Its beginnings in the wilds of Africa 40 centuries ago have allowed the Basenji to become one of the most unique breeds of dog around. The most commonly noted fact about the Basenji is that it is the only breed of dog that does not bark. Often referred to as the barkless dog, the breed offers a noise that is likened to more of a yodel than anything else. This is due to a larynx that is shaped differently than any other dog breed. They are also known to chortle, growl and even shriek from time to time. Many owners note that their Basenji may give a mournful howl when missing a mate or feeling lonely. It is not uncommon for the Basenji to dislike going out at night, a safety practice ingrained from its days in the wilds of central Africa.
Bred for hunting, the Basenji was known to be presented as gifts to royalty and other nobles in the time of the ancient Egyptians. Archaeologists studying Egyptian art and hieroglyphics have found many references to the unique breed throughout different areas of their literature. Throughout their history in the Nile area and on into Zaire, the Basenji was mated to many different wild dogs. This has left them with a metabolism that is more closely related to that of a jackal or wolf. There are only a few small areas left in Africa in which the Basenji remains a purebred animal.
One of the bonuses of the Basenji breed is both its keen sense of smell and lack of it. That is to say, a Basenji loves to sniff and smell his or her owner upon coming home to see where their owner has been all day. At the same time, the owner comes home to an environment that is free of pet smells. This is because, unlike other dog breeds, the Basenji has no body odor. Individuals looking for a pet with this attribute should keep a breed like the Basenji in mind. Although it is not a primary reason to pick a pet, those with sensitive noses will appreciate this type of pet.
On top of having no odor, the Basenji is also known for being quite clean. They are often compared to cats with many owners in agreement that the Basenji actually cleans itself more often than their feline counterparts. While they love being outdoors, it also means they do just as well indoors also. The Basenji tends to shy away from clutter and prefers an environment that is tidy and in good order. In fact, the Basenji is one that does not do well when left outside for long periods of time in less than favorable conditions. While they do not mind getting their paws dirty, they do not like to stay that way. A Basenji enjoys the attention of a good grooming session.