Basenji Dog

Canis lupus

Last updated: April 11, 2021
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

Alert, affectionate and energetic!

Basenji Dog Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Basenji Dog Conservation Status

Basenji Dog Locations

Basenji Dog Locations

Basenji Dog Facts

Loyal, stubborn, and affectionate
Should be trained from an early age as their independent nature can make them stubborn
Average Litter Size
Common Name
Basenji Dog
Alert, affectionate and energetic!

Basenji Dog Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Red
  • Black
  • White
  • Tan
  • Brindle
Skin Type
12-14 years
24, lbs

Basenji Dog Images

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The Basenji Dog is known as a “barkless” dog, but they aren’t exactly quiet either.

Basenjis are known to be hunting dogs. They have a history of originating in central Africa. These dogs are small and are known to be very graceful. They have a shiny coat and a curled tail. Their forehead is wrinkled, and the eyes are shaped like almonds.

They are known as a “barkless” dog, but they aren’t exactly quiet either. Instead, they express themselves through various noises, like yodeling. In fact, these dogs can be quite vocal, ensuring that their owner always knows what is on their mind. They are known as a “cult” breed and are usually small in numbers. These dogs are hypoallergenic which means that they do not shed at all, due to their breeding.

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3 Pros and Cons of Owning Basenji Dogs

Pros! Cons!
Elegant: These dogs are very elegant and poised. Their graceful figure is aesthetically beautiful, featuring a strong and smooth build. Needs a lot of exercises: If you are someone who doesn’t want a highly active dog, you should stay away from this one as this dog needs a high amount of physical activity. Their strong build is made of muscle, and it needs to be worked out to maintain their metabolism.
Hypoallergenic: Their coat is incredibly short, making it easy for any owner to beat the allergies that can be common with other animals. They won’t shed, protecting the furniture that they play and sit on. Separation anxiety: You can’t leave Basenji alone for too long as it can result in very destructive behaviors in this dog. Basenjis long to be with and to defend their owner, so they may need to come along as much as possible.
Good watchdog: If you are looking for a dog that is alert and keen, you could definitely go for a Basenji dog. Basenjis may not be able to bark, but they have impressive hearing and sight, paying attention to anything that may seem amiss. Aggressive: These dogs can turn very aggressive around strangers or other animals. This could be a problem in the long run, though it can be an advantage for anyone who wants protection.
Basenji dog smiling at the camera

Basenji Dog Size and Weight

Basenjis are medium-sized dogs. The male Basenjis are about 17 inches tall while the females are about 16 inches tall. Meanwhile, the male Basenji dogs weigh about 24 pounds while the female ones weigh around 22 pounds.

Male Female
Height 17 inches Tall 16 inches Tall
Weight 24 lbs., fully grown 22 lbs., fully grown

Basenji Dog Common Health Issues

Though Basenjis are bred to be hypoallergenic and a defensive dog, their DNA puts them at risk for many conditions. Hip dysplasia, which occurs when the hip muscles aren’t formed properly, is one of the most common issues. However, this is a common issue in dogs with longer legs.

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Basenji dogs have a history of corneal dystrophy, which is an eye disease that occurs when too much fluid goes into the cornea. Admittedly, it is rare that this issue will arise, but it can be rather severe in Basenji puppies if both the male and female parents have it.

Patellar luxation may also occur in Basenjis. This condition causes the kneecaps of the dog to move from where they are meant to be. A big sign that the dog is going through this problem is if they start hopping for a few strides, holding one of their back legs off of the ground.

Health and Entertainment for your Basenji Dog

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Some of the other diseases that these dogs suffer from include progressive retinal atrophy (degeneration in the retina), enteropathy (inflammation in the bowels that reduces protein absorption), and Fanconi syndrome (the inability of the kidneys to use water, causing frequent urination).

Therefore, the health issues that the Basenji dogs face include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Patellar luxation
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Basenji enteropathy
  • Fanconi syndrome

Basenji Dog Temperament

These dogs are known to have a history of being relatively reserved in nature. They are clever and inquisitive and also known to be very stubborn. These dogs are intelligent and are known to be strong decision-makers.
They are known to be nice to other dogs but can get aggressive towards strangers and also other dogs of the same breed. These dogs do not bark much and are known to make a mix of other sounds as an expression of communication.

Basenji dogs are also known to show destructive behaviors when left alone for a long time at a stretch.

How to Take Care of a Basenji Dog

In order to own a Basenji dog, you would want and need to know how to properly take care of it. The dog was specially bred for individuals that want a more sinus-friendly pup, but it also comes with some special needs.

Here are some things that you should know about the breed:

Basenji Dog Food and Diet

Basenji dogs should ideally be fed meat as the core ingredient in their diet. These dogs are not known to be lovers of dry food. You could also add some raw vegetables to the food for your Basenji dogs or canned pumpkin works fine too.

If you want to cook the vegetables, blanching and pureeing them is best. Avoid pork at all costs and provide variations from day to day to ensure that they have broad nutrition that keeps them healthy.

Basenji Dog Maintenance

Basenji dogs do not need a lot of grooming. They are tidy and like to keep themselves very clean. They only need to be bathed every four to six months. You will also need to remove their dead hair and/or coat every few months.

Basenji Dog Training

This dog breed is highly intelligent which means that these dogs are quick at picking up commands. However, it could be difficult to obedience train your Basenji dog. They can be trained with a lot of dedication as well as hard work.

It is also easier because these dogs always want to please the owner. However, what would make the training easier would be to make the Basenji dog believe that whatever task is assigned was his or her idea. That way, the training is done very easily.

Basenji Dog Exercise

Basenji dogs are very energetic. Therefore, they need a lot of physical activity each day. However, they are good climbers, and therefore, if you want your dog to remain inside an area, you should have tall and strong fencing around it. Swimming is not an option for them as they do not like being around water at all.

Basenji Puppies

Basenji puppies are fed the same way except for the fact that they have to be fed a greater number of times a day since their small stomachs cannot digest a lot of food at once. Basenji puppies are also easy to train and would develop habits much quickly, so it is better to start training these dogs as young as possible.

Basenji puppy lying on a table

Basenji Dog and Children

Basenji dogs are known to be affectionate and energetic and are very playful, especially with the children in the family. These dogs are safe with children, offering protection when strangers are around. Though they experience some separation anxiety, they are loyal companions to their families.

Dogs Similar to Basenji Dogs

As strong and caring as Basenjis can be, they aren’t the right match for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to the Basenji dog, making it a little easier to make a choice.

  • Harrier: These dogs are great with children and are cheerful, tolerant, and affectionate. Harriers are often found in the United Kingdom, and their coat is a much thicker texture than a Basenji’s dog. However, if you can take the shedding, this hound is quite likable.
  • Beagles: These dogs are loving and affectionate and make everyone fall in love with them. Sometimes found as a mix with the Harrier, the beagle is incredibly social, though this quality makes it hard for them to be a good watchdog.
  • American Fox Hound: This hound is also known to be loyal and affectionate. However, like many other hound breeds, it can also turn out to be stubborn and aggressive in some cases. Much like the Basenji, it barely sheds.

Famous Basenji Dogs

Basenji dogs have been owned by several famous people in the past. Though its heritage comes from Congo, both the queen of the Netherlands and the king of Thailand owned Basenji dogs. Several TV stars also have owned these dogs, like Kelsey Grammar.

Apart from their owners, Basenjis are famous in their own right. Animated movies and television shows seem to adore this type of dog. While they have been featured in episodes of The Wild Thornberrys and Pound Puppies, they can also be found in films like Soulmate and Tales of Halloween. Though the footage didn’t make the cut, Basenjis made an appearance in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

These dogs are even in books. Ever read Good-bye, My Lady by James H. Street? The main character that the book is named for is a female Basenji, and it eventually became a movie with Sidney Poitier and Brandon de Wilde. In fact, Brandon de Wilde even kept the dog when filming was over.

Here are a few popular names for Basenji dogs:

  • Simba
  • Dash
  • Ivy
  • Peanut
  • Nipper
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Basenji Dog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a Basenji dog?

It is a type of hunting dog and is very intelligent and smart.

What does a basenji dog look like?

It is a medium-sized dog with long legs and a sturdy body. It has short hair all over its body and the eyes are shaped like almonds.

Do Basenji dogs smell?

No, these dogs do not usually smell.

Do Basenji dogs bark?

Basenji dogs bark very little and make a mix of other sounds as an expression of communication.

How much does a Basenji dog cost to own?

Basenji dogs cost anywhere between $2100 to $4500. The other costs come around $1800 annually.

Is a Basenji dog good with kids?

Yes, these dogs are great around kids and are very playful and energetic.

How long does Basenji dog live?

The lifespan of a Basenji dog is about 12 to 14 years.

Are Basenji Dogs herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Basenji Dogs are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Basenji Dogs belong to?

Basenji Dogs belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Basenji Dogs belong to?

Basenji Dogs belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Basenji Dogs belong to?

Basenji Dogs belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Basenji Dogs belong to?

Basenji Dogs belong to the family Canidae.

What order do Basenji Dogs belong to?

Basenji Dogs belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do Basenji Dogs belong to?

Basenji Dogs belong to the genus Canis.

What type of covering do Basenji Dogs have?

Basenji Dogs are covered in Hair.

How many babies do Basenji Dogs have?

The average number of babies a Basenji Dog has is 5.

What is an interesting fact about Basenji Dogs?

Basenji Dogs are alert, affectionate, and energetic!

What is the scientific name for the Basenji Dog?

The scientific name for the Basenji Dog is Canis lupus.

  1. American Kennel Club, Available here:
  2. Michele Welton's Honest Advice about Dogs, Available here:
  3. Pet MD, Available here:
  4. Pet ID Register, Available here:
  5. Wikipedia, Available here:

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