Basenji Dog Breed Information And Pictures

The Basenji breed is a small hunting dog, easily recognizable by its shining short coat, twisted tail, wrinkled forehead and expressive almond-shaped eyes. Basenjis are highly active, alert and aloof with strangers. They bond well with their family and affectionate towards children making them a great family pet. This breed is incredibly fastidious about themselves and can groom themselves like cats.

Basenji Puppy Images

Quick Information

Other names African Bush Dog

African Barkless Dog


Congo Dog

Zande Dog

Coat Short and fine
Colors Red, black, tricolor, and brindle
Type Watch dog
Group Hound
Breed Purebred
Lifespan 12-14 years
Weight Male 11 kg (24 lb)

Female       9.5 kg (21 lb)



Male 43 cm (17 in)

Female       40 cm (16 in)

Personality Affectionate, playful, intelligent, energetic curious
Litter Size 5
Good with Children Yes
Shedding Less
Barking No
Hypoallergenic Yes
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of the Congo (Africa)
Competitive Registration Qualification/Information ANKC, CKC, FCI, AKC, KC (UK), NZKC, UKC


The Basenji dog is one of the oldest breeds that has originated in the continent of Africa. They are one of oldest contenders for the title of oldest AKC breed. They probably have lived with humans for thousands of years as engravings of dogs appearing similar to the modern Basenjis can be seen on the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs sitting with their masters. The Basenji got their name from a lady named Mrs. Burn in England around 1936. They were known as the Congo dog or Congo terrier. The name “Basenji” means “dog of the bush” in that particular region of Africa.  It falls in the hound dog category as it is a hunting dog.  There is a constant debate on its does it truly belong to the group of sighthounds or scenthounds.

In 1980, many Basenjis were being brought to the United States of America from Zaire and were added to the AKC gene pool to fight few of their health problems. The new introduction added the brindle color pattern to the western Basenji.

The Basenji Club of America was established in 1942 and it was recognized by American Kennel Club in 1943. A dog named Phemister's Bois was the first Basenji that got registered with AKC in the year 1944.


This breed is a highly energetic dog with a curious nature. They bond well with their families and are apprehensive towards strangers. These dogs get emotionally attached to a single human master. They have a curious nature and often found standing on their hind legs like a Meerkat. Basenjis usually do not get along with other dogs. They have an inherent hunting instinct and encompasses a strong prey drive. According to a book called “The Intelligence of Dogs,” it is considered the second least trainable dog.

Basenji Bark

These dogs do not bark and creates unusual sounds like yodeling and growling for communicating. This trait of the dog has made it earn a nickname called the barkless dog.



They need a fair amount of exercise on a daily basis. Regular long walks and jogging will do very well for the mental and physical health of the dog. These dogs are good climbers and they will love activities like hiking or exploring a mountainside. Houses having an open yard with high fences are suitable for this breed or they might jump over it. Swimming is not a viable exercise for them as these dogs don't like to be around water.


These dogs have cat-like grooming habits for keeping itself clean. They do not require regular bathing as they do not emit dog odor. Their shedding is relatively less and manageable. Brushing the dogs weekly will help in removing the stray hair found in the house. Cleaning the teeth and ear weekly can help in preventing bad breathe and ear infection.

Health Issues

The Basenji may suffer from problems like hypothyroidism, a type of inflammatory bowel disease called IPSID and canine hip dysplasia. They may face some other issue like Fanconi syndrome which is a kidney disorder. Clean the Basenji’s ears on a regular basis and brush their teeth as well often.


Socialization and training should start right from their puppyhood.  Take the dogs to the dog park which will help them to mingle with the other dogs. They are highly active dogs and have a knack for doing mischief. You have to be dedicated and patient with the dog as obedience training will be challenging.  Keep the training session short with positive training techniques to avoid boredom. Encourage the dogs with rewards for obeying your commands. As this is a hunting breed, it can excel very well in lure coursing.


Feed the Basenjis superior quality dog food, be it is store purchased or cooked at home. You can feed them ¾ to 1 cup of high-quality dry food twice a day. Keep a watch on their calorie count as some dogs are prone to get obese.

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