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Basenji Picture Gallery

Basenji Breeders

Basenji Clubs/Associations

The Full Basenji Description

The name is pronounced Buh-SEN-jee, and they are best known for their bark: They haven't got one. They don't bark, but they do make sounds. When they are happy they chortle or yodel softly, and they have a sad wail when they're unhappy. Usually, however, they're quiet.

Did you know?

The Basenji was developed in Africa for hunting.

The Basenji does not bark but does make yodelling noises. The Basenji is known as the "barkless dog."

So you want to own a Basenji?

The Basenji hunts by both sight and scent.

The Basenji is an alert, intelligent, and independent dog who is known to be aloof with strangers.

To own a Basenji successfully requires commitment in time, effort, and understanding.

Indicative Breed Standard


General Appearance

Lightly built, finely boned aristocratic-looking animal, high on leg compared with its length, always poised, alert and intelligent. Wrinkled head, with pricked ears, proudly carried on a well arched neck. Deep brisket runs up into a definite waist, tail tightly curled presenting a picture of a well balanced dog of gazelle-like grace.


Barkless but not mute, its own special noise a mixture of a chortle and a yodel. Remarkable for its cleanliness in every way.


An intelligent, independent, but affectionate and alert breed. Can be aloof with strangers.

Head and Skull

Flat, well-chiselled and medium width, tapering towards nose, with slight stop. Distance from top of head to stop slightly more than from stop to tip of nose. Side lines of skull taper gradually towards mouth, giving a clean-cheeked appearance. Fine and profuse wrinkles appearing on forehead when ears pricked, side wrinkles desirable but not exaggerated into dewlap. Wrinkles more noticeable in puppies, but because of lack of shadowing, not as noticeable in tricolours; black nose desirable.


Dark, almond-shaped, obliquely set, far-seeing and rather inscrutable in expression.


Small, pointed, erect and slightly hooded, of fine texture, set well forward on top of head, tip of ear nearer centre of skull than outside base.


Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Strong and of good length, without thickness, well crested and slightly full at base of throat with a graceful curve accentuating crest. Well set into shoulders giving head a ‘lofty’ carriage.


Shoulders well laid back, muscular, not loaded. Elbows tucked in against brisket. When viewed from front, elbows in line with ribs and legs should continue in a straight line to ground giving a medium front. Forelegs straight with fine bone and very long forearms. Pasterns good length, straight and flexible.


Balanced with short, level back. Ribs well sprung, deep and oval. Loin short-coupled, deep brisket running up into definite waist.


Strong and muscular, hocks well let down, turned neither in nor out, with long second thighs and moderately bent stifles.


Small, narrow and compact, with deep pads, well arched toes and short nails.


High set, with posterior curve of buttock extending beyond root of tail giving a reachy appearance to hindquarters. Curls tightly over spine and lies closely to thigh with a single or double curl.


Legs carried straight forward with a swift, long, tireless, swinging stride.


Short, sleek and close, very fine. Skin very pliant.


Pure black and white; red and white; black, tan and white with tan melon pips and mask; black; tan and white. Brindle, red background with black stripes, the more clearly defined the stripes the better. The white should be on feet, chest and tail tips. White legs, blaze and white collar optional.


Ideal height: dogs: 43 cms (17 ins) at withers; bitches: 40 cms (16 ins) at withers. Ideal weight: dogs: 11 kgs (24 lbs); bitches: 91/2 kgs (21 lbs).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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