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Breeds Home > Breed List > Basenji

Basenji Breed Information


Recognized By: ACR , AKC , ANKC , APRI , CCR , CKC , CKC , FCI , KCGB , NKC , NZKC , UKC
Mispellings: Basingi, Basengi, Besengi, Besenji, Bisengi, Bisenji, Bsengi

Living with a Basenji

Temperament: The Basenji is an independent, intelligent, affectionate dog who can be aloof with strangers.

Family Dog: The Basenji loves to play and makes a good family pet provided they were handled regularly from an early age. They can be reserved with strangers and should be well-socialized as a puppy. They should not be trusted with other pets. The Basenji does best with children who can display a sense of leadership towards them.

Shedding: The Basenji is a good choice for people with allergies as they shed little to no hair.

Grooming: The Basenji is a self-cleaning breed much like a cat. They do not have that typical doggie smell and require very little grooming.

Training: The Basenji is a very intelligent breed with a strong desire to please that responds well to training. They are very clever at getting what they want. They require an owner who displays a natural sense of authority over them. They need to be taught the rules and you must stick with them to keep them from becoming demanding and/or trying to assume the role of pack leader.

Barking: The Basenji is one breed who does not bark but they do have many other unusual vocalizations such as yodeling, howling, growling or crowing depending on their mood.

Weather: The Basenji does not like wet weather.

Exercise: The Basenji needs lots of daily exercise including a brisk walk to allow them to release their mental and physical energy.

Living Conditions: The Basenji can live in an apartment provided they get plenty of daily exercise. They are very active inside and will do fine with only a small yard. Basenjis do great in pairs.

Basenji Appearance

Appearance: The Basenji is an elegant and graceful dog who demonstrates poise and alertness. Their beautifully balanced and smooth muscular body allows them to move with ease and agility.

Size: A fully grown male Basenji is between 16 to 17 inches tall and weighs between 22 to 26 pounds while the female has a height of 15 to 16 inches at the shoulders and an average weight of 20 to 25 pounds.

Head: The Basenji carries its head proudly upright displaying their wrinkled forehead and flat skull. The head is of medium width, well-chiseled and tapers toward the eyes with a noticeable stop.

Nose: The desired color for the Basenji's nose is black.

Eyes: The Basenji has dark hazel to dark brown eyes that are almond in shape and obliquely set in the head. The rims are dark.

Ears: The Basenji has small, fine, slightly hooded ears set forward on top of the head and standing erect.

Muzzle: The Basenji's muzzle is shorter than the skull with rounded cushions. It should be neither coarse nor snippy.

Teeth/Bite: The teeth of the Basenji should be evenly aligned meeting in a scissors bite.

Neck: The neck of the Basenji is of good length, well-arched and slightly full at base of throat.

Body: The Basenji is a small dog with a short, level back and light build. They have the appearance of being high on the leg as compared to their length. The body should be short coupled, ending in a distinctive waist. The ribs are moderately sprung, oval and extending to the elbows with a slight forechest in front of point of shoulder. The chest should be of medium width.

Forequarters: The Basenji's shoulders are moderately laid back with the blades approximately equal to the length of the upper arms. The elbows are tucked firmly against the brisket, with straight with clean legs, long forearms and well defined sinews. The strong, flexible pasterns are of good length.

Hindquarters: The hindquarters of the Basenji are strong, muscular and of medium width. The hocks are well let down turning neither in nor out with long second thighs and moderately bent stifles.

Gait: The Basenji has a swift, tireless trot with long, smooth strides that appear effortless. The topline should remain level throughout. Either coming or going the bones from shoulder joint to the foot and from the hip joint to pad remains unbroken, only converging toward the centerline under the body as the dog's speed increases.

Feet: The Basenji has small, compact, oval feet with thick pads and well arched toes. The dewclaws are typically removed.

Tail: The Basenji's swift tail is set high on the back tightly curling forward and toward either side.

Color: The coat of the Basenji is Chestnut (Red), pure Black, Tricolor (Black & Red) or Brindle (Black stripes on Chestnut background) with white feet, chest and tip of the tail. They may have White legs and a white blaze and collar. White should never appear as the predominate coat color. The color and markings should be rich and well-defined.

Coat: The Basenji has a short, fine coat with very pliant skin.

Basenji Facts

Category: Southern, AKC Hound

Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of the Basenji is about 10 to 12 years.

Characteristics: The Basenji can hunt by both sight and scent. The female Basenji comes into heat only once each year instead of two times like other breeds. They love to chew and thus need lots of chew toys to keep them from destroying your other possessions. They like to climb and can even climb over chain-link fences.

Basenji Health

Health: The Basenji is prone to Fanconi's syndrome which must be treated immediately. They can also be susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy, intestinal and eye problems.

Litter Size: The Basenji has an average litter size of 4 to 6 pups.

Basenji History

History: The Basenji's ancestors can be traced back to Egyptian tombs and wall drawings over five thousand years ago. They were brought to Europe in 1934. Breeders in England refined this breed and exported it to other countries all around the world. Also called the Congo Dog, the Basenji was used in Africa to guide people through the forests to warn against the approach of dangerous animals and as a small game hunter.

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