Dog Breed Profile

Home Dog Breeds Hound Basenji

Basenji History

The Basenji, also called the African Barkless Dog, is a breed of domesticated, scent hounds. The origin of the Basenji is unknown. However, it is thought that this early ancestor of the African Wild Dog was brought to the country of Chad from Central Africa. The climate, terrain and vegetation of central Africa are all well-suited to the hunting of fast moving small animals such as antelope and gazelle. The distinctive trait of the Basenji is its barkless nature. The characteristic vocalization of the Basenji is a high-pitched yelp. The peculiar nature of the vocalization has earned the Basenji the nickname “yeller”, although this name is somewhat misleading. The “yelleing” or “yelp” is actually a vibrating sound produced by a pharyngeal slapping motion. The “bark” of the basenji is also heard, but is a lower-pitched, raspier sound. The Basenji is the world’s only non-barking, non-howling canine, although its cousin, the Congo dog, is close. The unusual trait of the bark-less nature is thought to have descended from ancient African pack-hunting dogs, which also lacked a usual tail or dewclaws on the forelegs.

Time of Origin


Country of Origin




Basenji Physical Characteristics

The Basenji is a small, medium-sized breed of domesticated canid native to Central Africa. It has long legs and a slender, muscular build. Its short, silky, reddish-brown coat has distinctive markings, with a mask around the eyes and on the muzzle. Its ears are pointed and erect. Its behavior has been described as clownish, playful and mischievous. It is sometimes referred to in English as a “barkless dog”, but it actually makes a bark-like vocalization.

Eye Colors

Hazel, Brown, Amber

Nose Colors


Coat Colors


Height Range

Male Height Range: 16 – 17 inches

Female Height Range: 15 – 16 inches

Weight Range

Male Weight Range: 22 – 26 lbs

Female Weight Range: 20 – 24 lbs

Basenji Health

Description of breed health.


10-14 yrs

Basenji Health Concerns

PRA, Fanconi Syndrome, Basenji Enteropathy, Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM), Pyruvate Kinase (PK) Deficiency

Basenji Temperament and Behaviour

Basenjis are quiet, thoughtful dogs who are very loyal to their families. They are often aloof with strangers but make great companions for those who take the time to get to know them. Basenjis are known for being independent and stubborn, but they are also very intelligent and playful. They are active dogs who need plenty of exercise, but they are also content to lounge around the house with their favorite people.

Basenji Activity Requirements

The Basenji is a small, short-legged, agile dog that is classified as a member of the Hound group. They are unusual in that they are the only hunting dog that doesn’t bark. While they are a lively, playful breed, the Basenji doesn’t tend to require a lot of physical exercise. They are, however, extremely intelligent dogs and can be destructive if left without something to do. A moderate amount of exercise and a daily play session are both important. A walk around the neighborhood or a rousing game of fetch will help keep your Basenji happy.

Miles Per Day


Activity Per Day


Daily Food

2.5 cups

Kennel Club Recognition

American Kennel Club

Recognized by the American Kennel Club

Basenji is part of the Hound group.

Visit the American Kennel Club website.

The Kennel Club

Recognized by The Kennel Club

Basenji is part of the Hound group.

Visit the Kennel Club website.

Australian National Kennel Council

Recognized by the Australian National Kennel Council

Basenji is part of the Hound group.

Visit the Australian National Kennel Council website.

Canadian Kennel Club

Recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club

Basenji is part of the Hound group.

Visit the Canadian Kennel Club website.