Basenji hunting dog Breed Information

The Basenji is a small breed of dog. They weigh between 22 to 26 pounds, stand 16 to 17 inches in height. Looking at them you can see that they are a very unique breed.


Basenji Description

The Basenji is a breed of hunting dog. It was bred from stock that originated in central Africa. Most of the major kennel clubs in the English speaking world place the breed in the hound group more specifically, in the sighthound type. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale places the breed in its group five (spitz and primitive types)

The Basenji breed originates from Africa. This small dog breed has a shoulder height of around 40 cm. Basenji's coat is dense with short fine hair.

They have athletic bodies with almost no fat on them, which creates a very elegant appearance. They have smooth shiny coats, which include colors such as copper, red, back, tan, brindle, and almost any combination of those colors, and they usually have white faces. They have long legs that seem almost too long for their small bodies. Basenji’s have very unusual howls but do not bark.

Basenjis originated from Egypt over 5,000 years ago and they are descendants of the long since extinct Congo Dog. They were first brought to Europe in the 1930s, but due to a rise in popularity, they are now found worldwide. They are used in the United States mostly for companionship but are often found in Africa to aid in hunting.

If you have ever met a basenji, you know you have encountered a truly unique companion animal.  These regal little dogs are in a class by themselves.  Many people have heard of the barkless, curly tailed canines with the wrinkly foreheads, but most are unfamiliar with the breed's facinating history and remarkable characteristics.


Basenjis are small hunting dogs originating from Africa.  It's said that the word "basenji" in Swahili means "wild thing."  Based on its physiology, some zoologists theorize that, unlike other domestic dogs that descended from wolves, the basenji descended from African jackals.  There  is archeological evidence that the Egyptians had basenji-like dogs thousands of years ago.

Many hieroglyphic images and sculptures from ancient Egypt look remarkably similar to the basenjis we know today.  Basenjis are still used for hunting in Africa, and are highly prized for their hunting skill.  The hunters hang bells around their dogs' necks so that they can follow the ringing while the dogs pursue their prey.In the early 20th century, Westerners took a liking to these little hunting dogs and began importing them to Europe.  The British particularly liked the basenji, which they tried to rename the congo terrier, but the new name wasn't well received. 

Basenjis eventually made their way to the United States in 1937, and the American Kennel Club recognized and admitted the breed in 1943.In the late 1980s, serious health problems and a limited gene pool threatened the breed in the West.  A few dedicated basenji breeders made a pilgrimmage to Zaire in search of native basenjis.  They found basenjis living there just as they had been for thousands of years.  The breeders brought back with them the best of the best.  Not only did their efforts reinvigorate the breed, but they also reintroduced brindle-colored basenjis to the Western world.


Basenjis are sleek and attractive dogs.  They are catagorized as sighthounds, but they can also hunt by scent.  They move with remarkable grace, agility and speed, and are a pleasure to watch.The standard height and weight for a male basenji is 17 inches at the shoulder and 24 pounds.  For a female basenji, it's 16 inches at the shoulder and 22 pounds.  Basenjis are squarely built, and are about as tall as they are long.  They have small, fine heads with erect ears, pointed muzzles and wrinkled foreheads; gracefully curved necks; short, straight backs; slender legs and a curly tail.

A basenji's coat is short and fine-textured.  They do not shed as much as other dogs, and require infrequent bathing largely due to their lack of doggy odor.  Basenjis are fastidious and groom themselves in a feline manner.  They require very little additional grooming, but it is important to keep their nails properly trimmed.Basenjis come in four colors, each with white feet, chest and tail tip: chestnut red, black, tricolor (red/black/white) and brindle (black stripes on chestnut red background).  Many basenjis have white legs, a white collar and a white blaze as well.

Basenjis are known as barkless dogs, but in fact they can bark.  They just seem to prefer not to.  When basenjis do bark, it's one single sharp woof rather than continuous barking.  Basenjis make up for their barklessness with their other unique sounds.  There's the yodel or chortle, sounding like "brrrr" or "barroooo," which they emit when they're happy.  A basenji's growl has been described as a cross between a wolverine's and a mad rabbit's.  Basenjis also punctuate the end of their yawns with a sharp, loud squeal or yowl.

Also Known As

  • African Barkless Dog
  • African Bush Dog
  • Ango Angari
  • Avuvi
  • Congo Dog
  • Zande Dog


Basenjis are a very demanding breed and must be given a good deal of attention. They are very energetic, often even overly hyper and are very curious. Owners often have problems keeping their Basenji at home. They are patient with children of young ages, and do well with other dogs, often forming bonds with them. They are not recommended for households with cats or other smaller pets. The breed is easy to train but needs to be rewarded for their efforts in order to reinforce their learning.

Basenjis have been described as "four-legged two-year-olds" and "cats trapped in dog bodies."  They are possessed of a cunning intellegence that serves them well in the harsh African environment, but doesn't help them score points for obedience.  They are independent thinkers, and when given a command they will usually take a moment to consider whether it's in their best interest to comply.  Conventional obedience training usually doesn't work with basenjis.  The more gentle methods yield better results.  Many basenji owners have resigned themselves to outsmarting their dogs rather than commanding them.

Basenjis are playful, mischevious and affectionate.  They adore people, but can be aloof with strangers.  Basenjis get along well with children, especially if they've been raised with them.  They can get along with other dogs, although their unusual nature can confuse and intimidate other breeds.  Occasionally basenjis can get along with cats.

Basenjis are highly energetic and need a good amount of exercise.  They like to chew, so providing them with appropriate chew toys is imperative, otherwise they'll find their own.
Basenjis are the escape artists of the dog world.  They can climb tall fences with no problem, especially chain link ones.  It's wise to never leave a basenji in his yard alone, or to take him anywhere off-leash, because his lack of obedience can get him into dangerous situations. 

Many basenji owners have found out the hard way that basenjis can be destructive when left loose in the house alone.  A basenji should be crate-trained so that he has a safe place to be when his people aren't at home.

Health Problems

Basenjis are prone to Fanconi’s Syndrome, which causes problems with the kidneys. This problem can prove to be fatal if not treated immediately. They are also commonly afflicted with eye problems and intestinal problems, so owners are required to regulate their diets to avoid these problems.

There are several disorders and diseases that  can affect basenjis.  Fanconi Syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the processing of sugars and proteins, and can lead to kidney problems and death.  There are treatment options for this disorder, and Fanconi has been successfully managed in some dogs. 

Malabsorbtion is an inherited intestinal disease that leads to anorexia, chronic diarrhea and death.  Basenjis also seem to be suceptable to coloboma (gap or hole in the eye structure), progressive retinal atrophy (a hereditary blinding disorder), persistant pupillary membrane (a puppy's fetal pupillary membrane fails to dissolve as he matures), hip displaysia (malformation of the hip joint) and umbilical hernias.  Reputable breeders will gladly provide potential buyers with documentation attesting to the soundness of their adult dogs and puppies.


Basenjis are extremely active, indoors and outdoors. They must be exercised outside daily and need a good amount of playtime indoors as well. Basenjis love to run and play games but it is necessary that when you Basenji is playing off of his or her leash that they cannot escape. Curiosity sometimes gets the best of Basenjis and they will be quick to run after anything that catches their eye.

Special Grooming Needs

Very little grooming is required for a Basenji. Basenjis have unique grooming habits that are very similar to that of a cat. A Basenji knows when they need to be groomed and will bathe his or her self. Basenji very rarely shed, if ever. Because of its unique coat, this breed is great for people with allergies.


 Basenji hunting dog

The Basenji has a unique yodeling bark and interacts well with other family members in a friendly manner. These dogs are intelligent and independently minded. This Basenji breed can be trusted with children, however, it will not make an ideal playmate. They must be socialized at a very young age to be trusted around other family pets.

As this dog is independently minded it is not always obedient, so training from a young age is required. Grooming a Basenji is a relatively simple task. Occasional grooming with a coarse rubber brush is all that is needed. Allow this dog to have plenty of regular activity. Be sure to take it regular walks.

Highly referred dogs for hunting, Basenji has the best pet award.

Basenji Happy 4th birthday to my baby boy Astro. He's grumpy at times, but you just have to love that face.

Origin = Egypt

Basenji Facts:

Only dog breed on earth that can sing but not bark.
1- It can't bark
2- No noise at home
3- Doesn't need big space
4- Very Intelligent dog breed
5- Your neighbors will not fight about bark
6- Active breed and not aggressive if trained
7- It comes in many colors like black, tan, etc
8- Its beautiful tail increases attractive
9- Its Origin from the desert and hot weather. So, best for Pakistan weather.
10- Doesn't have a big coat, so no headache of brushing.
11- No many hairs in house.

Much more but I think the above points are enough.

There are many other breeds that you can choose but this is best in all aspects.


A dog that doesn't bark, shed or smell sounds  like the ideal pet to many people.  However, basenjis aren't for everyone.  A lot of first-time basenji owners find themselves unprepared to deal with the unique personality and behavior quirks of their dog.  A basenji requires more understanding, attention and patient instruction than most other dogs.  Sadly, some basenji owners are unwilling to put in the time and effort their dogs need.  As a result, they often abandon their basenjis in shelters.  Fortunately, there are many dedicated basenji rescuers who take in these little orphans and eventually place them with new, loving families.  Before you consider getting one, spend some time with other people's basenjis.  Get to know the breed.  You may not be compatible.  If you are, though, you just might end up in a lifelong love affair with these amazing dogs!