Basenjis are a unique breed of dog that originated in Africa and are known for their distinctive yodel-like bark, intelligence, and energetic nature. They have been gaining popularity as family pets in recent years, but many people wonder if they are suitable for families with children.

Are Basenji Good Family Dogs?

Despite their small size, Basenjis have a lot of energy and require daily exercise. They are intelligent dogs that need mental stimulation and training to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. While they can be independent and stubborn at times, they are also loyal and affectionate with their families.

Overall, Basenjis can make excellent family dogs for the right family. They do well with active families who have experience with dogs and are willing to provide them with plenty of exercise, training, and mental stimulation. However, they may not be the best choice for families with very young children or those who are looking for a low-maintenance pet.

Basenji Origins and History

African Heritage

The Basenji is a breed of dog that originated in Africa, specifically in the Congo region. The breed is believed to have been developed by the Pygmies, who used the dogs for hunting. The Basenji was highly valued for its ability to track and locate prey and for its speed and agility. The breed was also used to guard villages and to alert their owners of any approaching danger.

fi Basenji Dog collars

Breed Development

The Basenji was first brought to Europe in the 19th century, where it gained popularity as a show dog. In 1937, the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. Despite its popularity, the Basenji is still considered a rare breed.

The Basenji is a small, muscular dog with a short coat that comes in a variety of colors, including red, black, and brindle. The breed is known for its unique yodel-like bark, which is often referred to as the "Basenji scream." This bark is not typical of other dog breeds and is one of the many characteristics that make the Basenji unique.

In conclusion, the Basenji is a breed of dog with a rich history and unique characteristics. Its African heritage and development by the Pygmies make it a fascinating breed to study. Today, the Basenji is a beloved family pet and a popular show dog, and its popularity continues to grow.

Physical Characteristics


The Basenji is a small and lean breed known for its unique appearance. They have a short, fine coat that comes in various colors such as red, black, and brindle. Their most distinctive feature is their ears, which are erect and triangular. They also have a wrinkled forehead and a narrow, tapered chest.

Size and Weight

Basenjis are typically 16 to 17 inches tall and weigh between 22 to 24 pounds. They are considered a small breed, making them an excellent choice for families living in apartments or smaller homes.

Overall, the Basenji's physical characteristics make them an attractive and unique breed. Their small size and lean build make them easy to care for, while their distinctive appearance sets them apart from other breeds.

Temperament and Personality

Basenjis are known for their unique personality and temperament. They are intelligent, independent, and inquisitive dogs that require a lot of attention and socialization to thrive in a family environment. In this section, we will discuss the behavioral traits, interaction with children, and socialization needs of Basenjis.

Behavioral Traits

Basenjis are known for their poise and elegant appearance. They are also known for their aloofness and independence. Basenjis are not typically known to be lap dogs and they do not enjoy being cuddled or petted for long periods. They are, however, very loyal to their owners and will protect them if necessary.

Basenjis are very intelligent and require a lot of mental stimulation to keep them happy. They are also very inquisitive and will explore their surroundings if given the opportunity. Basenjis are known for their unique vocalizations, which include yodeling and howling. They are not typically known to bark, which makes them a good choice for apartment living.

Interaction with Children

Basenjis can be good family dogs, but they may not be the best choice for families with young children. Basenjis are very active and can become easily bored if they are not given enough exercise and mental stimulation. They may become destructive if they are left alone for long periods.

Basenjis are also very independent and may not be as affectionate as some other breeds. They may not enjoy being hugged or cuddled, and they may not be as patient with children as other breeds. It is important to supervise children when they are interacting with Basenjis to ensure that they are not accidentally injured.

Socialization Needs

Basenjis require a lot of socialization to become well-adjusted family pets. They need to be exposed to different people, animals, and environments from an early age to prevent them from becoming shy or aggressive. Basenjis are also very sensitive to their owner's emotions and may become anxious or stressed if their owner is upset.

It is important to train Basenjis using positive reinforcement methods to prevent them from becoming stubborn or disobedient. Basenjis are very intelligent and can quickly learn new commands if they are motivated by treats or praise.

Basenjis can make good family pets if they are given enough exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization. They are intelligent, independent, and inquisitive dogs that require a lot of attention and training to thrive in a family environment.

Health and Care

Are Basenji Good Family Dogs?

Common Health Issues

Basenjis are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health problems. One of the most common health issues in Basenjis is Fanconi syndrome, which affects the kidneys and can lead to kidney failure. It is important to have your Basenji tested for this condition, as early detection can help manage the disease and extend your dog's life.

Another health issue to watch for in Basenjis is progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative eye disease that can lead to blindness. Basenjis should have regular eye exams to detect any early signs of this condition.

Other health problems that can affect Basenjis include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and allergies. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help catch any potential health issues early on.

Grooming and Maintenance

Basenjis are a low-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming. They have short, fine coats that shed minimally, so regular brushing is usually sufficient to keep their coats looking healthy and shiny. Basenjis also have naturally clean teeth, but it is still important to brush their teeth regularly to prevent any dental issues.

Basenjis have fast-growing nails that should be trimmed regularly to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. It is also important to keep up with regular vaccinations and flea and tick prevention to keep your Basenji healthy and happy.

Overall, Basenjis are intelligent and easy to care for, making them a great choice for families who want a loyal and affectionate companion.

Training and Exercise

Exercise Requirements

Basenjis are an active breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. They have a high energy level and enjoy running and playing, making them great companion for active families. Basenjis should be taken on daily walks or runs to meet their exercise needs. It is important to keep them on a leash, as they have a strong prey drive and may chase after small animals.

In addition to physical exercise, Basenjis also requires mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Activities such as lure coursing, agility, and hunting can provide mental stimulation and exercise. Providing puzzle toys and interactive games can also help keep Basenjis mentally engaged.

Training Challenges

Basenjis are known for their strong-willed and willful nature, which can challenge training. They tend to be independent and may not always follow commands. Early socialization and consistent training can help prevent behavior problems and ensure a well-behaved Basenji.

Chewing can also be a challenge for Basenjis, as they have a strong urge to chew on objects. Providing appropriate chew toys and supervising them during playtime can help prevent destructive chewing.

Overall, Basenjis requires a combination of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. With consistent training and early socialization, they can make great family pets for active households.

Basenji Behavior and Communication

Basenji Behavior and Communication


Basenjis are known as the barkless dogs, but this doesn't mean they are completely silent. Instead of barking, they make a unique sound called a yodel. This sound is a mix between a howl and a yelp and is often used to communicate excitement or happiness. Basenjis can also whine, growl, and even scream in certain situations.

It's important to note that Basenjis are not completely mute and can still make noise. However, their vocalization is much less frequent and often less loud than other breeds.

Body Language

Basenjis are known for their catlike behavior, and this extends to their body language as well. They are agile and graceful, with a unique gait that is often described as a "double-suspension gallop." This means that they spend more time in the air than on the ground while running.

In terms of communication, Basenjis use their body language to convey their emotions. They have many expressions and can use their ears, tails, and posture to communicate. For example, a Basenji with a curled tail and ears pulled back may be feeling scared or threatened.

Overall, Basenjis are unique in their vocalization and body language. While they may not bark like other dogs, they still have a wide range of ways to communicate with their owners and other animals.

Living with a Basenji

Basenjis are a unique breed of dog that can make great family pets for the right families. Here are some things to consider if you're thinking about adding a Basenji to your family.

Basenji Dog gps collars

As Family Pets

Basenjis can be great family dogs, but they are not for everyone. They are known for being quiet and affectionate, but they can also be stubborn. This can make them difficult to train, especially for first-time dog owners. However, with patience and consistency, Basenjis can be trained to be well-behaved family pets.

Basenjis are also hypoallergenic, which makes them a good choice for families with allergies. They are friendly with people and make good watchdogs, but they may not be as good with other dogs. Basenjis have a strong prey drive and may see smaller animals, such as cats, as prey.

Compatibility with Other Pets

Basenjis can be good with other pets, but it depends on the individual dog and how they are socialized. They may be more accepting of other pets if they are raised with them from a young age. However, it is important to supervise interactions between Basenjis and other pets, especially smaller animals.

Basenjis are also known for being escape artists. They are agile and can jump high fences, so it is important to have a secure yard if you plan to keep a Basenji as a pet. They also need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, so they may not be the best choice for families who live in apartments or have limited outdoor space.

Overall, Basenjis can make great family pets for the right families. They are quiet, affectionate, and hypoallergenic, but they can also be stubborn and have a strong prey drive. If you're considering adding a Basenji to your family, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder who can help you choose the right dog for your family's needs.

Choosing a Basenji

When it comes to choosing a Basenji, there are a few important factors to consider. In this section, we will discuss finding a reputable breeder and some considerations before adoption.

Finding a Reputable Breeder

It is crucial to find a reputable breeder when looking for a Basenji. A reputable breeder will have a good reputation in the community and will be able to provide you with information about the breed's characteristics, health issues, and temperament.

To find a reputable breeder, you can start by contacting the Basenji Club of America. They can provide you with a list of breeders in your area who adhere to their code of ethics. You can also attend dog shows and meet breeders in person to get a sense of their breeding practices and the quality of their dogs.

When you find a breeder, make sure to ask for health clearances for both parents of the litter. This will ensure that the puppies are not at risk for any genetic health issues.

Considerations Before Adoption

Before adopting a Basenji, there are a few things to consider. Basenjis are hunting dogs and have a strong sense of smell, so they may not be suitable for households with small pets. They are also intelligent and independent, which can make them challenging to train.

On the other hand, Basenjis are hypoallergenic and have a unique personality that can make them great family pets. They are known for their affectionate and playful nature, and they form strong bonds with their owners.

Overall, choosing a Basenji requires careful consideration and research. By finding a reputable breeder and considering the breed's characteristics, you can ensure that you make the right choice for your family.

The Basenji is a unique breed of dog that has been featured in popular culture and media. This African barkless dog has been known for its graceful and elegant appearance, making it a popular choice for dog lovers.

One of the most notable appearances of the Basenji in popular culture is in the 1954 novel "Goodbye, My Lady" by James H. Street. The novel tells the story of a young boy who befriends a Basenji and trains him to become a hunting dog. The novel was later adapted into a film in 1956, further popularizing the breed.

The Basenji has also been featured in television shows and movies, such as the Disney film "Cheetah" and the TV series "Tales of the Gold Monkey". In these appearances, the Basenji is often portrayed as a loyal and intelligent companion.

Basenji in Popular Culture and Media


In conclusion, the Basenji is a unique breed of dog that can make a great addition to a family. While they may not be the best choice for everyone, they can be a good fit for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to train and socialize them properly.

As with any breed, it is important to do your research and understand the characteristics and needs of the Basenji before bringing one into your home. They are independent and intelligent dogs that require a firm and consistent hand in training, as well as plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Overall, the Basenji breed can thrive in a loving and dedicated family environment. With proper care and attention, they can make loyal and affectionate companions for many years to come.


  • Are Basenjis good with small children?
    • Basenjis can be good with children, but supervision is crucial to ensure positive interactions.
  • Do Basenjis require a lot of exercise?
    • Yes, Basenjis are an energetic breed that benefits from daily exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Are Basenjis easy to train?
    • Training a Basenji requires patience and consistency; positive reinforcement is key.
  • What health issues are common in Basenjis?
    • Common health issues include Fanconi syndrome and hip dysplasia; regular veterinary check-ups are essential.
  • Do Basenjis get along with other pets?
    • Basenjis can coexist with other pets, but early socialization is crucial for positive relationships.