The Basenji is probably one of the oldest breeds of domesticated dog, and perhaps that’s why he’s not a barker. Early people may have preferred a quiet dog on hunts. Like his wild cousin the wolf, the Basenji can bark but usually barks only once and then is silent. It’s also theorized that he is only partially domesticated. His metabolism is unlike that of any other domesticated dog, and like wild canids the female Basenji only cycles once a year compared to twice a year for 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 flush game into nets, to carry goods, and to warn of the approach of dangerous animals when on the trail. A good hunting Basenji was valued more than a wife by some tribes in Africa, not only for his hunting skill but also his resourcefulness and ingenuity.
Attempts to bring the Basenji to Europe failed at first because the imported dogs all died of disease shortly after arrival. The first successful importation occurred in the 1930s both in England and the United States.
The Basenji Club of America was formed in 1942, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943. Phemister’s Bois was the first Basenji registered with the AKC, in 1944. Basenjis are rare, ranking 84th among the 155 breeds and varieties recognized by the AKC, so expect to spend time on a breeder’s waiting list if you decide this is the dog for you.
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19 May, 2016
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