Not Benji, but the Basenji!


Unlike many dogs, the Basenji is somewhat reserved in who it wants or likes as an owner. Though they are considered friendly, they are very selective about who approaches them, and often plays aloof until they feel comfortable with a person.

They become attached to one single person, instead of many, such as a family. They do not do well with other canine pets involved.

Behavior common of the Basenji

Unlike a normal bark, the Basenji larynx is unusually shaped, resulting in a somewhat yodeling quality when listening to it, which has given it flattering nicknames such as “barkless”, “screaming”, “shrieking”, or “child” dog.

They are one of the least trainable dogs, so it is not recommended for someone looking for a first-time pet.

Once past its initial reserved nature, the Basenji can be affectionate. They are known for their speed, high energy and need for play, and for provoking owners into games. When looking for something, they will stand on their hind legs, similar to a meerkat.

When tested for intelligence, it does rank the lowest. However, what the tests don’t take into consideration is that the Basenji does not like to be “obedient” on the first command. They have shown more than adequate intelligence in their own right–they simply are too independent for the trials that are thrown at them.

If it is the owners desire to breed this type of dog, the females have only one estrus cycle a year, meaning that they are only able to reproduce and have 1 litter, as opposed to other breeds who may do this multiple times a year. This, combined with some of the health issues and the lack of research done on it, make it difficult for there to be any stock.

Appearance of the Basenji

Their stature is almost horse-like, and can weigh up to almost 24 pounds at 16 inches. They are short-haired with perky, triangle-ears, and a curled tail. They are as long as they are tall, built athletically, and have a graceful gait when running. At times, their running speed is deceptively fast, considering their size, and will straighten out their tail for better balance.

They come in a variety of colors, including black, red, tricolor, and almost always have white chests and stomachs.

Grooming your Basenji

Other than general brushing and general check-ups, Fanconi Syndrome is unusually prominent in this breed. Fanconi Syndrome is inherited, and it is where the kidneys fail to absorb electrolytes and other necessary nutrients. As a result, the dog will drink excessive amounts of water, along with constant urination. This does not occur until maybe four to eight years in, and can be mistaken for diabetes when the glucose is found in the urine.

History of the Basenji

Originated from Africa for hunting, it is one of the most argued breeds for being the most “ancestral.” Their likeliness has been found on the hieroglyphs found in Egyptian tombs, and has been researched that they were used for small game, by hunting and separating the prey into traps.

Their primary breeding for stock was found officially in the Congo, where the natives spoke very highly of the breed, both on its strength, speed, and ability to distinguish what benefited it, rather than just the humans that it was with.