Basenji Dog Breed Characteristics: Basic Information

Basenji dogs are an intriguing breed. Unlike other canines, Basenjis do not bark, but instead make a yodeling sound. This is the reason that they are sometimes called the “barkless dog.” Instead of a typical bark, Basenjis tend to yodel, whine, and growl to communicate. They are also one of the oldest dog breeds, originating in Central Africa.

Basenji History

The Basenji is a breed of dog that originated from Africa. Europeans first described ancestors of these dogs in 1895, and they were prized by locals for their intelligence, courage, speed, and silence. Some consider independent dogs such as Basenjis and Afghan Hounds more intelligent because of their ability to recognize which actions benefit them, and which simply please another.

Only relatively recently, in the 1930s, the foundation stock of the Basenji was brought to England and then to the United States where this breed was developed into the dog we know today. The Basenji we know today is likely a descendant of the few dogs that were brought from Africa.


The Basenji is a small, compact dog with a short, sleek coat. They are well proportioned and have a triangular-shaped head with erect ears. The eyes are almond shaped, and the nose is black. They have graceful, long necks and relatively small head. The legs are straight and long, and the tail is carried high and curled over the back. One of the characteristic features of the Basenji is that they have light wrinkles on their forehead. They have a graceful gait and are agile and quick.


The most distinguishing feature of the Basenji is its short, fine coat, which can come in a variety of colors including red, black, brindle, and tricolor with brindle spots, although this combination is not as frequently seen. The most distinguishing feature is that they have white feet, chest and tail tips. They have a thick coat but single-layered, and they do not have a distinct doggy smell.

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In terms of size, male Basenjis typically weigh between 20-26 pounds and stand 15-17 inches tall at the shoulder, while females usually weigh 21 pounds and stand 15-16 inches tall. Even though they’re not large dogs, they’re still very strong and athletic.


Basenjis are also relatively easy to care for, although there are a few things potential owners should be aware of before bringing one home.


When it comes to grooming, Basenjis only need to be brushed about once a week. They don’t have the typical doggy smell, and they don’t shed very much. However, they do require regular nail trimmings and ear cleanings. Lastly, although they do not require frequent bathing, it is still important to give them the occasional bath to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated in their fur.


While every dog is different and their caloric needs will vary depending on their activity level, most Basenjis do well on 3/4 to 1 cup of food per day. The exact amount will also depend on various factors such as age, weight, and build. As a general rule of thumb, you should feed your Basenji twice a day. As with all dogs, it’s important to make sure they have access to fresh water at all times.


If you’re thinking of adding a Basenji to your family, you might be wondering about the best way to train this clever breed. Basenjis are independent thinkers, so you’ll need to be patient and consistent in your approach. Positive reinforcement is always a good strategy.

Although they are very intelligent, they can be stubborn, so you’ll need to find the right balance of firmness and kindness. As with all dogs, early socialization is important for Basenjis. This will help them learn how to interact properly with other animals and people.

Activity Levels

Basenjis are relatively small dogs, but they have a lot of energy and require plenty of exercise. If you’re considering getting a Basenji, be prepared to give them at least an hour of exercise per day.

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Basenji Health Information

As with all dog breeds, there are certain health problems that seem to be more prevalent in Basenjis. Some of the most common include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), Fanconi syndrome, and Basenji enteropathy. While these conditions can be serious, there are many steps that can be taken to help your Basenji live a long and healthy life.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is a degenerative disease of the retina that eventually leads to blindness. While there is no cure for PRA, early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and improve your dog’s quality of life.

Fanconi Syndrome

Fanconi syndrome is another serious health condition that can affect Basenjis. This disorder prevents the body from properly reabsorbing nutrients, leading to a variety of health problems. While there is no cure for Fanconi syndrome, early diagnosis and treatment can help your dog live a long and healthy life.

Basenji Enteropathy

Basenji enteropathy is a gastrointestinal condition that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. While this condition can be serious, there are many steps that can be taken to help your dog live a long and healthy life.

Minor Problems

While these are some of the more common health problems that affect Basenjis, there are many other minor health problems that can occur as well. Some of these include umbilical hernias, persistent pupillary membranes, and allergies. While these conditions are usually not life-threatening, it is important to consult your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your dog’s health.

The best way to help your Basenji live a long and healthy life is to provide him with annual veterinary checkups and vaccinations. By taking these steps, you can help your Basenji enjoy a long and healthy life


Basenjis are a relatively healthy breed and typically live for 14 to 16 years. Given their relatively long lifespan, owning a Basenji is a commitment that should not be taken lightly. However, for those who are willing to make the commitment, a Basenji can provide years of companionship and enjoyment.

Basenji Temperament and Personality

These dogs are known for their unique personalities, which include being curious, joyful, intelligent, quiet, confident, and loyal. These African barkless dogs are curious dogs that love to explore their surroundings. They are also very intelligent and can be easy to train if you are consistent with your commands. While they are not known for being yappy dogs, Basenjis do make a sound that is similar to yodeling. They are considered quiet, yet alert. The Basenji breed makes a great companion dog and is loyal to their family.

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Basenji Dog Breed: For Whom?

Basenji dogs may be a good fit for an owner who is experienced in dog and dog training. Basenjis typically do not do well when left alone for long periods of time, so they may not be the best choice for someone who works long hours or often travels.

Although they are affectionate, they can also be aloof and may not enjoy being hugged. When it comes to children, Basenjis may do best in a home with older kids. If you’re considering adding a Basenji to your family, be sure to socialize them at an early age and do your research to make sure this is the right breed for you.

Basenji Puppy Price

If you’re considering adding a Basenji puppy to your family, you may be wondering how much they cost. Basenjis are relatively rare dogs, so they can be pricey. Expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for a Basenji puppy. Of course, the price will also depend on factors like the breeder’s reputation and other factors.

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