The Basenji is an ancient ‘barkless’ breed with a unique temperament. It has been walking alongside human beings for thousands of years primarily as a hunting companion. Dogs that look like the Basenji, with the signature curly tail, short hair and erect ears, are depicted in the tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs.
Today, many owners have come to love the Basenji as a calm and independent household pet. Read on and find out if the Basenji is the right breed for you.
Basenji Dogs and Puppies
What is a Basenji?
The Basenji is one among the few ancient dog breeds in the world. It means that the Basenji is genetically closer to the wolf.
This breed is considered a hunting dog and it is known for using both scent and sight to go after prey. It has the potential to live longer than other dogs as it has a life span of 12 to 14 years.
Where does the Basenji come from?
The Basenji originated from Africa. This breed is also called the African Bush Dog, the African Barkless Dog, or dog of the bush, among other nicknames. In the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, dogs that are Basenji-like are depicted on the stone slabs. This shows that the breed may have existed for thousands of years already.
Hunters in Africa kept the breed for hunting. Basenjis helped the hunters chase and drive small game into the nets. Because of their versatility as hunting dogs, they are valued.
In the 19th century, the Westerners found Basenjis in the Congo region and attempted to import the breed. The attempts were futile at first. In the 1930s, the breed was successfully imported to England and then to the United States.
Many Basenjis have become household pets, especially in the West. But some African tribes are still keeping Basenjis for hunting today.
What does a Basenji look like?
The Basenjis’ physical trademarks include a wrinkly forehead, long neck, pointed ears, and a tail that is coiled on one side. Their bodies are smooth and muscular.
They are small, weighing only 9 t0 10 kg, with a height of 16 to 18 inches at the shoulder. Their coat is short and fine and comes in these colors: black, red, brindle, or tricolor (black and red). They all have white chests, feet, and tail tips—the colored areas are more prominent.
Basenjis generally look proud and alert. But, because of their wrinkled forehead, they might appear mildly puzzled.When they move, you would notice that they have a confident and elegant gait.
What is a Basenji like?
Basenjis are smart and independent. Much like the other hound-type dogs, once they are attracted to something, they would be fixated in chasing after it. Their size is seemingly convenient but they are strong and energetic and may often require high-level activities.
Because they are intelligent, Basenjis have a tendency to be stubborn. They sometimes only obey if the command or request suits their purpose. Owners might find it challenging to train them. They do seem aloof and detached but they can cultivate a deep attachment with their owners.
Many Basenjis may find it challenging to get along with other animals, especially if these are not dogs. They have retained a strong prey drive and might chase after unfamiliar animals. They also love exploring and may attempt to escape from fences and run through open doors.
Basenjis have cat-like traits. Like cats, they pay extra attention to grooming and can be aloof. They do not like wet weather as well. They also have traits similar to meerkats. When they’re curious, they tend to stand on their hind legs to observe.
When does a Basenji stop growing?
According to a pet manual by Mary Lou Kenworthy, Basenjis become physically mature when they’re nine to ten months old. They reach their full height around this time and continue to fill out for a few more months. It is possible that they get their full weight when they’re 18 months old.
Why don’t Basenjis bark?
This breed is one of the few that does not bark. It is because its larynx is shaped differently from the other dog breeds. But that doesn’t mean they’re completely quiet. Instead of barking, the Basenji yodel or barroo. They can howl and whimper as well.
Is the Basenji hypoallergenic?
Yes. The Basenji is considered hypoallergenic because it sheds very little. It is also helpful to note that the Basenji is particular on grooming and keeps itself quite clean.
But some people might still have an allergic reaction when exposed to the Basenji. There is no dog breed considered completely non-allergenic.
How much are Basenji puppies?
A Basenji puppy can have a starting price of USD $800 to $1,000. Prices tend to be higher if a puppy comes from a reputable, registered breeder. Adoption fees meanwhile can start at $200.
Is the Basenji a good apartment dog?
Yes, Basenjis can be good apartment dogs because of their size. They clean themselves quite thoroughly as well, which is convenient for busy owners.
But Basenjis are also not good apartment dogs. They are energetic and love to do activities that keep them busy. When left alone in a room, Basenjis might choose to entertain themselves by chewing their owners’ stuff. They naturally love being outdoors, especially if it’s a sunny day. Apartments can’t give them access to a yard where they can bask in the sunshine.
Owners who are living in apartments must be able to provide their Basenjis lots of activities so that they can vent their energy, moreover, be mentally stimulated.
Why own a Basenji?
Basenjis have their own charms you might find endearing. They’re intelligent, agile, and independent. Their size is quite convenient if you wish to have a strong but small pet. You don’t need to bathe them often, which is a huge plus. They can pretty much take care of themselves when it comes to grooming and they shed very little. Since they don’t bark, they make these sounds that can be funny and entertaining.
If you want to know more about Basenjis, watch this video from Animal Planet:
The Basenji is not exactly the average household pet. Raising one can actually be quite challenging as this breed tends to be slightly aloof, independent, and stubborn. Although it’s not the typical cuddle buddy, a Basenji can still be an awesome pet. After all, a Basenji’s behavior is also shaped by how it is raised.
Does the Basenji have the qualities you want in a pet? Let me know by writing a comment in the section below.
If you want to check out more dog breed profiles, click here.
Like this post? You’ll also like…
Featured image via K9 Control.