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Basenji profile

Other Names:  Lagos Bush Dogs or Congo Terriers

Country of Origin: Zaire and the Congo (Central Africa)

Dog Group Kennel Club:  Hound 

General appearance:

Basenjis are part of the hound group and are powerful for their size. They are lightly built with a short sleek fine coat and elegant features, they also have fairly long legs and a tightly curled tail. The Basenji should be fairly finely boned and short coupled, creating the image of a graceful, compact creature. These dogs are unique in the fact that they do not bark. They do however make all the other usual doggie sounds. They are known to be clean dogs and as they rarely bark they do have their own special noise.


Basenjis come in many colours including: black and white, red and white, black, tan and white and bridle.


Bitch             40 cms

Dog               43cms

(Both sizes measured to top of shoulder)


                           Min                    Max
Bitch            9kg (20lbs)     10kg (22lbs) 
Dog               11kg (24lbs)    11kg (24lbs)


Basenjis are intelligent, fun loving and learn quickly but do have a very independent streak. This breed has the tendency to become destructive if left along for long periods of time. This breed is known to form strong bonds with their owners but can be aloof with strangers. Basenjis have been likened to cats as they are good climbers, they have been known to climb trees and fences, also they keep themslves very clean which means grooming is minimised.


A tireless and swinging stride

Care and Training:

The Basenji is much like a cat being very clean and grooming himself on occasions. An occasional brushing with a firm bristle or wire brush works best to remove dead or loose hair from the coat as they shed a very small amount of hair if any. The smooth coat of the Basenji is very easy to care for.

The Basenji should be socialized early to prevent any destruction problems if he is to be home raised, and to ensure that he will do well around children and other animals. This breed is very intelligent yet independent at the same time making training quite a task. Variety, consistency, and firm handling work best with the Basenji to keep their attention as they tend to bore easily.

Feeding Requirements:

The Basenji can generally be fed a normal dog food diet. However, Basenjis will steal any food that is left lying around, and as a result, can quickly become overweight.

Overall Exercise: 60 - 80 minutes per day
This breed has a high stamina and characteristics of being tierless. The Basenji needs a fair bit of exercise on a daily basis, as well as a great deal of mental stimulation as it has been bred to hunt, however they can also be quite happy to stay at home at the fireside

Exercise: Med

Grooming: Low

Noise: Low

Personal Protection: Low

Suitability As Guard Dog: Low

Level of Aggression: High

Compatibility With Other Animals: Low

Suitablity for Children: Medium

Often docked? no

Average litter size: 6

life expectancy (yrs) 15

History: The earliest samples of these dogs were given as gifts to Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Basenji-type dogs are depicted on the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and date back to early 3600 B.C. Many details of their origins are unclear, but the Basenji is thought to have come from a purebred dog used by the Pygmies for hunting in the Congo. A pair of Basenjis were taken to England by an explorer in 1895, but unfortunately fell ill to distemper and soon died. In 1937 the Basenji was introduced successfully into England, and around the same time Mrs. Byron Rogers of New York City brought a pair of them to America. A litter of puppies was born, but unfortunately all died due to distemper except for Mrs. Rogers' older male, Bois. A female Basenji named Congo was then brought to the United States from Africa in 1941 by Alexander Phemster of Massachusetts, and soon the two Basenjis produced the first litter of Basenjis to be born in America and live. Soon other Basenjis were imported from England and Canada, and the breed grew in size and popularity in America.


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