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Basenji Breed Facts and Advice

from the Gumtree Team

6 Feb 2024 4 mins read

Why get a Basenji?

When you think of Basenji dogs, elegance and intelligence instantly come to mind. As one of the oldest purebred dogs hailing from Central Africa, the Basenji, often known as the Congo Dog, has captured the hearts of many dog lovers. With their fine, sleek coat and expressive, almond-shaped eyes, Basenji dogs are a sight to behold. Not just a pretty face, their lively and affectionate nature makes them adaptable to various living environments. Whether you’re into dog sports or just looking for a spirited companion, a Basenji forms a bond with its human family that’s truly special.


Dog breed Group Suitability Height Weight Life Span
Hound Apartments or Homes with Outdoor Space 40 – 43 cms 9.5 – 11 kgs 12-14 years

Basenji information

What makes Basenjis special?

A breed with a rich history, Basenji dogs were once skilled hunting dogs in Central Africa, adept at lure coursing. They’ve been admired for their keen hunting instincts and remarkable agility. But what sets them apart from other dog breeds is their unique vocalisation, known as a “barroo” rather than a typical bark. Coupled with their poised and graceful appearance, Basenjis are a rare blend of beauty and mystery, creating a healthy dog that thrives on adventure and companionship.

Basenji grooming and coat

The Basenji’s short and fine coat isn’t just strikingly beautiful; it’s also low-maintenance. This breed doesn’t shed much, so a gentle brush once a week will suffice to remove loose hairs and maintain a shiny coat. They also lack the typical doggy odour and generally don’t need to be bathed unless they have gotten particularly messy. At-home grooming is usually enough, though a professional touch for nail trimming or ear cleaning can be sought if desired.

Basenji colours

Basenjis are most commonly seen in a red coat adorned with white markings, exuding a regal appearance. This breed also showcases black, tan, brindle and tricolour coats. Though less common, trindle patterns—tricolour with brindle points—give Basenjis an even more distinguished look, reflecting the breed’s unique aesthetics.

Basenji temperament and personality

The Basenji dog is a born leader: confident, alert, and inquisitive. Though they can grow close to their owners, they may still act aloof in the company of strangers. They can be independent thinkers but are also affectionate with their human companions. Their spirited and exuberant nature may sometimes seem unruly, but with the right guidance, they reveal themselves to be loyal and devoted friends.

Basenji barking

Interestingly, Basenjis don’t bark like other dogs. They produce a unique sound—somewhere between a chortle and a yodel—known as a “barroo”, thanks to the shape of their larynx. This melodious noise is adorably high-pitched and may be mitigated with proper training.

Basenji trainability

Though intelligent, Basenjis can be strong-willed companions. However, a positive environment of obedience training, leash training, and socialisation training can help in moulding them into well-behaved pets. It’s best that training sessions be kept short—around 5 to 10 minutes at a time—on account of their tendency to lose interest quickly.

Basenji diet

A balanced diet rich in animal-based protein and healthy fats, with a mix of carbohydrates, is ideal for Basenjis. Monitor their weight to avoid potential issues, and consult your vet for tailored dietary advice. Fresh, clean water is, of course, a must for this energetic breed.

Basenji health

Basenjis are generally a healthy dog breed but can be prone to certain genetic conditions. Responsible breeders should screen for breed-specific issues such as Fanconi syndrome, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism. Regular veterinary care and a healthy lifestyle can ensure a thriving and happy life.

Basenji safety

With their strong prey drive, Basenji dogs are known to be curious and adventurous, especially towards cats and other small animals. As such, it’s essential to ensure that a Basenji never runs loose, given their innate hunting instincts. However, this instinct can be managed with proper training and a secure backyard that caters to their climbing abilities, as they can easily scale fences. Providing structured outlets for their energy, such as engaging play or agility training, can help channel their instincts positively and keep them safe and content within their environment.

Basenjis and children

Basenjis often form loving bonds with children, appreciating playful interaction. Their vigilant and watchful nature makes them enthusiastic protectors of the young ones in the family.

Basenji lifespan

With proper care and love, the average lifespan of a Basenji ranges between 13 to 14 years. There have even been anecdotes of these graceful creatures living even longer thanks to their robust nature.

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