Basenji: Dog Breed Profile

Country of origin: Central Africa
Shoulder height: 40 – 43 cm
Weight: 9.5 – 11 kg
Age: 12 – 14 years
Colour: black, white, red, black and tan, brindle with white markings
Use: hunting dog, companion dog

The Basenji or Congo Terrier (Congo Dog) comes from central Africa and belongs to the group of “primitive” dogs. He is considered to be very intelligent but has a strong urge to be independent. The Basenji needs sufficient meaningful employment and consistent leadership. This breed of dog is less suitable for dog beginners and easy-going people.

Origin and history

The Basenji originated in central Africa, where it was discovered by the British and bred as a dog breed since the early 1930s. It belongs to the group of primal dogs and is therefore one of the oldest dogs in the world. Similar to wolves, Basenjis do not bark. They express themselves in short monosyllabic sounds. The originality of the Basenjis is also made clear by the fact that bitches – like wolves – only come into heat once a year. The Basenji was used by the natives of Central Africa as a hunting and driving dog. They, therefore, have a very strong hunting instinct, and an excellent sense of smell and are very agile and all-terrain due to their slender body.


The Basenji is similar in type to the Spitz. Its fur is very short, shiny, and fine. Its appearance is graceful and elegant. With its delicate stature, relatively high legs, and distinctive curled tail, the Basenji certainly attracts attention. Its fur is red and white, black and white, or tricolor. The pointed prick ears and the many fine wrinkles on his forehead are also typical of the breed.


The Basenji is very alert but does not bark. Typical of him is his rather gurgling, yodeling-like vocalization. Its cleanliness is remarkable, the very short coat requires little care and hardly smells. In the familiar family environment, the Basenji is very affectionate, alert, and active. Basenjis tend to be reserved towards strangers.

Basenjis need a lot of exercises and meaningful employment. Due to their strong urge for independence, Basenjis are reluctant to be subordinated. Dog sports are therefore hardly an option as an occupation. Basenjis need to be raised lovingly and consistently and need clear leadership. A Basenji is therefore not suitable for dog beginners.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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