Dog Breed Profile


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• High energy level
• Medium exercise needs
• Moderately playful
• Moderately Affectionate
• Shy towards other dogs
• Shy around other pets
• Friendly around strangers
• Easy to train
• Great watchdogs
• Not very protective
• Low grooming requirements
• Medium tolerance to heat
• Low tolerance to cold


The Basenji, a short-haired hound dog breed originally from Africa, is often thought of as being similar to a terrier due to its feisty and rambunctious nature, but it’s also been compared to the mannerisms of a cat due to its personality. The Basenji is independent, stubborn and reserved but very clever and he loves to chase.

This dog breed doesn’t usually bark but they do have a whole other set of sounds including yodeling, shrieking and even howling when on the chase. He’s a fast dog, with great agility and speed and is highly talented at the double-suspension gallop with his longer legs.

Without regular exercise for his body and mind he may become destructive and very frustrated.

  • Best suited to being a part of the family and does not like the coldbut he needs regular vigorous exercise
  • Health conditions that need to be tested for include hip dysplasia and eye issues
  • Grooming needs include every-other-day brushing.
  • The Basenji is a friendly, fun- loving animal that doesn’t bark
  • Has a great relationship with family members, young and old, not very protective but do make great watchdogs
  • The average size of a male is 24lbs and 17 inches tall
  • The average size of a female is 22lbs and 16 inches tall

Care & Health:

Give this ancient African dog daily activity in the form of a walk, run or playtime in a safely enclosed area to stimulate his mind and body and he’ll be content. He can only live outdoors in a warm climate but, like a cat he needs to have access indoors and out to be happiest.

He’s easy to care for, needing only an occasional brushing that will remove any dead hair lingering in his coat.

Major Health Concerns:

–Fanconi syndrome, PRA(Progressive Retinal Atrophy), basenji enteropathy

Minor Health Concerns:

– PPM (Persistent Pupillary Membranes), PK (Pyruvate Kinase) and occasionally CHD (Canine hip dysplasia)

Test for:

–eyes, and DNA for PK, Fanconi urine test

Life Span:

– 12 to 14 years

Breed History:

The Basenji is one of the most primitive, dating back to discovery with Pygmy hunters in the Congo. These hounds were used to drive hunting game into nets while wearing bells on their necks.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s an attempt was made to import them to England but these dogs all perished from distemper. Finally a few made it in the 1930s and these dogs became the fathers of the basenji (meaning bush thing) breed in the developed world.

They made it to America soon after and by the 1950s they had become a popular as a show dog and also as family pets after becoming the star of a movie. It wasn’t until the 1980s that this breed was allowed to compete in lure-coursing trials after being recognized by the American Sighthound Field Association.

  • Family history is sighthound, scenthound, primitive, Southern (pariah)
  • Originally from Central Africa (Zaire and the Congo)
  • Originating from ancient times
  • Original purpose hunting small game
  • Today they are used for lure coursing
  • Also known as Congo dog, Congo terrier