Basenji - Dog Breed Info, Temperament & Facts

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The Basenji is a lively and mischievous breed known for their “barkless” personality. They originate from Africa and were highly regarded in Egypt, where they were gifted to the pharaohs as a symbol of respect and loyalty. This intelligent dog excelled at hunting small rodents while also being a loyal companion. With their pricked ears and sleek coat, they have a distinctive appearance. Their furrowed brow gives them a perpetually concerned expression. Basenjis are often described as having a unique personality that combines independence and cleanliness, similar to cats. They are also known for their strong sense of curiosity.

To maintain their short coat, Basenjis should be brushed once a week with a curry brush to help reduce shedding.

Ahead, we look at Basenji dog breed, its history, personality, pros and cons of owning an Basenji, characteristics, and must-see facts. We will also examine how to care for this breed and much more. Prepare for a tail-wagging adventure into the world of Basenjis!

Dog Breed Basenji
Size Medium
Weight 20-24 lbs (average)
Height 15-16″ (average)
Location Central Africa (Zaire and the Congo)
Ancestry African Bush Dog
Date of Origin Ancient
Group Hunting Small Game
Life Expectancy 10-12 years
Price $1000 – $1200
Family Canidae
Scientific Name Canis Lupus Familiaris

📖 Breed History

The Basenji is believed to have originated in Central Africa, although the exact timeline of the breed is unknown. Its ancestors can be traced back to ancient Congo and Sudan dogs, and the breed name Basenji comes from the word meaning “bush thing” in those regions. These dogs were highly regarded and were even presented as gifts to the pharaohs of Egypt due to their loyal and companionable nature. While there are images of similar dogs in ancient Egyptian art, it is unclear if the barkless Basenji was specifically depicted.

In the 1930s, the Basenji was introduced to England, although earlier attempts in 1895 were unsuccessful due to distemper. It was later brought to the United States as both a pet and show breed in 1941, although its original purpose was hunting small game. These dogs were known for their sleek and attractive appearance and gained some media attention, notably in the 1956 film Goodbye, My Lady, where the Basenji’s unique yodeling bark was highlighted. In the 1980s, more Basenjis were imported from Africa to help address hereditary issues and expand the gene pool. There was also a desire to introduce additional colors, such as brindle, to the breed. During this time, the Basenji was officially recognized as a sighthound and began competing in trials. The Basenji Club of America was formed in 1942, and the breed received formal recognition in 1943.

🐕 Basenji Appearance

The Basenji is described as having a light frame and a quick pace. They also have high legs that look proportionally longer than their torsos. They are described as having tiny, almond-shaped eyes that range in hue from dark hazel to dark brown, and a nose that is shorter than the skull. Additionally, they have a wrinkled forehead and a worried, thoughtful expression on their face. They can hunt more effectively because their spiky ears are fixed to the top of their heads. Black and white, red and white, tricolor (black, tan, and white), brindle and white, and trindle color (black, brindle, and white) are among the hues that may be seen on their short, straight coat. This charming dog keeps its white tail tip, white tummy, and white paws. Over their back, the tail coils. The posture of this breed is noted as being graceful and stunning. Instead of using a standard bark, this stylish dog communicates by yodeling.

👀 Eye Color Hazel
🐽 Nose Color Black, Brown
🐕 Coat Color White, Black, Brindle, Red

Fun Fact: Basenji dogs are kinda antisocial. This breed doesn’t like being around people all the time, they tolerate being left alone.

🐶 Traits & Temperament of Basenji

This unusual dog is described as clever, unyielding, and cat-like, and is also said to be loving toward its owners. Instead of barking, this dog communicates by yodeling. They like a classic game of chase and trail since it is what they were originally meant to do. This breed enjoys being able to amuse itself, which makes them like making their people happy. The Basenji is devoted, but they won’t follow you about because they often have their own plans to carry out. This resourceful dog is frequently described as naughty with a hyperactive streak because they may engage in property destruction if not given enough high-level activities to keep their day going. The Basenji is better suited for households with older kids who know how to properly care for them and deal with their temperament. They may be reserved when meeting strangers, are independent, and have been known to make excellent watchdogs. This smart dog should be trained in a series of fun, brief sessions. Utilizing tactics for positive reinforcement, such as food and praise prizes, is crucial. If nurtured with other animals, this particular dog can get along with them. If not, it’s crucial to keep them away from smaller pets within the house because they were developed as hunters.

🤝 Are Basenjis Friendly or Aggressive?

Basenji dogs tend to have difficulty getting along with other pets and may not be the friendliest towards strangers. However, they are known to be good with children, making them a suitable choice for families with kids. On the other hand, Basenjis may not be the most compatible with cats or other dogs, so if you are looking to add more dogs to your household or participate in dog meetups, this breed may not be the best option. Basenjis are often recommended for elderly individuals as they can provide companionship and are generally well-suited for a calmer lifestyle.

This breed is known for being:

  • Curious
  • Playful
  • Energetic
  • Alert
  • Intelligent
  • Affectionate

🐩 Basenji Care & Maintenance

To lessen the quantity of shedding, the Basenji should be brushed with a rubber curry brush at least once each week. To keep the production of the natural oils from becoming excessive, they should take a bath every 4 to 6 weeks. Although they do have some low-level shedding, particularly during the winter months, they are not hypoallergenic. The coat needs no maintenance and has no smell. To avoid harm from overgrowth, nails should be cut every two to three weeks. To avoid boredom, which might lead to destructive behavior, this energetic dog needs regular exercise. They can keep themselves amused with high-level activities; obedience training is usually an excellent place to start. This breed would thrive in a family with more than one Basenji. To be able to move around and examine their surroundings, they require more room. They should not, however, be left without amusement. They are independent yet loving, content to live indoors with their people, and they make wonderful companions. This dog does well in regions with moderate temperature fluctuations. They don’t have any recognized dietary restrictions.

Basenji dogs are known for shedding very little to no hair. If you own a Basenji puppy, you don’t have to worry about your furniture or car being covered in dog hair. This breed is ideal for people who cannot tolerate excessive shedding. Additionally, Basenjis only need to be bathed every 3-4 weeks.

🍖 Food: We recommend 2.5 cups daily, costing you about $1.20 – $1.40 daily, or roughly $34.00 – $45.00 a month.

🐾 Exercise: Basenji dogs need quite a lot of exercise. Daily walks should be on schedule. If you live an active life, this breed can be a good choice for you.

This dog breed requires to be walked for roughly 15 miles per week, which equates to about 90 minutes of physical activity daily. This consistent moderate exercise regimen will help maintain their physical wellness and significantly contribute to their mental stimulation. Consciously setting aside this time for your furry friend can dramatically enhance their life quality, helping them stay energetic, healthy, and mentally alert.

Did you know: Basenji dogs are high-energy dogs. An active lifestyle makes them happy.

❤️‍🩹 Basenji Health & Issues

Some of the major concerns for Basenji Dog Breed can be:

  • PRA
  • Fanconi Syndrome
  • Basenji Enteropathy

While minor concerns include:

  • Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM)
  • Pyruvate Kinase (PK) Deficiency

🤧 Important: Is Basenji hypoallergenic? No.

Bonus: Check out cool, creative, and funny names for Basenji.

⚡ Basenji Dog Breed Facts

What makes the Basenji a great choice for families with young children?
The Basenji’s independence and low-maintenance nature make them a great choice for families with young children. They are able to entertain themselves and don’t require constant attention, which can be helpful for busy parents.

Is the Basenji breed considered a suitable breed for apartment living?
While the Basenji can adapt to apartment living, they do have a high energy level and need regular exercise. It’s important for apartment dwellers to provide them with sufficient physical and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

How much exercise does a Basenji require compared to other breeds?
Basenjis require moderate exercise compared to some other breeds. They enjoy a traditional game of chase and trail, so daily walks and playtime are important to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

Is the Basenji breed known for being good with other pets?
Basenjis can get along with other pets if they are raised with them. However, they have a strong prey drive due to their hunting background, so it’s important to keep them away from smaller animals in the home.

What are other low-maintenance dog breeds similar to the Basenji?
Some low-maintenance dog breeds similar to the Basenji include the Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, and French Bulldog. These breeds have minimal grooming needs and are generally independent.

What are the common health issues that Basenjis are prone to?
Basenjis are generally a healthy breed, but they are prone to certain health issues such as Fanconi syndrome, a kidney disorder, and progressive retinal atrophy, an eye disease. Regular veterinary check-ups are important to catch and manage any potential health problems.

Are Basenjis known to be easy to train compared to other breeds?
Basenjis are intelligent but can be stubborn, making training a bit challenging compared to some other breeds. However, with the use of positive reinforcement techniques and consistent training sessions, they can be trained effectively.

Are Basenjis more prone to separation anxiety compared to other breeds?
Basenjis are known to be more prone to separation anxiety compared to some other breeds. They form strong bonds with their owners and may become anxious when left alone for long periods. Proper socialization and gradual alone-time training can help alleviate this issue.

Are there any dog breeds similar to the Basenji that are suitable for people with allergies?
Some dog breeds similar to the Basenji that are suitable for people with allergies include the Bichon Frise, Portuguese Water Dog, and Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. These breeds have hypoallergenic coats that produce fewer allergens.

What sizes of dogs similar to the Basenji are best for individuals or families with limited space?
Small-sized breeds similar to the Basenji, such as the Shiba Inu and Italian Greyhound, are best for individuals or families with limited space. These dogs are compact and don’t require a large living area.

Is the Basenji breed known to be good with children with special needs?
Basenjis can be good with children, including those with special needs, as long as they are properly socialized and introduced to children from a young age. However, supervision is always necessary to ensure the safety of both the dog and the child.

How does the grooming and shedding needs of the Basenji?
The Basenji has a short, fine coat that requires weekly brushing with a curry brush to minimize shedding. Compared to breeds with longer or denser coats, their grooming needs are relatively low. However, they do shed moderately throughout the year.


We use reliable and publicly available data and resources such as AKC and American Canine Registry to ensure that Basenji dog breed information is accurate and up to date. If you spot an error, please don’t hesitate to bring it to our attention.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our DogsInsights.com team.

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