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About Basenji

Basenji is an ancient breed of sighthound. They Originated from the continent of Africa. Basenjis have been domesticated for thousands of years. Dogs resembling modern Basenjis can be seen on the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, sitting at their master’s feet. They were originally breed to hunt and chase wild game into nets. In the Congo, the basenji is also known as "dog of the bush." The dogs are also known to the Azande of southern Sudan as Ango Angari.

Basenjis are called “barkless Dogs”. Barkless does not mean mute and basenjis are far from silent. The basenji makes all sorts of sounds. They have a growl worthy of a dog twice their size & some are yodelers with a melodic "baroo". There is a mournful cry when they are unhappy or separated from their pack of humans and fellow dogs.

Basenjis enjoy human companionship but can be aloof with strangers so early socialization is necessary. They are wonderful companions and loved to be spoiled. If raised with them, they will follow children anywhere. They are comical, quizzical, highly intelligent and full of energy. Many Basenjis are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Many have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster! They must be taught to live with cats and other indoor pets at an early age.

Adult Basenji’s chew a lot so a good stock of bones and chew toys is needed at all times. It’s important to keep a basenji physically and mentally fulfilled. Basenji’s are an active breed so daily walks is a must. You will also need to find a safe fenced area for them to run 3 or more times per week. Basenjis are HIGHLY intelligent dogs. You need to find activities to keep them from being bored. A bored Basenji can cause terrible and massive amounts of damage to a home. If you don’t provide mental stimulation for this breed you will not like what game they discover to do on their own. Bored Basenjis are famous for chewing through drywall, ripping the stuffing out of sofas, and turning your yard into a moonscape of craters.

Being an intelligent dog, they often have a “what’s in it for me” attitude with their training. They are strong-willed with a mind own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge. Stay consistent with training methods socialize early with people and dogs. Basenjis are not Golden Retrievers. They have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They can be manipulative, and many are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

Many Basenjis suffer from PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), which causes blindness, and Franconia’s syndrome, which can cause kidney failure. Besides Franconia Syndrome and PRA, Basenjis also suffer from Hypothyroidism, IPSID (immunoproliferative systemic intestinal disease), HA (Hemolytic Anemia). Basenjis are also sensitive to environmental and household chemicals, which can cause liver problems.


For more Basenji Information

Basenji Rescue

Basenji Club of America


If you would like to talk with a local Basenji owner, contact

Jan King

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