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The Unique and Really Awesome Breed: Basenji Dogs
The Basenji is an athletic, elegant, small unusual dog that
originated in central Africa and whose history with man goes
back long before the Pyramids. They are classed in the Hound
Group, and are still used for hunting by primitive African
The Basenji is around the size of a Fox Terrier, with a
shiny smooth coat that can be black, black and brindle,
black and tan, copper and red. Usually they will have white
on their chest, feet and the tip of their tail. Some
individuals within the breed may even have a white facial
blaze on their forehead, and/or a white collar and white
legs as well.
The legs are long on this dog and the back is level. The
thighs are muscular, the tail curls up and over and slightly
to the side of the back and is set high. When running this
breed has a distinctive horse-like gait.
The skull of this dog is flat. Basenjis, especially when
young, have wrinkles and furrows on their forehead giving
the dog a worried look. The ears are open and face forward.
The eyes are almond-shaped and small, making the dog look as
though it was squinting.
They are one of the few naturally developed breeds that are
recognized by the American Kennel Club. This dog has a lot
of unusual vocalizations but doesn't bark. They may crow,
growl (loudly), howl or yodel depending upon their mood.
Another unique Basenji trait is that they clean themselves
with their tongue like a cat does.
The Basenji is affectionate, alert, curious and energetic.
They love to play and make excellent pets if well trained.
They also have a strong desire to please their owners and
are very intelligent and respond well to training.
They do need to be handled and socialized from a very early
age. This dog may be reserved with strangers and must be
socialized well. The Basenji is an aloof dog that can form
strong bonds with their owner providing proper attention is
given to socializing them. You shouldn't trust them with
other pets except dogs, however, they were bred to hunt.
This breed loves to chew and it is prudent to buy a lot of
chew toys for them to play with, otherwise your furniture
may be decorated with teeth marks, your trash may be
scattered about the house, and your dirty clothes may become
rags. Basenjis have also been known to climb fences and can
easily get over chain link fencing. Always keep your Basenji
leashed when outdoors, they will naturally run and death by
vehicle is common.
It is important that an owner of this breed understands that
just because they are quiet it doesn't mean that they are
meek. Quite the contrary, they will rule over you if you let
them. They need exercise and to be walked every day and need
to have firm constant consistent training. But the result of
proper care will be a charming, funny, intelligent
Nourishment for the Basenji
Jane R. Bicks, D.V.M.
A truly ancient breed. While it's skin and coat may
not require much care, the Basenji certainly requires
attention and play.
It is easily bored, so leaving dry food down all
day can help satisfy it. No need to worry about
calories, since this dog doesn't gain weight easily.
A hollow bone stuffed with peanut butter helps to make
the day go by faster.
The Basenji is a small, short haired hunting dog from Africa. It
is short backed and lightly built, appearing high on the leg
compared to its length. The wrinkled head is proudly carried
on a well arched neck and the tail is set high and curled.
Elegant and graceful, the whole demeanor is one of poise and
inquiring alertness. The balanced structure and the smooth musculature
enables it to move with ease and agility. The Basenji hunts by
both sight and scent.
Characteristics--The Basenji should not bark but is not mute. The
wrinkled forehead, tightly curled tail and swift, effortless gait
(resembling a racehorse trotting full out) are typical of the breed.
Faults--Any departure from the following points must be considered
a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault is regarded is
to be in exact proportion to its degree.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Ideal height for dogs is 17 inches and females 16 inches. Dogs 17
inches and females 16 inches from front of chest to point of
buttocks. Approximate weight for dogs, 24 pounds and bitches, 22 pounds.
Lightly built within this height to weight ratio.
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