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Meet the breed: Basenji

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for a four-legged friend that will play nice with the kiddos, find out everything you need to know about the quiet Basenji.


  • Independent nature
  • Pleasant temperament
  • Intelligent
  • Self-grooming
  • Hypoallergenic



The Basenji may look quiet and shy, but on the inside, this medium-sized breed is a lean, mean fighting machine. Still used today by Pygmy tribes in Africa to help hunt lions, Basenjis are known for their stealth hunting tactics. Believed to be the oldest dog breed in the world, Basenjis can be traced back to ancient hieroglyphs and art. As the world’s only non-barking dog breed, the Basenji makes the ultimate soft-spoken companion, fit for any household.

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Breed standards

  • AKC group: Hound
  • UKC group: Sighthound and Pariah
  • Average lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Coat appearance: Short, fine
  • Coloration: Chestnut red
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Other identifiers: Medium build; muscular; self-grooming and odorless coat; coiled tail; wrinkled forehead; large pointed ears
  • Possible alterations: Can also be seen in pure black, tri-color or brindle

Is this breed right for you?

City-dwelling owners looking for a quiet and independent sidekick should consider this breed. The Basenji is a loyal breed that will stick beside its human counterpart, yet it thrives on being self-sufficient and holds a mind of its own. Neat freaks will love this self-cleaning, low-shedding and hypoallergenic breed. Due to its aloof nature, a large amount of time during the early years should be dedicated to training and socialization.

basenji breed characteristics

A dream day-in-the-life:

A Basenji’s ideal day is marked in ink with its own personal agenda. Depending on the mood, it could spend the day cuddling on your lap, tirelessly playing with toys or simply scoping out potential mayhem on the premises, as long as it’s on its terms. This breed is not a fan of sharing the attention, and a day at the dog park would best be spent playing independently.

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