The Basenji is a breed of hunting dog that was bred from stock originating in central Africa.
They produce an unusual yodel-like sound commonly called a “barroo”, due to its unusually shaped larynx. This trait also gives the Basenji the nickname “Barkless Dog”.
Basenjis are small, elegant-looking, short-haired dogs with erect ears, a tightly curled tail and a graceful neck. A basenji’s forehead is wrinkled, even more so when they are young or extremely young. A basenji’s eyes are typically almond-shaped, which often gives the dogs the appearance of squinting. Basenjis typically weigh about 11 kg (24 lb) and stand 41 cm (16 in) at the shoulder. They are a square breed, which means they are as long as they are tall. Basenjis are athletic dogs, and are actually deceptively powerful for their size. They have a graceful, confident gait like a trotting horse, and skim the ground in a double suspension gallop, with their characteristic curled tail straightened out for greater balance when running flat out at their top speed.
Basenjis come in a few different colorations: red, black, tricolor, and brindle, and they all have white chests and stomachs. They can also come in trindle, which is a tricolor with brindle points, a rare combination.
The Basenji is alert, energetic, curious and reserved with strangers. The Basenji is somewhat aloof with strangers, and tends to become emotionally attached to a single human. Basenjis may not get along with non-canine pets. Basenjis dislike wet weather, like to climb, can easily get over chain wire fences. Most Basenji problems involve a mismatch between owner and pet.
Basenjis often stand on their hind legs, somewhat like a meerkat, by themselves or leaning on something; this behavior is often observed when the dog is curious about something. Basenjis have a strong prey drive. According to the book The Intelligence of Dogs, they are the second least trainable dog. However, Basenjis are extremely intelligent and respond to training that is consistent and positive with plenty of treats. Basenjis do not respond well to punishment, such as yelling and hitting, which can cause them to utter a warning growl.
Basenjis can suffer from PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), which causes blindness; and Fanconi syndrome, which can cause kidney failure.