The lightly built Basenji were used for hunting game in its native Central Africa and was prized for its speed and intelligence and for its very specialized trait: Known as the “Barkless Dog,” the Basenji is a silent hunter. However, the Basenji emit joyful yodels during play and when greeting family. Despite some unsuccessful attempts to bring the breed to England in the late 1800s, the Basenji eventually was established outside of Africa in England and, in 1941, the U.S.


Small; females 16 inches, 22 pounds; males 17 inches, 24 pounds.


Chestnut red, black, black and tan, or brindle with white markings.


Feisty, intelligent, curious, and independent; affectionate with friends and family, but reserved with strangers. Fastidious about grooming.

Energy level:

Medium to high.

Best owner:

Active owner with fenced yard and time for canine exercise.


Daily mental and physical exercise (walks, games, free runs), fenced yard, minimal coat care.

Life expectancy:

12 to 14 years.