Pet Advisor Blog

Basenji – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Medium
Weight: Males: 24 pounds; Females: 22 pounds
Height: Males: 17 inches; Females: 16 inches
Longevity: 14
Bark Tendency: Low
Aggression: Low
Compatibility to other pets: Medium


Because of their yodeling instead of barking, this ancient breed earned the nickname African Barkless Dog. Moreover, the Basenji is a breed that enjoys popularity for being great hunting dogs since the time of ancient Egypt. In addition, this breed is very intelligent, compact, and sweet-faced hunter.

Official Name



Date – Ancient Times
Country – Zaire
Family / Group – Hound, Scent Hound, Pariah

Recognized By:

United Kennel Club
American Kennel Club


The Basenji dog’s ancestors are the Pariah dogs used for hunting as far back as 3600 B.C.E. That is to say, legend has it that the Basenjis were brought from the Central African region and given as gifts to the ancient Egyptian Pharaons. They became very rare and nearly extinct during the years of the ancient Egyptian civilization’s decline. However, the Basenji dogs of Zaire survived and were kept in its pure state by avoiding crossing with other dogs.

Westerners were the first to encounter these medium-sized but very muscular dogs during the early 1900’s. In 1936, they reach England shores where they were immediately used as hunting dogs, pointing dogs, retrieving dogs and used to bolt prey.


Independent, alert and highly intelligent are the trademark traits of the Basenji. They are very affectionate, especially towards family. When it comes to strangers, Basenji dogs tend to be wary and protective.

In conclusion, these dogs are also very curious and very protective in nature, with catlike qualities in their behavior and antics.

Bred For

Developed in England as hunting, retrieving, point and bolting small to medium games


Their living space requirement is very adaptive. Therefore, Basenjis will do great in city, suburban and rural environments. In addition, a Basenji shouldn’t be left alone in the yard because they’re considered as ‘escape artists’.


The Basenji dogs are very easy to groom with very minimal grooming requirements needed. Bathing should be provided every few months.


Because of their high intelligence, Basenjis are very easy to train. As for any other active dog breed, early training and socialization is obligatory in order to have a healthy grown-up dog in the future.


Dog breeds as ancients as the Basenji are relatively healthy. On the other hand, some do acquire health problems like anemia, hernias, hip dysplasia, PRA, and other eye problems.


Firstly, Basenji is a hunting dog, therefore it needs a lot of daily exercise. In other words, long daily walks or runs are recommended.

Secondly, the Basenji dog dislikes rain. Consequently, walking them on a rainy day will make them grumpy. To clarify, the only time these dogs enjoy being wet is on a very hot day.