The Basenji Dog Breed originated in Central Africa and existed from Pre-Historic times, being part of a pack and being part of hunting parties. Their name, “mbwa shenzi” means wild dog.
A well-pronounced characteristic of the Basenji is their pack behavior. This should be taken in account when thinking about the environment a Basenji dog can flourish and operate in.
Things to take into account regarding the characteristics of the Basenji Dog:
A Basenji does not belong to anyone but needs to be in a pack. You and your family become their pack. Basenjis need to be completely included in the family; they need to feel equal to all pack (family) members. However, the Basenji will stay an independent, freedom loving dog, even though they do not want to be left alone.
A good atmosphere in their environment will ensure that they are also in a good mood. Basenjis are sensitive dogs and directly act on the feelings surrounding them.
The Basenji has highly developed instincts that were necessary for their pre-historic environment, but not for our modern civilization. Their hearing, sight, and sense of smell are excellent. Any opportunity for chase and catch that presents itself can cause havoc around a house. An open door or garden gate will offer an escape route to go find some adventure.
They have an inherent curiosity which can lead to unpleasant surprises throughout your home. They will bite and chew anything that you might leave in their reach, furniture, electrical cables, clothes, shoes, etc. In this case, curiosity can possibly kill the cat.
Darkness meant danger in their dog ancestors’ homeland and Basenjis are still afraid of the dark.
Because of their lack of the typical dog smell (an inheritance from their ancestors’ life in Africa where the absence of smell meant protection against predators) other dogs might attack them, taking them for something else than a dog.
Basenjis do not like cold and will need warm blankets and bedding in cold winters. They find cold rain, strong winds, hail and frost very unpleasant and will stop doing anything while this continues. They will, however, play in the snow.
When sleeping, stay away. Do not startle them, they wake up instantly, but do not approach until they are fully awake. The old saying:” Let sleeping dogs lie” will be good to remember.
Basenjis like to play a lot and will make you laugh with their antics. They have a sense of humor and are very inquisitive.
Basenjis have high energy levels and need to be taken on long walks, daily.
The Basenji is a hound, which means that it is intelligent and alert, also independent and affectionate. They are difficult to train and won’t obey your commands instantly. This dog has to think about the command and decide if he wants to do what is asked. Deciding if there is anything in obeying that will be to its benefit.