Did you know?
It was recently discovered that dogs DO see in colour, but not as vividly as humans. Dogs’ colour vision is similar to that of humans at twilight.
His name is not wild dog anymore, but the first friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always. – Rudyard Kipling
Originally used by African natives to hunt small game by tracking and driving it into hunters’ nets, the Basenji is believed to have developed from dogs in the Congo. However, dogs of this type were known to the Egyptian pharaohs as early as 3600 BC.
“Basenji” is Swahili for “wild and violent”. The word for Basenji in the language of the Azande and Mangbetu people of northeastern Congo means ‘dogs of the savages’, or ‘dogs of the villagers’. In the Congo, the Basenji is also known as “dog of the bush”.
Although known as the barkless dog, this dog is by no means mute. He is capable of a variety of noises ranging from a crowing sound to an unhappy wailing noise. His unique yodel or “baroo” is the result of his unusually shaped larynx. Some believe the dogs were developed over time and prized for their lack of traditional barking because barking could lead enemies to humans’ settlements.
Photos displayed courtesy of Lynn and Dennis Arrand, Mankia Perm Reg’d, Ontario
The Basenji stands up to 17 inches (43 cm) at the shoulder and weighs 24 pounds (10.9 kg). He has a smooth, short, glossy coat that can be black, chestnut red, brindle, or tri-coloured, all with distinctive white markings. As meticulous about personal cleanliness as any cat, the Basenji’s grooming needs are minimal.
Basenjis are affectionate and playful with their families but can be reserved with strangers. Alert and active, they were renowned for speed and agility while on the hunt. Classified as sighthounds, these curious dogs will go after whatever intrigues them. They must be kept in a fence yard. They are also highly intelligent and adept at outsmarting their prey, and often, their owners! As do most other dogs, they will benefit from early training and should be socialized from a young age to accept children and other pets. Basenjis may display aggression towards other dogs of the same sex. House training is generally easy with this breed.
Small, agile, and speedy, the Basenji requires daily outdoor exercise and some opportunity for play. As long as he can regularly stretch his legs, he can live in an urban or country environment.