Basenjis: From Forests of Africa to Your Living Room

Straight from the forests of Africa, Basenjis are a unique and fascinating breed that have captured the hearts of dog lovers worldwide. Known for their distinctive yodeling bark, high energy levels, and independent nature, Basenjis have a long and rich history that dates back thousands of years. They were originally bred in Central Africa for hunting purposes, and their unique characteristics made them highly prized by African tribes.

Today, Basenjis are popular household pets admired for their intelligence, loyalty, and agility.

This article provides an overview of the Basenji dog breed, including their temperament, health issues, how to care for them at home, and much more.

Physical Characteristics

The Basenji dog breed is a small, energetic dog that originated in Africa. They are known for their barkless nature, independent personalities, and hunting abilities. Basenjis are often called the “barkless dog” because, as the name suggests, these dogs don’t bark in the traditional manner; instead, they make a yodeling sound.

Basenjis are typically small, weighing 20 to 25 pounds and standing between 16 to 17 inches tall. They have short, fine coats in various colors, including red, black, and brindle.

Despite their small frame, they are also known for their incredible speed and agility, making them great hunters and athletes.

Basenjis are intelligent and curious dogs but can also be quite independent and stubborn, making them challenging to train.

Basenji Dog Breed Shedding

Basenji dogs have a short, fine coat that sheds minimally throughout the year. This breed is known for its relatively low shedding, making it an excellent choice for pet owners worried about fur getting on their clothes or furniture.

However, it is important to note that Basenjis undergo a shedding period twice a year, typically around spring and fall. During this time, they may shed more than usual, but it is still considered minimal compared to other breeds.

To control shedding, brushing the dog’s coat regularly with a soft-bristled brush is important. It will help remove loose fur and distribute natural oils throughout the coat, keeping it shiny and healthy. Additionally, providing your dog with a healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce shedding and maintain the quality of their coat.

The Temperament of the Basenji Dog


Basenjis are known for their independent and stubborn personalities. As pets, they are better suited for experienced dog owners; with proper training and socialization, they can become quite loving and loyal companions.

Basenjis are also known for being very active and energetic. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Basenjis are not couch potatoes but are best suited for active families who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and running.

Basenjis have a strong drive to hunt for prey and may exhibit aggression towards smaller animals like cats and rabbits. It’s important to socialize and train them to behave appropriately around other animals early.

Health Issues in Basenji Dog Breed

As with all dog breeds, Basenjis are prone to certain health issues. Here are some of the most common health issues that you, Basenji, might face:

Fanconi Syndrome:

This is a genetic condition that affects the kidneys. It can cause excessive thirst, frequent urination, and weight loss. It’s important to test Basenjis for Fanconi Syndrome before breeding them to prevent passing on the condition to their offspring.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA):

PRA is a degenerative eye disease that can lead to blindness. Basenjis are genetically predisposed to PRA, and it’s important to have their eyes checked regularly by a veterinarian.

Hip Dysplasia:

Hip dysplasia is common in many dog breeds, including Basenjis. It’s a hereditary condition that causes the hip joints to develop abnormally, leading to arthritis and mobility issues.

Genetic Predispositions for Basenjis:

Besides Fanconi Syndrome and PRA, Basenjis are genetically predisposed to certain other health conditions. These include:

Hemolytic Anemia:

Hemolytic anemia is a condition that causes the body to attack red blood cells, leading to anemia and other symptoms.

Thyroid Disease:

Basenjis are prone to developing thyroid disease, which can cause weight gain, lethargy, and other symptoms.

Make sure to take your pet to a vet visit occasionally so that you can keep an eye on the health issues mentioned above. It will help you catch any symptoms early on.

How to Take Care of Your Basenji At Home


Routine Care:

Basenjis require routine care, including regular grooming and dental care. They have short coats that require minimal grooming, but they do shed, so regular brushing can help keep shedding under control. It’s also important to clean their ears regularly to prevent ear infections.


Basenjis require a healthy, balanced diet to maintain their health and energy levels. High-quality dog food that is rich in protein and nutrients is recommended.

Basenjis are also prone to obesity, so it’s important to monitor their food intake and provide regular exercise.

Basenji Exercise Needs:

Basenjis require regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. They have a lot of energy and need daily walks or runs to burn it off. It’s recommended that they get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day, but can handle more if you’re up for it. They like hiking, running, and playing games like fetch and tug-of-war.

How Often Should a Basenji Be Walked?


Basenjis are active dogs that require ample exercise and mental stimulation. They should be walked or allowed to run in a secure area for at least 30 minutes to an hour daily. However, some Basenjis may require more exercise than others, depending on their energy and activity levels.

In addition to physical exercise, Basenjis also need mental stimulation to keep them occupied. This can be through training, puzzle toys, or other mentally challenging activities.

How Often Should You Feed Your Basenji Dog?

Feeding your four-legged companion is crucial to their overall health and well-being. These curious and intelligent dogs can be fed once or twice daily, depending on their needs.

A puzzle feeder is one way to keep your Basenji entertained while eating. These feeders are designed to challenge your dog’s mind and keep them occupied while they eat. This feeder can mentally stimulate them, preventing boredom and keeping their destructive behavior at bay.

Why Don’t Basenjis Bark?

Basenjis are known as the “barkless dog” because they do not bark like other dogs. Instead, they make a yodeling sound, a unique characteristic of the breed. This behavior is thought to result from selective breeding by the African tribes who originally developed the breed. Basenjis were used for hunting in dense forests, and their lack of barking made them less likely to alert prey.

How Fast Can a Basenji Run?

Basenjis are incredibly fast and can run up to 35 miles per hour. They are also very agile and can quickly change direction, making them excellent hunting dogs. Basenjis enjoy running and playing and require regular exercise to maintain their physical health and energy levels.

How Much Does a Basenji Dog Cost?

The cost of a Basenji dog can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the breeder, location, and age of the dog. A Basenji puppy can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000.

As with any breed, purchasing a Basenji from a reputable breeder who can provide information about the dog’s health history and genetic predispositions is important.

PetMyPal For Non-Emergency Situations

PetMyPal is an excellent tool for pet owners who want to ensure their Basenji dog receives quality care without the hassle of visiting a veterinarian clinic. This app is perfect for non-emergency situations that don’t require a trip to the vet.

With PetMyPal, you can virtually connect with a licensed veterinarian to get expert advice on your pet’s health and wellness needs.

Whether you have questions about your Basenji’s diet, behavior, or general well-being, PetMyPal can help. Our virtual consultations allow you to get personalized advice from a licensed vet without leaving home.

Get the help you need whenever you need it.

With PetMyPal, you can give your Basenji the care they deserve without the stress and anxiety that can come with traditional vet visits. Download PetMyPal today and experience a virtual vet consultation’s convenience and peace of mind.

Basenji Adoption Through Rescue Organization


If you’re interested in adopting a Basenji, you can find one through a rescue organization. These organizations take in Basenjis who have been surrendered by their owners or found as strays and work to find them loving homes.

Adoption fees for rescue Basenjis are typically lower than the cost of a puppy from a breeder.

You can also live with the satisfaction of knowing you helped give a deserving dog a second chance at life.


Basenjis are not for first-time dog parents or the faint of heart. They are active, energetic dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. They are intelligent and curious but can be independent and stubborn.  Basenjis are prone to certain health issues, so it’s important to have them regularly checked by a veterinarian. Basenjis can make loyal and loving companions for experienced dog owners with an active lifestyle.

Jessica Smith

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