By Terri Estes
The star of the show this week is the Basenji, a breed that is near and dear to my heart. The basenji was recognized by the AKC in 1944 and is a member of the hound group. Average height at the shoulder is 16-17 inches and average weight is 22-24 lbs. Basenji’s coats come in red and white, black and white, tricolor and brindle. Their coat is short and smooth, and their tail is tightly curled into a corkscrew shape.
The basenji is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world and have been used by tribes in Africa for thousands of years to hunt small game. Stone carvings of basenji-type dogs are depicted in ancient Egyptian artwork dating back to 1900 BC.
Known as the barkless breed, Basenjis will make their presence known with other sounds often described as chortles or yodels. This is only one of the many unique characteristics that set this breed apart from others. They clean themselves in a cat-like manner and love to sit up high, where they can observe their surroundings.
Although small in size, the basenji is a fearless dog who rarely backs down from confrontation. They think they are the biggest dog on the block and will usually be the alpha dog in a family with more than one dog.
This elegant, graceful pup is also very energetic and inquisitive and can figure things out. Some people like to describe them as mischievous, I think rather that they are smart and crafty. This a thinking dog that if left unsupervised will find a way out of the yard and will find a way to get the leftovers. They insist on being in on everything and although they choose not to bark, they make great watch dogs because they are extremely alert and will let you know if something is amiss.
As a family member, the basenji is very affectionate and loves to cuddle, but they can be aloof with strangers. They are good with kids, and other pets as long as properly socialized early on. They hate to be cold and love to burrow under your covers, and they absolutely despise the rain. Good luck trying to get a basenji to go out to do his business in the rain. Basenjis love to find sunny spots to lounge in, but they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation or they can be extremely destructive. Basenjis love to play, but this is not your typical sit, stay, fetch dog. If you throw a ball and ask a basenji to fetch it, they will just look at you, and you can just tell that they are wondering why you would be so stupid as to throw the ball away if you still wanted it. It is not that they can’t learn tricks, they just generally choose not to.
Having a basenji in the family can be loads of fun, entertaining, and rewarding. They are a generally healthy breed with few health issues. Their coat is extremely low maintenance and they do not shed much. If you are willing to put the time and effort into this dog and are up for the challenge, this could be the breed for you!
FUN ANIMAL FACT:
An octopus has 9 brains, 3 hearts and blue blood.