Basenji Dogs: The Elegant and Mischievous African Hounds

   The Basenji is a breed of dog that hails from Central Africa, where it was originally used for hunting small game and tracking larger animals. 

Often referred to as the "barkless dog," the Basenji is known for its distinctive vocalization, which is more akin to a yodel or a chortle than a traditional bark. But there is so much more to this breed than just its unique voice. In this article, we'll delve into the history, personality, characteristics, care, and common health problems of the Basenji. We'll also take a look at the breed's appearance, coat and color variations, diet and nutrition, lifespan, and cost. By the end, you'll have a deep understanding of all that makes the Basenji such a special and fascinating breed.


     The Basenji is thought to be one of the oldest breeds of domesticated dog, with evidence of the breed dating back to ancient Egypt. In fact, the Basenji is depicted in many ancient Egyptian artifacts, including tomb paintings and sculptures. The breed is native to Central Africa, where it was used by the Pygmy people for hunting small game and tracking larger animals. The Basenji was prized for its ability to silently track its prey and for its agility and endurance.



    The first Basenjis were brought to England in the late 1800s by explorers who were captivated by the breed's unique appearance and vocalization. In the early 20th century, a pair of Basenjis were brought to the United States, where the breed quickly gained popularity. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Basenji in 1943, and the breed has remained a popular companion animal in the United States ever since.


     The Basenji is a intelligent, independent, and energetic breed. They are known for their strong prey drive and their desire to hunt and explore. They are also highly trainable and excel in obedience and agility competitions. Despite their energetic nature, Basenjis are also known for being sensitive and affectionate with their families. They can be aloof with strangers, but are not aggressive by nature.


     The Basenji is a small to medium-sized breed, standing at about 16 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 22 and 24 pounds. They have a short, fine coat that comes in a variety of colors, including red, black, chestnut, brindle, and trindle (a combination of red and brindle). The breed is known for its distinctive wrinkled forehead and curled tail.


     Basenjis are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, as they have a short, fine coat that requires minimal brushing. They should be bathed only as needed, and their nails should be trimmed regularly. Basenjis are energetic and require daily exercise, including walks, runs, and playtime. They are also highly intelligent and require mental stimulation to prevent boredom, so it is important to provide them with plenty of toys and puzzles to keep them entertained.

Common Health Problems

     Like all breeds, the Basenji is prone to certain health problems. These can include hip dysplasia, eye problems, and Fanconi syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the kidneys. It is important to work with a reputable breeder who performs health screenings on their breeding dogs to minimize the risk of these issues. 


    The Basenji is a sleek and elegant breed, with a slim, athletic build and a graceful gait. They have a short, fine coat that lies close to the body, and their most distinctive physical characteristic is their wrinkled forehead. Their head is small and wedge-shaped, with large, erect ears that are set high on the head. They have a long, narrow muzzle and a tight, curled tail that is carried high over their back.

Coat and Colour

     The Basenji has a short, fine coat that comes in a variety of colors, including red, black, chestnut, brindle, and trindle (a combination of red and brindle). The breed may also have white markings on the chest, feet, and tail tip. Their coat is easy to groom, requiring only occasional brushing to remove dead hair.

Diet and Nutrition

    Basenjis are energetic and athletic, so it is important to feed them a high-quality diet that is rich in protein and appropriate for their size and activity level. They do best on a diet of premium dry dog food, supplemented with small amounts of wet food and fresh, whole foods. It is important to avoid overfeeding, as the breed is prone to obesity.

How long do they live?

     The average lifespan of a Basenji is between 12 and 16 years. With proper care, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups, some Basenjis may live even longer.

How much do they cost?

     The cost of a Basenji can vary depending on a number of factors, including the breeder, the dog's pedigree and conformation, and the location. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $1,500 for a Basenji puppy. Keep in mind that the initial cost of a dog is just a small portion of the overall cost of owning a pet. You should also consider the ongoing expenses of feeding, caring for, and providing medical care for your Basenji.

     The Basenji is a unique and fascinating breed with a rich history and a loyal, affectionate personality. With their intelligence, athleticism, and independent nature, they make excellent companions for active families who are willing to provide them with the mental and physical stimulation they need. If you're considering adding a Basenji to your family, be sure to do your research, work with a reputable breeder, and be prepared to provide them with the care and attention they need to thrive.

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