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Your Pet, Our Passion.
Basenji

Basenji

This small to medium-sized dog has a distinctive tightly curled tail and wrinkled forehead. The smooth, short, glossy coat of the Basenji comes in different colour combinations. If you can keep up with their high energy levels, Basenji dogs are smart, fun and make lovely companions.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Medium dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • Great family dog
  • Needs a small garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

The Basenji breed can be prone to: 
- Patellar luxation
- Fanconi Syndrome which is a type of inherited kidney disease. 
- Congenital haemolytic anaemia¹ which is an inherited disorder where the red blood cells break down. 
- Progressive retinal atrophy which is an inherited disorder where part of the eye degenerates and wastes away which can result in blindness.
- Urolithiasis which are stones that form in he urinary tract and can be painful. 

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.

¹E. Andresan, 'Haemolytic anaemia in Basenji dogs', 1977, Hereditas 

Key Facts

Life Span: 12-16 years
Weight: 11kg for males and 9.5kg for females
Height: 43cm at the withers (from the foot to the highest point of the shoulder) for males and 40cm for females
Colours: Red and white; black and white; black tan and white; brindle; brindle and white; tricolour
Size: Medium
Kennel Club group: Hound

Ratings

Family-friendly:  5/5
Exercise needs:  5/5
Easy to train:  1/5
Tolerates being alone:  4/5
Likes other pets:  4/5
Energy level:  5/5
Grooming needs:  2/5
Shedding:  1/5
Brown basenji standing on grass.

Personality

The Basenji is without doubt unique and has several characteristics that totally distinguish it from other breeds. First of all, the Basenji doesn’t bark. It will however yodel, chortle or even crow when excited. Like wild canids such as the wolf, the Basenji only has one season a year - and in its fastidiousness it is almost cat-like, cleaning themselves in a similar way. Like cats they are excellent climbers - and some will even climb trees. They are also extremely watchful and can sit for hours looking out of windows.

Basenji are high-spirited and endlessly curious, and are highly companionable with their owners rather than affectionate. They are charming and sometimes clownish but are also often aloof, independent and self-contained. They do not like being left alone and can often be highly destructive. Basenji dogs are unlikely to be safe with small furry animals and even cats should be introduced with care. Reserved with human strangers and sometimes unfriendly towards other dogs, they are fascinating but rather specialist companions.

Brown basenji standing on grass.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Africa

The Basenji is said to be as old as the Pyramids and indeed it appears in art from ancient Egypt from 4500 years ago. The same type of dog appears throughout hundreds of years - mostly in funeral art which indicates they were favourite dogs of the Pharaohs.

While the civilisation of ancient Egypt vanished, the Basenji survived, and soon became prized possessions of local tribesmen and hunters. The Basenji has been an all-purpose hunting dog across Africa for thousands of years and unlike most hounds, it is both a sighthound and a scenthound - and can be trained to point and retrieve.

The breed is virtually unchanged since the days of the Pharaohs making it one of the oldest ‘true to type’ breeds.

did you know?

Did you know?

  • The Basenji is probably the world’s oldest dog breed and they got their name from the people of the Ituri rainforests who called them Basenchi - meaning “little bush thing”.

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