AKC Group: Hound

This ancient breed is thought to have originated in Africa. They were first found and seen in Egyptian tombs and wall hangings from over 5,000 years ago. In the late 1800s Basenjis were prized hunting dogs in the Congo. Their speed and intelligence tracked game into nets that their masters retrieved later.

Size: 15 to 17 inches; 20 to 25 pounds.

Color: Red, black, tricolor or brindle. All colors have white chests, feet and the underside of the tail.

Life span: 10 to 12 years.

Health problems: Eye defects, thyroid problems, hip dysplasia, digestive problems, PKD (polycystic kidney disease) or Fanconi’s Syndrome (another kidney disease) and malabsorption.

Extremely athletic, Basenjis are small in size. The Basenji is eager, alert and intelligent. They have smooth, sleek coats. Basenjis also sport a naturally furrowed brow.

The Basenji is eager to please, playful, curious and energetic. If you’re looking for a watchdog that doesn’t bark, a Basenji is the dog you’ve been looking for. (They can, however, whine excessively.) Unfortunately, a Basenji doesn’t tend to do well with young children or other pets.

If you do decide to share your life with a Basenji, don’t neglect him; he will become destructive. You need to be assertive and firm during training, but never harsh. Basenjis have a tendency towards defensiveness. They also love to chew.

Basenjis don’t tend to shed. An occasional brushing and rub down with a damp cloth will keep his coat glossy and in good condition.


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