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The Basenji is a breed of hunting dog. It was bred from stock that originated in central Africa. Most of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world place the breed in the Hound Group—more specifically, in the sighthound type. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale places the breed in group five, spitz and primitive types, and the United Kennel Club (US) places the breed in the [wiki base=”EN”]Sighthound & Pariah Group[/wiki].

The Basenji produces an unusual yodel-like sound commonly called a “baroo”, due to its unusually shaped larynx. This trait also gives the Basenji the nickname “soundless dog”

The name comes from the Lingala language of the Congo, mbwá na basɛ́nzi which means “village dogs”.



Basenjis are small, short-haired dogs with erect ears, tightly curled tails and graceful necks. A Basenji’s forehead is wrinkled, even more so when they are young or extremely excited. A Basenji’s eyes are typically almond-shaped. Basenjis typically weigh about 9.1–10.9 kg (20–24 lb) and stand 41–46 cm (16–18 in) at the shoulder. They are a square breed, which means they are as long as they are tall with males usually larger than females. Basenjis are athletic dogs, and deceptively powerful for their size. They have a graceful, confident gait like a trotting horse, and skim the ground in a double suspension gallop, with their characteristic curled tail straightened out for greater balance when running at their top speed. Basenjis come in a few different colorations: red, black, tricolor, and brindle, and they all have white feet, chests and tail tips. They can also come in trindle, which is a tricolor with brindle points, a rare combination.


The Basenji is alert, energetic, curious and reserved with strangers. The Basenji tends to become emotionally attached to a single human. Basenjis may not get along with non-canine pets. Basenjis dislike wet weather, like to climb, and can easily get over chain wire fences.

Basenjis often stand on their hind legs, somewhat like a meerkat, by themselves or leaning on something; this behavior is often observed when the dog is curious about something. Basenjis have a strong prey drive. According to the book [wiki title=”The_Intelligence_of_Dogs” base=”EN”]The Intelligence of Dogs[/wiki], they are the second least trainable dog.


There is apparently only one completed health survey of Basenjis, a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey.

Basenjis are prone to blindness from progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and [wiki title=”Fanconi_syndrome” base=”EN”]Fanconi syndrome[/wiki]. They can also suffer from hypothyroidism, immunoproliferative systemic intestinal disease (IPSID), and hemolytic anemia (HA). Basenjis are also sensitive to environmental and household chemicals, which may cause liver problems.

Basenji. (2017, March 5). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

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