There are some dog breeds that make people wonder how they are even dogs. Basenjis are one of these queer breeds. They have a look that says either “wild” or “weird,” and sometimes both. They appear similar to the Akita, of only from the curly tail, but their hair is so short, they look almost alien. What makes them even more strange is that they don’t even bark. They can make a noise that sounds like a howl, but some might even say they sing – much similar to the Australian singing dogs, which is also strange, considering they come from totally different parts of the world.
It is said that basenjis are the “most ancient dog breed.” It is believed that basenjis are evolved directly from an ancient species of Asiatic wolf, but the officially recognized breed of basenji hails from Africa. With that in mind, these dogs have lived with humans for thousands of years. Dogs that resemble basenjis can be seen carved into Egyptian tomb walls. These dogs were bred and raised for hunting small game and one is even the center star of the 1956 movie called Goodbye, my Lady.
It is interesting to note that when the basenji was first introduced into Europe in 1895, they were rated as the second lowest in intelligence. However, this list, developed by Stanley Coren, Ph.D, only rated the willingness and ability to perform given commands. It’s important to note that these dogs are actually very intelligent, thus they refuse to listen to commands, much like a mule being stubborn. As a previous basenji owner myself, I can attest to this. Instead of doing what they are told, they will often simply do what they want, and make their wishes known much more than any other type of dog. However, with strict training and handling, they can learn very quickly.
Like most small dogs, basenjis tend to not have many health problems. However, there is a condition called Fanconi syndrome that is a hereditary condition in which the kidneys do not properly absorb nutrients and electrolytes, resulting in diabetes. It is important to test your basenji for this when possible to determine if they are a carrier or affected. Though it is rare, they are also prone to hip dysplasia, obesity, and a genetic form of anemia. As long as they are taken care of properly and have regular check ups, these dogs will stay happy and healthy. Grooming is not a huge issue with basenjis because of their short hair, but it is important to make sure their fur is free of ticks and fleas, especially as these dogs like to run through tall grass and low brush.
Basenjis are active and friendly, but they may take a bit of training. They are not as tricky as shiba inus, but they are a bit of a challenge. As stated in my other articles, it is still important to adopt from a shelter or find a basenji rescue group if you desire the specific breed.
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Picture Source: http://www.breederretriever.com/dog-breeds/99/basenji.php