Basenji Dog Breed Information


The Basenji is an ideal breed for active people who value silence and cleanliness in the house. If you are interested, read in this article a detailed description of the breed, how and where to keep, how to care for and feed these dogs. We will show you how to choose a Basenji puppy.

Basenji Dog Breed Origin

The Basenji breed, or Congolese Forest Dog, has a 5,000-year history that began in central Africa. More than one legend and parable are associated with it. Archaeologists find images, burials of dogs of this breed in Egypt (in pharaonic tombs), Sudan (ancient Nubia). In Zaire to this day they go hunting together with the Zande dogs (another name for the breed).

The Basenji first came outside Africa only in 1895: they were taken to England, but they died there. Ten years later, they settled in the Berlin Zoo as exotic dogs, and in the 1930s they again came to England, where the breed was described and its standard was adopted. 1937: Dogs are already exhibited at American exhibitions under the name “Congo Terrier”.

In Russia, it has been found since the end of the 20th century, but rarely. The African bush dog has evolved as a breed without human involvement.

Basenji Dog Breed: Description

Basenji are medium-sized active dogs with lean, graceful appearance, aristocratic. They move easily and beautifully, stride widely, pick up speed quickly, require a lot of space for walking away from the roads.

Existing colors: red-white, brown-white, black-white, tricolor, brindle (black stripes on red). The tip of the tail, paws and chest must be white. The colors are bright, the boundaries between them are clear. There should not be more white than other colors.

There are two varieties of the breed: plain and forest Basenji. The first ones are large: height at the withers of the girl is 40 cm, of boys is 43 cm; the weight of a girl is 9.5 kg, a boy – 11 kg. The latter are brighter, but smaller, for which they received the nickname “pygmy dogs”. They live for about 14-16 years.

Basenji Dog Breed Standards

According to the classification of the International Cynological Federation, Basenji belongs to the group of “Spitz and primitive breeds”.


  • the size is small, the muzzle is slightly narrowed, shortened,
  • nose with a black lobe, small, narrowed,
  • ears are erect, pointed, tilted slightly forward,
  • almond-shaped eyes, dark (in the forest variety, the iris is darker than in the plain), the look is smart,
  • scissor bite,
  • wrinkles on the forehead, especially noticeable in puppies or when the dog’s ears are alert.


  • graceful, high neck,
  • the chest is deep, medium, smoothly passes into the abdomen,
  • the back remains straight when running,
  • the tail is twisted into one or two rings, pressed against the rump.


  • long but strong
  • the front ones are slightly turned inward,
  • back with well-developed muscles.

The Nature And Characteristics Of Behavior of Basenji Dog Breed

Basenji dogs are not at all silent. You will not hear their barking but in moments of excitement (joy or alertness) they can howl, hiss, snort and even yodel. Among their unusual skills are climbing trees, smiling, crying, and washing themselves like a cat. They get along well with other animals, especially those they know from childhood. They are affectionate with the owner, distrustful with strangers.

The notbarking Congo Terrier is suitable only for experienced dog breeders because of its stubborn nature and constant readiness to satisfy curiosity and run after someone without hearing the shouts of the owner – a feature of the hunter.

It is better not to leave these dogs with small children for a long time: although the animals are friendly, they are independent and will not allow themselves to be pulled by their ears and tail with impunity.

Basenji need long walks, active activities and emotional games with the owner, otherwise they will find entertainment for themselves, and, most likely, it will be something destructive.

Education and training

Start raising your pet as early as possible, because stubborn Congo terriers are already difficult to train, and if you start this business at the beginning, the dog may not perceive the training later. For example, if a Basenji is not taught to walk side by side in puppyhood, an adult dog cannot be let off the leash – it is fraught with a sudden escape.

They are intelligent, independent animals, they cannot be forced to anything. With pain, screaming, you can easily break the thin thread of trust with your pet. But justice, love and patience make them affectionate, loyal companions, who both know commands and can make independent decisions. Basenji are active, but canine sports are not for them: just obedience is already a great achievement.

What a pet should be able to do first:

  • react (stop, return) to its nickname: it can save the life of a dog walking near the roadway;
  • not to pick up anything outside: the instinct of the getter makes them pick up anything from the ground;
  • not to sleep in the owner’s bed;
  • commands “to me”, “near”: important commands, as these dogs tend to run away, ceasing to hear the owner.

Basenji Dog Breed Diseases and Care

Dogs of this breed have short, shiny coat without undercoat, that is, caring for it is very simple (brush once a week), and shedding is very moderate. Bathing Basenji is a big problem as they don’t like water. For a heavily soiled dog, simply wipe it off with a damp towel. Clean ears and eyes with damp cotton pads or swabs. File its nails twice a month

Congolese forest dogs must live indoors (house or apartment) – this is a southern, thermophilic breed; For winter walks, buy warm dog clothes. This breed has a strong immunity to canine diseases.

There is a great thing which is called CBD oil for dogs that can make Basenji healthier.

Disposition To Diseases

Kidney disease:

  1. Fanconi syndrome – kidney failure, the cause is genetics. The dog drinks a lot, it has a lack of weight, myalgia, over time the failure of all organs develops, death occurs. It happens at the age of 5-7 years. With early diagnosis (urine and blood glucose tests), replacement therapy is effective, with late diagnosis, it is difficult, and does not always bring the desired result.
  2. Urolithiasis – the formation of uroliths in the kidneys, blockage of the ureters by them. It is difficult for a dog to pee and poop, it hurts, there is blood in the urine; the animal has lethargy, anorexia. At a severe stage, intoxication, convulsions and death occurs. Basenji patients are prescribed a lifelong therapeutic diet that will prevent new stones from forming.

Digestive tract diseases:

Protein loss enteropathy (PLE) – the release of proteins through the walls of the stomach. The reasons are any diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. For ill Basenji dogs the following is common: exhaustion, diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia, ascites, and edema of the paws. To prevent illness, do not let the injure of the walls of the stomach (tubular bones), identify and treat gastrointestinal infections in time, regularly treat worms.

Eye diseases:

  1. Progressive retinal atrophy (degeneration) (PRA) is a genetic disease (autosomal recessive inheritance), manifested by night blindness, tunnel vision, then complete blindness. Most often occurs at the age of 5 years. It is diagnosed in advance in puppies using a DNA test. There is no cure, the owner can help the dog compensate for the lost vision. Ill dogs are not allowed to breed, its parents, brothers and sisters are being examined.
  2. Cataract is a clouding of the eye lens that progresses quickly or slowly, to complete blindness. Genetic studies in puppies allow early identification of at-risk animals.

Basenji Dog Breed Feeding

Do not overfeed Basenjis: they tend to be overweight.

Determine the condition of the dog by the ribs: if they stick out, the pet is undernourished, if they are not visible or palpable, it needs a diet.

Buy ready-made complete food of premium and super premium classes. Basenji’s natural diet is on lean raw meat (1/3-1/2 of the daily portion) and buckwheat (rice) cereals. Barley porridge is moderately useful for them, but not every day; oatmeal is harmful for those prone to urolithiasis.

Fish and organ meats can be used in small quantities.

Vegetables, herbs, eggs, sour milk – those that are allowed to dogs – are necessary. Eliminate sour fruits, all others are possible, but little by little.

Do not salt food for African forest dogs because of their predisposition to kidney disease. Bones can be given no more than once a week, but only hard, which dogs cannot chew and injure their stomach and intestines.

What you can’t give Basenji

  • fatty meat and broths from it,
  • sausages (salt, preservatives and other additives will “hurt” the liver and kidneys),
  • river fish, especially raw (bones and worms injure the walls of the stomach and intestines),
  • tubular and boiled bones (injuries and blockages of the digestive tract),
  • chocolate (the liver and pancreas are affected by theobromine and caffeine),
  • grapes, raisins (toxic to dogs),
  • onions, garlic (sodium thiosulfate provokes anemia; against helminths, you can give no more than one garlic clove per day),
  • potatoes (dogs do not digest starch, and oxalates will negatively affect the pancreas and kidneys),
  • stale, rotten, sour.

How to Choose a Basenji Puppy

There are no more than 4-5 puppies in Basenji litters. Responsible breeders list puppies for sale at least 1.5 months old. If you are offered a month old one, be wary, and it is better not to buy too young animals. Ideal age – 2 months: the puppies already have a unique temperament and character.

Basenji puppies are healthy if:

  • the mucous membrane of the mouth is pink,
  • correct bite,
  • nose, eyes and ears are clean,
  • the nose and eyes are necessarily dark,
  • normal condition (neither thin nor fat).

Basenji Dog Breed Price

The cost of a Basenji puppy depends on the class it belongs to, age, etc. The average price is around $800. For higher quality dogs or show dogs you will have to pay from $1800 to $4500. 

Basenji Dog Breed Pros and Cons


  • beautiful, graceful dogs,
  • clever,
  • almost do not smell, do not know how to bark,
  • molts weakly, hypoallergenic.


  • stubborn, wayward, difficult to train,
  • requires a lot of attention from the owner, does not sit alone,
  • demanding to feed.

Basenji Dog Breed In a Nutshell

  1. Basenji are very active, but quiet dogs that cannot stand psychological pressure and physical punishment.
  2. Due to its Central African origin, the breed is thermophilic, in winter they become cold and need clothes.
    This is a beautiful graceful breed with light rushing movements, independent aristocratic behavior.
  3. They eat food that is safe for the kidneys and digestive organs.

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