Most of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world place the breed in the Hound Group—more specifically, in the sighthound type.
The Basenji produces an unusual yodel-like sound commonly called a “baroo”, due to its unusually shaped larynx. This trait also gives the Basenji the nickname “soundless dog”.
Basenjis share many unique traits with pariah dog types. Basenjis, like dingoes, New Guinea singing dogs and some other breeds of dog, come into oestrus only once annually—as compared to other dog breeds, which may have two or more breeding seasons every year. Both dingoes and Basenji lack a distinctive odour, and are prone to howls, yodels, and other vocalizations over the characteristic bark of modern dog breeds. One theory holds that the latter trait is the result of selecting against dogs that frequently bark—in the traditional Central African context—because barking could lead enemies to humans’ forest encampments. While dogs that resemble the Basenji in some respects are commonplace over much of Africa, the breed’s original foundation stock came from the old growth forest regions of the Congo Basin, where its structure and type were fixed by adaptation to its habitat, as well as use (primarily net hunting in extremely dense old-growth forest vegetation).
The name comes from the Lingala language of the Congo, mbwá na basɛ́nzi which means “village dogs”.
The Basenji Club of NSW Inc.
Basenjis are one of the most ancient breeds of dog, originating in central Africa, and still found in African villages today. They can be seen depicted on Egyptian tombs. They were first brought to the rest of the world during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The first Basenjis brought to Australia were two pairs imported from England by Dr. Alan Caselberg of Fairymeadow in 1948. No more arrived until 1959, then more imports in the 1960’s and local breeding saw the breed established. In 1968 Basenji supporters in NSW came together to form the Basenji Club of NSW. Two of those founding members are amongst our Club Patrons today, Mr. Alan Hunt of Pukkanut Basenjis and Mrs. Marie Dymock of Afrika Basenjis.
The Basenji Club of NSW Inc. celebrated its 50th Anniversary year in 2018. The aims of the Club are still to “help old and new Basenji enthusiasts further the understanding of this delightful dog”. Members participate in a range of activities with their dogs, from show ring to lure coursing, canine nose work, tracking, agility, obedience and education or pets as therapy dogs. Of course, many are also treasured family members. The breed is still relatively uncommon, with only limited numbers of puppies born each year. Over the years, the Club has worked to promote wider knowledge of the breed, and has run parades, racing events and now the current format of a Club Open Show on Good Friday and the Club’s renowned annual Championship Show in October, featuring international judges and Basenjis travelling from around Australia to attend.
The Basenji Club of NSW Inc. also runs annual Adult and Puppy Point Score competitions. Members get together about once a month at the designated point score dog show and a meeting is usually held at the same event. It’s a good way to meet Basenjis and talk about them if you are interested in the breed. The list of Point Score Shows and results are published on the Club’s website. As most Basenji puppies arrive from May to July, the Puppy Point Score starts in October.
The Basenji Club of NSW hosts both a website, at www.basenjiclubnsw.com and a Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/BasenjiClubNSW.Inc/ where there is information on Basenji ownership, health and updates on events and news. Members receive the Club magazine, The Basenji News, 11 times a year, and it highlights Basenji activities from around Australia and the world, not just the show ring. The Club has been involved in breed health programmes, as well as rescue and rehoming, and provides advice on purchasing a Basenji, and recognised breeders. The Club is open to all people interested in this unique breed.
Members of the Basenji Club and their dogs will be on Stand 924 for the 2019 Sydney Dog Lovers Show. We will have a photo display, breeders and owners to show off their dogs, and will be taking part in the Dogs NSW Ask The Breeder showcases too.
We want to talk about the Basenji, introduce them to people who have not met a Basenji before or to reminisce with folk who’ve owned one and want the chance to pat one again. We are happy to provide information about handling, health, grooming, training and care, and answer questions about what you should find out if you are interested in owning a Basenji, how they fit into families and lifestyles, and to show people this beautiful barkless but not silent breed.
The Basenji has a wrinkled forehead, pricked ears, white chest, white tipped curly tail and four white feet. It is small and gazelle-like, stands about 40 to 43 cms (16 to 17 ins) at the shoulder, weighs 8.0 to 11 kgs (20-24lbs) and gives the impression of trim elegance. The four colours of the breed are red & white; black & white: tri-colour (black tan and white or black tan and white with tan mask and melon pips); and brindle & white.
The average Australian Basenji is a very healthy dog. If they are well looked after, they rarely have to visit the vet except for vaccinations. Of course, as with any breed of dog, you will have to administer regular worming treating for intestinal and heart worms. Breeders test for PPM and PRA and also Fanconi Syndrome, though the incidence of these hereditary conditions is very rare.
You can expect 12 to 17 years of companionship from your Basenji.
Since Basenjis clean themselves like cats and have no “doggy” odour, they are exceptional in the world of dogs. Regular brushing and an occasional bath is all that is required. As they are low shedding, they are considered a less allergenic breed.
Basenjis are an active dog and given a garden will exercise themselves. However, regular walks are beneficial to both Basenji and owner.
As a hound that hunts by scent, sight and hearing, and deaf to all entreaties to return once on the chase, the Basenji requires a suitably fenced yard. A fence that is strong and unclimbable and well positioned at ground level is essential. Given suitable toys and stimulating company it is a dog suitable for active families but also adaptable to apartment living if given sufficient exercise to burn off excess energy. Very much their own person, a Basenji will be a loyal companion, but one who will challenge and fascinate, requiring a good sense of humour, and the ability to admire independent thinking from one of the world’s smartest breeds.
Stand Number: 924