West Africa’s Barkless Dog, the Basenji is a skilled
hunter. The small, graceful hound runs with the smooth strides of a miniature
racehorse. The speed, courage and intelligence of the Basenji are crucial
traits as the sighthound is used to lure lions out of their caves in countries
like Kenya. Basenji translates to “jumping up and down dog”, the ability of the
small dog to leap vertically is an important skill used for hunting in the tall
African grasslands. Basenjis are believed to be among the first domesticated
dogs. The dogs were brought up the Nile as gifts to the pharaohs of ancient
Egypt. Basenjis can be seen depicted in ancient artifacts from Egypt, and in
ancient Babylonian and Mesopotamian art.
Today the Basenji
retains its strong instinct to hunt, explosive speed, and keen sense of smell.
Basenji’s excel when competing in lure coursing, tracking, obedience and
agility competitions. Their sleek short coat, tightly curled tail and
expressive eyes seem to convey a wide range of human emotions. While your
neighbors will never hear the Basenji bark they might hear the yodel like
vocalization that is also a hallmark of the breed.