The Basenji is a unique breed of dog from Central Africa. The dogs are also known under the name "Congo Terrier". The Basenji is a dog breed recognized by the FCI. It is assigned to group 5 (dogs of primitive type). It is a very rare breed, which has many peculiarities. The proud animals have many positive qualities and are great hunters.
The Basenji belongs to 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. It is on average about 9 to 12 kg. As with most types of dogs, the females of this breed are usually more petite than their male counterparts.
The life expectancy of the Basenji is about 15 years. This is an extremely long life span, which can even be exceeded if the animals are in good fitness.
Visually, the dogs strongly resemble a fox. The assignment in the group of the "point and dogs of the archetype" is thus comprehensible. Overall, the Basenji has a rather square-looking physique. Nevertheless, he appears very slim and light. The dogs are tall and have relatively long legs.
The quadrupeds look proud and elegant. Their gait is upright and exudes a great deal of self-confidence. A striking visual feature of the breed are their erect large ears. These make the head of the dogs look particularly cute.
In addition, there are the large, expressive eyes. These also contribute to a beautiful and coherent overall picture. Another striking feature is the curled tail of the dogs. This is always carried either to the left or to the right side, but never in the middle.
The coat of the Basenji is smooth, short and close-fitting. With good care, the fine hair of the dogs shines. Colorwise various tones are possible. Especially common are the constellations red-white, black-white and tricolor. The latter describes a composition of white, black and red color elements. Both the paws, as well as the tail tip and the chest area are usually white. Especially animals with red-white coat color strongly remind of a fox.
As can already be seen from their attitude, the Basenjis are extremely self-confident animals. With their charisma they gain respect from their peers. They are no barkers and bark only little. If it does happen that the Basenji makes a sound, it sounds different from most dogs. Different mostly monosyllabic sounds are secreted by the dogs. This is definitely a special feature.
The pretty dogs also possess 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 well-balanced animals, which have sufficient tolerance. They are not easily upset and are patient.
The Basenji is very temperamental. The dogs have their own head and try to impose their will. This behavior could be interpreted as stubbornness. The lively dogs have a strong personality. As an owner, you should be aware of this in advance and accept it.
Another feature of this breed is its cleanliness. In general, dogs are not particularly clean animals. This characteristic is usually attributed to cats. The Basenji, on the other hand, always takes care of his fur and the traces he leaves behind himself. He cleans himself carefully and frequently.
The Basenji also has a strong hunting instinct. He is alert and always has an eye on his surroundings. For this reason, the breed was popular as a hunter in the past.
The animals are very active and need a lot of exercise. They want to be kept busy and like to spend active time with their owners. Extensive walks and a lot of exercise are necessary when acquiring such a dog.
Towards his owner, the Basenji is an affectionate and loyal dog. He builds a close emotional bond with his master or mistress. This bond is extremely important to the animals. Once the basis of trust is established, 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. Towards strangers, the Basenji usually seems somewhat suspicious and distant. Aggressively, however, I do not meet.
The right food
In principle, the diet of this breed of dogs is uncomplicated. As a rule, the animals are not prone to allergies or overweight. Regular meals rich in vitamins contribute their part to a healthy dog life.
The daily amount of food should be in proportion to the size and weight of the animals. Also the daily urge to move should not be disregarded here. Dogs that are on the move a lot consume more energy. Accordingly, they should also take more nutrients in the form of food.
The Basenji is considered a vital and robust dog breed. Unfortunately, inbreeding occurs again and again, which brings unattractive genetic effects. Thus, eye diseases such as "progressive retinal atrophy" are widespread. Also metabolic diseases unfortunately occur more and more often. However, serious breeders actively counteract these diseases.
Inbreeding is consistently avoided to create healthy and happy puppies. When buying a Basenji, it is therefore essential to pay attention to its origin.
The Basenji is a very low-maintenance companion. He takes care of his coat himself as far as possible. A light brushing from time to time is therefore quite sufficient in the fur care. It should also be noted that the dogs lose very little hair. The remarkable cleanliness of the dogs contributes to the fact that they hardly cause dirt. In addition, the coat of the Basenji has a fairly neutral odor. Even once it gets wet, it hardly smells.
The education of the animals is not quite easy. The Basenji is considered a real stubborn. He has his very own will. Subordination is therefore difficult for the dog. Also, he is not out to please his owner at any price. He has his own ideas and usually does only things in which he himself recognizes a deeper meaning.
Mere retrieving, for example, is not his thing. By means of affectionate consequence and a solid confidence basis the dogs can be trained nevertheless well. In any case, some dog experience is useful.
In order for the Basenji to accept the leadership of its owner in the best possible way, it is necessary to convince the dog of this. With mere strictness and commands one does not get very far with this dog. Rather, one should respect his peculiarities and make this clear to the dog. Also no complete submissiveness should be demanded. This would break the character of the dog.
The personality of the Basenji is unique and should be appreciated and liked by the owner. At best, education is started in early puppyhood. This facilitates the education for both sides enormously.
The Basenji does not have any special requirements for its living space. 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, it is a prerequisite that the Basenji is sufficiently occupied. Daily, extensive walks are an absolute must.
The Basenji must be challenged and be able to exercise. He prefers to run around freely. For this purpose, trips to forests or parks are particularly suitable. However, the hunting instinct of the dogs should not be underestimated. If the animals are well trained, they can easily run around without a leash. Otherwise, however, there is a risk that the dogs pick up the scent of another animal and follow it on their own.
It is therefore important that the dogs are not underchallenged. This can quickly lead to boredom. The Basenjis then like to let this out on the apartment 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 they can recharge their batteries after a busy day and come to rest. A large selection of dog toys usually does not need to be purchased. Most Basenjis have no interest in this anyway. Nevertheless, you as an owner can of course try out one or the other toy with your darling. Possibly you arouse the interest of the dog and he gets involved in the game.
Origin & History
The Basenji is a very old breed of dog. It originated in the forests of the Congo region in Central Africa. There, the dogs were used early as hunters and guards. Among the population, the breed met with great popularity, so that it was also kept as a companion dog.
Especially in Great Britain and Belgium the breed reached a high reputation. Even today, the breed standard is determined by the British. In 1964, the Basenji was recognized by the FCI as an independent breed. In Germany, the first registered breeding club was founded in 1977. Even today, the interesting and unique Basenji is still quite unknown in our country.
It is not one of the well-known standard breeds and has not yet been able to build up an outstanding fan community in Germany. However, this may change in the future.