Frequently asked questions about the Basenji

Question: What does the name Basenji mean and where does it come from?

Answer: The name Basenji which originates from the phonetic speech Basenji in the African language means roughly small wild thing from the bush“. The area of origin stretches from the core of Central Africa from the Congo Basin all the way to the Southern Sudan. The Basenjis have lived there since many hundreds of years ago in a harmonious association with the natives, for example the Bantus and the Pygmies. The dogs normally live as an independent pack next to the village and feed themselves as a rule (dependent on the tribal culture) on their own. Also their reproduction occurs most probably without human control. The healthiest dogs survive.


Question: Is the Basenji a real dog?

Answer: The Basenji is without a doubt, even if he does not bark, a dog. Looking back to his origins, it is still not clearly finalised who was the original father (wolf or Golden Jackal?) The Basenji comprise one of the oldest dog breeds. Some Central African tribes as indispensable hunters prize them very highly. They hunt by sight as well as by smell and were presumably bread through selection as highly independent hunting dogs of high endurance, used for the hunting of small game.


Question: The Basenji can not bark. Is he then quite dumb and completely silent?

Answer: This is not so. What is missing in the Basenji is the ability to sustain a repetitive barking volley as other dogs. Otherwise he snarls and whimpers just as other dogs and can certainly project a singular woof when the occasion arises. In addition to these he can shout and howl. An idiosyncratic sound, however, is the so-called yodeling which he emits when he likes something very much. The eagerness to emit noises of course varies with the individual.


Question: How big and how heavy is a Basenji?

Answer: Basenjis are slim dogs with a slight build. The males measure about 43 centimetres to their shoulder, while the females are some 2 cm smaller. The weight of a male comes to approximately 11 kg and the females weigh 9-10 kg.


Question: What shades of colouring are the Basenjis?

Answer: They come in three colours - these are black/white, red/white, and black/white with yellow brown (tan coloured). The latter colouring is sometimes called tri-colour. All colour variations have always four white paws, a white breast and a white tail tip. In addition the face, the neck, and the abdomen bear white marks. The read is read/orange or a fresh chestnut read, the black is ideally a deep black and the white a pure white. Other than the standard there are also striped Basenjis. Whatever the colour, though, the pelt should have a silky sheen.


Question: Which diseases to which the Basenji is susceptible must especially be kept in check?

Answer: Just as with other breeds, there are a few genetically and genetically conditioned diseases whose potential onset must be strictly monitored by the breeder/keeper.

1. The Fanconi Syndrome (Kidney system disease)
2. The progressive retinal atrophy PRA, whereby the dog can become blind.
3. Thyroid

As a rule, the veterinarians know the Basenjis only because they must be inoculated annually or because the dogs suffer minor injuries.


Question: How old do Basenjis become?

Answer: They can grow as old as 15 years. Think over the consequences of your decision before you adopt a dog. As a responsible person you should only adopt an animal if you are willing to take care of him to the end of his days.


Question: Do Basenjis get along well with children?

Answer: Customarily they are very good with children. It is important, however, that children be instructed and acquire a feel for approaching dogs and playing with them. Every dog needs not only time for playing but also for rest.


Question: Do Basenjis require much movement?

Answer: Often one has the impression that Basenjis are small power packs with an inexhaustible energy source. They require more than a short walk around the housing block per day to stay fit and healthy.


Question: Can one release a Basenji from the leash?

Answer: The Basenjis hunt on sight and love to run. As soon as something moves quickly, it arouses their attention and most often they will want to run after it. The opportunity to let him run freely must remain limited to a few selected situations. Should you want a dog that constantly runs freely by your side, you might be happier with a different dog.


Question: How do the Basenjis behave as house pets?

Answer: Basenji is not a dog for everyone. He makes the impression of a proud, little dog. The fascination lies in his individuality, and his instinctive and adaptive intelligence. Even if he is very devoted to his human he will never appear very obsequious. Everything will be investigated by him and followed up with great interest, which makes him a wonderful, but not extraordinarily obedient companion. Particularly the young Basenjis grow bored very quickly and they quickly find a way to entertain themselves - which often leads to complications if one leaves them unsupervised.


Question: The Basenji was portrayed as an absolute house pet. Is this true?

Answer: Yes this is so. Due to his origins, his short hair and his sparse body hair, he is not well suited for an extended roaming in our Central European pastures. They crave warm, dry places and the close proximity of their owner’s body. They enjoy wandering around the dwelling and follow the sun’s illumination of the interior. If it’s warm outside, they love to spend much of the time out of doors. However they always need a shady spot and the possibility to drink fresh water.


Question: At what time of the year do they have their young?

Answer: Normally the Basenjis go into heat once per year, usually in the autumn. They are delivered by the breeder after about 8 weeks in order to get set up for January or February. Much more rarely do the females come into interim heat when the arrival of the young can be expected in summer.


Question: What can I do when my puppies gnaw on everything while I leave them alone?

Answer: The dogs should have had enough movement and should have been fed. He should have a comfortable dog bed at his disposal. During their teething, as well as for a significant time period thereafter, the puppies have a need to chew. Offer him, therefore, only certain things for gnawing and do not allow the genesis of an impression that they can chew around on everything that lies about the apartment. Do not leave him altogether alone - he will become said and frustrated.


Question: I’m out at work in the daytime. Can I leave my Basenji alone in my flat?

Counter question: Would you like to be locked up alone for 8 to 10 hours, or even 12 hours? And all that without a toilet? But your dog is supposed to like it!? The answer of a real animal lover should consequently be NO.

As a matter of principle one should carefully consider the following pros and cons prior to acquiring a Basenji:

  • How much time can I devote to my four-legged friend after all my professional commitment?

  • Do I have somebody to help me during the sometimes difficult development phases? It is irresponsible to isolate a puppy or young dog for hours or even to lock it in a cage for fear of possible ‚destructive moods‘.

  • Do I have somebody around to take my dog out "walkies" now and then ???

  • Can I perform with PLEASURE what I owe my dog after a stressful 8 to 10 hour workday away from home?

  • Can I fully devote myself to the needs of my dog in the very short spare time remaining?

A grown-up Basenji certainly can stay alone for 4 to 5 hours provided one has gently worked towards this situation already in the puppy stage. It is even very important to train a dog right from the beginning towards the situation that will occur again and again when he will be forced to do without his “pack” for some hours.


Question: Is it good to have more than one dog?

Answer: Another dog is almost always an enrichment for the people as well as the dogs. Only then can the social behaviour of a Basenji develop correctly.- but it is naturally also connected with a greater expenditure for the owner. The selection and the getting used to each other should happen with the utmost attention to the respective characteristics.


Question:I have allergies. I have heard that Basenjis do not evoke any allergies.
Is that really so?

Answer: There is no breed of dog to which an allergic person will not react. There are people, however, who in the presence of the Basenji do not show symptoms they otherwise commonly suffer because the hair of the Basenji is very short and the usual dog smell is absent. Before you adopt a Basenji you should by all means try to spend an extended time with one.


Question: Why has this ancient breed remained so unknown in our parts?

Answer: As a consequence of the above mentioned questions and answers.


Question: How to find the right breeder?

Answer: Not so easy, read this Breeder


Question: What kind of things do I have to think about it, befor getting a dog?

Answer: Not so easy, please read this "Before buying a dog"


Question: Who or what are the “Basenji Lovers”?

Answer: Please read under "About us" !


Question: What literature is available about the Basenji?

Answer: Here are the titles: Literature!