Description Basenji

Confident, Intelligent, Balanced
The Basenji is a unique breed of dog from Central Africa. The dogs are also known as “Congo Terriers”. The Basenji is a dog breed recognized by the FCI. It is assigned to group 5 (primitive type dogs). It is a very rare genus that has many special features. The proud animals have many positive qualities and are great hunters.FCI Group: Spitz – Primitive type dogs

  • Size: medium
  • Weight: 9-12kg
  • Life expectancy: 13-15 years
  • Coat type: short hair
  • Colours: black, brindle, tan, black and white, red

Character Basenji

The Basenji is one of the medium-sized breeds. Adult dogs usually reach a height at the withers of about 40 to 45 cm. The weight of the pretty dogs behaves parallel to this. On average it is about 9 to 12 kg. As with most dog species, the female animals of this breed are usually more delicate than their male counterparts.

The life expectancy of the Basenji is about 15 years. This is an extremely long lifespan, which can even be exceeded if the animals are in good health.
Visually, the dogs are strongly reminiscent of a fox. The assignment to the group of “Spitz and dogs of the original type” is therefore understandable. Overall, the Basenji has a fairly square-looking physique.

It still looks very slim and light. The dogs are tall and have relatively long legs.
The four-legged friends look proud and elegant. Her gait is upright and exudes a large portion of self-confidence. A distinctive visual feature of the breed is its erected large ears.

These make the dogs’ heads look particularly cute.
Added to this are the large, expressive eyes. These also contribute to a beautiful and coherent overall picture. Another striking feature is the dogs’ curled tail. This is always carried either to the left or to the right side, but never in the middle.

The Basenji’s coat is smooth, short, and close-lying. With good care, the fine hair of the dogs shines. Various shades of color are possible. The constellations red-white, black-white and tricolor are particularly common. The latter describes a composition of white, black and red color elements.

The paws, the tip of the tail and the chest area are usually white. Animals with a red and white fur color are particularly reminiscent of a fox.
As you can already see from their posture, the Basenjis are extremely self-confident animals. With their charisma, they gain respect from their peers. They are not barkers and bark only a little.

If the Basenji does make a noise, it sounds different than most dogs. Various mostly monosyllabic tones are hereby secreted by the dogs. This is definitely a specialty.
The pretty dogs also have a sharp mind. They are considered to be extremely intelligent and independent.

The Basenji therefore learns incredibly quickly and well. The four-legged friends are balanced animals that have sufficient tolerance. They are not easily disturbed and are patient.
The Basenji is very temperamental. The dogs have a mind of their own and try to get their way.

This behavior could be interpreted as stubbornness. The lively dogs possess a strong personality. As the owner, you should be aware of these in advance and accept them.
Another distinctive feature of this breed is its cleanliness. In general, dogs are not particularly clean animals.

This trait is usually attributed to cats. The Basenji, on the other hand, always pays attention to its fur and the tracks it leaves behind. He cleans himself carefully and frequently.
The Basenji also has a strong hunting instinct. He is alert and always aware of his surroundings.

For this reason, the breed was often used as a hunter in the past.
The animals are very active and need a lot of exercise. They like to be kept busy and enjoy spending active time with their owners. Extensive walks and a lot of exercise are necessary when acquiring such a dog.
The Basenji is an affectionate and loyal dog towards its owner.

He builds up a close emotional bond with his master or mistress. This bond is extremely important to the animals. Once the basis of trust has been created, the dogs are lovable companions.
The sweet four-legged friends also get along wonderfully with children. They are therefore ideal as family and companion dogs.

The Basenji usually seems a bit suspicious and distant towards strangers. However, I am not found aggressive.

Diet Basenji

Basically, the diet of this dog breed is uncomplicated. The animals are generally not prone to allergies or overweight. Regular, vitamin-rich meals contribute to a healthy dog ​​life.
The daily amount of feed should be in proportion to the size and weight of the animals. The daily urge to move should also not be ignored.

Dogs that move a lot use more energy. Accordingly, they should also consume more nutrients in the form of food.
The Basenji is considered a vigorous and robust breed of dog. Unfortunately, inbreeding occurs again and again, which brings with it unsightly genetic effects. Eye diseases such as “progressive retinal atrophy” are therefore widespread.

Unfortunately, metabolic diseases are also becoming more common. However, reputable breeders actively counteract these diseases.
Inbreeding is consistently avoided to create healthy and happy puppies. When buying a Basenji, it is therefore important to pay attention to its origin.


The Basenji is a very low-maintenance companion. He takes care of his fur himself as far as possible. A light brushing from time to time is therefore completely sufficient for grooming. It should also be noted that the dogs shed very little hair. The remarkable cleanliness of the dogs contributes to the fact that they hardly cause any dirt.

In addition, the Basenji’s fur has a fairly neutral odor. Even if it gets wet once, it hardly smells.
Raising animals is not easy. The Basenji is considered a real stubborn. He has a will of his own.

Subordination is therefore difficult for the dog. Nor is he out to please his owner at any cost. He has his own ideas and usually only does things in which he himself sees a deeper meaning.
Mere retrieval, for example, is not his thing. With loving consistency and a solid basis of trust, the dogs can still be trained well.

In any case, some dog experience is useful.
In order for the Basenji to accept the guidance of its owner as best as possible, it is necessary to convince the dog of this. Sheer strictness and commands will not get you very far with this dog. Rather, you should respect his idiosyncrasies and make this clear to the dog. Nor should complete submission be required.

This would break the character of the dog.
The Basenji’s personality is unique and should be appreciated and liked by the owner. At best, training should begin at an early age. This makes education much easier for both sides.


The Basenji is a very old breed of dog. It has its origins in the forests of the Congo region in Central Africa. There the dogs were used early on as hunters and guards. The breed was very popular with the population, so it was also kept as a companion dog.
Especially in Great Britain and Belgium, the breed achieved a high reputation.

Even today, the breed standard is determined by the British. In 1964 the FCI recognized the Basenji as an independent breed. In Germany, the first registered breed club was founded in 1977. Even today, the interesting and unique Basenji is still relatively unknown to us.
He is not one of the well-known standard breeds and has not yet been able to build up an outstanding fan base in Germany.

However, this may change in the future.

Basenji Accessories

The Basenji makes no special demands on its habitat. He can be kept both in a large house and in an apartment. The dogs feel just as comfortable in the country as in a small town. However, the prerequisite is that the Basenji is sufficiently occupied. Daily long walks are an absolute must.

The Basenji must be challenged and able to work out. He likes to run around freely. Excursions to forests or parks are particularly suitable for this. However, the hunting instinct of dogs should not be underestimated. If the animals are well trained, they can easily walk around without a leash.

Otherwise, however, there is a risk that the dogs will pick up the scent of another animal and follow it on their own.
It is therefore important that the dogs are not under-challenged. This can quickly become boring. The Basenjis then like to leave these out on the home furnishings. Much to the chagrin of their owners.

Such situations should be avoided in the interest of both parties.
The animals should have their own retreat in the house. Here you can recharge your batteries and relax after a hard day. A large selection of dog toys usually does not have to be purchased. Most Basenjis have no interest in this anyway.

Nevertheless, as the owner, you are of course welcome to try out one or the other toy with your darling. Maybe you arouse the dog’s interest and he gets involved in playing.

5Expert Score
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