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The Basenji is a breed of hunting dog that originates in central Africa. It is considered by some, particularly in North America, to be a member of the sighthound family; most kennel clubs, including the American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom classify it as a hound. The Basenji produces an unusual yodel-like sound, due to its unusually shaped larynx. Although Basenjis do not bark per se, they can mimic sounds, and thus are able to mimic barks if raised among barking dogs. In behavior and temperament they have some traits in common with cats.
Appearance Dogs typically weigh 24 pounds (11 kg) and stand 17 inches (43 cm) at the withers. Bitches are 22 pounds (10 kg) and 16 inches (40 cm). They are typically a square breed, which means that they are as long as they are tall. The Basenji is an athletic dog and is deceptively powerful for its size. They have a graceful, confident gait like a trotting horse, and skim the ground in a “double-suspension gallop” when running flat-out at their top speed.
Temperament Like wild canids, Basenjis do not bark. They will, however, give the occasional single “woof.” They also chortle, whine, squeal, howl, and make a Basenji-specific noise called a yodel or a baroo. Some Basenji screams, during times of distress such as being locked up, have been compared to the scream of a woman, the crow of a rooster; essentially, their ability runs the gamut of vocalizations. Though they do not bark, they are quite capable of making their voices heard. Often, when wanting attention, Basenjis will make a low, warbling “Ryoo” sound.
Also like wild canids, most Basenjis breed only once a year, usually in the autumn.
Basenjis are fastidious about their personal grooming, even washing themselves with their paws as cats do. Like cats, most Basenjis have a strong dislike for contact with water, and will go to great lengths to avoid getting wet. On the other hand, they are extremely inquisitive dogs, and can temporarily be completely oblivious to the pouring rain if something piques their interest.
Basenjis are highly intelligent and learn quickly, but they also have a cat-like independence and “self-motivation” which can make them somewhat casual about obedience. A healthy Basenji is a mischievous and good-humored animal, and is not above testing the limits of its environment and owner just for sport. They can be aloof with strangers but form strong bonds with their owners. If not supervised or trained properly, Basenjis can become bored and destructive when left alone. Basenjis are also expert climbers, and have been known to scale chain-link fences as much as eight feet high. Basenjis also have a very strong sense of territory, and they consider their home plus the whole area where they are regularly walked their territory. Because of this, they can be very hostile towards other dogs in those areas. Females are more likely to tend to do this over males.
Quick and fast on their feet, Basenjis love to run and chase, so much so that they are sometimes competitively run in lure courses. There are few creatures a Basenji is likely to encounter (including its owner!) that it does not believe it can outwit or outrun. This, combined with the breed’s typically fearless approach to the world, makes it a good idea not to allow a Basenji to run free in an unconfined area or where it may get into trouble.
A clear way to tell if a Basenji feels something is a threat or prey is when it circles around the object/person/animal. Usually this happens with animals in packs, but Basenjis do not have to be in a pack to circle around their prey. When they are circling, usually they are determining how to kill the threat or prey, and they will also do this to humans with whom they are unfamiliar. (Information from Wikipedia)