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Basenji

Basenji Dog Breed Information

In a Sentence:

A small, energetic and independent breed of dog with a short, fine coat and tightly curled tail.

Scientific Name:

Canis lupus familiaris.
Type:Mammal

Size:

Basenjis are considered a Small to Medium sized dog breed.
Weight:9-11 kg.
Height:41-43 cm (16-17 inches)
Length:43-46 cm.

Lifespan:

The average lifespan of a Basenji is around 12 to 14 years

Behavior:

What type of dog is a Basenji, how do they behave and what temperament do they have? See below for a detailed overview of their traits and personality.

Personality & Temperament

Basenjis are renowned for their unique personality and temperament. They are intelligent, independent and curious dogs that are often described as cat-like in their behavior. Here is a detailed overview of Basenjis’ personality, temperament and behavior:

  • Basenjis are highly intelligent dogs that can quickly learn new commands and tricks. They are also good problem-solvers.
  • Basenjis are alert dogs that are always on the lookout for potential threats. They make excellent watchdogs and will bark to alert their owners of any danger.
  • Basenjis are known for their unique vocalizations, which include yodeling and howling. They are generally quiet dogs and do not bark excessively.
  • Basenjis are clean dogs that groom themselves like cats. They do not have a strong doggy odor and are easy to keep clean.
  • Basenjis are active dogs that need regular exercise to stay healthy. They enjoy running, hiking and other outdoor activities.
  • Basenjis have a unique ability to escape from yards and homes. They are excellent climbers and can jump over high fences. Owners need to take precautions to keep them safe and secure.

Basenjis are intelligent, independent and curious dogs with a unique personality and temperament. They make great companions for active owners who can provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Intelligence

Basenjis are generally considered to be intelligent dogs. They have an independent and curious nature, which can make them challenging to train at times. However, with consistent and positive training methods, Basenjis can learn a variety of commands and tricks. They are also known for their problem-solving abilities and can be quite resourceful when it comes to finding ways to get what they want. Overall, Basenjis are smart dogs that require patient and consistent training to reach their full potential.

Trainability

Basenjis are intelligent and independent dogs, which can make them a bit challenging to train. They have a strong prey drive and can be easily distracted by their surroundings, so it’s important to use positive reinforcement techniques and keep training sessions short and engaging. Consistency and patience are key when training a Basenji and it’s important to establish yourself as the pack leader early on. With proper training and socialization, Basenjis can learn to be well-behaved and obedient companions.

Sleep

Basenjis, like most dogs, sleep for an average of 12-14 hours per day. However, their sleeping patterns may vary depending on their age, activity level and overall health. Puppies and senior Basenjis may require more sleep, while adult Basenjis who are highly active may need less sleep. It’s important to provide your Basenji with a comfortable and quiet sleeping area to ensure they get the rest they need.

Bark

Basenjis are known for their unique vocalization, which is often described as a yodel or a baroo. They are not excessive barkers, but they do make noise when they want to communicate with their owners or alert them to something. However, they are generally quieter than many other breeds and are often considered a good choice for people who live in apartments or close quarters.

Drool

Basenjis are a relatively low-drooling breed. They do produce saliva like any other dog, but they typically do not drool excessively. However, individual dogs may vary in their drooling habits depending on factors such as age, health and diet.

Lick

Basenjis are not excessive lickers compared to some other breeds. However, like all dogs, they may lick their owners or themselves occasionally. It is important to note that excessive licking can be a sign of anxiety or other health issues, so it is always best to monitor your Basenji’s behavior and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Jump

Basenjis have an impressive jumping ability. They can jump up to six feet high from a standing position. However, it is important to note that Basenjis should always be supervised when they are jumping to ensure their safety and prevent any injuries.

Dig

Basenjis are not excessive diggers. However, like any dog, they may dig occasionally. The amount they dig can change based on the individual dog’s personality and behavior. It is important to provide them with enough exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior such as digging. Proper training and supervision can also help prevent excessive digging.

Good Fit for You?

Is a Basenji the right dog for you? Keep reading to find out how compatible you are with a Basenji.

Exercise

Basenjis are an active breed that require a moderate amount of exercise. They have high energy levels and love to run and play. A daily walk or jog, along with some playtime in a fenced yard or park, is recommended to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. They also enjoy participating in activities such as agility, lure coursing and obedience training. It is important to note that Basenjis have a strong prey drive and should always be kept on a leash or in a secure area to prevent them from chasing after small animals.

Space

Basenjis are a medium-sized breed and require a moderate amount of space. They can adapt well to apartment living as long as they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation. However, they do have a high energy level and need daily exercise and playtime. A fenced yard is ideal for them to run and play safely. Basenjis need enough space to move around comfortably and burn off their energy.

Apartment

Basenjis can be a good dog for apartment living, but they require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. They are active dogs that need daily walks and playtime, so it’s important to make sure they get enough exercise. Basenjis are vocal and can be prone to barking, which may not be suitable for apartment living. Additionally, Basenjis are independent and can be challenging to train, so it’s important to have patience and consistency when training them. Basenjis can be a good apartment dog for the right owner who is willing to provide them with plenty of exercise and training.

Left Alone

Basenjis are known for being independent and self-sufficient, but they can become anxious and destructive if left alone for long periods of time. They are pack animals and thrive on social interaction, so it is not recommended to leave them alone for more than a few hours at a time. It is important to provide them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation, such as toys, puzzles and exercise, to keep them happy and healthy. Additionally, crate training can help them feel safe and secure when left alone for short periods.

Kid/Family Friendly

Basenjis can be good with kids and families, but they are not always the best choice for families with young children. Basenjis have an independent and stubborn nature, which can make them difficult to train and handle. They are also renowned for their high energy levels and need for exercise, which may be challenging for families who are not able to provide them with enough physical activity. Additionally, Basenjis have a strong prey drive and may not be suitable for families with small pets. However, with proper socialization and training, Basenjis can make loyal and loving companions for families with older children who are able to handle their unique personality and exercise needs.

Perfect Fit

A Basenji would be a perfect fit for a household that has an active lifestyle and can provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation for the dog. They have high energy levels and need for daily exercise, so a home with a yard or access to a nearby park would be ideal. Basenjis are also independent and can be stubborn at times, so an experienced dog owner who can provide consistent training and socialization would be best. They may not be the best fit for households with small children or other pets, as they have a strong prey drive and may chase after smaller animals.

Pros and Cons:

Like any breed, there are both pros and cons to owning a Basenji. Here are five of each:

Pros:
  1. Low maintenance grooming: Basenjis have short, fine coats that require minimal grooming, making them a great choice for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time on grooming.
  2. Intelligent and trainable: Basenjis are highly intelligent and can be trained to do a variety of tasks, making them great for owners who want a dog that can learn quickly.
  3. Playful and energetic: Basenjis are known for their playful and energetic personalities, making them great companions for active owners who enjoy outdoor activities.
  4. Good with children: Basenjis are generally good with children and can make great family pets.
  5. Unique and interesting: Basenjis are a unique breed with a fascinating history, making them an interesting choice for those who want a dog that stands out from the crowd.
Cons:
  1. Independent nature: Basenjis are renowned for their independent nature, which can make them difficult to train and handle for inexperienced owners.
  2. High energy level: Basenjis are a high-energy breed that require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, which can be challenging for owners who don’t have the time or resources to provide this.
  3. Can be destructive: Basenjis can be destructive if they don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation, which can be a problem for owners who don’t have the time or resources to provide this.
  4. Can be stubborn: Basenjis can be stubborn and difficult to train, which can be frustrating for owners who are looking for a dog that is easy to train.
  5. Can be noisy: Basenjis are famous for their unique vocalizations, which can be loud and disruptive, making them a poor choice for owners who live in apartments or close quarters.

Cost:

The cost of a Basenji in Australia can vary depending on the breeder, location and pedigree. On average, a Basenji puppy can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 AUD. It is important to do thorough research and find a reputable breeder to ensure that the puppy is healthy and comes from a good bloodline. Additionally, there may be additional costs such as vaccinations, microchipping and registration fees.

Breed History:

Basenjis were originally bred in Central Africa for hunting small game such as birds and small mammals. They were highly valued for their ability to track and chase prey silently, without barking, which made them ideal for hunting in densely forested areas where loud noises could scare off game. Basenjis were also prized for their agility, speed and endurance, which allowed them to keep up with their human hunters over long distances. Additionally, they were used as watchdogs and companions by the local people. Today, Basenjis are still used for hunting in some parts of Africa, but they are more commonly kept as pets and show dogs around the world.

Current Usage

Basenjis are primarily kept as companion animals and family pets. However, they were originally bred for hunting and are still used for this purpose in some parts of Africa. Basenjis have a strong prey drive and are skilled at tracking and chasing small game, such as rabbits and squirrels. In addition, they are also used in lure coursing, a sport that involves chasing a mechanically operated lure around a course. Basenjis are also agile and are often trained for agility competitions. Overall, while Basenjis are primarily kept as pets, they can still excel in various working roles.

Guard Dogs

Basenjis are not typically considered good guard dogs. While they are alert and can be protective of their family, they are not aggressive or territorial. Basenjis are more likely to bark or alert their owners to potential danger, but they are not likely to attack or confront intruders. Additionally, Basenjis have an independent nature and may not always follow commands or instructions from their owners in high-stress situations. Therefore, if you are looking for a dog specifically for guarding purposes, a Basenji may not be the best choice.

Where Are They Found?

Basenjis are a rare breed of dog and are not as popular as some other breeds. However, they are most commonly found in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa. In these countries, there are breeders and Basenji clubs that promote the breed and provide information to potential owners. Basenjis are also found in other countries such as Canada, France, Germany and Japan, but in smaller numbers.

Climate

Basenjis are best suited to warm and dry climates. They originated in Africa, where they were bred to hunt in hot and arid environments. They have a short, fine coat that provides minimal insulation, making them less tolerant of cold weather. Basenjis may struggle in extremely hot and humid climates, as they are prone to overheating. It is important to provide them with plenty of shade, water and a cool place to rest during hot weather.

Population

It is difficult to determine the exact number of Basenjis in the world as there is no centralized database or registry. However, according to the American Kennel Club, the Basenji is a relatively rare breed, ranking 87th out of 195 breeds in popularity in the United States. It is estimated that there are several thousand Basenjis worldwide.

Physical Appearance:

Basenjis are medium-sized dogs with a lean and athletic build. They have a distinctive appearance with a short, smooth coat that comes in a range of colors including red, black, brindle and tricolor. Their ears are erect and pointed and their tails are curled tightly over their backs. Basenjis have a wrinkled forehead and a narrow muzzle with sharp teeth. They have a graceful gait and are known for their high-stepping trot. Basenjis have a sleek and elegant appearance with a unique combination of features that make them stand out from other breeds.

Coat:

Colours:

Basenjis can come in a variety of colors, including: Red, Black, Brindle, Tricolor (black, tan and white), Black and white, Red and white, Brindle and white, Black and tan. It’s also common for Basenjis to have white markings on their chest, feet and tail tip.

Hair/Fur Length:

Basenjis have short, fine hair that is typically about 1/2 to 1 inch in length.

Shedding:

Yes, Basenjis do shed, but they have a short, fine coat that does not shed excessively. They are considered to be a low-shedding breed, but they do shed seasonally. Regular grooming, such as brushing and bathing, can help to minimize shedding and keep their coat healthy and shiny.

Grooming:

The Basenji has a short, fine coat that requires minimal grooming. They are fastidious self-groomers and rarely need baths. However, they do shed moderately year-round and may benefit from weekly brushing to remove loose hair and distribute natural oils.

Basenjis do not need to have their hair cut as their coat is naturally short and does not grow long. However, they may need occasional trimming of their nails and cleaning of their ears to maintain their overall health and hygiene.

Hypoallergenic:

Basenjis are not considered hypoallergenic. They do shed, although their short, fine coat requires minimal grooming. Additionally, some people may be allergic to the dander or saliva of Basenjis, which can trigger allergic reactions. If you are considering getting a Basenji and have allergies, it is recommended to spend time around the breed before making a decision.

Speed:

Basenjis can run at a speed of up to 56 kph (35 mph).

Health:

Basenjis are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common health issues that Basenjis are faced with include:

  • Fanconi Syndrome: A kidney disease that affects the ability of the kidneys to reabsorb nutrients and electrolytes, leading to a build-up of toxins in the body.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A degenerative eye disease that can lead to blindness.
  • Hip Dysplasia: A condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to pain and mobility issues.
  • Hypothyroidism: A condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, leading to weight gain, lethargy and other symptoms.
  • Allergies: Basenjis can be prone to allergies, which can cause skin irritation, itching and other symptoms.

It’s important to note that not all Basenjis will develop these health issues and responsible breeding practices can help reduce the risk of these conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventative care can also help keep Basenjis healthy and happy.

Teeth:

Basenjis typically have 42 teeth, which is the same as most other breeds of dogs.

Eyesight:

Basenjis have a keen sense of sight and excellent vision. They have large, almond-shaped eyes that are set well apart and are known for their ability to see well in low light conditions.

Nipples:

Basenjis typically have 8 to 10 nipples, arranged in two rows on their underside.

Gestation:

Litter Size:

The typical litter size for Basenjis is 4-6 puppies. However, litter sizes can vary and may be smaller or larger depending on various factors such as the age and health of the mother, genetics and environmental factors.

Gestation Period:

The gestation period for Basenjis is typically around 63 days, give or take a few days. However, it is important to note that each individual dog may have a slightly different gestation period and factors such as the size of the litter and the health of the mother can also affect the length of pregnancy. It is important for owners to work closely with their veterinarian to monitor the health of their pregnant Basenji and ensure a safe and successful delivery.

Heat:

Basenjis typically go into heat twice a year, but this can vary from dog to dog.

Male vs Female:

Male and female Basenjis have some physical and behavioral differences. Males are generally larger and heavier than females, with a height of 17-18 inches and weight of 24-26 pounds, while females are 16-17 inches tall and weigh 22-24 pounds. Males also tend to have a more muscular and robust appearance than females. In terms of temperament, males can be more dominant and territorial, while females are often more independent and aloof. However, these differences can vary depending on the individual dog’s personality and upbringing.

Tips and Advice:

Basenjis are a unique breed of dog that require specific care and attention. Here are some tips and advice for caring for a Basenji:

  • Exercise: Basenjis are a high-energy breed that require daily exercise. A long walk or run or a game of fetch, can help keep them happy and healthy.
  • Grooming: Basenjis have a short, fine coat that requires minimal grooming. Brushing once a week and occasional baths are usually sufficient.
  • Training: Basenjis are intelligent dogs, but they can be stubborn and independent. Consistent training and positive reinforcement can help them learn commands and behaviors.
  • Socialization: Basenjis can be wary of strangers and other dogs. Early socialization can help them become more comfortable around new people and animals.
  • Health: Basenjis are generally healthy dogs, but they can be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia and eye problems. Regular vet check-ups and a healthy diet can help prevent and manage these issues.
  • Mental stimulation: Basenjis are intelligent and curious dogs that require mental stimulation. Puzzle toys, training exercises and interactive playtime can help keep them mentally stimulated and prevent boredom.
  • Safety: Basenjis have a strong prey drive and should always be kept on a leash or in a secure, fenced area. They should also be supervised around small animals and children.
  • Love and attention: Basenjis are loyal and affectionate dogs that thrive on love and attention from their owners. Spending quality time with them and giving them plenty of affection can help strengthen the bond between you and your Basenji.

Food:

Basenjis are moderate eaters and do not require a lot of food. The amount of food they need depends on their age, size, activity level and metabolism. As a general guideline, an adult Basenji should be fed about 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry dog food per day, divided into two meals.

Basenjis are food-oriented dogs, which means they are highly motivated by food and treats. This can make them easier to train, but it also means they can be prone to overeating if not monitored closely. It is important to provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet and to avoid overfeeding or giving too many treats.

Facts:

Basenjis are a unique breed of dog that originated in Africa. Here are three interesting facts about Basenjis:

  1. They are known as the “barkless dog” because they don’t bark like other dogs. Instead, they make a yodeling sound.
  2. Basenjis are very clean dogs and groom themselves like cats.
  3. They have a strong prey drive and are excellent hunters, often used for hunting small game in Africa.

Names:

Here are 15 names that would be a good fit for a Basenji:

  1. Zuri – meaning “beautiful” in Swahili
  2. Koda – meaning “friend” in Native American
  3. Simba – meaning “lion” in Swahili
  4. Juma – meaning “born on Friday” in Swahili
  5. Tiko – meaning “short” in Swahili
  6. Biko – meaning “little one” in Swahili
  7. Kito – meaning “precious” in Swahili
  8. Nala – meaning “successful” in Swahili
  9. Kofi – meaning “born on Friday” in Akan
  10. Zola – meaning “quiet” in Zulu
  11. Kali – meaning “fierce” in Swahili
  12. Tala – meaning “wolf” in Native American
  13. Kaya – meaning “home” in Zulu
  14. Jengo – meaning “building” in Swahili
  15. Zazu – meaning “movement” in Swahili

Famous:

Over the years, several Basenjis have gained fame for their impressive feats, appearances in movies and TV shows and for being owned by famous people. Some of the most famous Basenjis of all time include:

  1. Congo – perhaps the most famous Basenji of all time, Congo was owned by artist and author, Desmond Morris. Congo was known for his incredible artistic abilities, creating over 400 paintings during his lifetime.
  2. Bois – owned by the famous explorer, Henry Morton Stanley, Bois accompanied Stanley on his expeditions through Africa in the late 1800s.
  3. Togo – a Basenji owned by the famous actress, Tallulah Bankhead, Togo was known for his mischievous personality and love of attention.
  4. Patsy Ann – a Basenji who lived in Juneau, Alaska in the 1930s, Patsy Ann became famous for her ability to predict the arrival of ships in the harbor.
  5. Rummy – a Basenji owned by the famous author, John Steinbeck, Rummy was known for his loyalty and affectionate nature.
  6. Dandy – a Basenji owned by the famous actress, Bette Davis, Dandy was known for his playful personality and love of attention.
  7. Tiki – a Basenji owned by the famous singer, Eartha Kitt, Tiki was known for his intelligence and loyalty.

Summary:

Basenji is a type of dog that originated in Central Africa. It is a small to medium-sized breed that is known for its unique yodel-like vocalization instead of barking. Basenjis have a short, fine coat that comes in various colors, including black, red and brindle.

Basenjis are intelligent, independent and curious dogs. They have high energy levels and love to play and explore. They can be stubborn and difficult to train, but with patience and consistency, they can learn to follow commands.

Basenjis have a rich history dating back to ancient Egypt, where they were revered as hunting dogs. They were also used by African tribes for hunting and as watchdogs. Basenjis were first brought to Europe in the 1930s and have since become popular pets in many parts of the world.

As pets, Basenjis are best suited for active families who can provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They are not recommended for first-time dog owners or families with young children, as they can be aloof and may not tolerate rough handling. Basenjis are loyal and affectionate with their families but can be reserved with strangers. They are also known for their cleanliness and lack of doggy odor.