Home   »   Breeds   »   Basenji   »   History

Looking for a Basenji?

The Basenji, popularly known as the "Barkless Dog", is one of the oldest breeds, with documentation of the first specimens found in ancient Egypt. When the civilization of Egypt declined and fell, the breed lapsed into obscurity but was preserved in Central Africa. It was highly prized for its intelligence, speed, hunting power & silence.

The first exportations were taken to England in 1895, but unfortunately these dogs perished due to contracting distemper. It wasn't until 1937 that another attempt was made to introduce Basenjis to England, and at the same time, a pair was also exported to America. The American dogs produced a litter of puppies, but all of them with the exception of the older male, "Boris", perished from distemper. In 1941 a young female was imported to the Boston, MA, area, and this female and Boris produced the first American litter of Basenjis. Later, additional imports from Canada and England helped to develop the breed in the United States.

The Basenji was developed first and foremost as a hunting dog, with great emphasis being placed on intelligence, courage and adaptability. These traits aided the dog in the field, as frequently the dogs would work out of the sight of the hunters. The natives used the Basenji for pointing, retrieving, for driving game into nets and for hunting wounded quarry, and the breed's ability to be silent was a great asset in a successful hunt.

More Info