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FCI classification
Group: Spitz and Primitive types (5)
Section: Primitive type (6)
Standard: n. 43 of 24/01/2000
(download std en / fr)
Name: Basenji
Utilization: Hunting dog, companion
Origin : Central African Region (Great Britain)
Ideal height : Dog 43cm / Bitch 40 cm
Ideal weight : Dog 11 kg / Bitch 9,5 kg

The Basenji breed

The Basenji is a small and short haired hunting and company dog, original of the Central Africa. It has a light body build and appears high on the front leg regarding its length. The lengthened snout is fiercely held on a well curved neck, with small ears, peaked and erected in frontal direction. The tail, high junctioned, has a typical spiral form, curled on the back.

Elegant and graceful, it prefers to be in erected position, as to control the territory in a alerting state. The balanced structure and the regular musculature allow facility and agility in its movements. The Basenji is a hunter: the Pigmee tribes took advantage for hunting of its excellent sight, speed and stillness. It was used also like guide in the forest and as signaler of ferocious animals.


The Basenji does not bark but it is not dumb, and rarely emits yowls and yielps.

The wrinkled forehead, the closely curled tail, the fast and light bearing (similar to the full trot of the racing horse) are typical of the Basenjii breed..


The ideal height at the shoulder for the male dogs is 43 cm and for the females is 40 cm . The ideal weight is 11 kg for the males and 9.5 kg for the females. For a Basenji, the body breed can be considered aslight when its measures are inside these heigh/weight ratios.


Short and delicate coat, with very elastic skin, coloured in red chestnut, absolute black, tricolour, with spots (absolute black and chestnut red) or streaked (streaks of black on a red chestnut background); all the Basenjiis have white paws, thorax and thetip of the tail, sometimes also the legs and the neck.


Intelligent, independent, but affectionate and alert. It can be surly with the strangers. Very clean and refined, it cleans up itself as a cat and does not have smells. Affectionate, but independent dog nearly like a cat, considers the man as a friend and does not submit itself to nothing; moreover it is very reckless, practically not showing fear in any occasions. Its independence renders it famous also for its escapes. He needs of much company, and if bringed up alone can become very destructive.

The Basenji hates the rain.


The Basenji, known as the "Barkless dog" (og that does not bark), is one of the more ancient dog breeds, as documented in the first artifacts found in the ancient Egypt. When the Egyptian civilization went in decline and disappeared, this breed was preserved in the Central Africa, also thanks to its characteristics of intelligence, speed, stillness and skill in the hunting. (Photography draft from The Multimedia Library)

Some dogs were carried in England in 1895, but unfortunately they died because of the distemper. The positive attempt to export the Basenji breed out of Africa was made in 1937, still in England, while another brace was imported in America.

  • The Basenji breed is been selected in Africa for the hunting, probablyin the region of the Congo. The origin of the name derives from the bantu language and it means "native".

  • In 1943, the AKC (American Kennel Club) has accepted the recording of the Basenji approving the standards and inserting them in the Stud Book.

  • The Basenji does not bark but it emits some yielps. The Basenji in fact is known in the world as the "barkless dog" (the dog that does not bark)..

  • The first examples of Basenji were brought from the sources of the Nile as gifts for the Pharaohs in the ancient Egypt.

  • The Basenji is a picky and refined dog: for example it wash itself independently like a cat; moreover it does not have the typical smell of the dogs, characteristic that makes it particularly suitable for living in an apartment.
  • The Basenji is known for being a closed dog. it is prudent and alert with the strangers, expansive and calm with the friends, loving and thoughtful with the childrens. When he meets strangers, it loves doing the " first step" : it is not a good thing approaching a Basenji from behind.