Basenji dog image


Basenji dog breed was brought from their native central Africa and presented to the Pharaohs of Egypt as gifts. In Africa, the Basenji was prized as a speedy, silent, and intelligent hunting dog.


Famed as the barkless dog, this dog breed does not bark like the average canine, but it can and does make other noises, including an individualistic sound somewhere between a chortle and a yodel.

Basenji puppies in Africa
Basenji puppies in Africa

Basenji FAQs Frequently Asked Questions:

Let us seek some answers related to the Basenji breed. Are they hypoallergenic, or do they shed a lot? Do they bark a lot? Are they good guard dogs? Are they good family dogs? Good with children? And many more questions that a potential Basenji owner may be concerned about.

Is the Basenji a hypoallergenic (non-shedding) breed?

Yes. The Basenji is a hypoallergenic dog breed (most of them don’t shed). Basenjis are a short-coated breed of dogs that doesn’t shed any of its coat. However, some Basenjis have a heavier undercoat (very fine, wispy hairs beneath the stiffer, shiny outer ones) that sheds. They also have very little dander, which is why they are a popular choice for those with allergies.

Are Basenji dogs mute? Barkless dogs?

The Basenji or Africa’s Barkless Dog is a unique breed known for not barking. Though the Basenji is unable to bark, it is not mute either. It can still growl, whine, howl, and happy; it makes a yodeling sound, which should not be misunderstood for a growl.

Why do Basenjis yodel?

The Basenji produces an unusual yodel-like sound (called a baroo) due to its unusually shaped larynx. This trait also gives the Basenji the nickname barkless dog.

Video: A singing Basenji

Can dogs be mute?

Diseases of the larynx or voice box can render dogs mute/silent. These diseases often paralyze the larynx, so a dog can no longer bark. The Basenji is not a mute dog breed.

Is Basenji a good family dog?

Basenjis make very nice family dogs. They are intensely loyal, sometimes to just one family member. They need plenty of early socialization with other people to be ideal companions. Basenjis love to cuddle on your lap and under the covers with you. They crave companionship and attention.

Are Basenjis affectionate? Good with kids?

Basenjis aren’t known for being especially fond of children, but they can be good companions for older children with their high energy levels. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s eating or trying to take the dog’s food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

Are Basenjis good guard dogs?

Basenjis are neither good guard dogs nor good watchdogs. However, they are very alert and will give a warning if strangers are around. Though they do not bark, you know by their actions when something is wrong. Basenjis are renowned for their keen eyesight and excellent sense of smell. They can be fiercely protective of their family.

Are Basenjis aggressive dogs? Do they bite?

Basenjis may prove to be dangerous and aggressive towards smaller animals. Even so, if you still want to raise a variety of pets, including cats, birds, and Basenjis, then train them to live together from an early stage. Basenjis have a strong tendency to nip, chew, play-bite, or herd people. It’s a common habit during puppyhood, not aggressive behavior. These bites don’t hurt, but Basenjis need to be taught for a good attitude.

Can Basenjis swim? Do they like it?

Basenjis CAN swim if they HAVE to or are taught at a very young age. However, almost all Basenjis hate the water. They may take a dip or chase a ball into the water if the weather is hot. But they don’t like to swim.

How much do Basenjis cost? How much is a Basenji puppy?

The cost to adopt a Basenji is around $300 to cover the dog’s expenses before adoption. In contrast, buying Basenjis from breeders can be expensive. Depending on their breeding, they usually cost anywhere from $1200-$2,500.

How long do Basenjis live?

The average lifespan is 13-16 years.

Basenjis in Africa
In Africa, the Basenji was prized as a speedy, silent, and intelligent hunting dog.

Ok, so let’s assume you have chosen the Basenji as the best dog breed suitable for yourself. You have decided to find yourself a Basenji puppy as your next family member. How will you choose the best pup? Let us look at some standard characteristics of the Basenji dog breed, which will help you select the right puppy. Keep reading.

Choosing a good Basenji puppy

The definition of the best Basenji puppy depends on your requirements. Your expectations from an adult Basenji can be broadly categorized as follows: Confirmation for show or breeding; obedience; smart guard dog; companion; homely pet.

Although it is tempting to look for all these qualities in one Basenji puppy you are planning to buy, it is seldom possible to find all qualities in a single pup.

If you want your Basenji puppy to grow up to be a champion in the show ring, you should look for confirmation of the Basenji dog breed standards. We have put together a general guideline for selecting an all-around good puppy for you. Our guideline includes breed standards and gives importance to temperament, appearance, physical details, gait, health issues, grooming needs, and maintenance.

Look for the following characteristics while choosing a Basenji puppy.

Basenji puppies
Beautiful Basenji puppies

Basenji’s General Appearance

The Basenji should be a small, lightly built, short-backed dog, giving the impression of being high on the leg compared to its length. The wrinkled head must be proudly carried, and the whole demeanor should be one of poise and alertness. The Basenji should not bark but is not mute. The wrinkled forehead and the swift, tireless running gait (resembling a racehorse trotting full out) are typical of this breed.

The Basenji’s Size

Height: Bitches 16 inches (41 cm) and dogs 17 inches (43 cm) from the ground to the shoulder’s top. Bitches 16 inches (41 cm) and dogs 17 inches (43 cm) from the front of the chest to the hindquarters’ farthest point. Weight: Dogs 24 lb. (10.886 kg). Bitches 22 lb. (9.979 kg).

Basenji’s Coat and Color

Coat short and silky. Skin very pliant.

Chestnut Red Basenji

Basenji Colors

Chestnut red; pure black; tricolor (pure black and chestnut red); or brindle (black stripes on a chestnut red background); all with white feet, chest, and tail tip. White legs, blaze, and collar optional. The amount of white should never predominate over primary color. Color and markings should be rich, clear, and well-defined, with a distinct line of demarcation between the black and red of tricolors and brindles’ stripes.

Basenji dog black color
Pure Black Basenji

Basenji dog tricolour
Tricolour Basenji

Basenji dog breed image tricolour
Brindle Basenji

The Basenji’s Head

The skull should be flat, well-chiseled and of medium width, tapering towards the eyes. The fore face should taper from eye to muzzle and should be shorter than the skull. The muzzle neither coarse nor snipey but with rounded cushions. Wrinkles should appear upon the forehead and be fine and profuse. Side wrinkles are desirable but should never be exaggerated into dewlap. A black nose is greatly desired. A pinkish tinge should not penalize an otherwise first-class specimen, but it should be discouraged while breeding the Basenji. Teeth must be level with a scissors bite. Eyes dark hazel, almond-shaped, obliquely set, and far-seeing. Ears small pointed and erect of fine texture, set well forward on top of the head.

Basenji’s Neck

Of good length, well crested and slightly full at base of the throat. It should be well set into shoulders.

Basenji’s Forequarters

Shoulders flat laid back. The legs are straight with clean fine bone, long forearm, and well-defined sinews. Pasterns should be of good length, straight and flexible. Body The body should be short and the back level. The chest should be deep and of medium width. The ribs well sprung, with plenty of heart room, deep brisket, short-coupled, and ending in a definite waist.

Basenji’s Hindquarters

Should be strong and muscular, turned neither in nor out, with long second thighs—feet small, narrow, and compact, with well-arched toes.

Basenji’s Tail

It should be set on top and curled tightly over to either side.

Faults that are observed in the Basenji.

Coarse skull or muzzle. Domed or peaked skull. Dewlap. Round eyes. Low set ears. Overshot or undershot mouths. Wide chest. Wide behind. Heavy bone. Creams, shaded or off-colors, other than those defined above, should be heavily penalized.

Basenji puppies
Basenji puppies

Basenji Videos

We hope you enjoyed reading about the Basenji dog breed. You may consider sharing your views in the comments section below. Inputs and priceless experiences from dog owners, Basenji breeders, and dog lovers, in general, help us better understand our most loyal friends. Thank you for your interest.

One thought on “Basenji”

  1. I picked up my Basenji from an animal shelter. I don’t think she is 100% Basenji because she doesn’t have the wrinkled forehead. She has the Brindle coating and all the other characteristics. She is incredibly intelligent, loyal, independent and affectionate… when she is in the mood! Otherwise, she is perfectly content with time alone. Loves long walks…daily! I love her to the moon and back!

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