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Hound breeds: Basenji

Basenji photo     The Basenji, commonly known as the "barkless dog," is one of the oldest breeds known to man. Drawings of dogs that look like Basenjis are found in Egyptian tombs and wall drawings dated to more than 5,000 years ago. His native land is Central Africa, where he was used for hunting and particularly prized for his intelligence, speed power and silence. The first ones were brought from the source of the Nile as presents to the Pharaohs of Egypt.
    The first Basenjis were brought to England in 1895, but died of distemper. They were not seen again in the modern world until 1937 when they were again introduced to England. At the same time a pair were brought to America. This pair and their litter of puppies also contracted distemper and all died except the adult male. In 1941 another female was brought in from Africa and mated to the surviving male and produced the first surviving litter in the United States. Later, more were brought in from England and Canada.
    The Basenji Club of America was formed in 1942, and Basenjis were accepted into the AKC studbook in 1943.

General description

  • Height: 16-17 inches
  • Weight: 22-24 pounds
  • Color: The colors are chestnut red, black, tricolor or brindle, with white feet, chest and tail tip. A white blaze, collar, or white legs are allowed.

    Grooming requirements
        This is a particularly clean dog, without odor. Grooming this breed requires little more than a curry brush, spray conditioner and some time. Regular ear cleaning and nail clipping are necessary.

    Health considerations
        The Basenji is a very healthy breed. They do have a tendency for pyruvate kinase deficiency, a deficiency of a specific red blood cell enzyme.

    Breed characteristics and personality
        He does not bark, but has a soft, happy yodel. This is not a watchdog or guard dog. He does well living in the home and does not require large spaces.
        He's cheerful, patient and affectionate with children. A very intelligent and courageous dog. The Basenji is a fascinating, endearing fellow, full of play and gentle as a kitten. He has fastidious, dainty habits, such as cleaning himself, as does a cat. He is by nature an obedient dog, tractable and eager to please. He is independent but affectionate and can be aloof to strangers.

        In his native Africa, the Basenji is a guide dog in the forest, to alert against the approach of dangerous animals, and is also a hunter. Outside of his native land, he is considered an excellent companion dog.

    Web links

  • AKC Basenji page
  • The Basenji Club of America
  • Basenji Club of Wisconsin
  • Basenji Reference Library

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