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Basenji – Ancient Dog Breeds

By Paige

Image from ToB

Physically the Basenji resembles paintings of dogs found on the walls of Egyptian tombs that date back 5000 years. Meet another member of the ancient dog breeds of the world.

The History

This northern African dog has traditionally been used by native people for a variety of duties, however their primary use was hunting. Evidence of their domestication dates back long before the pyramids were built and they are thought to be the direct ancestor of the northern African prehistoric dog.

This breed is unique in that they don’t bark. They have vocal chords & can make noise, in fact they have quite a repertoire – but sound more like a coyote than a dog.

Global Popularity

The Basenji has been around a long time, but it wasn’t until 1937 that the first one found their way into England. However their intense nature, fine coat and natural enthusiasm quickly earned them popularity & by 1944 they had been imported to the US and recognized by the AKC.


Image from ToB

About the Breed

A small to medium athletic dog, the Basenji is smooth & muscular. They were built by Mother Nature herself as an almost fearless predator & scavenger. Because they are the natural ancestors of wild dogs they possess a reserved air that many domestic breeds don’t. However they are friendly & can form close bonds with their “human pack”.

They are endlessly energetic & need lots of exercise or will misbehave out of sheer boredom. Traditionally they were used as guides, hunting partners & watchdogs against dangerous predators. This fearless breed is still used by pygmy people of the African Congo to hunt lions.

The Basenji is one of the few naturally occurring dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.


Image from TimWilson

Interesting Fact

This is an incredibly clean breed. A desert dog, their coat is very fine with no undercoat and they rarely shed. On the flip side, they can’t tolerate cold weather & need to live in a warm environment.

Other Names

Congo Dog | African Barkless Dog

Old Guys of the Dog World

We hope you enjoyed this quick look at one of the ancient dog breeds of the world. Stay tuned, because we’ll be getting to know more of the in the coming weeks.

4 Responses to “Basenji – Ancient Dog Breeds”

  1. Teagan says:

    Great information and very true.
    I’m a Minnesota Basenji and I have a fantastic winter wardrobe that keeps toasty warm. I don’t like to be wet either! Good thing I’m self cleaning and not dirty like my other k9 siblings. No bath of this nearly 3 year old! My Mom has given me baseball gloves to chew up to keep me from destroying the furniture (been there and done that :( )
    Well thanks for the info. Mom is sold on us basenji, she love the hugs and kisses.

  2. Bluebeep says:

    Very accurate information. I have a Basenji family member who is playful, energetic and even tender. She is curious and has very expressive eyes. She loves being around us which we love also.

    We have been told that they tend to not get along well with other dogs but that’s not the case for her. Probably because she has been to the dog park nearly each day for 1.5 hours. Yes very energetic! The walk around the block won’t cut it for her. Though if she doesn’t get out for a day or two she has never damaged any furniture.

    She enjoys playing with dogs her size and has some best friends in the park.

    Basenji is the love of my life. No secret :)

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  4. Joyce says:

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