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Basenji Dog (Breed Information)

Are you looking for a ‘barkless’ dog? Well, the Basenji is known as the dog breed that does not bark. They do, however, yodel, which is kind of interesting, is it not? African tribes initially used them as pack hunters driving game into nets. The Basenji would wear a big bell around their neck because they lacked the bark that all other dog breeds have.

At A Glance

  • Breed: Basenji
  • Breed Group: Hound
  • Temperament: Independent, Poised and Smart
  • D.H.T. Outdoor Ranking: 2/10 For Temperate Climates
  • Worldwide Popularity: Low
  • Breed Origin: Africa

General Information And Breed History

The Basenji dog breed is known as the dog that does not bark and the ‘barkless’ dog. Even though it does not bark, don’t be fooled into thinking this dog can’t make noise. They are known to yodel, howl, and produce other vocalizations over the normal bark. They are, however, quieter than most breeds.

Basenjis are originally from Central Africa, particularly the Congo, date back as far as the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt, with paintings resembling the breed on the tombs of Pharoahs. There are also said to be a subspecies of the gray wolf and was derived from the now-extinct dire wolf.

The name Basenji “mbwa na basenzi” meaning ‘dogs of the villagers’, comes from the Azande and Mangbetu tribes from northeastern Congo regions. Since the Basenji does not bark, these tribes would attach bells to the dogs and follow the bells while they were hunting for them.

The Basenji is a smaller dog breed with short hair, erect ears, and a tightly curled tail. They are very athletic and surprisingly strong for their size must be because of the wolf DNA they have!

General Appearance

Basenjis are considered to be a smaller dog breed, that is quite muscular. Their coats come in many colors like black, tricolor, brindle and most widely known as sought out for the chestnut red with white.


Their neck is a good length, slightly full at base of the throat and is well crested. The chest is medium width, and its tail is short and tightly curled.

The body of a Basenji is short, compact and very muscular. They are small dogs, but extremely strong for their size which may have to do with the fact that they have wolf ancestors. They stand about 17 inches.


  • Eyes- Almond-shaped
  • Ears- Small and erect
  • Head- Small, wrinkled forehead, flat skull


The Basenji has a short and fine. They do not require a lot of grooming, and they tend to clean themselves all over like cats.

Legs & Feet

The feet are small, oval and compact. They have arched toes and thick pads. Legs are long with great flexibility.

Tail & Hindquarters

The tail bends forward and lies well curled over to one side. Hindquarters are long and set high just like the forequarters.

General Statistics

  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 Years
  • Height (at the withers): 16-17 Inches
  • Male: 17 Inches
  • Female: 16 Inches
  • Weight:  22-24 Lbs
  • Male: 24 Lbs
  • Female: 22 Lbs

Recommended Dog House Dimensions

The recommended dog house dimensions can be found on the dog house dimensions charts for 440 recognized breeds which includes this dog breed.  But to save you time, here are our dog house minimum size recommendations:

  • Door Height: 18.7 Inches
  • Door Width: 11.9 Inches
  • Inside Ceiling Height: 23 Inches
  • Interior House Length: 37.4 Inches
  • Interior House Width: 23.8 Inches

Expected Costs

Breed Average Puppy Cost: $1,800 USD

Starter Costs: $3,800 USD

This is our estimate for initial purchase, shots and a few things like food, a bed, leash, that sort of thing.  Basically, this will get you set up but the costs will be greater once the dog is old enough to get spayed or neutered.

Anticipated Annual Care Cost: $1,000 USD

How The Basenji Reacts To


Basenjis aren’t a good breed for young children. However, they can make great companions for older children who are high energy, and let’s face it most children are. It is best to have the dog raised with the kids if you are going to have a Basenji. Adult Basenjis who are not too familiar with children is most compatible with children who are mature enough to interact with him properly.

Never leave children unsupervised when with dogs to prevent any unwanted injuries to either party. Children should be taught the proper way on how to approach dogs, for example, never reach towards their face in a fast manner, as the dog may think this it as a threat and bite the hand. Another good tip to teach children is not to pet a dog while it is eating, and never take the dog’s food away while it is eating.

Other Dogs

Since the Basenji was used for hunting, they do well with other dogs as long as they are socialized early. The basenji likes to be in charge and can get argumentative with other breeds.


Basenjis are hunters. They like to go after small prey. That being said this breed should not be trusted with cats or other animals smaller than it unless they have been raised together and the Basenji sees them as one of the family members. It is not impossible for a Baneji to get along with a cat, but it will take a few introductions to get them used to each other. Never leave them unsupervised, because bad things can happen. They will get along better with a more relaxed cat, than a cat that gets spooked at everything. It may just cause the Basenji to chase it.

Other Animals

As mentioned above the Basenji gets along with animals that it has been raised with. Any animals that are smaller than them are fair game to hunting since this dog is a hunter. Best not have any other small pets in your home that has a Basenji residing in it. This goes for birds as well.

Care Requirements


The Basenji dog breed requires at least 1 hour of exercise a day according to The Kennel Club of the UK. Since they are highly active and energetic they need to get regular daily exercise to keep them physically and mentally healthy. If these dogs do not get the required exercise they will become bored, and this can lead to unpleasant behavior and an unhealthy dog. A good way to keep this dog active is to get involved with dog sports like agility training and hunting.

Dog sports are a great way to keep any dog happy, physically healthy and mentally healthy. They also get to interact with other dogs and you with other dog owners, not to mention, give you a bit of exercise as well! These days it is a little hard to find time for ourselves and staying healthy, so why not do it with your dog? This will also increase the bond you have with your dog. Really it is a win-win!

Grooming & Coat Info

The coat for this dog breed is short and somewhat coarse. They do not require a lot of grooming. Once a week brushing with a soft-bristle brush, a rubber grooming mitt or tool, or a hound glove. By brushing the dog weekly it helps distribute the skin oils throughout the coat, which keeps it looking clean and healthy. Basenjis don’t have a that “dog smell”, and they really don’t need to be bathed often. They are a bit cat-like and actually clean themselves. Their nails should be trimmed frequently because long nails can cause pain and issues with running and walking.

Health & Nutrition

Generally healthy, the Basenji does not really have any health issues. A knowledgeable and responsible breeder will screen their stock for health issues like hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and inflammatory bowel disorders. There are also gene tests that can help identify any carries of Fanconi Syndrome which is a kidney disorder, along with retinal atrophy.

The Basenji does well on a high-quality food diet. Speak to your veterinarian to find out which is the best for your Basenji. Remember to follow the instructions and do not overfeed your dog. If you are going to feed your dog human food, make sure you know the foods that are safe for your dog to eat.


In order to train this breed, it is crucial that they are socialized very early and attend training classes while they are still puppies. The best way for them to learn is in a positive and rewarding environment. These guys get bored and lose interest rather quickly, so make sure your training classes are no more than 10 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Basenjis be left alone?

A Basenji that is left alone is a recipe for disaster. This dog gets bored very easily and can become frustrated and start destroying things in the home if they have nothing to do.

Is the Basenji aggressive?

The Basenji can be aggressive to other animals it is not familiar with. They are also very pushy and dominant.

Does the Basenji smell?

Basenjis are known to not have the “dog smell” that all other dog breeds have.


  • Canadian Kennel Club –
  • American Kennel Club –
  • Wikipedia –
  • The Kennel Club UK –
  • Basenji Club of America –

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