Breed of the Month–Basenji

1February 2012


Color:  Black, brindle, chestnut red, tricolor, white markings, tan and white, black and tan.
Height:  Males:  17 inches/  Females:  16 inches
Weight:  Males:  24 lbs/  Females:  21-22 lbs
Life Span:  10-14 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Hip dysplasia, persistent pupillary membrane, thyroid problems, hemolytic anemia, coloboma, cataracts, corneal dystrophy, progressive retinal atrophy, inguinal and umbilical hernias.

Coat:  Fine, sleek, short, close
Country of Origin:  Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

An ancient breed in Africa, the Basenji is descended from the earliest type of pariah dogs.  A pair of this breed imported to the United Kingdom give the Basenji its current name.  Originally used by hunters for their sharp eye sight and keen nose, the Basenji today is still an inquisitive hunter that protects his home.

The Basenji, a sighthound, is smart, independent-minded, inquisitive, and playful.  The Basenji enjoys being with his family as much as possible and does not enjoy being left alone.  Sometimes referred to as the “barkless dog,” the Basenji does vocalize with yodels, howls, wines, and other interesting sounds.  This breed can seem unfriendly and aloof with strangers.

The Basenji needs regular activity that includes him being able to explore.  This breed is capable of very high speeds and should not be left off lead without being in an enclosed space.

The Basenji has an interesting cat-like trait about him, in that he will groom himself by licking the paws and washing his face.  Using the occasional hound glove will keep his coat looking shiny and beautiful.  The skin of the Basenji’s face needs regular wiping to keep it free from infection.

This cat-like breed is independent and needs a lot of motivation to be properly trained.  The Basenji can be predatory and possessive and should be socialized with different animals and people.