Is A Basenji Right For Your Family?

By Lee Dobbins

If you want a dog that doesn't bark and grooms itself and you have plenty of time to romp in the park, then the Basenji might be the perfect dog for you!

This small sized dog is full of energy and a great pet for those with allergies. Having short hair that rarely sheds, this dog also has the distinction of cleaning itself much like a cat does and has no doggie odor that you associate with most canines. The Basenji also does not bark instead he yodels or chortles or howls depending on what he is trying to say.

This compact and athletic dog is thought to hail from ancient Egypt where drawings of these dogs were seen in tombs. He is short haired with long legs and straight open ears. He has almond shaped eyes set into a flat skull and, perhaps his most interesting feature is the wrinkling of his forehead which makes him look like he is worrying about something! The tail is held high and curls down over one side of his back. Basenjis come in many colors brindle, red, copper and black and tan and most often are seen with white on the chest, face blaze, legs and tip of the tail. They weigh in at under 26 pounds and should stand under 17 inches with females being a bit smaller.

The basenji is full of energy and extremely intelligent. He is easy to train as he is eager to please his master. This dog will bond with his family and is a curious and affectionate pet but he may be wary of strangers and doesn't typically get along to good with other pets, particularly small animals like ferrets and rabbits. This breed needs lots of exercise and toys he loves to chew so be sure there is plenty of chew toys around the house. He is also very agile and can leap over things and even has been known to climb a fence or two to get to the other side.

While the Basenji can be a good apartment dog, he does need lots of exercise both indoors and out. He can be very active in the house but if you are willing to play then so is he! He must have daily walks and plenty of time playing in the park. You might consider getting a couple of Basenjis as they do like to hang around with their own breed and can help each other work off energy. Be sure that you do spend lots of time exercising your Basenji or you may run into behavioral problems and end up with a fat lazy dog!

If you are worried about excessive barking, then the Basenji might be a great dog for you as he simply does not bark. They do, however, make other vocal sounds that have been likened to yodeling so they do express themselves vocally. Since the Basenji grooms itself, you won't have to spend time brushing and bathing, but the time you save there will probably be spend in exercising your pet.

The breed is relatively healthy but can be prone to kidney problems as well as intestinal trouble and eye problems. It is important that you have regular checkups with your vet to keep your Basenji in perfect health and be on the lookout for any problems, especially with the kidneys as these will need to be treated immediately. With proper care your Basenji could live up to 12 years and that's a lot of trips to the park!

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Lee Dobbins is an avid animal lover and dog owner. She hosts where you can learn more about dog care as well as dog breeds.