The Barkless Dog!
The Basenji is an elegantly built, aristocratic looking dog. They are native to Central Africa. He does not bark, but he is far from silent although generally very quiet dogs. He has quite a wide repertoire of doggy noises. The Basenji is also well known for his yodel. This is usually reserved for when he is happy, excited or especially when he has been caught doing something naughty - he is an expert at trying to charm his way out of trouble!
The Basenjis vocal chords are slightly different from other dogs making them incapable of barking, another fact that reminds us of how close they are to the primitive type dogs. Even Wolves and Dingoes cannot bark.
The Basenji is not as domesticated as most other canine breeds. Therefore you need to establish your dominance as the Pack Leader when they are still young puppies. If you are firm but fair with them they will consider you the leader otherwise they will take over this role quite happily.
Catlike and Odorless!
Basenjis are a small/medium sized dog. Measured at the shoulder they are about- 43cm tall & weigh about 11 kg for dogs and 40 cm tall & weighing about 9.5 kg for (bitches). Although they are a small dog they are very strong and extremely fast. The average life span is about 13 - 15 years.
Basenjis have short, fine, silky coats which they are constantly grooming. He is meticulous about his cleanliness so that he rarely ever needs a bath and is almost odorless. He hates being dirty and will wash himself (and the other Basenjis) like a cat if he gets wet and dirty.
Because they originate in Africa and have very short coats they tolerate heat much better than the cold. They appreciate having nice warm cosy beds inside the house rather than a kennel outside and you might even find he would prefer to share your bed with you !
The Basenji is a hunting dog. They are still used by natives in Africa to chase large and small game into nets where it is then speared by the hunters. Although both a sight hound and a scent hound, they can be selectively deaf and blind when they want to be.
Basenjis and cars do not mix!
It is the natural instinct of a Basenji to chase things that are moving. Basenjis are extremely quick and also have no road sense and a large percentage of Basenjis that get loose on the streets end up being hit by cars and killed. For this reason, Basenjis should always be kept on a leash when not in a completely fenced area.
Basenjis are very intelligent dogs but not in the way some people would like. Their unique combination of intelligence, independence, curiosity and energy - all traits which equipped them to be able to survive in the African bush or jungle - can make them a challenge to live with at times.
Instincts and Prey Drive
When looking for a dog, always consider the function of the breed you are considering. The breed's function can give you an idea of the typical behaviour and characteristics to expect. Basenjis are hunters and still used in their native land for this purpose. They are very athletic dogs and some can climb or jump over fences. They have a strong prey drive and love to give chase, so anything that moves can be fair game; chickens, rabbits, cats, birds, possums, bikes etc. If the front door or gate is left open even for a second he will make a dash for it and be gone before you know it and will not obey your calls to come back.
Stubborn & Charming!
Being a mischievous and stubborn breed, the Basenji is not the right fit for everyone!
However once you have been privileged to share your life with a Basenji, you'll find it very difficult if not impossible to live without one or two (or more) of them.
Basenjis are athletic dogs, have loads of energy and love to play but they are also very intelligent and because of this they can get bored quickly. They learn new commands quickly but due to being a stubborn breed they usually will only obey you if it suits them at the time. Positive re-enforcement training methods such as food rewards or clicker based training work best with Basenjis. Be careful not to over feed your Basenji as they can be quite greedy and get fat and unhealthy quickly.
Is a Basenji right for me?
If you want an obedient, reliable dog that loves nothing more than to please you then a Basenji is NOT the right dog for you !
Some understanding of dog behaviour and a good sense of humour are an advantage to enjoy life to the full with a Basenji!
A Natural Dog!
He has developed naturally from time immemorial to suit conditions that evolved with him. As such he is practically unique and it is a privilege to own him. It is a delight to watch him whether he is looking into a fire with pricked ears and a worried frown, preening himself like a cat, racing after game or just settling down beside you on the bed for the night!