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  • Writer's pictureVickie Foster

Do you want a dog with cat traits? Check out the Basenji.



Are you looking for a new dog, but prefer cat traits too? Look no further than the catlike Basenji, a dog from Africa that is compact, intelligent and referred to as the “barkless” dog. Though don’t let that moniker fool you. A Basenji may not bark, but instead “yodels” which are far louder. In full yodeling mode a Basenji can sound like an air raid siren. This breed however, has a lot to offer.


Basenjis are small, graceful hounds. The average height for a male is 17 inches with a weight of 24 pounds. They have a shiny, short coat, tightly curled tail and expressive, almond-shaped eyes. Their head is long and narrow with a pointed muzzle and erect ears. Their coat colors can be black and white, black, tan and white, or red and white. They are fastidious and will groom themselves like cats.


This energetic dog needs lots of activity and exercise. Without the appropriate amount they will become bored leading to destructive behavior. When giving these dogs exercise they should never be allowed to run loose outside. They have a strong hunting instinct and can’t resist running off. Before choosing this breed be prepared to put in some time walking and playing with it.


Affectionate with family, Basenjis are kid and dog-friendly.  They are very intelligent and can be stubborn while training.  The breed takes its time to consider whether it wants to do what you are asking. Patience and a sense of humor are necessary when living with a Basenji.


Given the right training Basenjis make wonderful dogs. While not owned in great numbers, they have an almost cult following of strong fans. 


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