Basenji

Hound Group

Three basenjis (tricolor, black and red color coats) lying down in front of white background

Height at Shoulders

Females 15-16 in, Males 16-17 in

Weight

Females 20-24 lbs, Males 22-26 lbs

Life Expectancy

13-14 yrs

History

The Basenji originated in the Congo region of West Africa. They were a multi-purpose dog, bred for hunting via flushing game into nets, carrying goods, and warning their caretakers of oncoming danger. It is theorized that they are only partially domesticated, as their metabolism cycles only once, not twice per year. Basenjis are also considered one of the oldest breeds, as they were gifted to the pharaohs of ancient Egypt by people traveling up the Nile from interior Africa. Basenjis and their close ancestors are depicted in ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, and Mesopotamian art.

Breed Characteristics

While not all Basenjis will display the exact characteristics typical of the breed, most share a personality and temperament can be generalized by the characteristic rankings below. 

Intelligence

Affection Towards Family

Friendliness Towards Strangers

Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

Exercise Needs

★★★★☆

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★★☆

★★★★★

Energy Level

Sensitivity

Noise Level

Prey Drive

Shedding

★★★☆☆

★☆☆☆

★★

★☆☆☆

Intelligence

★★★★☆


Affection Towards Family

★★★★★


Friendliness Towards Strangers

★★★★★


Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

★★★★☆


Exercise Needs

★★★★★


Energy Level


Sensitivity

★★★☆☆


Noise Level

★☆☆☆☆


Prey Drive

★★


Shedding

★☆☆☆☆

Common Traits

Affectionate, protective, and highly intelligent 

Basenjis can't bark and instead make a unique, yodel-like noise

Big-time chewers and skilled vertical leapers

Escape artists that can find their way out of fenced-in yards and are unfazed by the shock of underground electric fences

Groom themselves like cats and lack “dog odor”

Very stubborn and difficult to train- will not follow a command if they are not in the mood or see no benefit in doing so