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The barkless dog of Central Africa

Other Names – Congo Dog, Congo Terrier, African Bush Dog, African Barkless Dog, Ango Angari, Zande Dog

The first Basenjis arrived in England in 1936 from the African Congo, where they had been used as an all purpose hunter working by sight and by scent. However their history extends back to the time of the Pharaohs and paintings in their tombs bear a similar resemblance to the breed. The cave paintings found in Libya and dated to 6,000 B.C. depict hunters with dogs that have curled tails – one of the Basenji’s distinctive features. Basenjis are also depicted on ancient Egyptian artefacts. Historical evidence suggests they were transported from Central Africa as gifts for the pharaohs.

Basenjis are energetic, inquisitive, and very active. They require lots of regular exercise to keep them from becoming bored. Boredom can lead to destructive behaviour. Long play sessions in a well-fenced yard or securely on lead are required. A Basenji should never run loose, as the breed’s instinct to hunt is very strong, and the dog might not be able to resist the urge to run off on a chase. Early socialisation and puppy training classes are recommended for all breeds, but given the Basenji’s bountiful energy, intelligence, and penchant for mischief, they are a necessity. Basenjis are often described as “catlike,” which may not seem to bode well for training them. However, they do learn readily in an encouraging and rewarding atmosphere, and with the use of positive-training techniques. They also lose interest quickly, so training sessions should last no more than five or 10 minutes. The breed is known for being quite independent and aloof at times. Basenjis are alert and careful with strangers, open and calm with friends, and loving and solicitous with children. When meeting strangers, the Basenji prefers to make the first overtures. This has been called a “cult breed” – small in numbers, but those lucky enough to own one do so with singular devotion.

Read more about the history of this breed – HERE


Most of these stats are from the The Kennel Club UK. You can view stats from kennel clubs around the world at the links below, which may have different standards and classifications.

Group – UKHound
Bred ForHunting
Rare BreedYes
Country of OriginCongo, Central Africa
TemperamentIntelligent, Affectionate, Independent
Exercise NeededUp to 1 hour a day
Size of Home NeededSmall
Height at Withers – Females40 cm / 16 in
Height at Withers – Males43 cm / 17 in
GroomingOnce a week
Life Expectancy12 – 14 years
  • The Basenji’s larynx is shaped differently than those in most other dogs, so they cannot produce a bark. They can growl or make a yodelling sound, but they don’t vocalise often.
  • Basenjis are fastidious and will groom themselves like cats, so they don’t have the typical doggie smell.
  • Basenji dogs don’t like to walk at night and when it is very wet, it becomes grumpy when it needs to go for a walk when it rains!
  • The Basenji dog is reserved with strangers. It is courageous and it will always try to protect its family from potential danger, but it is cannot be used as a guard dog due to its small size.
  • Basenji is still popular as hunting dog in Africa, but it is mostly kept as pet in the western societies.


Breed standards vary throughout the world, these links will inform you of those standards and give further information about Basenjis.


Click on any picture below to view it larger and in a slideshow, it’s worth it! 😃


Enjoy this video about Basenjis, you can view the entire playlist of videos about this breed on our YouTube Channel by clicking the button below:


Here’s some websites specifically dedicated to the Basenji breed, click to view them. I am not affiliated with any of these sites, they’re just here for further information. Please note I will not advertise breeders on this site.

Thanks for reading!

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