FCI Group:

The Basenji belongs to the Spitz and Primitive Types in the FCI Classification.


Sight Hound, Scent Hound, Primitive

Is the Basenji allowed as pet in a Singapore HDB Flat?



Central Africa (Congo). The first traces of a dog similar to the Basenji are found in Egyptian tombs and wall drawings of five thousand years ago. Also called the Congo Dog, it was first introduced to England in 1937. English breeders refined it to become the Basenji today and exported it all over the world.

Original Purpose:

In Africa the natives used the Basenji as a guide in the forest, to warn against the approach of dangerous animals, for pointing and retrieving of small game and driving game into nets.

Behaviour and Temperament:

Cheerful, self-reliant, affectionate, playful, curious, obedient.

Breed Characteristics:

Alert; makes a very good watchdog, although not protective. Some poorly bred individuals are aggressive. Basenjis can be hyperactive in the house. Needs to stay on a leash when not in a secure fenced area. Although known as a “barkless” dog, the Basenji does make noises, including wails, chortles, and yodels. Basenjis have poor cold tolerance and they dislike wet weather. Considered both a sight hound and a scent hound, making him unique among dogs. An avid chewer, and would appreciate chew toys. Basenjis are not ideal for novice owners.

Physical Features:

40.5 to 51 cm; 10 to 11.5 kg. Noted for his unique ringtail. Expression looks either worried or quizzical, depending on your viewpoint. Chestnut red is by far the most common colour, but can also come in black, black-and-tan, and brindle. All colours should have white feet, chest, and tail-tip.

Coat Type and Grooming:

Short, silky. The Basenji requires minimal care; a quick brushing once a week will suffice. These dogs are very clean, often grooming themselves like a cat. Very light shedding.

Life Expectancy:

The life expectancy of the Basenji is between 10 and 12 years.

Health Concerns:

Eye problems (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), hernias, Basenji enteropathy, anaemia, kidney problems (Fanconi syndrome, peculiar to Basenjis and people).


Medium to high; Basenjis need daily exercise to release mental and physical energy, it can be destructive if not given sufficient exercise.


Most are not suited for apartment living, unless given daily long walks. Basenjis have a tendency to become fat and lazy, consistency on exercise is required.


Loves kids; however, not always good with very young children and should be supervised (only because he can be almost too playful). The Basenji is somewhat reserved, but can still form strong bonds with humans. Aloof with strangers. May try to dominate other pets, it should not be trusted with non-canine pets.


Low; although responsive when properly motivated, his attention is bound to lag with repetitive training. Needs early socialisation and training.


The Basenji excels in lure-coursing and agility.