Basenji Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue
The Basenji is a striking smart medium-sized dog with his distinctive tightly curled tail lying over his back and the clearly defined solid colours with white. He is known as the barkless dog and instead makes a curious yodelling noise. With his pricked ears and alert and inquiring expression the Basenji looks very intelligent and curious. He is believed to have been the Palace dog of the Pharaohs and distinctly similar dogs are depicted in Ancient Egyptian tombs. There are bas-relief likenesses of him from 4000BC and there is a bronze statue of a man and a dog extremely like the modern Basenji, including the wrinkled forehead, at the Metropolitan Museum in New York dated at 300BC.
Basenji were seen in Central Africa in the 17th century and were recently used there in packs to drive game into nets; they also earned their keep by killing vermin and hunting game.
The first breeding pair of Basenjis, Bongo and Bokoto of Blean, were imported into Britain in 1936 and generated considerable interest; there had been earlier imports, but they had no natural immunity to distemper, then a widespread killer of dogs, and all died. Before settling on Basenji as the breed name they were variously called Lagos Bush Dogs and Congo Terriers.
His great virtue as a housedog is the cat-like approach to cleanliness; the Basenji washes his feet and is virtually odourless. In addition to their cat-like attention to hygiene they can also be very agile climbers, and certainly some find a chain-link fence more like a ladder than a security measure!
Although he is aloof with strangers his lack of a bark limits his effectiveness as a guard dog. However, the yodelling can be quite a penetrating sound. As with most hounds he saves his shows of affection for his own family.
The Kennel Club requires that breeding stock is examined under the BVA/KC Scheme.
The Basenji’s coat is easily cared for; a bristle brush to remove dust and dead coat and a chamois leather to bring up the shine. Chalk on the white areas is very effective, though it must be brushed out thoroughly. Also, as with most breeds, a little boiled linseed oil in the feed daily brings out a real shine.
Rescue and Rehoming
In the unfortunate event you need to re-home your dog, or you are looking to give a home to an older dog, contact the Breed Clubs for their assistance. It is always wise to speak to people who are expert in the breed so you can get the best possible help.