asked questions about the Basenji
What does the name Basenji mean and where does it come from?
Answer: The name Basenji which originates from the phonetic speech
Basenji in the African language means roughly small wild thing from
the bush“. The area of origin stretches from the core of Central Africa
from the Congo Basin all the way to the Southern Sudan. The Basenjis
have lived there since many hundreds of years ago in a harmonious association
with the natives, for example the Bantus and the Pygmies. The dogs normally
live as an independent pack next to the village and feed themselves
as a rule (dependent on the tribal culture) on their own. Also their
reproduction occurs most probably without human control. The healthiest
Is the Basenji a real dog?
Answer: The Basenji is without a doubt, even if he does not bark,
a dog. Looking back to his origins, it is still not clearly finalised
who was the original father (wolf or Golden Jackal?) The Basenji comprise
one of the oldest dog breeds. Some Central African tribes as indispensable
hunters prize them very highly. They hunt by sight as well as by smell
and were presumably bread through selection as highly independent hunting
dogs of high endurance, used for the hunting of small game.
The Basenji can not bark. Is he then quite dumb and completely silent?
Answer: This is not so. What is missing in the Basenji is the
ability to sustain a repetitive barking volley as other dogs. Otherwise
he snarls and whimpers just as other dogs and can certainly project
a singular woof when the occasion arises. In addition to these he can
shout and howl. An idiosyncratic sound, however, is the so-called yodeling
which he emits when he likes something very much. The eagerness to emit
noises of course varies with the individual.
How big and how heavy is a Basenji?
Answer: Basenjis are slim dogs with a slight build. The males
measure about 43 centimetres to their shoulder, while the females are
some 2 cm smaller. The weight of a male comes to approximately 11 kg
and the females weigh 9-10 kg.
What shades of colouring are the Basenjis?
Answer: They come in three colours - these are black/white, red/white,
and black/white with yellow brown (tan coloured). The latter colouring
is sometimes called tri-colour. All colour variations have always four
white paws, a white breast and a white tail tip. In addition the face,
the neck, and the abdomen bear white marks. The read is read/orange
or a fresh chestnut read, the black is ideally a deep black and the
white a pure white. Other than the standard there are also striped Basenjis.
Whatever the colour, though, the pelt should have a silky sheen.
Which diseases to which the Basenji is susceptible must especially be
kept in check?
Answer: Just as with other breeds, there are a few genetically
and genetically conditioned diseases whose potential onset must be strictly
monitored by the breeder/keeper.
1. The Fanconi Syndrome (Kidney system disease)
2. The progressive retinal atrophy PRA, whereby the dog can become blind.
As a rule, the veterinarians know the Basenjis only because they must
be inoculated annually or because the dogs suffer minor injuries.
How old do Basenjis become?
Answer: They can grow as old as 15 years. Think over the consequences
of your decision before you adopt a dog. As a responsible person you
should only adopt an animal if you are willing to take care of him to
the end of his days.
Do Basenjis get along well with children?
Answer: Customarily they are very good with children. It is important,
however, that children be instructed and acquire a feel for approaching
dogs and playing with them. Every dog needs not only time for playing
but also for rest.
Do Basenjis require much movement?
Answer: Often one has the impression that Basenjis are small
power packs with an inexhaustible energy source. They require more than
a short walk around the housing block per day to stay fit and healthy.
Can one release a Basenji from the leash?
Answer: The Basenjis hunt on sight and love to run. As soon as
something moves quickly, it arouses their attention and most often they
will want to run after it. The opportunity to let him run freely must
remain limited to a few selected situations. Should you want a dog that
constantly runs freely by your side, you might be happier with a different
How do the Basenjis behave as house pets?
Answer: Basenji is not a dog for everyone. He makes the impression
of a proud, little dog. The fascination lies in his individuality, and
his instinctive and adaptive intelligence. Even if he is very devoted
to his human he will never appear very obsequious. Everything will be
investigated by him and followed up with great interest, which makes
him a wonderful, but not extraordinarily obedient companion. Particularly
the young Basenjis grow bored very quickly and they quickly find a way
to entertain themselves - which often leads to complications if one
leaves them unsupervised.
The Basenji was portrayed as an absolute house pet. Is this true?
Answer: Yes this is so. Due to his origins, his short hair and
his sparse body hair, he is not well suited for an extended roaming
in our Central European pastures. They crave warm, dry places and the
close proximity of their owner’s body. They enjoy wandering around the
dwelling and follow the sun’s illumination of the interior. If it’s
warm outside, they love to spend much of the time out of doors. However
they always need a shady spot and the possibility to drink fresh water.
At what time of the year do they have their young?
Answer: Normally the Basenjis go into heat once per year, usually
in the autumn. They are delivered by the breeder after about 8 weeks
in order to get set up for January or February. Much more rarely do
the females come into interim heat when the arrival of the young can
be expected in summer.
What can I do when my puppies gnaw on everything while I leave them
Answer: The dogs should have had enough movement and should have
been fed. He should have a comfortable dog bed at his disposal. During
their teething, as well as for a significant time period thereafter,
the puppies have a need to chew. Offer him, therefore, only certain
things for gnawing and do not allow the genesis of an impression that
they can chew around on everything that lies about the apartment. Do
not leave him altogether alone - he will become said and frustrated.
I’m out at work in the daytime. Can I leave my Basenji alone in my
Counter question: Would you like to be locked up alone for 8
to 10 hours, or even 12 hours? And all that without a toilet? But your
dog is supposed to like it!? The answer of a real animal lover should
consequently be NO.
As a matter of principle one should carefully consider the following
pros and cons prior to acquiring a Basenji:
- How much
time can I devote to my four-legged friend after all my professional
- Do I have
somebody to help me during the sometimes difficult development phases?
It is irresponsible to isolate a puppy or young dog for hours or even
to lock it in a cage for fear of possible ‚destructive moods‘.
- Do I have
somebody around to take my dog out "walkies" now and then ???
- Can I
perform with PLEASURE what I owe my dog after a stressful 8 to 10
hour workday away from home?
- Can I
fully devote myself to the needs of my dog in the very short spare
Basenji certainly can stay alone for 4 to 5 hours provided one has gently
worked towards this situation already in the puppy stage. It is even
very important to train a dog right from the beginning towards the situation
that will occur again and again when he will be forced to do without
his “pack” for some hours.
Is it good to have more than one dog?
Another dog is almost always an enrichment for the people as well as
the dogs. Only then can the social behaviour of a Basenji develop correctly.-
but it is naturally also connected with a greater expenditure for the
owner. The selection and the getting used to each other should happen
with the utmost attention to the respective characteristics.
have allergies. I have heard that Basenjis do not evoke any allergies.
Is that really so?
There is no breed of dog to which an allergic person will not react.
There are people, however, who in the presence of the Basenji do not
show symptoms they otherwise commonly suffer because the hair of the
Basenji is very short and the usual dog smell is absent. Before you
adopt a Basenji you should by all means try to spend an extended time
Why has this ancient breed remained so unknown in our parts?
As a consequence of the above mentioned questions and answers.
How to find the right breeder?
Not so easy, read this Breeder
What kind of things do I have to think about it, befor getting a
Not so easy, please read this "Before
buying a dog"
Who or what are the “Basenji Lovers”?
Please read under "About
What literature is available about the Basenji?
Here are the titles: Literature!