Basenji Breed Origins and Caracteristics

This group of primitive dogs lives in a semi-wild state in Africa and Asia and there are a lot of them. Most of the time, nobody takes care of them or feeds them. That is why they are called pariah dogs. In the most recent canine literature, they are classified in the group of primitive dogs. Among them there are only two stable types that have been recognized as autonomous breeds. One of the most typical breeds is the basenji, that comes from the Central Africa (North of Zaire and Southern Sudan). The indigenous population uses these dogs for hunting, to capture different rodents (the aulacode, or African rat of reeds, is the most captured) or to chase small species of antelopes as the Cephalophus.

There are two types of basenjis: the smallest, darkest one which is found in the jungle; the biggest one of lightest color is found in open land, living in the bushes and the savanna. Among the two types there are obviously intermediate forms, for example, the dogs that live upstream the Uelé River.

After different ups and downs, the basenji was introduced as a curiosity in Europe and America, but it became acclimatized with difficulty and the attempts of reproduction were not satisfactory. That is why until the end of the 1930s these specimens could not be raised and it was then when the basenji started to appear in exhibitions.

Size: forest type 40 cm approximately, savanna type 43 cm. Weight: 9-11 kg. Colors: chestnut brown to black, black with tan patches (1); the dogs of Sudanese savanna are generally light yellow. The big white patch on the chest extends as a collar on the neck. The white feet and the white tip of the tail are typical features. A white star on the forehead is accepted provided that it is not higher than that.

The basenji does not bark, occasionally it only emits a kind of howl. In order to follow its movements when it goes hunting, the indigenous tie a wooden bell to the neck (2). Before the hunting, the bell clapper is wrapped with an herb so that it will not start the hunting earlier. Many tribes believe that these bells protect the dogs from the attacks of leopards. In Sudan, the basenji is also called "jumping dog" because it makes big jumps over the tall herds both in order to get orientated and to chase the prey.

Dog Breeds Descriptions by Breed Neapolitan Mastiff Tibetan Mastiff Mastiff German Shepherd Groendaell or Belgian Shepherd Collie Shetland Shepherd, Shetland or Sheltie Bobtail Pembroke Welsh Corgi Briard or Brie shepherd Pumi Affenpinscher or Monkey Pinscher Doberman Miniature Pinscher Schnauzer Boxer Bulldog Bullmastiff German Mastiff or Great Dane Bordeaux Mastiff Mastiff or English Mastiff Neapolitan Mastiff Rottweiler Hovawart Leonberger Pyrenean Mastiff Newfoundland Saint Bernard Great Swiss Mountain Dog Airedale Terrier Bedlington Border Terrier Fox Terrier Irish Terrier Jagdterrier or German Terrier Lakeland Terrier Manchester Terrier Welsh Terrier Dandie Dinmont Terrier Norwich Terrier Scottish Terrier Sealyham Terrier Skye Terrier West Highland White Terrier Boston Terrier Bull Terrier Yorkshire Terrier Kerry Blue Terrier Teckel Siberian Husky Alaskan Malamute Spitz Chow-Chow Basenji St. Hubert Hound or Bloodhound Foxhound Beagle Basset Hound Bavarian Red Dog German Short-Haired Pointer Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer and Spinone Weimar Pointer Hungarian Pointer or Viszla Large Munsterlander Brittany Spaniel Pointer English Setter Gordon Setter Labrador Retriever Golden Retriever Wachtelhund American Cocker Rhodesian Ridgeback Cocker Clumber Spaniel Springer Spaniel Irish Water Spaniel Maltese Caniche or Poodle Belgian Griffon Hairless Dogs Lhassa Apso Shih Tsu Chihuahua Dalmatian King Charles Knight King Charles Spaniel Chin or Japanese Spaniel The Pekinese Spaniel French Bulldog Pug Barzoï Whippet