Caitlin UltimoBehavior / Breed Lists

Basenji Dog Breed

About the Basenji Dog Breed

The Basenji is a hunting dog from Africa; it was originally used to warn hunters of any large game that might attack.

Basenji Physical Characteristics

The Basenji has a medium yet muscular build. Its tail is bushy and curly and its ears are erect. However, the Basenji’s most distinct characteristic is its forehead wrinkles.


The Basenji can be tri-colored, black, brindle or red. The chest, feet and tails are generally white.


Short and wiry.

Basenji Personality and Temperament

Activity Level



The Basenji is playful and amorous with its human family. Also, because it is ability to stay alert, the Basenji is a great watch dog.

Things to Consider

The Basenji can be a bit overprotective of it human families; it also known to chase smaller animals.

Basenji Care

Ideal Living Conditions

The Basenji fares well in the country or city.

Special Requirements

The Basenji requires regular exercise and dedicated, consistent training.

Basenji Health

The Basenji, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years and can suffer from conditions including hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. Some of the major diseases affecting the breed include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), Fanconi syndrome and Basenji enteropathy.

Basenji History and Background

The Basenji, or “Barkless Dog,” is an ancient breed that draws its lineage to Egypt. It later became the premier pack hunter for the native tribes and Pygmies of the African Congo region, sometimes referred to as the Congo terrier or Zande Dog.

Attempts were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to bring the Basenji to England, but sadly the efforts were unsuccessful. It wasn’t until 1937 that the Basenji (roughly translated to “bush thing”) was introduced to England.

The Basenji, meanwhile, became a popular breed in the United States for show dog and pet owners, further gaining acclaim when the 1954 novel Good-bye, My Lady (later made into an eponymous film) featured a Basenji.

There were two controversial but significant events associated with the Basenji in the 1980s. Firstly, numerous dogs were imported from Africa to reduce some common hereditary health problems in the breed, producing a brindle color for the first time. Secondly, the American Sighthound Field Association recognized the Basenji as a sighthound, allowing the dog to participate in lure-coursing tests. Earlier, the hunting style and the body structure of the Basenji had been regarded as inappropriate for a sighthound. To date, this dog breed retains many of its primitive traits, such as a yearly estrus cycle and no barking.

By: Chewy Editorial