Dog Breed Facts: Basenji Edition

1. Basenjis were originally found with the ancient Egyptians.

Basenjis are one of the oldest dog breeds. There is even some proof that these dogs were around during BCE times, such as 4000 BCE. It seems that these dogs were around during the time and reign of the ancient Egyptians.

It is believed that the Basenji is an African dog. More specifically, the breed seems to be from the region that includes the basin of the Congo and the southern part of Sudan. They assisted in hunting and were given as gifts to Pharaohs because of their similarities to cats.

2. Basenjis are showcased consistently in ancient art.

It is easy to tell how important Basenjis were to these ancient cultures because of how often they are featured in their artworks. There are sculptures throughout the artwork preserved by these civilizations showcasing the Basenji. These include both relief sculptures and statues.

There are also tomb drawings, shield paintings, and even murals with images of the Basenji on them. In ancient Egypt, there is proof that the Basenji was mummified. There is a preserved bronze statue from the Babylonian era at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

3. The Basenji is a hunting dog.

Basenjis seem to have been created to assist in hunting endeavors. They are a smaller breed that is small enough to assist in chasing animals out of hiding places. The animals would then be directed to run towards the nets the hunters used.

The Basenji also engaged in specialized hunting. They found eggs and kept rodents away from homes and buildings. They also rely on both sight and smell to hunt, making them extremely specialized in the sport and a lot, unlike other dogs who hunt as well.

4. The Basenji has faced off against lions.

The Basenji has even been used to assist in the hunting of lions. They can chase and lure lions out of their caves and want the lions to chase them to direct them towards the hunters. The Masai tribe specifically will use four Basenjis to pull a lion out.

Once the lion has exited the cave, the dog’s work is through. In most cases, it remains perfectly safe throughout the process. After the lion is out, the hunters form a circle around the lion to keep it contained.

5. The Basenji has a very unique name.

The name of the Basenji is African in origin. Some cultures even have a slightly different version of the name of this breed. The culture among the Ituri rainforests calls the dog “Basenchi,” meaning “little bush thing.”

Basenji, in itself, is an African name, though. The central regions and peoples of Africa named this dog based upon the size of the dog and where the dog was located. The dog proofs to be of great value to the people that live in this area though through its hunting abilities.

6. The Basenji does not bark.

The Basenji does not bark. It is completely unable to bark. This is due to the shape of the larynx in that it is completely flat. This does not allow them to make the vibration that is required for a bark.

The Basenji does still make noise, though. It is still able to growl like other dogs. Also, this breed makes a noise that is similar to their version of a bark. It does sound almost as if the dog is yodeling instead of barking, however, due to the shape of the larynx.

7. Basenjis are prone to health problems.

The Basenji was first brought to England in the 1890s, but distemper wiped out much of the population. A vaccine was not ready until the 1930s. By this time, there were very few Basenjis left for breeding.

Due to the limited amount of dogs for breeding, genetic mutations began to occur. Many dogs got a disorder called Fanconi’s Syndrome, which led to death. More dogs were brought in from Africa, leading to more dogs being able to be bred. There are still some dogs that have this syndrome, however.

8. The Basenji is highly autonomous.

Training can be more difficult than it is with other dogs with a Basenji. It is important to make sure you have time and patience if you intend to purchase one of these dogs. Extensive training is required.

The Basenji only becomes loyal to one or two people and is very similar to a cat. They are very independent and like to determine what they want to do. Training is possible, but you do have to get over these hurdles to have an obedient dog.

9. The Basenji is very fast.

The Basenji runs using a double suspension gallop. This means that it is almost jumping when it runs. All four paws are on the ground at the same time, and all four paws are in the air at the same time when running. This leads to very fast speeds.

The Basenji runs, on average, at a speed of 30 miles per hour. This is by far, not the fastest dog breed, but it is a very fast dog. If they get out, it is very difficult to catch up with them without using treats.

10. Basenjis are very clean.

Basenjis do not necessarily get along with other animals. They do get along with owners, though, once they form a bond. This prevents them from having to deal with excessive play in the dirt for excessive grooming.

The Basenji requires no grooming by the owner, though. It tends to clean itself just as a cat does. It bathes itself with its tongue by keeping its fur and coat clean. Brushing is the only thing that may be required of the owner to get rid of tangled, loose, or matted fur.

1 thought on “Dog Breed Facts: Basenji Edition

  1. Kristina Greenwell

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