves to be one big family. They cannot be left unattended in a yard with food and water. They need a significant amount of effort and attention.
- They do not perform well in homes with other tiny pets because their chasing urge may take over. They can perform well if reared alongside cats, but they are not advised for homes with hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, guinea pigs, birds, or ferrets.
- Basenjis are stubborn, and if you try to overcome their intransigence with force, you may end up with a confused and violent Basenji.
Basenji Breed Features & Ratings:
Rated base on a 5 Star Scale
ENERGY LEVEL: 4 Star
EXERCISE REQUIREMENTS: 3 Star
PLAYFULNESS: 3 Star
AFFECTION LEVEL: 3 Star
FRIENDLINESS TO DOGS: 2 Star
FRIENDLINESS TO OTHER PETS: 1 Star
FRIENDLINESS TO STRANGERS: 3 Star
WATCHFULNESS: 1 Star
EASE OF TRAINING: 2 Star
GROOMING REQUIREMENTS: 1 Star
HEAT SENSITIVITY: 3 Star
VOCALITY 5 Star
- Dog Breed Group: Hound Dogs
- Height: At the shoulder, it should be 16 to 17 inches tall.
- Weight: 22 to 24 pounds
- Life Span: 10 to 12 years
- Type: Purebred
- AREA OF ORIGIN: Central Africa (Zaire and the Congo)
- DATE OF ORIGIN: Ancient times
- OTHER NAMES: Congo Dog, Congo Terrier, African Bush Dog, African Barkless Dog, Ango Angari, Zande Dog
- Temperament: Affectionate, Alert, Curious, Energetic, Playful, Intelligent
- Activities: Agility, Field Trials, Hunting Tests, Conformation, Lure Coursing, Obedience
- Color: Chestnut red, black, tricolor, or brindle; all colors have white feet, chest and tall tip
- Litter Size: 4-5 puppies
- Puppy Prizes: $1500 – $2000 USD on average
Basenjis are generally healthy dogs, and conscientious breeders screen for health issues such as hypothyroidism, IPSID (inflammatory bowel disease), and canine hip dysplasia.
There are gene tests available to identify carriers of Fanconi syndrome, a kidney disorder, and progressive retinal atrophy, or PRA; these tests allow breeders to plan breedings that will not create those diseases.
A Basenji’s ears, like all breeds, should be checked on a regular basis, and his teeth should be brushed frequently.
The National Breed Club recommends the following health tests:
- Hip Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
- PRA-BJ1 DNA Test
- Fanconi Syndrome DNA Test
- Thyroid Evaluation
The Basenji is distinguished by a short, silky coat of rich chestnut red, black, tricolor (black and chestnut), alongside brindle (black stripes on a chestnut background), with white feet, chest, and tail tip.
He could also have white on his legs, a white blaze running up the middle of his face between his eyes, or even a white collar, which is a white marking around his neck.
His dominant hue will always be more visible than white. His marks are distinct and never muddy.
The Basenji grooms himself in a cat-like manner and keeps himself very clean.
He shouldn’t need to be bathed more frequently than once every few months. Basenjis shed, as do all dogs, but the hair is so short and fine that it is not as obvious as the shedding fur of other dogs.
Brush your Basenji’s teeth at least twice a week to remove tartar and the bacteria that live inside it. Brushing twice a day is even preferable if you want to avoid gum disease and foul breath.
If your dog’s nails don’t wear down naturally, you should trim them on a regular basis. They’re too lengthy if you can hear them clicking on the floor.
In short, carefully trimmed nails protect your legs from scratches when your Basenji jumps up to welcome you.
When your Basenji is a puppy, start accustoming him to being brushed and examined. Handle his paws frequently – dogs’ feet are sensitive — and inspect his lips and ears.
Make grooming a pleasurable process full of praise and prizes, and you’ll build the framework for smooth veterinarian tests and other handling when he’s an adult.
Check for sores, rashes, or symptoms of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and feet while you groom.
Ears should smell pleasant and be free of wax or crud, and eyes should be clear with no redness or discharge. Your thorough weekly examination will assist you in detecting potential health issues early on.
Basenjis are vivacious, curious, and active dogs. They need a lot of exercise on a regular basis to keep themselves from becoming bored. Boredom can lead to harmful actions.
Long play sessions in a secure yard or on a leash are essential. A Basenji should never be allowed to run free since the breed’s hunting instinct is very strong, and the dog may be unable to resist the impulse to dash off on a chase.
Giving the dog a structured outlet for those instincts and pent-up energy can be extremely beneficial; many Basenjis enjoy and excel at canine sports such as lure coursing, tracking, obedience, and agility competitions.
Basenjis are noted for their loyalty, devotion, alertness, and activity. They thrive in homes where they can get plenty of exercises, lots of attention, and thorough obedience training.
The Basenji has an autonomous personality with a mischievous and/or rebellious tendency. Opinions on their intelligence differ because they may understand directives but refuse to obey them.
Because Basenjis are sighthounds, they will pursue anything that moves.
This makes it challenging to keep them in a yard because they are skilled at climbing over fences despite how tall it is and escaping.
You can bet an underground electronic fence will not deter them. They will notify you to any passersby as a watchdog, but they will do it using their kinds of vocalization rather than barking.
This breed is well-known for gnawing on everything that comes loose in the house.
They want to know what things are, and good mouthing is a popular strategy. They are, however, are easy to housebreak.
According to the American Kennel Club, crate training is the greatest way to keep your house safe from your dog while also providing a haven.
Socialization is essential, particularly if the dog will be around youngsters or other pets (particularly the smaller ones). They are normally friendly with other dogs, but they will chase cats and small rodents that they do not identify as members of their family.
Basenjis are often reserved when meeting new people, but they might warm up to repeat visitors.
They are ideally suited for households with older children who can engage with them responsibly rather than young children who may not know how to treat a high-energy dog properly.
Basenji Food and Nutrition:
A Basenji should be fed two meals per day, each containing up to a half-cup of dry dog food. The needs of the dog will vary depending on its size, activity level, age, and other considerations.
It is preferable to serve two measured meals rather than having food available for free feeding all day.
Give enough attention to the dog’s weight to make sure it isn’t gaining weight, as this will decrease its lifespan and predispose it to additional problems.
The Basenji’s delicately constructed body, which is sometimes compared to that of a deer, makes him unsuitable for carrying considerable weight. To put it another way, don’t let him get fat.
Rather than leaving food available all the time, measure your Basenji’s food and feed him twice every day to maintain his body in shape.
Giving him plenty of exercise on a daily basis should take care of the rest.
Basenji Temperament and Personality:
Because they are aggressive for a hound, some people believe Basenjis have terrier-like demeanors.
They are often described as catlike in their demeanor: intelligent, inquisitive, stubborn, independent, and reclusive. Their hunting roots are obvious since they enjoy chasing and trailing.
They require mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis or they may grow frustrated and disruptive. Basenjis may be barkless, but keep in mind that they are not deafeningly deaf.
They yodel, howl, and shriek—and occasionally bark, but only one or two “fox barks” at a time. This breed gets time with other dogs but not always with other Basenjis.
The Basenji is a hunting dog. That indicates he’s bright and self-sufficient but also affectionate and watchful.
He’s a sighthound, which means that everything that moves gets his attention, and he’ll chase anything – cats, squirrels, rabbits.
He’s not the type of dog who will immediately obey commands. He needs to consider these and decide whether he truly wants to do what you’ve asked.
Positive reinforcement, such as food prizes and praise, should be used to train him with love and consistency. When a Basenji is mistreated, he becomes more stubborn and less eager to perform your bidding.
Maintaining interest in training is your greatest bet. If there is anything more entertaining to pay attention to, Basenjis will acquire selective hearing.
The Basenji is a hunting dog who must be exercised on a daily basis. Some Basenjis may get by with a daily stroll, while others demand more vigorous types of exercise.
Basenjis raised with youngsters frequently spend their time exhausting each other.
The Basenji is not a dog that should be left alone in the backyard. He’s a skilled escape artist, and an unattended Basenji will quickly become a missing Basenji.
If you can give him a couple of 30-minute walks or play sessions every day, he’ll be OK in an apartment or condo.
Unless you’re in a securely secured location, always keep your Basenji on a leash, and don’t rely on any form of fence to keep him confined.
He’ll use a chain link as a ladder, and a wood fence will only prevent him if you put the smooth side facing the yard where the dog is, and then top it with an electric wire.
Another feline trait of the Basenji is his aversion to rain. If you walk him when it’s raining, he’ll be grumpy. On a very hot day, he might like being wet.
Basenji Relationship with Children and Other Pets
Basenjis aren’t recognized for being very loving of children, but their high energy level makes them suitable companions for older children.
If they’re going to be around children, it’s preferable if they’ve been raised with them since they were puppies.
An adult Basenji who is not used to being around children is best suited to a family with mature enough children to interact with him appropriately.
Constantly teach youngsters how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and small children to avoid biting or ear or tail pulling on either party’s side.
Teach your child never to approach a dog while he is eating or to try to grab the dog’s food. No dogs should be left alone with a youngster.
A Basenji should not be left alone with cats or other small animals unless he has been raised with them and knows them as family members.
However, he will not recognize any cats or tiny animals he encounters outside. They’re up for grabs.
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All About Basenji
The Basenji, sometimes known as the “barkless” dog from Africa, has a short coat, a tiny, muscular frame, an alert disposition, erect ears, and a tail coiled firmly over one hip that draws admiration.
His furrowed brow gives him a perplexed and occasionally wicked expression.
The Basenji is extremely intelligent, yet he has a mile-wide obstinate streak. He had never heard of the phrase “ready to please,” which is used to describe so many breeds.
A Basenji may understand all of the commands you teach him, but whether he actually executes them is always in doubt. He might ponder first and then obey, or he might determine there’s no compelling reason to do as you ask.
Basenjis, on the other hand, use their brains to demand your attention and get you to offer whatever it is they require or desire.
Basenji owners claim that their breed is wonderful at teaching you how to clean your house. Anything left out where the dog can get to it is fair game for chewing or eating.
You’ll quickly learn to keep your belongings safe by keeping them out of reach of these curious dogs.
Basenjis are also excellent escape artists. Even a fenced-in yard will not keep a Basenji who is determined to be somewhere else.
Unsupervised time alone in the yard could result in the loss of your beloved friend as he sets off to explore the world.
Underground electric fences will likewise not keep a Basenji out if he sees or smells something fascinating. He regards the jolt from the collar as a minor annoyance.
The Basenji is notorious for not barking, but that doesn’t mean he’s deafeningly quiet. His vocalizations range from a charming yodel to a spine-chilling scream, in addition to the typical growls, whimpers, and whines given by all dogs.
If you want to do something fun with your dog, Basenjis are fantastic at lure coursing, which is the ideal game for these dogs who hunt by sight and love to chase. In it, they pursue a bait — generally a white plastic bag — through a field course.
As the dogs pursue, the lure is attached to a rope that is pulled by a system of pulleys. Another sport that may appeal to the Basenjis’ need to have fun is agility.
While Basenjis do not excel in obedience competition, they can be successful if you can find a clever way to make them believe that training and competition is their idea.
The Basenji is one of the earliest domesticated dog breeds, which may explain why he doesn’t bark. On hunts, early people may have chosen a quiet dog.
The Basenji, like his wild relative the wolf, can bark, but just once and then becomes silent. It’s also been suggested that he’s just partially tamed.
The Basenji’s metabolism is different from any other domesticated dogs, and like wild canids, the female Basenji only cycles once a year, whereas other domestic dogs cycle twice a year.
In the nineteenth century, Westerners found Basenjis in the Congo region of West Africa.
When on the trail, the dogs were used for flushing the game into nets, carrying merchandise, and warning of the approach of dangerous creatures.
Some African tribes regarded a good hunter Basenji more than a bride, not only for his hunting ability but also for his cunning and creativity.
Attempts to introduce the Basenji to Europe initially failed since the imported dogs all died of sickness shortly after arrival. The first successful importation occurred in both England and the United States in the 1930s.
The Basenji Club of America was started in 1942, however, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943. In 1944, Phemister’s Bois was the first Basenji registered with the AKC.
Basenjis are extremely rare, ranking 84th out of the 155 breeds and varieties recognized by the AKC, so prepare to spend some time on a breeder’s waiting list if you decide this is the dog for you.
Where to Adopt Basenji:
The Basenji Club of America is the finest place to begin your puppy hunt.
Their website’s breeder referral area contains breeders from all across the United States and Canada.
The club’s volunteer rescue coordinators may be able to connect potential adopters with adoptable dogs, but you may also look for rescues through local associated organizations. It
More Dog Breeds and Further Research:
Because the Basenji is one-of-a-kind, it may or may not be suitable for your home.
Find Basenji breeders and owners in your neighborhood so you can get to know the breed first. Consider adopting a Basenji from a rescue organisation.
If you’re looking for similar breeds, examine the benefits and downsides of these:
Basenji Fun Facts:
- This Might Be the World’s Oldest Dog Breed.
- They May Have Inspired an Egyptian God.
- They Are Hunting Dogs.
- They Don’t Bark.
- They Didn’t Come to the West Until the 1900s.
- They Are Very Independent.
- They Groom Themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Basenjis are no longer commonly employed for hunting, but they make excellent family dogs and can live for up to 13 years. Basenjis are known to be highly protective of their families. They require a lot of early interaction with other people in order to be good companions.
As a vermin hunter, the Basenji can run at speeds of up to 25 mph. Despite their high speeds, Basenjis are small and do not require a lot of space.
Basenjis are terrified of the dark because it symbolizes danger in their ancestral habitat. They have essentially no body odor, which they inherited from their African upbringing. There, the lack of smell serves as a form of defense against predators.