African Basenji Dog Characteristics And Traits

The African dog breed Basenji or Congo Dog belongs by the FCI to the Primitive Types group in the class of primitive dogs, which encompasses the strain of dogs that evolved from Asian pariah dogs. So, what is a Basenji dog? This is a light weight hound with great athletic abilities that is very agile and lightning fast. It originated in central Africa in antiquity. Some of the main Basenji dog characteristics are alertness, agility, curiosity, resourcefulness, intelligence, independence, playfulness, courage, cleverness, and stubbornness. Looking at all of these characteristics  is enough to understand why this dog can’t easily become obedient. He’s so hard to train. In fact, he is probably the hardest of all primitive dogs to train. The funny thing is that the Basenji is actually a fast learning dog, who can understand your commands easily, but he will simply refuse to obey them in certain situations!

Long legs are one of the most recognizable physical Basenji dog characteristics!

Gracious like antelope

The Basenji is a playful dog, ready for action at any given time. He is also a perfect watchdog, which will defend the owner’s family and property at any cost. These dogs often get attached to a single human. If not so small, they could be the perfect guard dogs. The one of specific Basenji traits is that it cannot bark, only scream or yodel. However, those are damn loud and hair-raising sounds, known as the baroo sounds. They can climb easily over fences, no matter how high they are, which is why they’re known to be escape artists. The one of the unique Basenji dog characteristics is his ability to stand on his hind legs, like a mongoose. He will often take such stance out of curiosity. Basenji is highly energetic dog, which demands a lot of exercise. This is the reason you should take your little African for a walk or hike at least once a day.

In their native South Africa, people often use them as a guide in the jungle. Thanks to their excellent senses, they can easily spot wild beasts from afar, which is of great importance in such hostile environment. They are very powerful dogs for their size. They can successfully compete in dog agility trials, but I suggest you avoid obedience trials. Too risky :) Make sure you have a lot of space in your yard, this buddy needs it! Basenjis are challenging dogs, they will push you to the limits. If bored, they will make a mess, be sure about that. Their unpredictable personality will definitely give you a headache sometimes, no matter how trained your dog actually is. However, don’t let this fact discourage you if you wanna have one of your own. I’m perfectly sure that, with a bit of hard work, you’ll get along just fine ;)

Physical Basenji Dog Characteristics And Appearance

The Basenji is a smaller medium-sized dog as you can see by his measures below. He is as long as he’s tall, with a compact and muscular body. These dogs are used to hot and dry weather, and because of that they have, as you can guess, thin and silky coat. They are very clean dogs, they rarely shed and have no odour, so you won’t have to groom your dog almost at all. Nice indeed! However, you’ll have to bathe him regularly, especially during the summer. The acceptable Basenji colors are black and white, black, brindle, red, tan, or tricolor, with different color combinations. Every Basenji dog has a white color on the tip of the tail, stomach, and on the feet and lower parts of legs. Speaking of legs, they are long, in fact, they are very long for his size.

This gives him an elegant, square shape resembling a small antelope or some similar animal. That’s the reason this dog is walking like a trotting horse, which makes him even more gracious. This elegant walk, which enables him to do all sorts of quick maneuvers, is the one of Basenji dog main traits. His neck is long and slightly arched, and he has a slightly narrow head with the wrinkled forehead. This dog has the almond-shaped, brown eyes, dark nose and erect triangular ears. His middle-sized muzzle is strong and slightly tapering. The tail is beautifully curved above his short and straight back. His chest is strong and deep. When you take all this physical Basenji dog characteristics into account, no wonder this dog is such a cutie at first sight. However, before you decide to buy a Basenji puppy, let’s take a look at some of his unique traits.

Basenji Size And Weight:

Male
– Height between 16 and 17 inches (41–43 cm)
– Weight between 22 and 26.5 pounds (10–12 kg)
Female
– Height between 15 and 16 inches (38–41 cm)
– Weight between 20 and 24 pounds (9–11 kg)

Basenjis are highly energetic and agile dogs!

I’m ready for some action :)

Barkless Dog With A Baroo

The one of the most authentic Basenji characteristics is a baroo, a sort of unusual sound they use instead of barking. This dog is known to be unable to bark because of its quite unusual larynx. This is the reason he’s often called a barkless dog. This inability to bark has forced these dogs to use all kinds of weird yodels, growls, yelps, screams and howls instead, which are all quite strange and unique. That is why people, upon hearing them for the first time, often think they are actually talking. For some people, it can be quite hilarious to hear them “talking”, while other find this Basenji ability quite unpleasant. So much about tastes :)

So, yeah, they are not quiet at all, on the contrary, they “talk” a lot, which is just enough to alert you if need be. This can be considered a minus for a hunting dog, and for that same reason hunters often put collars with bells around their necks, so that they can know the dog’s exact position. This fact brings us to a very interesting detail about this breed from the history books. It is believed this breed was intentionally made barkless by selective breeding. The reason for that lies in the fact that Africa was a war-ridden land in the past. Well, it still is unfortunately. Anyway, Basenjis were actually developed intentionally this way to be unable to reveal positions of the hidden encampments by barking. Clever enough.

Annual Estrus Cycle

Perhaps the strangest of all Basenji dog characteristics is that bitches can only come into estrus once a year. Quite strange, don’t you think? Unlike other dogs, who can have usually two breeding cycles during a year, Basenjis can have only one. This is a quite rare thing for this sort of mammals, and out of all 150 AKC recognized dog breeds, the Basenji is the only breed with annual estrus cycle. However, some Russian Laikas can as well have only one estrus a year. In the wild, it is common only for Dingoes, Singing Dogs and Wolves. This estrus cycle is believed to be in connection with a decreasing daylight since it always occurs around September or October.

However, Basenjis can have a second estrus, but it is very rare. Only the dogs living in the Northern Hemisphere can have it around March or April. So, if you have intention to breed your Basenji regularly, be sure to investigate this matter thoroughly! With this being said, it’s time to bring this article about the main Basenji dog characteristics to a close. As you can clearly see, this is a gorgeous looking dog with “crazy” personality. This dog is definitely not for everyone, he demands an experienced owner with a lot of authority. So, if you think you are the one with such qualifications, then go for it – buy this beautiful dog and have fun! I bet you will :)

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