The Basenji is a native hunting dog from Central Africa used by tribesmen as hunting companions and is known as one of the oldest dog breeds in existence today.Their history pre-dates the ancient Egyptians.The Pharaohs kept Basenjis as companions as well as for their hunting skills; evidenced by the various artforms depicting Basenji like dogs with the curly tails and upright ears from the Ancient Egyptian Period.
The Basenjis claim to fame is the remarkable fact that they are barkless. However being barkless does not mean that they are silent, they make many unusual sounds including a yodel when happy. He is a natural breed not manipulated by man, therefore Basenjis are still somewhat primitive in some of their behaviours.
- They don't bark
- Basenjis are a good size
- They are beautiful
- Shedding is minimal
- Very clean dogs
- No doggy smell even when wet
- Basenjis love people
- If you love going for walks so does your Basenji
- If you love watching t.v in the evening so does your Basenji
- Basenjis have very few health problems & can live well into their teens
- Sound a bit too good to be true? Have a closer look at some of their other traits to get a more balanced view of this delightful but unusual breed
BASENJIS are quite different from other breeds & are not the right choice of dog for everyone. To their family they are lovingly devoted, but in a different way than most breeds; they can be very catlike in their affection and attention and they are not a 'doting' type of dog.
With strangers some can be aloof at first until they get to know them.
With the right owners Basenjis are rewarding & entertaining companions. They are highly intelligent & will try to outsmart you at every opportunity.
A fully fenced and secure yard is ESSENTIAL for a Basenji owner. Most Basenji's chase anything that moves: mice, cats, birds, possums, chooks, bikes etc. Unfortunately quite a few Basenjis are killed by being hit by cars as they have absolutely no road sense once they are following a scent or chasing something.They are sighthounds who need their exercise so a fully fenced and secure backyard or an owner who enjoys to walk is a must.
Remember - A tired Basenji is a good Basenji. In the afternoons, Basenjis are well known for doing the "Basenji-500 "; usually round and around inside the house.
After the age of about 3 years, their activity level usually settles down quite a bit & sometimes they will act more mature by this age but many keep up their mischievious, funny ways well into old age.
Basenjis are very good at training their owners ! ....
but on a more serious note; Basenjis are intelligent, alert, curious dogs with quick minds which has allowed them to survive in their native home in Africa. The Basenji still has this wild dog intelligence and can think for themselves and work things out which sometimes presents a challenge for their owners. Basenjis learn quickly to do what they are told if they think it is going to be worth it for them.
Basenjis would rather please themselves than please you!!!
Tasty food rewards work very well as a training aid so the trick is to make them think that what you want them to do is also what THEY want to do but they will want to know whats in it for them if they do choose to obey you.
Since they are very intelligent dogs they will generally learn new commands very quickly but after a few repetitions of the same activity they can get bored and begin to look elsewhere for something more interesting and entertaining to do. They will not blindly obey you repeatedly like some of the other breeds; they are far too intelligent for that! So for training to be effective for the dog you need to mix it up a bit adding new and different rewards and keep it interesting and fun.
Basenji puppies need to be properly socialised with other dogs, animals & a variety of people when still young. It is also recommended to keep their socialisation as an ongoing concern even after they have matured if possible. Have a look Here for our tips on socialising.
Whats The Deal With Crates?
Basenjis have been known to
get into mischief when left to their own devices so an outdoor
area with very good shelter from the rain and cold is perfect for when the family are out.
For shorter periods of time such as a grocery shopping trip the
crate is the perfect solution. Ask the breeder of your puppy
about this. When you first take your new puppy home any crate training they may have had from their breeder
will probably take a step backwards when the puppy finds himself
in new surroundings but perseverence pays off in the long run. A
well fenced yard with a dog door allowing limited access to a
part of the home would also be a good solution.
Crates are an absolute necessity for travelling with your Basenji in the car. Basenjis will jump right out of the car door once opened and since they are difficult to catch when free he will most likely be hit by another car. Its also much safer for the occupants of the car to have the Basenji safely contained in the crate instead of causing a distraction and becoming a possible missile in the event of an accident.
Basenjis are also extremely alert and active dogs that require regular exercise, and they can easily become destructive without an acceptable outlet for their energy. Basenjis can never be completely trustworthy off-lead. If something interesting catches their eye and they give chase they become completely deaf to all instructions from you.The only thing they will see or hear is the “prey” in front of them. This means they WILL NOT stop chasing and come to you if you call them. “Prey Drive” is a natural canine attribute and is highly developed in the Basenji who has been used exclusively for their hunting ability in Africa. This trait is what has equipped them for survival in their native home.
When Basenjis are sleeping make sure that you wake them with your voice by calling their name first before touching them. Some, but not all Basenji's will wake up in defence mode if they are disturbed suddenly while in a deep sleep. This is an instinct left over from protecting themselves in the jungle.Back in the jungle it could have been a predator about to attack them so they were always on the alert for danger.
Basenjis do not cope with being isolated from human company. Plan on sharing your home with your Basenji. Many of them even enjoy sleeping in their owners bed if they are allowed to. They are wonderful hot water bottles! They are also happier if they have the company of another dog of the opposite sex.
In general Basenjis can be a strong willed type of dog and can be quite independant and therefore need a confident owner who can remain in control. They are still somewhat primitive in some of their behaviours but if they are well trained and disciplined correctly and consistently these traits only add to their charm.
They use their paws to play with in a similar way to cats. They have a catlike independant streak and they also keep themselves very clean by licking & preening themselves in a catlike fashion. Basenjis are also very cat like in their affection and mannerisms.
Basenjis are very affectionate to their families and friends but can be aloof with strangers. This is a normal breed characteristic.