Basenji Dog Breed | The Dog Lovers Festival Breed Directory


The Basenji breed originate from pariah dogs, probably bred to be companion dogs for the Pharoahs. There are portraits of Basenjis in the Egyptian pyramids.

With time the breed moved down to Central Africa where it was used to kill the long toothed and reed rats in the Congo region. Basenjis were brought to England in 1895.  In 1937, the breed was taken to America.


Lightly built, finely boned, high on leg compared with its length, wrinkled head, with pricked ears and tail tightly curled.

Grooming and Physical Needs

  • Grooming Needs: Does most of its own grooming and upkeep. Coat can be wiped down with a glove to remove loose hairs. Ears and nails can be checked periodically.
  • Coat Type: Short, sleek and close, very fine coat.
  • Moulting: Moderate.
  • Exercise Needs: Very lively dog with a characteristic ‘tireless’ gait. The Basenji needs a fair bit of exercise on a daily basis, as well as a great deal of mental stimulation, however they can also be quite happy to stay at home at the fireside.
  • Average Life Span: 10 – 13 years.


  • Family: Good with children, not recommended for an inactive owner.
  • Temperament: An intelligent, independent, but affectionate and alert breed. Can be aloof with strangers.
  • Trainability: Not easy to train and no road sense so care must be taken if they are exercised near traffic.
  • Sociability (Other Pets): Low tendency to get along with other dogs or pets in the home.
  • Barking: Low tendency.


Have been known to climb trees and fences like cats. Very clean and prone to self-grooming the Basenji is nearly odour free.


Hereditary defects which plague the Basenji are Fanconi’s syndrome, which is a dysfunction of the proximal kidney tubules and Pyruvate kinase deficiency also attacks Basenjis leading to an early death caused by severe anemia.