Basenji Traits & Facts

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Last Updated on September 20, 2023

. Are you thinking of getting a Basenji? The intelligent, curious and energetic Basenji will bring joy to your life. Let’s look at the Basenji and how they should be cared for before you make a decision about whether it is the right pet. We’ll discuss everything, from their stubborn and affectionate nature to their need for regular exercise.

The breed is also known as the “barkless” or “barkless” dogs. Why? They aren’t barkers. They are however not mute. They can also yodel and shriek, which is quite loud! They can be very energetic and need mental and physical stimulation. They make great companions.


are elegant in appearance and stature. Although they are smaller, they have a big presence. Let’s find out more about the Basenji to see if it is right for you.


Breed History

The Congo’s Basenji is often called Africa’s “barkless dog. This breed is one of the oldest. Evidence suggests the breed was present in Libya and Egypt since 6000 BC. Tradition dictated that the breed should be named after the tribe it lived with. The Basenji’s name is derived from the Pygmy tribe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Towards the middle of the 1800s, explorers traveling in Africa discovered the Basenji and slowly started introducing the breed to Europe and later the United States.

The dogs that were brought back to Europe in the late 1800s did not survive due to distemper. Vaccines were not invented until the 1920s and were not readily available until the 1950s.

Dogs that were brought to England during the 1930s managed to survive and became the standard for the breed outside of the Congo.

The Basenji was an hunting canine used primarily to lure prey in nets. They could roam freely and hunt without the supervision of their owners, which allowed them to grow their intelligence and independence.


Basenjis are intelligent and curious. They are independent and energetic. They require stimulation and exercise. They can become entangled and cause mischief if they are not properly supervised or doggie-proofed. They can chew on and tear apart household items. They can be stubborn and will not give up on their ideas. Make sure they have all the food and treats they need. Basenjis are affectionate and can bond with their owners. They also get along well with older children because they have the same energy level.

They aren’t necessarily barkers, but they can howl and yodel. While they don’t bark a lot, it doesn’t mean that they are quiet.

Size and Appearance

The Basenji is a small-medium dog with pointy ears and a curly tail. They can grow 16- 17 inches tall. They can reach an average of 24 lbs. Although they have a slim frame, they are susceptible to gaining weight. They need to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Coat and Colors

Basenjis have short, thin hair. They are usually red and white, white and black, white and tricolor, brindle and blue, and white and tricolor. These colors can also be cream-white or blue tricolor, but they are more common in Africa. They are very rare in the United States. This breed enjoys taking care of themselves and grooming . They are odorless so they don’t need to bathe as often. This is something they will love since they don’t like water. They don’t like rain. Basenjis are able to adapt to showers and baths if they are trained early enough.

Exercise Requirements

Basenjis must exercise regularly . because of their high-energy nature. Basenjis should not be let loose as they are a sighthound and can easily get distracted by objects or moving creatures. You could see the dog running off and taking off after you. Basenji would be content if he was engaged in physical and mental challenges.

Living Conditions

Basenjis are curious dogs. Although they can live in houses or apartments, they need to be trained properly. They love to get into closets and cabinets. To ensure their safety, it is important to dog-proof your home. Yards should be completely fenced if they are present on the property. Basenjis are easily distracted by small animals and will chase them. Basenjis that run away from their leashes will be stopped by leashes.


Basenjis highly intelligent , that can choose to obey or not. They are best trained young. They can be stubborn and want to do their own thing, so training them can be difficult. These dogs will greatly benefit from training . sessions.


They have inherited conditions such as Fanconi Syndrome, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Hip Dysplasia.

Fanconi Syndrome

Fanconi syndrome

is a kidney disorder that results in the deficient transport of nutrients, water, and other substances back into the body. The body cannot absorb the nutrients so they are removed. This can be very harmful to the health and well-being of a Basenji.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an eye condition that affects the Basenji’s vision. It can lead to complete blindness. PRA is a late-onset condition. Although the dog may seem healthy when they are a puppy, vision loss can occur as they age.

Hip Dysplasia

A small percentage of Basenjis suffer from hip Dysplasia . This is when the cartilage and bone in the hips begin to wear down. This can lead to muscle atrophy, arthritis and restricted mobility. This can lead to discomfort and pain.


*Puppies need to be fed three meals a day, while adults can only be fed once daily. They can gain weight due to their body structure. Therefore, it is important to keep treats out of reach and to be disciplined.


They are cat-like in their natural environment. They love to be clean. Basenjis are easy to groom. Basenjis have a shorter coat than other breeds and don’t shed as often. Their coats will remain shiny and lustrous by a thorough brushing. Like other dogs, make sure their ears and paws are clean.

Breeders and Puppy Costs

Basenji puppies typically cost between $1,200 and $1,800 when purchased from a breeder. When choosing to buy a puppy, refer to authorized and responsible breeders.

Rescues and Shelters

If the Basenji has won your heart, you can search for shelters or rescues to adopt one of these dogs. For more information on rescues, check out the Basenji Rescue.

As Family Pets

  • Good for older kids
  • Be careful with smaller animals in the home. It shouldn’t be an issue if they were raised together.
  • Need to be in fenced-in, well-secured areas
  • Will bolt out of the door
  • Keep on a leash. They love to chase.
  • Affectionate with family
  • May act aloof with strangers

Final Thoughts

The Basenji is an intelligent, independent and loving dog. A Basenji can bring joy to any home. They can be mischievous, but they are also caring. They are stubborn and curious. Although they might not always obey commands and may sometimes run off to chase the other dogs, they are generally very friendly and can be a great addition to any home. It is important to remember their need for stimulation and exercise. It is crucial to ensure that their needs are met in order to build a lasting and strong relationship with this charmer.

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