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Group: Hounds (Group 4)
Club: Basenji Club Of Victoria Inc
Contact: Mrs Cathryn Curnick
Phone: 5266 2178

About the Basenji


Background The Basenji, Africa’s bark-less dog, has a history which dates back to approximately 8000 BC. Paintings, carvings and hieroglyphics prove that the Basenji existed in the early days of the Pharaohs, and, in fact, the breed is older than the Pyramids themselves. It was not until 1895 that Western civilization discovered the Basenji in the Congo regions being used by the various tribes as a hunting dog. Even today, they are highly prized possessions, as without these little dogs, natives lose their prestige as hunters. Even today, particularly in America and Canada, the Basenji is regarded as a top hunting dog, being swift, bold and possessed of a keen sense of hearing and smell.

Average Lifespan When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime. Basenji live to 12 - 16 years of age.

Breed Personality/Characteristics/Temperament Elegant, graceful and extremely versatile, the Basenji is fastidiously clean, easily house trained and completely lacks any doggy smell. Although the breed’s lack of bark is often thought to mean lack of voice, this is definitely not so. In fact, the Basenji has an amazing vocabulary of sounds, which are usually uttered when the dog is happy, or caught in the act of some mischievous devilment. The most characteristic vocalisation is a mixture between a chortle and a yodel. As a watchdog, the Basenji is more positive in its approach than the usual barking house pet - it will raise its hackles and let out an unnerving rumble at the sound of impending danger. It is particularly protective with children. In fact, the breed is said to have the gameness of a Bullmastiff, but with the gentleness of a Labrador. As with all dogs, young children and pets should always be supervised when together.  The Basenji loves its owners and will greet each and every member of the family with the same enthusiasm upon their return home from work, school or whatever. However it will not routinely welcome visitors unless it considers them worthy of attention. The breed can be wilful and disobedient if not trained correctly. It is, however, too intelligent to be forced, so do not try to break your dogs will. You must be firm but just in order to get the best results from this breed. However, any dog-lover with the patience and tolerance to really understand the Basenji, will be rewarded with an affectionate, lovable family companion that thrives on attention. Basenji are known to cry real tears, climb trees, hug like bears, stalk birds, and, being unbelievably fastidious, will even clean themselves like cats. The Basenji is probably closer to the wild dog of the jungle and the desert than any other domesticated breed. This makes it unique in the world of dogs.

Compatibility with other pets Independent but not averse to sharing their life with other pets with which they grow up.

Care Requirements These dogs are natural hunters, with the ability to make the best use of sight, scent and sound. However, these strongly developed hunting instincts can also tend to be the Basenji’s undoing. For instance, if a dog is busy following a scent but a car happens to get in the way, the dog will not see it - this has resulted in an alarming number of Basenji being killed. For this reason, it is extremely important to have good fencing.

Please Take Note Basenji have a very independent nature and because of this can sometimes be hard to live with.

Ideal Owner/s Anyone who can meet the very specific needs of this highly individualistic breed.

In Conclusion Now you know a little about the Basenji and have decided this is the dog for you or you want more information, make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs.

Registered Breeders