Published: Last updated: by two basenji dogs in nature

The Basenji is a small African hunting dog who is independent and smart. They have lots of energy and yodel instead of barking.

Average size and lifespan

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Height: 1ft 3in - 1ft 5in
Weight: 22-24lbs
Lifespan: 12 - 14 Years


  • Affection2/5
  • Kid-Friendly2/5
  • Stranger-Friendly2/5
  • Dog-Friendly2/5
  • Barking Amount1/5


  • Grooming Difficulty1/5
  • Shedding Amount2/5
  • Easy to Train2/5
  • Can Be Alone4/5
  • Exercise Need5/5


  • Cold Tolerance1/5
  • Heat Tolerance4/5
  • Apartment-Friendly5/5


This small hunting dog originated in Africa and is one of the oldest dogs in the world. Amazingly, they don’t bark. Instead, they let out a cute little yodel. Petite but strong, the Basenji features upright ears, a short coat, a tightly curled tail, and extremely expressive eyes.

This breed has an instinct to run and hunt, so to keep him safe, you should consider a fenced yard. Independent and intelligent, this breed may take extra bonding time to settle into his new family, but once he does, you have a loyal, lifelong friend.

Basenji History

The Basenji originates from the continent of Africa. Similar dogs are shown in drawings from the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt (1991-1178 BC). These breeds were used for hunting, tracking, and driving game into nets. They are contenders for the oldest AKC breed and look much like the original domesticated dogs.

Europeans discovered the breed in the Congo. African tribesmen used the dogs for their hunting abilities which included their ability to jump to scout prey in the grasslands.

Basenji Training & Temperament

Basenjis are strong and independent. As a result, they are trainable, but their independence means it’s best to keep training to short sessions of 5-10 minutes and start when they’re young. It’s recommended to also take them to socialization or puppy training classes.

basenji breed photo

Basenji Exercise

Basenjis are a high-energy breed that needs to remain active. It’s best to keep them in a fenced area as they are bred to hunt and might otherwise run off to chase prey. They’re well suited to canine sports like agility and tracking. They need to be exercised well to prevent them from becoming bored and potentially destructive.

Basenji Grooming

Basenjis are easy to care for. They only require occasional light brushing to help keep their coat looking good. They don’t typically smell, so baths are only needed if they get dirty or get into something that smells. Their nails should be trimmed regularly.

Basenji Health

Basenjis are a healthy breed without too many concerns. However, as with other dogs, their ears should be checked and cleaned, and their teeth should be brushed regularly.


All dogs have their own personality and unique training, causing them to differ slightly from these breed stats. However, please let us know if we made an error in the stats, we appreciate your help!

Breed FAQs

Can Basenjis be apartment dogs?

The Basenji is an excellent apartment dog. They don't need as much space for activity and will be happy in a condo or apartment.

Can Basenjis be left alone?

Basenjis do well when left alone for longer periods of time. They don't tend to have seperation anxiety issues. Just be sure to avoid being neglectful.

Are Basenjis good with kids?

Basenjis can be difficult to handle with the rowdy behavior of a child. They should be watched very closely.

Are Basenjis friendly with strangers?

Basenjis tend to be uncomfortable with strangers. They will require extra training effort to socialize them with those outside their family.

Do Basenjis get along with other dogs?

Basenjis aren't usually friendly with other dogs. They tend to not get along unless carefully socialized.

Do Basenjis bark a lot?

Basenjis don't bark very often of may never bark. Most barking is trained or in extreme situations.

Do Basenjis shed a lot?

The Basenji isn't a heavy shedder. Some limited brushing and occassional cleaning should help prevent much hair build-up.

Do Basenjis need a lot of grooming?

With a Basenji you won't need to dedicate any extra time to special grooming. Their coats are easy to deal with.

Do Basenjis need a lot of exercise?

Expect Basenjis to have high energy levels and need a lot of exercise. You'll need to find options to release this energy or they may exibit bad behavior.

Are Basenjis easy to train?

Most Basenjis are stubborn and will take extra work to train. They can still learn trained behaviors, but will take more effort.

Can Basenjis handle cold weather?

Expect Basenjis to not do well with the cold. If you live in a cold climate you'll need to take special consideration for this breed.

Can Basenjis handle hot weather?

Basenjis do well in hot climates and can stay out longer without overheating.

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