The Basenji is a breed of hunting dog that has a unique trait. It doesn’t bark. Instead, it lets out a howl or a yodel-like sound. The reason for this is that the Basenji has an unusually shaped larynx. And for this trait, it has also been known as the African Dingo or the African Barkless dog.


The Basenji is considered as one of the oldest dog breeds known. Carvings from ancient Egyptian artifacts dating some five thousand years depicting the Basenji has been found in Egyptian tombs. It is said that these dogs were given as gifts to pharaohs from central Africa. Ancient Africans have primarily used Basenjis as hunting dogs and were also considered as excellent ratters. English explorers who visited Africa brought the breed into Europe and then became as beloved pets.

Appearance and Size

The Basenji is a small to medium dog breed. It has a compact body with a short-haired coat, a curled tail and erect ears. Its appearance is said to be similar to that of a small deer. The eyes of the Basenji are almond shaped giving the dog an appearance of squinting seriously most of the time.

The Basenji stands between 16 to 17 inches tall from the shoulders. It weighs an average of 20 to 22 pounds. The most common colors for the breed are red and white, black and white as well as the black, tan and white versions.


The Basenji, despite being a quiet breed, is an intelligent dog. It can also be quite agile and playful. They also try to keep themselves clean at all times. They can be quite habitual about it that they are being compared to cats who are like to keep themselves clean in a similar fashion. Although Basenjis like to be around people, they also tend to keep some time for themselves and prefer to be alone when they feel like it.

Home and Family Relations

The Basenji is also a very affectionate breed but may not be ideal as a pet for homes with small children. But when growing along with older children, they can be provided with the appropriate social training to adapt themselves to the family setting. Despite their lack of ability to bark, Basenjis can become quite capable watchdogs as they are wary of strangers and intruders in their territory. They can alert their owners by making their strange and unique vocalizations.