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What Is A Basenji? The African Barkless Dog

Updated on April 8, 2013

What Is A Basenji?

The Basenji is a smaller medium sized dog breed of Central African origin, related to the Dingo, that has come to be known as the " barkless dog" because it produces a yodel like sound instead of barking.

Basenjis are typically around 16 inches tall, weigh 25 pounds or so, and usually come in red, black,tricolor, and brindle.

They are energetic, playful,aloof, curious, and is considered by some to be one of the least trainable dogs.

If this sounds like your kind of dog, read on...


More About The Basenji

The Basenji is usually an alert, affectionate, curious and somewhat aloof dog breed. It is not uncommon for them to become very attached to one person, and although not overly unfriendly, they usually want to deal with strangers on their own terms. Many Basenjis do not do well with other pets who are not canine.

Basenjis have a strong prey drive, and are very curious. It is common for a Basenji to stand on it's hind legs (either by itself, or by leaning up against something) when it is interested in something. They are considered part of the hound group by The American Kennel Club (AKC), and were, like many dogs, bred to be hunters. It is said by some that the reason they don't bark is that barkier dog in Central Africa were killed off because a barking dog could lead enemies to their owner's village.

Basenjis dislike wet weather, are great climbers and usually do better with an older, more considerate handler or owner. They are probably not a great dog for those with small children.

For Even More Info On The Basenji

For more information on the Basenji, we recommend the following:

The American Kennel Club

Basenji University

Basenji Owners and Breeders Association

Got A Basenji? You Need Some Of These!

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I think the Basenji is truly adorable with such an intelligent expression -- hadn't heard of it before. arf arf

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      5 years ago

      I would love a barkless dog! But it probably would feel strange in the beginning.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Very concise and important information for those considering adding a Basenji to their family. They certainly sound like they have their own personality traits bred in and they do what they do well but that part about being among the least trainable breeds is important along with not caring for other pets or young children.

    • SunshineLife LM profile image

      SunshineLife LM 

      5 years ago

      I've seen these lovely looking dogs but had no idea they didn't bark

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 years ago

      Really interesting dog here, ancient. And almost barkless - my goodness I could use one of these as my border collie mix barks way too much. (If you express any strong emotion he starts barking - sheep dogs are trained to be alert when their herds start acting feisty and I guess we are his herd. I always get nervous when I read anything advertising a particular breed see my lens: - so I was more than pleased to see your admonition to would be Basenji owners to try adoption. For any breed fanciers I suggest rescue groups, and if you end up purchasing from a breeder - personally visit them - hopefully unannounced. Anyway, sent out by digg and pinned to my dogs board and blessed.

    • GiftIdeas4Guys profile image


      5 years ago

      We almost got one of these dogs a few years back. Local pet store had a pup, cute little guys!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      They look cute but I've never heard of them but still cute!! Nice Lens.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I never heard of this barkless dog but it's great to know. I love all your dog lenses!

    • John Uwen profile image

      John Uwen 

      6 years ago

      a dog that is truly barkless would be a dream come true....if only my neighbors dog would be quiet a little more often...thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      They're so cute! Thanks kindly for sharing!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I currently have a black & white Basenji girl (a rescue). She is a joy now at 13, but was a holy terror in her youth. Loved the barkless quality from Day #1. The independent hard-headed-ness took a little longer.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      We had a Basenji when I was a teenager. A great dog... but hard to train... ours was impervious to training.

    • StewartClan profile image


      6 years ago

      These are nice looking dogs! I had never heard of this breed but they do look like dingos. I like the fact they are small, but they look like they would be very tenacious. Remind me of Jack Russells, a little bit. Thanks for this interesting lens!

    • rubyandmahoney profile image


      6 years ago

      I love those curly little tails!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i love the basinji breed

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 

      6 years ago

      I've never heard of this breed before. The basenji sounds interesting.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful dog, I own german sheapard

      Click here for good dance song

    • SianaL profile image


      6 years ago

      What a sweetie! Great lens!

    • bilafond lm profile image

      bilafond lm 

      6 years ago

      Never heard of this. Thanks for the information

    • mysweetjane lm profile image

      mysweetjane lm 

      6 years ago

      I've never heard of this breed before thanks for sharing this info


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