BBS Breed Spotlight: Basenji

Referred to as the “barkless” dog, thinks the Basenji doesn’t need a bark to get someone’s attention. The Basenji is a stealthy creature that could sneak right up to you, both on the hunt and into your heart. Read more about this beautiful dog’s ancient past and interesting characteristics in the BBS Breed Spotlight on the Basenji.

History & Background: The Basenji is one of the most ancient dog breeds and can be seen in Egyptian tombs and wall drawings dating back 5,000 years. Another ancestor of the modern Basenji originated in Central Africa and this “type” dog has been living with humans for thousands of years. Mostly confined to the Congo, this dog was known as the “dogs of the savages,” “dogs of the villagers,” and “dog of the bush.” This breed was once prized for its intelligence, speed and silent hunting ability in many African villages. In the late 1800s Basenjis were taken to England in an effort to build up the breed, but many of these dogs died from distemper. After many attempts, Basenjis were being bred successfully in America by 1941 and soon after this breed was recognized by the AKC in 1944.

Height: 16 to 17 inches

Weight: 22 to 24 pounds

Coat & Color: The coat on a Basenji is very short and fine with elastic skin. Coloring can be chestnut red, pure black, tricolor (black or red) or brindle. White feet, legs, chest or blaze, collar and tail tip are common.

Appearance: Basenjis exude alertness. With their small frame, tight but smooth muscles and balanced frame, this dog is the portrait of agility and readiness. This dog has a wrinkled around the forehead and a short muzzle. Facial features include small, almond shaped eyes, and small, erect ears. The back is short in length, but level. Basenjis have straight legs and a tightly curled tail that sits on top of the back.

Temperament: Alert, affectionate and energetic, the Basenji is a dog of prey. In fact, this dog shouldn’t be trusted around non-canine pets. As a very curious dog, Basenjis will stand up on their hind legs to get a better look. Paired with being a dog that can climb, chain link fences are not a problem for this dog. Basenjis are highly intelligent and very independent. They are different from other dogs in that they very much like to get their own way instead of directly pleasing their owners and have to be trained diligently. When a strong master teaches this dog, a strong bond will form, as Basenjis are one-human type dogs. Basenjis don’t bark, but have rather wail, growl, howl or bay.

Health & Grooming: This breed sometimes will suffer from kidney disease called Fanconi’s sydrome and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which can cause blindness. Other health issues include hypothyroidism, intestinal disease and anemia. Basenjis can also be very sensitive to household chemicals which can cause liver problems. Basenjis usually live 10 to 12 years.

Basenjis groom themselves much like a cat, so little grooming is needed by the owner. This dog shed very little and makes a great breed choice for allergy sufferers.

Product Suggestions: For a dog with a high prey drive, Basenjis will love the Premier Busy Buddy Jack. The Premier Busy Buddy Treat Holding Jack Dog Toy combines both of your dog’s favorite things to do: chew and play. Because of its shape the Busy Buddy Jack will also bounce and move in unpredictable ways, keeping your Basenji guessing!

The Bully Stick Pretzel is yummy, all natural dog treat that will keep your Basenji’s need to chew in check! This bully stick is full of great protein that makes chewing healthy and fun for any dog!

Do you own or know a Basenji? Tell us your favorite Basenji story in the comments section!

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