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all about the basenji

Updated on April 25, 2013

breed history

Resembling a dingo, the basenji breed comes to us from Africa. Originally bred for hunting, today's breed is a small, athletic hound capable of making a great pet. Playful and full of energy, the basenji is perfect for an owner with room and time to play. Their distinctive yodel (wet low bark) was brought about by killings in Africa. The hunters in the forests of Central Africa didn't want their dogs to give away their position, so through selective breeding and killing, today's basenji became a "silent hunter." Like most medium-hair dogs, they do shed. For a list of breeds that don't shed check out these 89 dog breeds that don't shed.


Basenji breeds have a few distinctive colors that are recognized. Red, black, tricolor (black with tan), and brindle (black stripes on red), and all with white are traditionally recognized by most kennel clubs. A mid-sized dog, the basenji is quite athletic in build, and ready to play. Their forehead has a wrinkle in the center which typically becomes more noticeable as the dog ages. Their paws have white boots which can be difficult to keep clean, but this gives them a slender look.


The basenji has been described as aloof, but is also known as an affectionate breed. They are capable of latching onto one owner. Their love and devotion to their owner is quite extraordinary. Their alert, playful attitudes lend them to often desiring to play. They will not only play, but coax owners into play often. Their disdain for wet weather will become immediately obvious in their attitude. They love climbing, and have no trouble scaling wire fences.

Their curiosity is best scene when they perch. The basenji loves to stand on it's hind legs perched on a wall, chair, or object when it is inquisitive. They are known for being difficult to train, and do not respond well to yelling or punishment. These factors usually result in the basenji scoring low on the list of intelligent dog breeds.

They tend to have trouble getting along with non-canine pets. Their demeanor is well suited for kids who appropriately handle dogs. They are patient, but will growl when unhappy.


The basenji is a small, sleek looking dog. They are a very square breed. This indicates that they are as long as they are tall. Weighing in around 25 lbs, the basenji is no giant. Like most mid-size dogs, they are very confident in their stroll. They are quite capable of speedy runs and quick changes in direction. Their curled up, bushy tail will unravel and straighten when they are in full sprint, to give them balance.


The Basenji is a dog breed that originated from a hunting dog in Central Africa. Today most kennel clubs place the breed in a hound group. Called the barkless dog, the basenji is known for it's distinctive call. The larynx is peculiar shaped in the basenji and results in an almost yodel-like sound called a "barroo." These fun loving little dogs may be peculiar, but are full of energy and make great pets. Check out our list of 100 reasons to own a dog.


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    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 

      5 years ago

      Very interesting hub, I've never heard of this type before. What a beautiful dog! Voted up.


    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Having learned of this breed through my friends. I see you have explained well this little pup. The one my friend's have is so fond of was fun too when I visited recently to see them play and have fun with Rusty.

      If I were ever to have a pup again, I would definitely consider a Basenji.

    • HendrikDB profile image


      5 years ago

      I must admit, this is the first time I hear of this breed. Thanks for empowering me - you are never too old too learn (or you can teach old dogs new tricks!!)


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