Top 6 Basenji Fun Facts

Top 6 Basenji Fun Facts

Author WDF Staff


For centuries, the Basenji has served as a hunting dog for many ancient African tribes, but these dogs have also captured the hearts of many people around the world.

The Basenji has growing popularity all over the United States because of its friendly and active character. These dogs absolutely love living an active lifestyle. They are great hiking, jogging, or cycling partner that will be extremely enthusiastic about any adventure you would like to take them on. If you are considering getting a Basenji, make sure you can provide them enough daily activities so that they do not develop bad and destructive behavior.

This interesting African hunting breed has a strong connection to their family and it can not be left alone for long periods of time. They consider themselves as being a part of the family and they require a lot of attention and time.

As a hunting breed, the Basenjis should never be trusted alone with smaller pets. It is in their DNA to see them as prey and they will most likely chase and attack smaller pets. African tribes trusted these dogs to keep villages safe from rodent infestations so pets like lizards, snakes, ferrets, cats, gerbils, or guinea pigs are in extreme danger around Basenjis. It is not a bad character trait, it is just something they have been bred to do for thousands of years.

These dogs can be rather stubborn at times and if you are not an experienced dog owner, you can end up with a dog that will have a lot of problems. They require a lot of patience and proper training to really thrive, but if you put in the time and energy to train your dog well, you will have the best possible active companion that will make you feel happy and loved.

Here are some Basenji fun facts you may be surprised to hear.

1. Ancient Basenji

Basenjis are so old that they have been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Evidence has been found of the dogs dating as far back as 4000 BC. It is believed that these dogs originated in Central Africa, somewhere in the Congo Basin and South Sudan, and since their beginning was most likely kept as hunting companions. It is a common belief that these dogs were given as presents to Egyptian pharaohs since they loved these dog’s characters and their cat-like personality.

basenji dog

2. Great hunters

Basenji is a dog breed that was bred for hunting purposes. These dogs were used for flushing and luring animals out of their dens and hiding places and into the hunter’s traps. They were also extremely helpful in finding eggs, pointing, and vermin control. Most hunting dog breeds rely on using either sight or smell, but Basenjis have developed into hunters that use both of those senses to find their prey.

3. Basenji bark

The larynx - the part that dogs use for producing a bark, is differently shaped in this dog breed and because of that, the Basenji cannot bark. They can either produce a growl or make some sort of a yodeling sound, but they usually aren’t too vocal. That is one of the reasons that African tribes used to ties small bells around these dogs in order to keep track of their movement. 

4. Basenji grooming

Basenjis are keen on grooming and cleaning themselves, almost as cats do, so they don't usually have the typical dog odor. Self-grooming isn't the only similarity these dogs share with cats. They are very independent, aloof, difficult to train, and typically develop a bond with one or two family members only

basenji dog breed

5. Basenji in the West

Basenjis were first introduced to England in the late 19th century, but once they arrived there, a widespread of distemper killed most of Basenji puppies. It wasn’t until a vaccine was finally produced in the 1930s that Basenjis were introduced back to Europe. Shortly after that, they were brought to the United States.

However, the problem remained that the breeding pool was extremely limited for this rare and unique dog breed, which resulted in many health issues. A horrible disorder by the name “Fanconi’s syndrome” became a big nuisance for this breed, resulting in many deaths of European and American Basenjis.

6. Basenji price

When buying a rather rare dog breed, make sure you buy it from a responsible breeder. It might cost a bit more but you can be as sure as possible that you will end up with a dog that is mentally and physically healthy as it can be. The usual Basenji price is between 1.200$ and 1.800$ if you are buying it from a breeder. If you are rescuing a Basenji, the average costs are around 300$.

World Dog Finder team