Basenji Dog Breed
Aliases: Voiceless Dog, African Bush Dog, African Barkless Dog, Congo Dog, Zande Dog
|Life Span:||10-12 years although and occasional Basenji has lived up to 20 years of age.|
|Litter Size:||4 to 6 puppies|
|Group:||Southern and AKC Hound|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||According to the American Kennel Club standards there are four basic colors: Red, black, tricolor, which consists of black with tan in their traditional pattern) and brindle (red with black stripes), each of these with white on the tail, chest and feet.|
|Male Height:||16-17 inches (41-43 cm)|
|Male Weight:||22-26 pounds (10-12 kg)|
|Female Height:||15-16 (38-41)|
|Female Weight:||20-25 pounds (9-11 kg)|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||The Basenji can live outdoors with a big yard or in an apartment provided they get exercise daily and lots of it. It is important to remember when your Basenji is bored, he will begin chewing things-anything is his sight so if you live in an apartment, he should not be left there alone. In many ways, they are similar to a hyperactive child.|
The Basenji, which originated in Africa, is a small, shorthaired and athletic dog with a smooth shiny coat and the size of a fox terrier. They have a shiny coat of a number of different colors usually having white feet as well as white on the chest and tip of the tail. The Basenji is an elegant dog with long legs and a level back. Many think they have a perpetual worried look on their face because of the deep wrinkles in their forehead. The tail is high up, but curls up and slightly over to the side of its back. The ears are erect, straight and open in the front similar to a German shepherd, although some say they resemble a small deer. The small almond shaped eyes make the Basenji appear to be squinting.
The long legs of the Basenji contribute to its running gait being similar to what you would see on a horse. They have a type of gallop, when running at full speed, where their feet just barely touch the ground. They enjoy doing what they were born for: hunting and running. It is this quality that makes them want to chase every small animal they see. If he gets off the leash, he will go and, in most cases, will be totally oblivious to your calling him. The Basenji only comes in heat once a year, in the fall.
The one trait that is the Basenji is most known for is the fact it does not bark. This is not to say that it is a mute dog by any means. Depending on what their mood is at the time, they will whine, squeal or howl and give one single \'woof\' from time to time. When the Basenji is upset about something like being locked up, they will let out a scream that is similar to a woman or baby screaming or a rooster crowing. They do make a sound called a yodel or baroo that is attributed only to their breed. Overall, when they want to be heard, they know what to do and they are heard.
Basenjis can be hard to train because they can be very stubborn. Positive reinforcement is highly recommended when training them and tricking them into thinking it\'s their idea. They want to please their masters, but are still headstrong. They are very destructive dogs and will chew on things much more so than most dogs. In fact, there is very little that they won\'t eat. They need to be strictly confined or crated when you\'re not around because if there is a way to escape and run wild, they will. Some dog trainers feel that if you are a person that wants a very well-trained dog, the Basenji dog is not for you because of their stubborn independent streak.
The coat of the Basenji is short and silky with pliant skin. There are four standard colors for Basenjis--chestnut red, black, black and tan, and brindle. White feet, tail tip and chest is on all the colors.
There have been some variations like the \'trindle\', which is a tricolor with brindle points, liver, sabled reds, creams and blue and whites. Most of the variations have been bred out through the years except for the trundle variation. Most of the breeding is a matter of owner preference.
The Basenji is a very old breed of dog with his origin stemming way back to ancient times. It has been said that they originated in Africa and considered an \'African import\' at some point. The first signs of this dog (or dogs thought to be Basenji because of the similarities) were found and seen in Egyptian tombs and wall hangings over 5,000 years ago. In the late 1800s, they were prized as hunting dogs in the Congo because of their great speed and intelligence as they would track their wild game right into nets while waiting for the master to come.
Attempts to bring the Basenji dog to England in the early 1900s failed when most of them died from diseases. They were brought into Europe in 1934 under the name of Congo Dog. Breeders experimented, refined the breed and transferred it all over the world with the help and expertise of breeder Henry Trefflich. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed of Basenji in 1943, and in 1990, several imports of the breed were added in the books.
There are many terms to describe the Basenji dog and some may seem contradictory, but they so vary in temperament and have so many different moods. Although many temperaments come from the training, there are many that are characteristic of the breed. They are very alert, energetic and affectionate, yet they are also demanding. The Basenji need to be handled and have human contact from a very young age to truly make a good pet. They do not like small animals and will chase them until they catch and kill them, if given the chance. Another characteristic of the Basenji is their inability to get along with other dogs, especially if they are a dominant dog. This is especially true when it is a dog of the same sex. Many owners of Basenji have said that they get along fine with other Basenji dogs, just not dogs of another breed.
They are very intelligent dogs and bond very strongly with their family members. Basenjis are somewhat shy and aloof with strangers and may actually \'circle\' them like prey if left unsupervised. When they circle something, this usually means that they consider it a threat to them or their home. They are territorial and very protective of their home and any area they spend a lot of time in and consider as "theirs".
They are very playful dogs that need much play time and exercise to release some of their energy that they seem to consistently possess. If they don\'t get the exercise they need, they will exert it in negative ways such as chewing and destroying whatever they find. The temperament and disposition of the Basenji is patient and eager to please, but respond much better with older children than young. In addition to all their energy, they love to run and climb so you will need a very high fence (at least 6 feet) if you have hopes of keeping in. They are very loving dogs with their owners, but need to have constant attention and human contact. Many owners say that their Basenji is like a 2-year-old child with their demands for attention and if they don\'t get it, they make you regret it by being destructive.
Thyroid Disease - Medium Risk
The Basenji ranks #32 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. While this is not a high risk breed, there is still a good chance of disease transmission through breeding. Therefore, all dogs intended for breeding should be tested first.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
There are a few diseases and disorders that the Basenji is prone to getting.
- Fanconi syndrome is an inheritable kidney disorder that usually will show its symptoms after the age of four. A urine test can be given to the dog to test for the disorder.
- Genetic Hemolytic Anemia, a blood disorder is common with Basenji dogs that are carriers.
- Hip Dysplasia is a disorder that can cause loss of mobility, lameness and painful arthritis in the joints. It can be mild to severe where it will cripple the dog. All dogs can and should be tested for canine hip Dysplasia if you plan to breed them is this is a hereditary disease.
- Malabsorption is an autoimmune intestinal disease that if left untreated can lead to death. Dogs with this disease can improve with a special disease.
- Progressive retinal atrophy, which is a degeneration of the retina of the eye and may lead to total blindness and other less serious eye problems.