Breeds of dogs: Basenji

Breeds of dogs: Basenji

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Origin, classification and history

Origin: Zambia (Central Africa).
F.C.I classification: Group 5 - Spitz and primitive type dogs.

The Basenji is a breed that originates from Africa, therefore it is also called "Dog of the Congo". Its first traces are found in fact in tombs and graffiti, dating back to five thousand years ago. It was discovered by European explorers. In 1934 the first specimen was introduced into Europe. In the long run, he toured the forests and highlands together with the African tribes, who adored him and who used them in the forests as a guide dog. It has been used for many centuries, to follow the slopes and to signal the presence of prey or ferocious animals in the vicinity. He was also widely employed for hunting small game. It was compared to a small deer for its speed and agility of movements. Some experts and scholars also claim that this small dog may indeed be the progenitor of the "Terriers". Basenji was a well-known and popular dog in ancient Egypt. He was the favorite dog of many pharaohs. It is a breed that has always maintained a certain purity. It was mostly English breeders who selected some of the best specimens. Aside from England, it is quite rare in Europe. Even in Italy it is not widespread.

General aspect

Small dog, mesomorphic mesocephalic. It is a very particular breed. One of the curiosities of this breed, which many do not know, is that it never barks. He is a dog of right proportions and with excellent construction. Solid and dry muscle. Very well built. Harmonious in features, expression and gait. It has a characteristic tail rolled up on the rump, and ears erect on the head.


The Basenji is a very clean dog, it can even be defined as the cleanest among dogs. Not only does it not get absolutely dirty at home, but it cleans itself personally like a cat, and is naturally free of any bad smell. It is an almost silent breed, it never barks. He looks smart. It is a fairly obedient and faithful breed. He is definitely a perfect companion for the whole family. Also suitable for spending full time with children. It has no problem of adaptation, and even if it is originally from Africa, it adapts without problems to European houses. It always proves lively, festive and cheerful.

Basenji (

Basenji (photo


- males about 42.6 cm
- females about 40 cm
- males about 10.8 kg
- females about 9.9 kg

Trunk: with chest well descended and of medium width. The body is short and straight, with well-circled ribs, with good space for the heart. The sternum descended; the short kidney, the well-designed belly.
Head and muzzle: of medium width, not coarse and well chiseled; narrows to eye level: its bearing is distinct; the skull is flat. The muzzle thins after the eyes towards the nose and is less long than the skull. When the ears straighten, wrinkles form on the front of the head, making the dog take on an astonished appearance, characteristic of the Basenji. Exaggerated formation of such folds should be avoided.
Truffle: black is more sought after.
Teeth: regularly aligned and complete in number and development.
Neck: of good length, clearly emerging from the shoulders. Well inserted in the trunk and oblique. The lower part of the throat is quite full and the neck is very evident and muscular.
Skin: very relaxed.
Limbs: straight, with the right bone, with well-defined tendons. The metacarpals are quite straight. Robust and muscular, with a long femoral portion and well-descended hocks.
Musculature: dry and evident.
Upper line: straight and solid.
Tail: with high junction and forming one or two rings. It must be firm on one of the sides of the croup.
Hair: short and silky.
Allowed colors: chestnut with white spots, and end of the white tail. White-black, white-black fire subjects are also found. The chestnut is sometimes very dark by virtue of a very accentuated black pigmentation; in this case the white spots are very small. Cream-colored subjects are not allowed to be exhibited and are excluded from breeding.
Most common defects: prognathism, enognatism, cryptorchidism, monorchidism, non-standard measures, small eyes, soft back, tail too long or badly worn, depigmentation of the truffle, incorrect movement, cream-colored coat, lack of premolars, deviated jaw, not straight legs.

curated by Vinattieri Federico -

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