Height: 16 inches
Weight: 24 lbs
Life span: 13 years
Classification: AKC Hound Group
Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Other names: African Bush Dog, African Barkless Dog, Ango Angari, Avuvi Congo Dog, Zande Dog, Egyptian or African Dingo
Basenji are small, elegant-looking, short-haired dogs with erect ears, a tightly curled tail, and a graceful neck. A basenji's forehead is wrinkled, especially when the animal is young. Basenji eyes are typically almond shaped, which gives the dog the appearance of squinting seriously.
Intelligent, independent, affectionate and alert
Many basenjis suffer from PRA, which causes blindness and Fanconi's syndrome which can cause kidney failure. Besides Fanconi Syndrome and PRA, Basenjis also suffer from Hypothyroidism, IPSID (immunoproliferative systemic intestinal disease), HA (Hemolytic Anemia), and some have umbilical hernias. Basenjis are also sensitive to environmental and household chemicals which can cause liver problems.
Basenjis sometimes carry a simple recessive gene which, when homozygous for the defect, causes genetic Hemolytic Anemia. Most 21st-century basenjis are descended from ancestors that have tested clean. When lineage from a fully tested line (set of ancestors) cannot be completely verified, the dog should be tested before breeding. As this is a non-invasive DNA test, a basenji can be tested for HA at any time.
Basenjis sometimes suffer from hip dysplasia, resulting in loss of mobility and arthritis-like symptoms. All dogs should be tested by either OFA or PennHIP prior to breeding.
Malabsorption, or immunoproliferative enteropathy, is an autoimmune intestinal disease that leads to anorexia, chronic diarrhea, and even death. A special diet can improve the quality of life for afflicted dogs.
The breed can also fall victim to progressive retinal atrophy (a degeneration of the retina causing blindness) and several less serious hereditary eye problems such as coloboma (a hole in the eye structure), and persistent pupillary membrane (tiny threads across the pupil).
The basenji is one of the most ancient dog breeds. Originating on the continent of Africa, it has lived with humans for thousands of years. Ancestors of modern Basenjis can be seen on steles in the tombs of Egyptian Pharoahs, sitting at the feet of their masters, looking just as they do today, with pricked ears and tightly curled tails. Dogs of this type were originally kept for hunting small game by coursing.