Meet the Basenji (Buh-SEN-jee)
The Basenji, known as the African Bark-less Dog, is considered by its devotees as unique to the species. One of the oldest of breeds, Basenji type dogs are depicted on the tombs of the Pharaohs and date back to as early as 3600 B.C. Small and short haired, with a foxy face, worried-looking wrinkled brow, upright ears and tail curled like a doughnut, the Basenji’s most unusual characteristic is that it does not bark. He is, however, not mute and, although usually quiet, has a repertoire of sounds that range from a pleased throaty crow to a keening wail when he is lonely or unhappy.
Basenjis are smooth, muscular, athletic dogs on the small side. The head is wrinkled around the forehead and the muzzle is shorter than the skull. The skull is flat. The small, almond-shaped eyes are dark hazel to dark brown. The ears are straight, small, and erect and open in the front. The dog's back is level and the legs are straight. The tail is set high and curled over to either side. The coat is short, shiny and fine and comes in pure black, copper, red, chestnut red, or tricolor in combinations of black, tan and white, or black, brindle and white.
The Basenji is alert, affectionate, energetic and curious. It loves to play and makes a good pet, as long as it is handled regularly from an early age. It is very intelligent, responds well to training with a strong desire to please. The Basenji is somewhat reserved, but can still form strong bonds with humans. It should not be trusted with non-canine pets. They do best with children who understand how to display leadership towards the dog. The Basenji dislike wet weather. They like to chew, so giving them lots of toys of their own would be a good idea. The breed likes to climb and can easily get over chain wire fences. It can be described as speedy, frisky, and tireless at play. They need daily exercise to release mental and physical energy. Basenji are very clever at getting their own way, they succeed less by obstinacy than by charm, and therefore need an owner who displays natural authority. One who makes rules and sticks to them. Some consider the Basenji to have terrier-like mannerisms because he is feisty for a hound. More often he is considered catlike in mannerisms: cleaning itself like a cat, clever, inquisitive, stubborn, independent and reserved. His hunting roots are very evident, as he loves to chase and trail. He needs regular mental and physical stimulation, lest he becomes frustrated and destructive. He cannot be allowed to run loose for when he is on the trail of a rabbit or a squirrel, he has no thought for dangers like vehicular traffic.
Males 16-17 inches and 22-26 pounds- Females 15-16 inches and 20-25 pounds
This breed is prone to Fanconi's syndrome (kidney problems), which must be treated the moment the symptoms are noticed. Also, they are susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy, intestinal, and eye problems.
The Basenji will do okay in an apartment if it gets enough exercise. It is very active indoors and a small yard will do. The Basenji is happiest when it is kept with two or three other Basenji; they will not fight among themselves.
The Basenji needs vigorous daily exercise. They have a tendency to become fat and lazy unless the owner is consistent about it. This breed needs a long daily walk.
About 12 -14 years
4 - 6 puppies. Another feature that is a boon to pet owners but a cross for breeders is that the females as a general rule have only one heat period a year in the fall. About 90% of the litters are born from October through December.
The Basenji washes itself like a cat and has no doggie smell, so very little grooming is needed. This is a good dog for people with allergies. This breed sheds little to no hair.