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Basenji – Unique Dog Breed Information On The Bark-less Dog

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Basenji, Africa’s smallest hound is also referred to as the “barkless dog”; it exhibits unique characteristics like intelligence, composed nature and an eagerness to learn new tricks.

This 17-inch dog can sometimes seem to be fiercely protective and at times you would be left wondering if the very same dog could crave so much for their master’s attention and affection.

Their deep sense of smell makes it easier for them to hunt down prey and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he is able to sniff a bee up your sleeve.

As mentioned earlier, Basenji’s are mostly a barkless breed but that doesn’t mean they are altogether mute.

They do yodel and growl sometimes; this is one of the reasons why many people in Africa prefer to use them as hunting dogs because they do not give away their positions(location) to the prey/enemies that easily.

This post entails all interesting facts and feature about the breed that you should better know prior to bringing home a Basenji.

Basenji Infographics And Video

Basenji Infographics

Basenji Infographic

Basenji Video

Basenji Breed Characteristics Sheet

  • Origin: Congo
  • Size: Medium
  • Dog Breed Group: Hound
  • Purebred: Yes
  • Lifespan: 10 -12 Years
  • Height (at Shoulder): 1ft 4 inches to
  • Weight: 22 – 24 Pounds
  • Coat Appearance: Short, Fine
  • Coat Colors: Brindle, Rich Chestnut Red, Black, Tricolor (Black & Chestnut with white feet)
  • Temperament: Intelligent, Energetic, Affectionate, Playful
  • Good With Children: Yes, good for older children
  • Intelligence Level: High
  • Good With Pets: No
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Grooming: Low
  • Shedding: Low
  • Barking: Low (Yodel or growl)
  • Suitable For Apartments: High
  • Need For Exercise: High
  • Easy To Train: No (Need consistent training; Professional help is advisable)
  • Good For First Time Owners: Moderate-High
  • Health Issues: Fanconi, Hip Dysplasia, Coloboma
  • Litter Size: 5 Puppies
  • Average Price: $ 800 Usd

Basenji Size And Lifespan

Basenji Size

  • Height – Female Basenjis have a height of about 16 inches whereas Male Basenjis grow up to 17 inches.
  • Weight – Female Basenjis weigh around 21-22 lbs and male’s weight would range between 21-24lbs.

Basenji Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Basenji is 10 to 12 years. If they are safe from genetic problems and are taken care of well with proper vaccinations administered whenever needed, you’re your Basenji could possibly live up to 18 years of age.

Though it is the saddest topic to discuss, you need to keep a close eye on your dog as he ages. Trembling, weakness and seizures are few signs of some serious diseases; early medication and care can help add a few more years to your pet’s life expectancy.

Basenji Food

During early times, Basenji’s were accustomed to eating what their human masters ate; they weren’t fed branded food products back then.

With the introduction of new dog food brands, many Basenji owners have taken to feeding their pet with the best-advertised product. With the onset of major diseases in dogs, it is crucial that your pet receives the right amount of food and the right quality of food.

The quantity of food that must be given to a Basenji greatly depends on his size, age, and digestive soundness.

It is best to keep the quantity up to 1 cup of dry food a day divided into 2 meals. Letting your pet grow overweight is just like you allow your pet to grow vulnerable to all diseases that come free with obesity.

Keep your pet’s weight under check and if you still doubt the appropriate food quantity, then it is better to get an opinion from the vet than making your own decisions.

Generally, the foods that you can give your dog include carrots, beans, fruits, beans, chicken, meat, fish, yogurt, and other meat-related dog food.

The foods you must avoid include chocolate, cocoa products, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and coffee.

Must Read: What Foods Can/Cannot Dogs eat?

Basenji Temperament

Basenji is quite an aloof dog; though it may patronize its master, getting along with strangers would be difficult unless given proper training. Dogs of the same breed mostly get along well but Basenji’s are slightly different for that matter.

They originally hunt in packs but at times, they are stubborn and argumentative with the other members of the pack. It may seem to be an unwanted temperament if you have other pets at home but early socializing and training can help them get along with all pets easily.

Cleverness and extreme intelligence in Basenjis might make you believe in the breed being quite easy to train but that’s not true in all the cases.

They become stubborn if the tricks taught are not that creative; new and interesting tricks can keep them occupied and relieve them off their boredom.

As puppies, they may keep chewing around and destructing your favorite couch or carpet. In order to do away with this habit, you need to start training your Basenji, while it’s still young.

Basenji Training

Basenjis are clever dogs but that shouldn’t lead you to believe that they are easy to train. They can easily feel bored if you keep repeating the same trick time and time again.

Hence you need to have a new trick up your sleeve every other day. Basenjis love being active and though they may not have the old hunting trait lingering around them, they love toy-hunting games at times.

In order to do away with their timid nature, they need early training on ‘socializing’. Take them to busy parks or stores that allow pets. A new visitor each day will help your pet learn to handle strangers and get used to being around new people.

Getting your Basenji admitted to a puppy kindergarten is another way to help him socialize with other dog breeds.

Basenjis never respond to harsh behavior, so ensure to train him with consistency and use positive reinforcements like giving treats and praise in order to keep him dedicated to learning.


Basenji Shedding And Grooming

The Basenji has a short, fine coat that comes in different shades ranging from black and rich chestnut red to brindle and white.

They are quite cat-like; they love grooming and whiling away the time licking their coat smooth and clean. Phew, they can handle their grooming problems themselves!

Well, this may sound relieving but it is always best to keep their coat under check and give them a good pet-friendly shampoo bath at least 3-4 times in a month.

Basenji Care

Basenji’s love jumping around and long nails, in such cases, can be dangerous not just to your property but also to your pet’s skin. If left uncut, they can ruin their skin just by scratching.

Hence, always trim their nails and ensure they are kept clean regularly.

In order to avoid plaque and tartar formation, you should brush their teeth twice or thrice in a week. Regular brushing is even better and your pet will too become accustomed to this habit with time.

Ears are the apt place for insects and parasites to breed; so make sure that they are kept clean and free from wax and gunk and infection.

Regular examination of the skin, nose, ears, teeth, and eyes will help you keep your pet away from diseases caused by germs.

Interesting Facts About Basenji

  • The Basenji breed was originally from Congo
  • They are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world and are the “barkless dogs”
  • They are excellent climbers. You need to build your fence high if you want to avoid your pet from escaping!
  • Unlike other dogs, Basenji can deliver puppies just once per year.
  • In Kenya, Basenjis were once used to lure lions out of their caves.
  • They are very clean and are mostly odorless. Grooming is not much of problem when it comes to Basenjis.

Basenji Health Problems

Here’s a list of some common diseases that you should be aware of if you are considering to bring this breed home.

You need to know that this list is just a possibility and gives no indication that your pet will suffer from one of these diseases. A healthy pet is definitely what a pet owner prays and wishes to own.

Fanconi Syndrome

The normal processing of sugar and proteins get disrupted since this disease affects the kidney. All essential proteins get flushed off in the dog’s urine.

Frequent urination, excessive thirst and high volume of glucose in the urine are few signs that indicate the onset of the disease.

While it was usually considered fatal in the beginning, recent medicinal advances can keep the condition stabilized(though not curable completely) in the pet.

You may be required to give him 30 pills a day which is not just time-consuming but also mentally disturbing.

Theirs is no proven way to conclude if a dog is a carrier of this disease but a close look at the bloodline and medical history can help you stay away from Basenji pups that are vulnerable to this disease.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This was considered a minor issue in Basenjis but of late, this eye disease is recorded to have affected the number of Basenjis than expected.

Early problems may include night-blindness and as days go by, it may also lead to loss of day-vision. In order to avoid this disease, it is advisable that you take your pet for a yearly eye check-up to a reputed veterinary ophthalmologist.


This is a rare problem where the eye of the pup has a hole in it. The severity depends on the size and depth of the hole in the pet’s eyes.

Researchers claim that this is an inherited condition and doctors often advise owners to spay and neuter such pups in order to prevent this disease from passing over.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a very common disease in dogs and Basenjis are no exceptions. This disease mostly affects the thighbones and joint bones of the dog.

Painful limping and a swaying gait in the dog are a few symptoms that mark the onset of the problem. Instant medication can help cure hip dysplasia and minimize its painful effects to some extent.

Basenji Dog Names


Recommended Read: Majestic Names For Your Male DogsCute Names For Female Dogs

Basenji Price And Breeders

Basenji Price

The average cost for Basenjis is $800 but there are breeders who demand anywhere between $1700 and $4500 based on the quality of breed line.

Buying from a rescue center is better than purchasing from a local pet store that promises to charge lesser.

Basenji Breeders

Points to Remember When Choosing a Basenji Breeder

Scrutinizing the breeder’s authenticity and reliability is very important when it comes to purchasing a healthy Basenji pup. Clear all your querries before planning to buy one from a particular breeder in your locality.

Here are a few points to consider while buying a Basenji from a breeder;

  • Get to know the details about the pup’s direct bloodline.

Hereditary issues like Fanconi and hip dysplasia can be serious issues in a pet. So, it is better to clear all your doubts in order to stay away from even the slightest possibility of bringing home a sick pup.

  • Request to see the pup in person before purchasing

It is always good to spend a little time with your future-pup even before you purchase him. Weird behavior and unwillingness to socialize shouldn’t be taken lightly unless it is a full grown Basenji.

  • Consider the environment they are living in

Breeders who love their pets mostly offer the best possible living environment for the dogs. Make sure you buy from a breeder who keeps his pets in a vibrant, fresh and comfortable environment.

Mostly, trustworthy breeders enquire a lot about the customers before giving away the pups; if the breeder you’ve contacted doesn’t show interest to know about you and your efforts to keep the pet happy, then it is advisable that you find some other better breeder.

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