Nyam-Nyam, Congo Terrier, Cheops Dog

This surprising specimen with its rather peculiar appearance is an excellent companion dog. This very old breed, widely used in the past for hunting small game, is nowadays mostly a companion. Despite all this, the Basenji is a primitive dog that is in great need of exercise. He loves the sun and its warmth as well as the company of his family and their games.

Height 38 to 43 cm
Weight 9 to 11 kg
Life expectancy 10 to 13 years
Hair Loss Low
Excercise Need High
Home country Congo (Brazzaville)

Quick Overview of the Basenji


  • Clean and very friendly
  • Hates solitude
  • Loves to play with children
  • Very attentive


  • Lightweight built
  • Fine bone structure
  • Aristocratic air
  • Ancestral genes from Africa


  • No particular pathology
  • Robust

Temperament of the Basenji

This primitive-looking dog has excellent hunting skills. He is very clean and friendly and despite its apparent independence, he hates loneliness. He is affectionate but only when he decides to be, and he loves to play with children.

He is not very docile and tends to follow the trail once he has sniffed it out, but he is still easy to train. He is very attentive and most of his attention is focused on watching over his territory. He looks for a height to perch on and will stay there to eventually protect his environment.

He doesn’t bark much. Quite peculiar, the sound emitted by the Basenji looks more like Tyrolean vocalizations than barking.

He is quite restless but  adapts to city life as long as he benefits from regular exercise. He is independent and will show signs of affection when he decides to do so. However, despite its apparent independence, he has a very low tolerance for solitude. He prefers the company of his family to solitude.

basenji personnalité

Breed Appearance


Small in size, the Basenji has a light built with a fine skeleton giving it a rather aristocratic look. High on his legs, his silhouette is reminiscent of his ancestral genes from the wild dogs of Central Africa.


Between 38 and 41 cm (14.96 to 16.14 inches) for the male
Between 41 and 43 cm (16.14 to 16.93 inches) for the female


Between 9 and 11 kg (19.84 to 24.25 pounds) for the male
Between 9 and 11 kg (19.84 to 24.25 pounds) for the female


His coat has different colors. Pure black and white, red and white, black and tan, white with tan patches are the main colours found in the Basenji.


His short coat is tight and glossy.


His thin, elongated head is slightly wrinkled on the forehead and has a slight stop. His eyes are very dark and almond-shaped. His small ears are pointed and erect. His nose is generally black. His long tail curls into a loop.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 5, section 6 and is #43

Characteristics of the Basenji

Does this dog suit your lifestyle?

Every dog breed has its own characteristics. However, the actual character of a dog can vary from one to another within the same breed.

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Life in an apartment
Good first dog
Tolerates solitude
Tolerates cold weather
Tolerates hot weather
Friendly with children
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other animals
Hair loss
Drooling level
Easy to care for
Robust health
Easy to train
Tendency to bark
Tendency to nibble
Instinct to hunt
Adventurous spirit
Energy level
Level of intensity
Need for exercise

Price and monthly budget

Price you can expect to pay for a Basenji puppy: between and
These prices are indicative and may vary from breeder to breeder
Average monthly budget for a Basenji:
The monthly budget includes the average expenses for food and hygiene products (grooming, anti-parasite...)

Basenji puppies near me

Basenji pictures

Tips About this breed

As his habits are more feline than canine, the Basenji is very clean and can live very well in an apartment. However, he will still need plenty of space to exercise regularly.

Since he hates wind and drafts, once the exercise is over, he will greatly appreciate a cozy space in the house. However, he will have a tendency to perch, a bit like a cat, and to groom by licking himself.

He needs to be educated at a very early age. This requires gentleness but firmness so that he can obey the first instruction. As he tends to follow scent trails, a good education will allow him to be brought back to order quickly.

Health of the Basenji

No particular pathology affects the Basenji race. It has survived for millennia in the midst of African savannahs and forests. It is a particularly robust dog.


He can be brushed from time to time, but no special care is required. He has a feline tendency to wash himself by licking himself frequently and he often even settles down like the cat, i.e. he lies down with its paws crossed.

History of this breed

Originally from the Congo in Central Africa, the Basenji comes from the African wild dog whose name was linked to the Congolese tribe, the Bashingi.

A very ancient breed that has existed for thousands of years, the Basenji is even said to have existed during the time of the pharaohs. Numerous illustrations resembling the Basenji were discovered in several Egyptian tombs.

Some inscriptions are said to be more than 5,000 years old. Brought back by English settlers to Great Britain in 1895, the breed was a great success in England and in the United States. It entered France around 1966 and the standard was established in 1988. It was in 1991 that its first club was founded.

He is apparently the ancestor of the Terriers according to some, hence his nickname of Congo Terrier.

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