|Group classification: Hound||Country of origin: Central Africa||Date of origin: Antiquity|
|Weight (M): 24 lb||Height (M): 17"||Life expectancy: 13 - 14 years|
|Weight (F): 22 lb||Height (F): 16"|
General Description of the Basenji
The Basenji is a relatively small, short-haired hunting dog native to Africa. This dog sports a light build, short back and long legs. The head is finely wrinkled, especially when the ears are erect. The eyes are almond in shape and range in color from hazel to dark brown. The nose is almost always black, and the teeth are even and well aligned. The muzzle is well-rounded and shorter than the skull. The Basenji body type is balanced and smoothly muscled, sporting a high curled tail. The coat is fine and short in texture. Color and markings can vary and include chestnut, black, brindle or tri-color. One of the most interesting things about the Basenji is the fact that it does not, and cannot, bark. It can make sounds, but barking is not one of them.
As a whole, Basenjis are described as intelligent, watchful, and fairly easy to housebreak. They do require lots of exercise and should live in a home with a high fenced yard. Sometimes, they can be rather suspicious towards people and animals they don't know; some would go so far as to say the Basenji has catlike mannerisms. This is why socialization from the puppy age is crucial for a well-adjusted Basenji. They need to be trained by a strong and firm, yet loving owner because they can tend towards stubbornness. The Basenji makes a great family pet, but because of their hunting instincts probably shouldn't be kept around small pets like cats or rodents.
Caring for a Basenji
The Basenji requires very little maintenance as far as grooming is concerned. They are very light shedders and only need brushing every now and then. Because of their sensitive skin, they should only be bathed every few months or as necessary with a very mild shampoo. Ideally, the dog should live indoors and have ample access to a yard in which it can run and play. Health concerns of note include Fanconi syndrome, progressive retinal atrophy and Basenji enteropathy. Other problems sometimes seen in this breed include pyruvate kinase deficiency, persistent pupillary membrane, hypothyroidism and umbilical hernia.