Basenji Dog Breed: Characteristic, Health & Fun Facts!

The Basenji is a breed native to Africa. These breeds are known for their great temperament. Scent and sight are known as the strengths of this breed. They were initially known for hunting and picking out and flushing small creatures like rodents.

They were known to help eliminate rodents from growing populations in villages. These dogs are great companions, and this is one of their plus points as well when owners are looking for a hospitable breed to adopt and house. Even novice pet parents can live with these breeds since they are easy to home and train. 

Basenji Dog Breed

About The Breed

The Basenji is a high-energy dog that is a great companion for first-time owners and pet parents who love to stay agile while desiring a protective and loyal dog. An important aspect of these dogs is that they are quick learners and highly intelligent.

Coat care, grooming, and taking care of these dogs are very easy; thus, they are easy to train and keep busy. They are loyal, and they often want to please their owners and families to keep them happy. 

Basenji Dog Breed History

The Basenji is a breed from the African region. They are probably one of the oldest breeds when it comes to domesticated dogs. Since they are the oldest, they are not barkers. The wild wolf is considered the cousin of this breed.

The Westerners were the first ones to discover this breed. They were found in Congo, West Africa, in the 19th century by people in the West. Initially, Basenjis did what they are known for.

Their hunting skill and efficiency in terms of hunting and gathering. The Basenji was recognized by the American Kennel Club in the year 1943. 

Basenji Dog Breed Job Card/Overview

Breed Name Basenji
Other NameAfrican Bush dog 
Dog Breed TypeHound dogs 
Parent BreedsBasenji
Height16-17 inches
Weight 22-24 pounds
Life Expectancy10-12 years
Coat TypeShort, fine, rich coat
Common ColorsRed, Black, Tricolor, Brindle 
Grooming NeedsRegular Grooming Needs
TemperamentEnergetic, Curious, Active
Apartment LivingNot ideal for Apartment living
Health ConcernsFanconi Syndrome, Immunoproliferative Systemic Intestinal Disease, Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency, Hypothyroidism, Persistent Pupillary Syndrome, Coloboma, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Umbilical Hernia, Hip Dysplasia
Overall HealthGood
Intelligence LevelIntelligent
TrainabilityEasily trainable 
Energy LevelHigh energy
ActivityAt least an hour per day 
Litter Size3-5 puppies
What To Know
• Basenjis are unique for their minimal barking and instead make a distinctive yodel-like sound.

• With short fur, Basenjis have low grooming needs. Regular brushing keeps their coat healthy and reduces shedding.

• These dogs are energetic, requiring daily exercise to stay happy and prevent boredom.

• Basenjis tend to be independent and may need early socialization and consistent training.

• Known for their agility, Basenjis can be escape artists. Secure fences and supervision are crucial to prevent wandering.
Basenji Dog Breed



Basenjis are moderately adaptable. They handle different climates well due to their easy-to-maintain coats. Their compact size makes them suitable for various living spaces.

While they can adapt to urban or rural settings, their independent nature may need patient training for new environments.


Adaptive to Apartment Living

Suitable for New Owners

Sensitivity Scale

Comfortable Being Alone

Comfortable with Cold Weather

Comfortable with Hot Weather


Basenjis are friendly and affectionate with their families. They may be a bit reserved around strangers but warm up with time. Early socialization helps them get along well with people and other pets.

All About Friendliness

Lovable with Family



Frank with strangers


The Basenji is energetic and loving. They are very intelligent and independent as well. Like before, their sight sense and hearing sense is very good. Any small motion related to small animals can be sighted by this breed.

Sometimes this dog is very self-dependent, and they are also very confident in their abilities and who they are. This can cause them to be stubborn at times. Thus creating a bond and pursuing them with trust and early socialization helps them keep this in check.

When they’re young, sometimes the families and pet owners may look at putting them in puppy training classes. Basenjis are very interested in the things that stimulate them and get completely immersed in their interests. 


Basenjis are known for their independent and clever personalities. While they can be reserved with strangers, they’re affectionate with their family. Their curiosity and alertness make them great watchdogs.

Training may take patience due to their independent nature, but they form strong bonds with their owners. Providing mental stimulation and understanding their unique traits make them wonderful and lively companions.

Friendly with kids

Basenjis are generally friendly with kids, making them good family pets. Their playful nature can create strong bonds, but it’s important to teach children how to interact safely and supervise their time together.

Amicable to other pets

Basenjis can get along well with other pets, especially if introduced early. Socialization is key to ensuring a harmonious relationship. Monitoring initial interactions helps prevent any potential conflicts in a multi-pet household.

Barking tendencies

Basenjis are not big barkers. They have a unique yodel-like sound, which can be an advantage in noise-sensitive environments. While they communicate differently, providing alternative means of training is important to address any behavior concerns.

Possibilities of Staying Alone

Basenjis can handle some alone time due to their independent nature, but prolonged solitude may affect them negatively. Gradual acclimation to being alone, mental stimulation with toys, and a secure space can help ease any anxiety during your absence. Regular exercise before leaving is also beneficial.

Pros and Cons of the Basenji Dog Breed


  • Low grooming needs due to short coat.
  • Energetic and playful, making them great for active families.
  • Unique vocalizations are often described as charming.


  • Independent nature may require patient training.
  • Not completely silent; still produces distinct sounds.
  • Requires early socialization for optimal behavior around kids and other pets.

Male vs Female Attitude

Both genders of the Basenji are not different from each other in terms of attitude. They only differ in size, the male dog being slightly larger than the female dog; however, attitude-wise, both temperaments of this breed are extremely convenient to live with. They are loyal and loving in terms of attitude and enjoy having fun. 

Basenji Dog Breed


The Basenji is a small to medium-sized dog with a sleek and elegant look. It has a wrinkled forehead, pointed ears, and a curly tail. The short coat comes in different colors like red, black, and tricolor.

Basenjis have a graceful stance and a keen, intelligent expression. Their compact build and alert posture contribute to their overall charming appearance.

Coat Color And Grooming

The Basenji’s coat is characteristic and definitive to its breed. So much so that their natural coats have received the nomenclature of ‘Basenji.’ Their coats are usually dense and double-layered.

They are known to be woolly and thick at times as well. They enjoy having a lot of meat in their diet and components. This keeps them energized and well-fed. 

Their coats are usually of the color Solid black, gray, brown, fawn, pale fawn, red fawn, and white. Their coat can be matted at times, and there could be shedding because of which the dogs lose hair in clumps. To avoid this, grooming is essential.

Brushing their shaggy coat at least once a month regularly is important to keep their hair from falling out in clumps or so and keep them well maintained. 

Regular bathing is important, and nail maintenance is an important step in grooming. Nail maintenance avoids any unnecessary wear and tear, and bathing and brushing these dogs’ coats and teeth keep them clean and odorless. 


This breed is non-allergenic and non-shedding. Since they have hair and not fur, they don’t shed very regularly. Their hair needs to be regularly combed and thoroughly brushed.

Thus trimming and regular brushing keep them from shedding too much. Since they don’t shed a lot, they are great for families that may be allergic. 


The Basenji is not a very large dog. The males are 17 inches tall at the shoulder, and they are 24 pounds heavy. The females are a little smaller. They are 16 inches tall and 22 pounds heavy. Because of their small size, they are often preferred as pets. 


Generally, the Basenji is a very healthy dog. A good breeder with clearances related to the dog’s health implies that they are tested and cleared for certain health conditions. However, there are some predisposed conditions that the Basenji may be sensitive to. Look for early signs of these diseases.

Fanconi Syndrome, Immunoproliferative Systemic Intestinal Disease, Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency, Hypothyroidism, Persistent Pupillary Syndrome, Coloboma, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Umbilical Hernia, Hip Dysplasia

Make regular visits to your veterinarian to make sure you get early-onset signs of these diseases so you can safeguard your dog from them. Health is the top priority when it comes to your pet. 

Health and Grooming Requirements

Shedding Quantity

Drooling Capability

Effortless to Groom

Overall Health

Capable of Gaining Weight


Maintenance and Care

The Basenji is a hunting dog, and these dogs need exercise and agile activities characteristically. The best way to care about these dogs in terms of exhausting their energy is by allowing them to grow up with kids. Children wear these dogs out and keep them on their feet. 

Food and Nutrition

The Basenji is a medium-sized dog that requires about 3/4th to one cup of high-quality food every day. It is suggested that these meals be divided into two meals every day.

The Basenji is light and able-bodied. This can cause them to retain weight at times. Thus, regular diet schedules must be maintained so that do not cause these dogs to retain a lot of weight, leading to obesity. 

Exercise and Activity Level

Basenjis are not very highly energetic, but they need regular exercise to stay both mentally and physically stimulated on the regular. About 45 minutes to an hour of exercise is required for these dogs.

They come from an ancestry of hunting; thus, they enjoy running around in open spaces and staying agile and energetic. You can also keep them on a leash and help them exercise regularly by taking them on long walks. Regular exercise helps them stay fit.  

Physical Requirements

Energy range


Exercise Requirements

Capable for Playfulness


Basenjis are clever but independent, making training a bit challenging. Early socialization and positive reinforcement work best. Keep sessions short, fun, and rewarding to maintain their interest. Consistency and patience pay off in building a well-behaved Basenji.


Effortless to Train


Capable for Mouthiness

Tendency to Attack Prey

Urge to Howl or Bark

Wanderlust Ability


The Basenji is a nonbarker. This is probably one of the most distinctive features of the breed. They aren’t silent but do not have the distinctive bark of other dogs. They yodel instead. 

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FAQs On The Basenji Dog Breed

Where do the Basenji dog breeds come from?

The Basenji dog originates from Africa with the ancestry of the Congo region. 

What is the best diet routine for a Basenji dog?

A die routine that is the best for a medium-sized dog is important for this dog. Regular scheduling of food is essential since they are prone to obesity. 

How much exercise is required for a Basenji?

The Basenji is a highly energetic and active dog that loves to go on walks and is the biggest fan of playing games. A stimulating game of frisbee or chasing a ball keeps them stimulated both mentally and physically and happy. Get in at least an hour of exercise for these agile dogs. 

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