Showdog Saturday is back! I love the basenjis that I've come in contact with so I figured I'd check out the "barkless" dog of Africa. I love finding out what is unique and special about each breed of dog. Seems like they all have a purpose of some kind. As usual, much info was obtained from the internet; sites like doginfo.com, akc.org and dogtime.com.
Basenjis are considered one of the oldest breeds. They have been documented as living in ancient Egypt and survived in Africa when the Egyptian empire declined. They have been used for flushing out small game and controlling rodent populations, as well as alerting for approaching strangers. Some tribes valued them more highly than wives.
They are sight hounds, which means that see motion and chase whatever moves. They have a high prey drive, which makes them excellent hunters. In a more domesticated setting; cats, squirrels, rabbits, etc. are considered prey and are fair game. Basenjis are intelligent, resourceful and independent, which helps when they are out of site of their people.
Basenjis are know for being barkless. This doesn't mean they are silent, however. They make lots of other sounds, like yodelling or screaming. I went to a Basenji specialty once. The dogs started yodelling to the National Anthem; pretty much all of them. It has stuck with me.
These guys are also known for their corkscrew tails, as well as their smooth coats and muscular little bodies. They are said to shed only minimally, which makes grooming pretty easy.
One unique trait they have; they clean themselves like cats. If dogs are generally too dirty, these guys might be an option to consider, although a person who has a Basenji might find that the Basenji has them instead.
Agility is a sport that they are really good at, especially if you can convince them that it is their idea.
And they are naturals at coursing since they are sight hounds. Lure coursing is a sport in which they see a lure (usually a plastic bag) attached to a line with pulleys that they can chase.
These dogs are not "willing to please" or easy to train like many breeds, but instead decide each time whether or not they will obey. They are more likely to teach their people; things like keeping the house picked up so things don't get chewed or doing their bidding when they need something. Basenjis may use their smarts for their own causes.
These guys are know escape artists! They are resourceful and can figure a way out so they can go exploring. Climbing fences or ignoring a shock collar are no big deal.
They do bond with their family and if they are in a household where consistent rules and advanced planning are included, they can be really fun companions.