Basenji dog: characteristics and photos

Basenji: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Originally from Central Africa, the Basenji is one of the oldest dogs...

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Originally from Central Africa, the Basenji is one of the oldest dogs in existence today. This intelligent and balanced dog has two particular characteristics: he never barks and the females get heat once a year. The absence of barking does not mean that the Basenji is a dumb dog because it emits sounds that could be defined as a kind of mixture of singing and Tyrolean laughter. He is, however, a generally calm dog.

The annual presence of heat, instead of biannual, denotes the phylogenetic antiquity of the Basenji, since this feature is shared with wolves and New Guinea singing dogs (dogs that don't bark either) .Whether you are considering adopting a Basenji or if you already have a partner of this breed, this PlanetAnimal tab will allow you to discover everything you need to know about him, from his physical characteristics, to his character, his education and his he alth. .


  • Africa
  • Europe
  • United Kingdom

FCI Nomenclature

  • Group V

Physical Characteristics

  • Muscular
  • Proportional
  • Short legs


  • Little


  • 35-45

Adult Weight

  • 3-10

Life expectancy

  • 12-14

Recommended physical activity

  • Average


  • Balanced
  • Active

Ideal for

  • Apartment
  • House
  • The hunt

Recommended climate

  • Temperate

Hair type

  • Short
  • End

Origin of Basenji

The Basenji, also known as the Congo Dog, is a breed of dog that originated in Central Africa. On the other hand, it has also been shown that the ancient Egyptians used Basenjis for hunting and valued them for their courage and dedication to work, thus, Basenjis are also part of their history.

At the end of the year 1800, an attempt was made to import basenji into Europe, but distemper infected all imported specimens. In this way, it was not until the 1930s that this breed was imported to England and it was not until 1941 that it was imported to the United States.

Although the Basenji is treated as a companion dog in the rest of the world, it is still used in Africa to hunt small animals.

Physical characteristics of the Basenji

The Basenji is an elegant, sporty, small and unusual dog. The head of the Basenji gives it an aristocratic appearance and the forehead has fine, well-marked wrinkles when the dog raises its ears. The skull, of medium width, gradually narrows towards the nose, the cranial vault is flat and the stop, although existing, is not very marked. The eyes of the Basenji are dark and almond-shaped, they are arranged obliquely on the skull and are very penetrating.The small ears end in a point and the dog wears them erect and tilted slightly forward.

The Basenji has a high insert tail and is curled over the back. This characteristic tail of the breed can form one or two curls on the side of the thigh.

His back is short and horizontal and his chest is deep. The top line rises to form a clearly defined waistline. The coat of the basenji is short, very dense, fine and shiny. Accepted colors for this breed are:

  • Black
  • White
  • Red and white
  • Black and Fire
  • White with tan markings on muzzle and cheeks
  • Black, fire and white
  • Tabby (red background)
  • Feet, chest and tip of tail must be white.

The ideal height for Basenji males is around 43 centimeters at the withers, while the ideal height for females is around 40 centimeters at the withers. For its part, the weight of the males is about 11 kilograms and that of the females nine and a half kilograms.

Character of Basenji

The Basenji is an alert, independent, curious and affectionate dog. He can be reserved with strangers and can react aggressively to provocations. It is therefore not the best option for families with young children.

Due to its predisposition for hunting, this dog is generally not recommended to live with animals of other species. However, Basenjis often get along well with other dogs. Of course, puppy socialization is a necessity for this breed as well as any other dog breed.

This dog breed is very active and can be destructive if they don't get the exercise they need. His hunting drive makes the Basenji an independent dog, but that doesn't mean you can leave him alone all the time. The Basenji, like any other breed, also needs its human companions to care for it, play with it, and offer affection.While he doesn't like being overwhelmed with expansive hugs, he doesn't tolerate indifference either.

On the other hand, the Basenji is a very low barker and extremely clean dog. Likewise, the character of the Basenji emphasizes its mischievous, playful and very stubborn personality. This breed of dog needs a patient and constant companion in its education.

Basenji Education

As we have already indicated in the previous section, the Basenji is a dog that requires a lot of patience and perseverance because even if it is not difficult to train, it must practice the commands several times of obedience in order to integrate them. There are dog breeds that have a faster learning process, like the German Shepherd, and others with a slower response, like the Basenji.

To get better results when training the basenji, it is best to train it through positive reinforcement.In this way, the dog will gradually associate the commands with positive stimuli and internalize them much more quickly. Traditional training, based on punishment, ends up generating stress, anxiety and fear in the dog. We will begin his education by teaching him the basic commands little by little, however, he should not be taught another one so that the first one is fully integrated.

In general, for a Basenji to learn an order, it usually takes him between 30 and 40 repetitions so don't be surprised if you notice that after practicing with him more than 10 times, he doesn't understand it always not. Likewise, it is not advisable to organize training sessions of more than 15 minutes, as this could generate anxiety and stress. It is therefore better to bet on short but constant education sessions.

Basenji Care

The Basenji is a dog that can live peacefully in an apartment if it is allowed to exert itself by walking it enough and not playing with it.He does not require excessive physical exercise, but he can easily get bored easily if he is not given enough mental exercise. A bored Basenji is often plagued by behavioral problems such as destroying furniture or other objects. A Basenji needs two to three daily walks in which he can walk, run, play and interact with other dogs.

For those who like their house to be super clean or for those who are allergic to dogs, the basenji has a huge advantage over other dog breeds. This dog sheds very little, so it is considered a hypoallergenic dog. Although it is not one of the most recommended breeds for people with a high degree of allergy, it can be suitable when it comes to mild allergies. On the other hand, he is used to grooming himself frequently, like cats he always likes to be clean.To conclude with the care of the Basenji, brushing and bathing are absolutely not chores and you will do them quickly. The Basenji will need a bath when it is really dirty and one to two brushings per week, especially during moulting periods.

Basenji He alth

There are a series of diseases that affect basenji more commonly than other dog breeds. To prevent their development you must know them:

  • Kidney problems, such as Fanconi syndrome
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Intestinal problems
  • Obesity if he doesn't get enough exercise

During the periodic examinations prescribed by the veterinarian, it is essential to keep in mind the previous pathologies so that they are particularly followed, since some are hereditary (kidney problems).On the other hand, even though we have pointed out that the Basenji is an active dog, if he does not get the exercise his body needs, you should know that he will eventually suffer from obesity. Being overweight in this dog is a condition that can lead to serious consequences, such as deterioration of heart function. Likewise, keeping the vaccination and deworming schedule up to date will be essential to prevent him from contracting viral diseases. .

Basenji Pictures

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