Basenji Information

Overview

The Basenji is an elegant and poised African hunting dog. African natives used this breed for pointing, driving game into nets and retrieving. The dog's light build and balanced structure allows it to move with agility and ease. Known as the "barkless dog," the Basenji makes a yodeling sound when excited. It is poised, alert and has an aloof air as the breed often worked worked out of sight of the native hunters. The Basenji uses both sight and sound for hunting skills.

Basenji
Basic Info
NameBasenji
Other Name African Bush Dog, African Barkless Dog, Ango Angari, Congo Dog, Zande Dog
OriginCongo
Size Type Small Dog Breeds
Breed Group Hound Dog Breeds
Life Span12 -16 years
TemperamentAffectionate, Intelligent, Alert, Energetic, Playful, Curious
HeightMale: 16–17 inches; Female: 15–16 inches
Weight22 to 24 lbs
ColorsBlack, Tan, Black & White, Tri-color, Brindle, Red
Puppy Price$800 - $1200 USD

Basenji

Physical description

Body Type

The ideal height for Baseji is 17 inches for males and 16 inches for females. Males weigh about 24 pounds and females weigh around 22 pounds. The height-to- weight ratio results in a breed that is lightly built.

The head has a flat, well-chiseled medium width head that tapers toward the eyes. The muzzle is shorter than the skull. When the Baseji holds it ears erect, fine, profuse wrinkles appear on its forehead. The wrinkles are more prominent on puppies.

The longish neck is well-crested and moderately full at the base of the throat. The back is short, coupled and ends in a distinct waist. The ribs are moderately sprung, oval and deep to the elbows. The chest is of medium width.

The tail is set high and is curled to one side. The shoulders are slightly laid back with the shoulder blade being of about the same length as the upper arms.

The front legs are straight and fine-boned. Small, oval feet have well-arched toes and thick pads. The hindquarters are strong, muscular and of medium length.

Color

The Basenji has supple skin with a coat of short, fine hair. The coat appears smooth and is glossy or shiny. Markings on the coat are well-defined. Coat colors are pure black, red, chestnut-red or copper. They may also be tri-color with black, white and tan or brindle ( black stripes on red). The chest, feet and tail tip are white by AKC standards.

Coat

The Basenji has supple skin with a coat of short, fine hair. The coat appears smooth and is glossy or shiny. Markings on the coat are well-defined.

Coat colors are pure black, red, chestnut-red or copper. They may also be tri-color with black, white and tan or brindle ( black stripes on red). The chest, feet and tail tip are white by AKC standards.

Characteristics
Good with Kids
 
Cat Friendly
 
Dog Friendly
 
Trainability
 
Shedding
 
Watchdog
 
Intelligence
 
Grooming
 
Popularity
 
Adaptability
 
Hypoallergenic  Yes

Grooming

The Basenji sheds very little hair, if any, making it a good breed for people with allergies. They bathe themselves somewhat like a cat and never have 'doggie odor." An occasional bath when they are very dirty is all that is necessary. Use a mild shampoo formulated for dogs.

Brushing with a bristle brush will help keep the coat shiny and remove any shedding that may be occurring. Check and clean the inside of the ears periodically. Brush the teeth twice weekly with a vet-approved tooth paste.

History

The modern Basenji's ancestors came to central Africa from eastern Asia. They evolved from southeast Asian or Chinese wolves. Dogs similar to the Baseji can be seen depicted on the tombs of ancient pharaohs where they sit at the feet of their masters with pricked ears and curly tails.

Baseji-type dogs were used for hunting small game by tracking and driving game into nets the hunters used. They were valued for their intelligence, silence, courage and speed. People from the Congo described them as "dogs of the savages" or "dogs of the bush."

Early attempts to import the breed to England resulted in the dogs succumbing to disease. In 1923, Lady Helen Nutting brought six of them with her from Sudan. They all died from distemper shots received in quarantine. In the 1930s, foundation stock was finally established in England and eventually the U.S. by animal importer Henry Trefflich. Therefore, all Baseji's in the West are descendants from these imports.

The Baseji breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1943. They are also registered by the UKC. The stud book has been reopened for several new imports. Americans collected breeding stock in the Basankusu area of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010.

Temperament

The Baseji is proud and independent yet affectionate. They may be reserved with strangers but can eventually form strong bonds and are eager to please. They are playful, curious and intelligent. They are usually patient with children but may do best with older ones. They should not be kept in families with cats and other non-canine pets. They like to climb, so care should be taken with chain wire fenced property. They are chewers and need to be provided with chew toys.

The Basenji needs daily walks. They tend to become fat and lazy when owners do not provide them with enough exercise. They respond well to training and are happiest when kept with one or two other Basenjis.


Interesting Basenji Facts

  • It is unclear whether the Basenji belongs to subspecies Canis lupus familiaris as most dogs or Canis lupus dingo as Australian dogs.
  • A Basenji was a title character in the movie Good-bye, My Lady in 1956.
  • A Basenji named Bondo was featured in an episode of Pound Puppies. However, unlike real Basenjis, Bondo could bark.
  • The Basenji comes into estrus or "heat" once a year instead of twice or more like most other dog breeds.