The Basenji

Exercise Requirements  
Grooming Requirements  
Weight9-11 Kg (approx)
Life Span12-15 Years (approx)


The Basenji is an elegantly built, aristocratic looking dog. Basenjis are a medium sized dog; measured at the shoulder they are about- 43 cm (17 in) tall for dogs and 40 cm (16 in) for bitches and about 9.5 kg (bitches) - 11 kg (dogs) in weight. Although they are a small dog they are very strong and extremely fast.
They have short, fine, silky coats which they constantly groom like a cat. He is meticulous about his cleanliness so he only needs an occasional bath and is almost odorless.


The Basenji is a very ancient breed which dates back to the days of the Pharaohs. He is both a scenthound and a sighthound and is, to this day, highly prized by the natives in the Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for hunting - primarily flushing game.

Their distinctive gait, which adds to their appeal, is a straight-legged lope, which enables them to run at a steady pace for hours. When flushing their quarry in the tall elephant grass, their hunting strategy is to leap straight up in the air, and take a quick look around for their prey when airborne. Thus one of the names they are known by to the natives is M'bwa m'kube M'bwa wamwitu which translates as the jumping up and down dog. As they do not bark like most hounds when hunting, their position is revealed to their owners by the rattling of a gourd filled with pebbles which is hung around their neck.

Their main purpose when hunting is to drive the game into nets, which are held by the waiting natives. As this hunting instinct is so strong, their immediate reaction is to chase and kill any animal or bird within sight, if not too large.

Akin to the dingo, bitches come into season usually only once a year, and puppies are born in the winter time. Like the Dingo, Basenji males also come into season, and will not mate a bitch unless he too, is in season.

The first few attempts at importing Basenjis to England were unsuccessful as the dogs had no natural immunity to distemper and died shortly after their arrival. The first successful pair were imported in 1936 and were named 'Bokoto' and 'Bongo' and they were the parents of the first English Basenji litter. They were exhibited for the first time in 1937 at Crufts Dog Show.

These non barking dogs caused such a big stir that special security forces had to be employed to keep the crowds moving past the Basenji cages. They were recognised as a purebred dog in the United States in 1943 and shortly thereafter by the International Purebred Dog Federation (FCI). Dr. Alex Caselberg imported the first Basenjis to Australia in 1948. Their names were Fanfare and Cocotte Of The Congo and were bred by Veronica Tudor Williams in the U.K.

The breed almost died out in Australia between the years 1957-1960 without any litters being born at all. After Mrs Beryl Hancock relocated from New Zealand to Australia she began importing some Basenjis from New Zealand in 1960 and so revived the interest in the breed in this country. Since then there have been many importations from the U.K, New Zealand and the U.S.A.


He is extremely intelligent, independent, alert, and affectionate to those he knows and loves, but can be rather aloof with strangers.
Basenjis must be socialised well as young puppies

Care / Grooming

Grooming with a rubber curry comb once or twice a week.


The Basenji is a sturdy little breed, and when compared to other purebred breeds has few health problems.

Some health problems to be aware of are:

Find Basenji Breeders
View Basenji Puppies for Sale | View Basenji Older Dogs for Sale