The aristocratic Basenji is a small, elegant, gazelle-like dog originally used for hunting in central Africa.

Personality and Temperament

Renowned for the fact that they do not bark, the Basenji nevertheless is not without a voice and in fact makes a variety of sounds, ranging from yodels to chortles to growls. The breed is also unique because Basenji bitches only come into season once a year, and nearly all at the same time. This means that puppies as a rule, are born in May or June.

Sensitive and playful, the Basenji may require a firm hand from time to time as they can be disobedient. They have a curious, enquiring mind which demands that everything must be examined and explored, taking nothing for granted. This makes for a highly entertaining and intelligent pet, although not necessarily the ideal subject for obedience training.

Average lifespan

14 to 16 years


The Basenji loves people even though they may not be as openly demonstrative or lavish in their affection as some other breeds. They need plenty of exercise and do not take kindly to enclosed spaces. A securely fenced yard is essential as the Basenji is an escape artist. Ideally they need to be on a lead at all times when outside their own property as the Basenji does not readily respond to their owner’s commands.


Free of any doggy odour, and with a fine, short, silky coat which they groom like a cat, the fascinating Basenjis keeps themselves so clean they seldom need a bath.

Health concerns

For the latest research in breed-related problems in Basenjis visit the University of Sydney’s LIDA (Listing of Inherited Disorders in Animals website.

Related Articles