Do Basenjis Bark? (2024)


The Basenji is one of the smallest hunting dogs that originated in Central Africa and is considered an ancient breed after being discovered in Libyan cave paintings. They are known for their slender bodies, short, curled tails, and intelligent, independent natures.

In addition, they have a reputation for not barking, although there’s some debate about whether this is indeed the case.

So do Basenjis bark? The answer to that is slightly complicated. Basenjis are known for their trademark silence; many believe they don’t bark at all. However, some Basenjis do bark, but this tends to be due to particular circumstances.

This post will explore whether Basenjis truly don’t bark or if there are some instances in which they do.

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Do Basenjis Bark?


Basenjis are known for their strong hunting instincts and quiet nature. For these reasons, many people believe that Basenjis don’t bark.

However, this isn’t entirely accurate; while Basenjis typically don’t bark, there are some cases in which they may, like any other dog.

The confusion is because Basenjis don’t vocalize in the same way that other dogs do.

When most dogs bark, they do so with a deep, throaty sound that carries. In contrast, Basenjis make a high-pitched yodeling noise that is more akin to singing than barking.

Yodeling? That’s right, yodeling. The Basenjis are one of the few breeds that rarely bark – instead, they yodel! This unusual form of communication is similar to a howl or whine, like the sound Basset Hounds make.

Basenjis use it to communicate various messages, from alerting the pack to danger to simply expressing their joy at being alive.

Do Basenjis Bark at Strangers?

Basenjis are naturally suspicious of strangers and will often give a warning yodel when someone new comes around.

However, this is not considered barking in the traditional sense; instead, it’s a way for the Basenji to communicate that they are uncomfortable or unsure about the situation.

In most cases, a Basenji’s warning yodel will be enough to deter any would-be intruders. And once they’re given a chance to warm up to new people, they typically make friends quite easily.

However, if the situation persists or the Basenji feels threatened, they may escalate to actual barking.

Do Basenjis Bark When Excited?

Basenjis may bark when excited, but this tends to be more of a yodel than a traditional bark, as mentioned. This is most likely to occur when the Basenji is excited about going for a walk or seeing their favorite person.

Basenjis are known to be playful and energetic, so it’s not uncommon for them to yodel when they’re feeling happy and carefree.

This is among the most endearing qualities of the breed – their joy is contagious and often expressed in the form of this happy “song.”

Do Basenjis Bark When Left Alone?

Some dogs bark excessively when left alone, but this is not typically the case for Basenjis. In fact, many Basenjis are content to spend time on their own and may even enjoy the peace and quiet.

Most owners can leave their Basenjis alone for several hours without any issues.

However, there is a small minority of Basenjis who bark when left alone. This is usually due to separation anxiety and can signify that the dog is not getting enough attention or exercise.

If you find your Basenji struggles when alone, it’s crucial to provide your Basenji with plenty of toys and enriching activities to keep them occupied.

Do Basenjis Bark When They’re in Pain?

Like any other dog, a Basenji in pain may bark to communicate discomfort, although yelps and whines are more common. If your Basenji is barking more than usual, it’s always best to take them to the vet for a check-up.

Do Basenjis Bark in Their Sleep?

Basenjis, like all dogs, may bark in their sleep from time to time. However, this is usually nothing to worry about and is just a normal part of the dreaming process.

Dogs often dream about chasing prey or running, which can sometimes result in them vocalizing.

Can Basenjis Bark?


Yes, Basenjis can bark. It’s just not something they typically do. So why are they called “the barkless dogs”? Well, it’s because of the rarity of their barking.

It’s not that they physically can’t bark; they just don’t feel the need to do so. So it’s not a question of can a Basenji bark, but rather, why should they bark? We told you – they’re independent!

But even when they bark, it’s not the same kind of bark you’d hear from other dogs. Instead, Basenjis tend to have a higher-pitched, staccato bark that sounds more like yodeling than anything else. It’s actually pretty amusing to listen to!

Why Don’t Basenjis Bark?


It has to do with their hunting habits – and their history.

In the wild, barking would give away a dog’s location to larger predators and prey, making it easier for the target to escape. As such, hunters found that dogs who were natural silent types made better hunting partners.

These “barkless” dogs would have been bred specifically for their ability to remain quiet while on the hunt. For this reason, some believe that the lack of barking is simply a holdover from their days as wild dogs.

In Central Africa, where the breed originates, hunters commonly used Basenji for hunting lions, leopards, and other large game. But despite their hunting origins, most Basenjis today are companion animals.

However, their independent natures and reputation for being “barkless” still hold true.

In addition, their vocal cords are shaped differently from most other dogs, which limits their ability to make traditional barking sounds.

The ventricle of their larynx is more shallow than average and this makes it difficult for Basenjis to create the “barking” sound that other dogs can make so easily.

What Does a Basenji Bark Sound Like?


The basenji bark sounds nothing like what you would expect from a dog – it tends to sound more like a yelp or a hiccup than other dogs’ traditional “woof.”

This is due to their unique anatomy; as mentioned before, the shape of their larynx makes it difficult for them to produce a classic bark sound.

Despite being considered a quiet dog, the basenji is far from silent. In addition to their unusual barking, they are also known for making a wide range of other noises, including growls, howls, whines, and even screams.

So, while they may not be the most traditional “barking” dog out there, their unique form of communication is sure to keep you entertained!

Basenji barking and howling sounds are actually quite similar, so it can be difficult to tell them apart. However, if you listen closely, you’ll notice that barking is more staccato while howling is more sustained.

In other words, barking is like a series of short “yelps,” while howling is more like one long “yelp.”

What to Do About a Basenji Barking?


If you find yourself with a basenji that throws his “barkless” nature to the wind and barks excessively, you can help curtail the behavior. First, try to figure out why they’re barking in the first place.

Are they scared or excited? Once you know the trigger, you can begin to work on desensitizing them to it.

Then, provide your dog with plenty of chances to get exercise. A tired dog is good; you can tire out a Basenji with physical activity like walking or playing fetch. Basenjis are high-energy dogs that need plenty of opportunities to run and play.

If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, it may be that they’re simply bored and looking for something to do – like bark.

Next, ensure that you provide your basenji with toys that offer mental stimulation. This breed is known for being intelligent and resourceful, so they must be kept mentally challenged to be their happiest self.

For example, try providing your dog with interactive toys and puzzles or teaching them new tricks. If you can keep their minds occupied, they’ll be less likely to bark out of boredom.

Finally, if nothing else seems to work, don’t be afraid to consult with a behaviorist or trainer. These trained professionals can help you identify the root cause of the barking and devise a plan to address it.

Conclusion For “Do Basenjis Bark?”


With all the debate surrounding the “barkless” nature of Basenjis, it’s easy to find yourself wondering, “do Basenji dogs bark?” Well, the answer is yes – though it’s doubtful you’ll ever hear one!

In addition, their bark may sound more like a yelp or hiccup than the traditional “woof” of other dogs, so you may not even realize that they’re trying to bark at first.

It’s more likely you’ll hear them yodeling, which sounds similar to barking but is more sustained. But, regardless of the noise, one thing is for sure – Basenjis are far from silent dogs!

So if you’ve decided you want to spend your days with a quiet companion, this may not be the breed for you. But the Basenji could be the perfect fit if you’re looking for a dog with tons of personality and character.

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For more information about the Basenji Breed, check out the video below: