Image credit: cadams623

Basenji - Breed Profile:
Origin: Congo
Colors: Copper, red, black and tan, black or brindle
Size: Small
Type of Owner: Experienced
Exercise: Moderate exercise needed
Grooming: Very little
Trainability: A bit difficult to train
Combativeness: Very dog-aggressive
Dominance: Moderate
Noise: Not a barker

Physical characteristics

The Basenji is a small elegant dog with a very athletic build and relatively long legs. A lot of wrinkles on the forehead are one of the breed's most distinctive features. The ears are erect. The tail curls up over the back and slightly to its side. Basenji dogs have a distinctive running gait.
The height averages 17 inches for males and about 16 inches for females. The weight averages 24 pounds for males, and about 22 pounds for females.


Basenjis are very active, playful, curious, and independent. They are good jogging companions. Very active indoors. Some individuals can be a bit aloof but, nonetheless, they can form strong bonds with their family. It is important that Basenjis are extensively socialized and trained because they tend to be wilful and manipulative. Hence, Basenjis are not recommended for novice dog owners. Be sure to remain a pack leader at all times. They are usually good with other canine pets but, sometimes, may have problems with non-canine ones. Basenjis do not enjoy wet weather, but they really like climbing and getting over chain wire fences. Can be destructive sometimes. These dogs are veritable escape artists, so they should never be let off the leash if there is no secure fence (but even if it's there, Basenjis may try to get over it). They are usually reserved with strangers.
It is worth mentioning that the Basenji is a very clean dog. You can very easily find your little companion grooming itself with paws like a cat. This makes them good for allergic people.

Coat and grooming

The Basenji has a short shiny coat that does not require much grooming. Shedding is also very little in this breed. The possible colours are chestnut red, pure black, tricolor (pure black and chestnut red), or brindle (black stripes on a background of chestnut red). All these come with white feet, chest and tail tip. Some individuals also have white legs, blaze and collar.
Basenji puppy by dyenamics53


Basenjis may be prone to hemolytic anemia and Fanconi's syndrome (a kidney disorder).
The typical lifespan of the Basenji is about 10-12 years.

Other interesting facts

- Basenjis can surprise you with a lot of unusual vocalizations different from barking. They can yodel, howl, growl or crow, depending on their mood.
- Basenjis do not smell.
- Unlike other dogs that come into heat two times a year, female Basenjis come into it only once a year.