What is Basenji?


Owners will testify to the Basenji’s phenomenal intelligence, his inventiveness his curiosity, and his clownish sense of humor. An independent thinker, the Basenji is charming as well as trying. Reared with affection as well as discipline, a Basenji makes a delightful companion. These major personality traits are loved by Basenji enthusiasts but the breed is definitely not for everyone.


He is active and resourceful at play and cozy and comfortable in repose. He will demand attention at times but is not a clinging dog. He will keep good track of what you are up to without constantly requiring you attention.


The silent hunter is not going to bark to frighten off an intruder. They do become alert and interested when friend or stranger approaches the home or if there are odd noises. People acting suspiciously will upset a Basenji. Many Basenjis will try to avoid a suspicious intruder. Some may happily greet an intruder while a few may try to protect their home. Do not count on a Basenji as a traditional guard dog.


The basenji is immaculate, grooming his coat and playing particular attention to his feet, again, like cat. He takes such good care of himself that he rarely needs a bath. This is certainly a good thing, as the Basenji does not enjoy getting wet. An occasional brisk rub with a rough towel and going-over with a soft brush will delight him and will cause his coat to glisten. The Basenji is practically odorless. If there is any scant at all, it is reminiscent of clean, dry grass.


Coming from Africa originally, the Basenji enjoys warmth. During very cold weather he can be outside while he is active. He will hate the rain, avoiding it like the plaque, but enjoy a good romp in fresh snow.


Personality and Physical Traits Chart


Personality Traits

What This Means for you!

Active and curious personality








·         Needs regular exercise

·         Is very entertaining

·         Active minds are easily bored

·         Is into everything

·         Isn’t good at home alone with nothing to do

·         Can overwhelm small children by jumping on them

·         House must be reasonably dog proof…at least for a couple of years

·         Is in danger of hurting himself if allowed odd leash

Proud, independent and stubborn nature







·         Has a strong sense of what he thinks is right and wrong

·         Training requires skill not brute force

·         Training should start immediately when you get your puppy home

·         Perfectly capable of ignoring your instructions

·         Can be stubborn

·         Can be conveniently “hard of hearing”

·         Rare to fine a truly, constantly obedient Basenji

Basically a friendly dog but can be

aloof with strangers



·         May or may not like your friends

·         Children must be well behaved

·         Not necessarily a gushy dog

·         Not a good guard dog




·         Can be a great escape artists

·         Raise your puppy so it doesn’t learn how to escape

·         Your fenced yard should have a high fence

Non-barking BUT not mute




·         Doesn’t bark but has other sounds

·         Basically quiet dog unless he is unhappy

·         Very loud howl or screen when lonely

·         Owners love to hear the yodel greeting of a happy Basenji

All-purpose hound




·         Basenjis were bred to be independent, resourceful and efficient hunters

·         Their keen nose and hunting instinct can lead them into dangerous  

          situations such as the path of a speeding car

·         They are safest in an enclosed area   (fenced yard) or on a leash.

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