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From Africa, the Basenji dog breed was originally found in the Congo. These dogs use both scent and sight to hunt and were originally used to drive small game into hunters' nets and to control the village rodent population. Nowadays, they also make great, loving, furry family members.


The Basenji is probably one of the oldest domesticated breeds of dog, and perhaps that is why it is not a barker. Early humans may have preferred a quiet dog when hunting. Like its wild cousin the wolf, the Basenji can bark, but usually barks only once and then is silent. It is also believed to be only partially domesticated. Its metabolism is different from that of any other domesticated dog and, as with wild canines, the female of the Basenji only appears once a year, as opposed to twice a year in other domesticated dogs.

Basenjis were discovered by Westerners in the Congo region of West Africa in the 19th century. There, the dogs were used to herd game into nets, transport goods, and warn of the approach of dangerous animals when on the move. A good hunting Basenji was valued more than a wife by some tribes in Africa, not only for its hunting prowess but also for its resourcefulness and ingenuity.


The Basenji is a hunting dog. That means it is intelligent and independent, but also affectionate and alert. He is a greyhound, which means that movement attracts his attention, and he will chase anything he sees moving - cats, squirrels, rabbits. He is not the kind of dog to follow commands immediately. He has to think about it and decide if he really wants to do what you ask him.

Patience and a sense of humour are essential in life with a Basenji. He will chew or eat anything that comes within his reach, and is quite capable of devising a plan to achieve what he wants, whether that is to climb up on the kitchen counter or break into the larder where the dog biscuits are stored. He can be aloof with strangers, and he cannot be trusted around cats or other small animals unless he has been raised with them and you are sure he recognises them as family members.