Do You Want A Barkless Dog: Have You Considered The Basenji?
The Basenji is a very unique dog in many different ways. First, this is a dog that really does not bark; although that doesn’t mean that the Basenji is a soundless breed. In fact, this dog makes a variety of noises from an almost yodeling sound to a very unique melodic type of growling noise. Many Basenjis will “talk” or “barroo”
to their owner due to their irregularly shaped larynx.
One of the most ancient breeds, dogs resembling the Basenji can be seen in the hieroglyphics of Egyptian pharos. However, the modern Basenji originates from central Africa.
A very short coated, athletic and compact dog the Basenji is sometimes described as being cat-like in behaviors. They are a naturally clean dog and will self-groom (like a cat!) almost daily, which really makes them a low maintenance breed with regards to coat care. A weekly grooming with a soft bristle brush is all that is required to keep the dog looking in top shape and they typically will not have a “dog smell.” It is recommended to only bathe this breed when necessary as they can have sensitive skin that can become problematic with frequent baths. Interesting enough the breed often dislikes swimming or getting into water, even on a hot summer’s day.
The appearance of the Basenji is distinctive and includes a curled tail that is carried high over the back. The average weight for the breed is about 25 pounds and the height is usually about 16 inches at the shoulder. Despite their small size they are very capable of both jumping and climbing, so fences have to be carefully checked and designed to keep the dog in. Related to the Dingo, female Basenjis will only come into heat once annually.
Early socialization with cats and other pets is required to prevent the natural hunting instinct of the Basenji from taking over. When socialized with these pets, they will be great companion dogs but should not be trusted with other cats and pets that are not considered by the dog to be part of the family.
The Basenji is a highly energetic dog that loves to be a jogging companion and spend a lot of time in physical activities. They can live in an apartment with an owner that is prepared to provide significant amounts of exercise for the dog. Ideally a home with a securely fenced yard where the dog can run and play during the day when people are at work and school is the best living arrangement.
The Basenji is prone to a genetic condition known as Fanconi’s Syndrome. This is a condition where the kidneys do not function properly. Over time the lack of kidney function leads to build up of harmful substances in the blood. Early symptoms include increased water consumption and urination. It can be managed with supplements and live a normal and very happy life. Talk to your vet about the symptoms to watch for and note any changes in your dog’s water consumption and urine output for early diagnosis and treatment.