The Basenji is a barkless dog; it does not bark it “barroos”; yes that is the kind of sound that comes out of its throat when it attempts vocal communication. The breed’s origin can be traced to Central Africa – the Congo region to be precise, where it was used to hunt in old thick forests with dense undergrowth.
One theory as to why the Basenji does not or cannot bark is that this and similar breeds were selectively encouraged because barking dogs attracted tribal enemies to the dog owners’ encampments. However, this does not mean that the animal is vocally challenged in totality. The animal whines when unhappy, yodels when happy and can summon a growl when it has to.
The Basenji is a small dog and weighs a mere 11 kg or 24 pounds; it stands 26cm tall at the withers. It is a proportionately built animal. Indeed, it is considered as belonging to the square breed of dogs – those that are as long as they are tall.
A tightly curled tail is a distinguishing feature of these short-haired dogs. Here’s an interesting tidbit of information. The basenji is considered one of the oldest dog breeds and like all “ancient” dog breeds, a basenji is most unlikely to make it to any “top 10 intelligent dogs” list. These dogs have an easygoing temperament and are faithful. Affectionate and gifted with boundless energy, your basenji will not take to strangers immediately. They are independent thinkers that are known to be difficult to train. Your basenji pet dog won’t take instinctively to coming and sitting on your lap; obedience training for a basenji is a chore that he can do without. Yet, he loves attention. If you don’t give him that you risk some destruction at home. It’s the case with almost all dog breeds. Deprive them of exercise and affection and they’ll deprive you of your carpet, flower vase, or favorite pair of slippers.
Basenjis are best kept on a leash; they love to chase anything that moves. These athletically built dogs can jump fences if they think there’s prey on the other side. This can make them vulnerable to oncoming traffic. This is a peculiar trait with this breed that you need to keep in mind if you’re planning to bring one home.
This is a dog that does not bark, but that does not mean that it cannot be a good watchdog. Basenjis adjust well in households with children. As mentioned above they are affectionate and will be protective of children but they are not the most tolerant of dog breeds and a basenji may nip at a child that is irritating it. Another point to keep in mind if you’re planning to bring home one.
These short-haired dogs constantly groom themselves and shed a fair bit; be prepared to find hair on sofas, carpets, and maybe your glass of milk. They don’t need a lot of grooming. Basenjis are not particularly fond of water. So they refuse to go out during the rainy season you may have to give them exercise indoors.
On an average basenjis live up to 13.5 years. Health conditions that affect this breed include progressive retinal atrophy and Fanconi syndrome, which affects the kidneys.