The Basenji is a breed of hunting dog. It was bred from stock that originated in central Africa. Most of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world place the breed in the Hound Group-more specifically, in the sighthoundtype.Basenjis share many unique traits with pariah dog types.
Basenjis, like dingoes, New Guinea singing dogs and some other breeds of dog, come into estrus only once annually—as compared to other dog breeds, which may have two or more breeding seasons every year.
Both dingoes and Basenji lack a distinctive odor, and are prone to howls, yodels, and other vocalizations over the characteristic bark of modern dog breeds. One theory holds that the latter trait is the result of selecting against dogs that frequently bark—in the traditional Central African context—because barking could lead enemies to humans’ forest encampments.
A Basenji’s forehead is wrinkled, even more so when they are young or extremely excited. A Basenji’s eyes are typically almond-shaped. Basenjis typically weigh about 9.1–10.9 kg (20–24 lb) and stand 41–46 cm (16–18 in) at the shoulder.
They are a square breed, which means they are as long as they are tall with males usually larger than females. Basenjis are athletic dogs, and deceptively powerful for their size.
They have a graceful, confident gait like a trotting horse, and skim the ground in a double suspension gallop, with their characteristic curled tail straightened out for greater balance when running at their top speed. Basenjis come in a few different colorations: red, black, tricolor, and brindle, and they all have white feet, chests and tail tips.
The Basenji is highly intelligent, but he has a stubborn streak a mile wide. The phrase “willing to please,” used to describe so many breeds, is unknown to him. A Basenji may know perfectly well all the commands you teach him, but whether he actually performs them will always be in question.
He may think first and then obey, or he may decide there’s really no good reason to do as you ask. Instead, Basenjis use their intelligence to demand your attention and get you to provide whatever it is they need or want.
Basenjis are aces at the sport of lure coursing, the perfect game for these dogs who hunt by sight and love to chase. In it, they follow a lure — usually a white plastic bag — over a course in a field. The lure is tied to a line that is run by a series of pulleys as the dogs give chase.
Agility is another sport that might suit the Basenji’s love of a good time. While Basenjis don’t excel in obedience competition, they can be successful if you can come up with a creative way to make them think that training and competition is their idea.