BaxterBoo Blog
January 28, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Basenji

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Overview:

  • Height: 16"-17” (Male), 15”-16” (Female)
  • Weight: 22-26 pounds (Male), 20-25 pounds (Female)
  • Historical function: Trail dog in Africa, sight hound.
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Hound

Physical Characteristics:

The Basenji is a smaller, muscular, sleek, short-haired dog with upright ears, and a curly tail. The most common coat color is tan with white accents, but several other coat combination patterns are available. They have wrinkles on their foreheads that give them a likable expression of thoughtfulness. Basenji's have unusual voice boxes that do not allow them to bark. Instead they have howls and yodel type vocalizations. Curious dogs often stand on their hind legs, almost like a meerkat, for a better look.

History of the Breed:

The Basenji hails from the Congo basin in Africa where it was used as a trail dog to spot  and flush out game and to alert hunters to dangers in the bush. Because of this origin, the Basenji was also called the Congo Dog when it was first imported to England in 1937 where the breed was further refined and exported all over the world.

Temperament:

The Basenji can be somewhat aloof and cat-like both in temperament and the way they groom themselves. When socialized well and early, they make friendly, playful pets that
alert, affectionate, energetic and curious. These sight hounds are not to be trusted with non-dog pets, however. They tend to bond with one person in particular. As intelligent and climbing dogs, they are not easily contained in yards, particularly with chain-link fences. Baseni's are not typically known to be easily trainable as they like to have their own way, but respond best to positive reinforcement training methods. Although quiet, this dog is very active and likes to chew, so provide this dog with lots of chew toys.

  • Best suited for: Families with older children with a secure yard. Experienced dog trainers using positive reinforcement and play techniques. Also good for people with allergies.
  • Preferred living conditions: Basenji's do not like wet weather. They need a secure yard, lots of activity and exercise, including a long daily walk to keep these intelligent dogs mentally and physically content. If not given these requirements, they may become destructive or overweight and lazy. Basenji's are happiest when kept with multiple Basenji's.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Basenji's are very clean, odorless dogs that shed very minimally.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walks with active play.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Health concerns: Basenji's are sensitive to household chemicals. Can be prone to kidney, intestinal, and eye problems. Females come into heat only once a year.

Breed Club Links: The Baseni Club of America

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