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There are few countries in the world where dog ownership is as prevalent as it is in Australia. And for many Aussies, there is no dog breed more beloved than the noble Basenji, whose origins can be traced back to ancient Egypt.
Known for their fierce loyalty to their owners, Basenjis are believed to have been popular among the pharaohs of Egypt, and depictions of them can be found in ancient Egyptian art.
From Egypt, Basenjis gradually made their way to Central Africa where they were used against the indigenous rat population and to help hunters track and retrieve their prey.
They were introduced to the West at the close of the 19th century, when a pair of Basenjis were brought to England and exhibited at Birmingham’s Crufts International Dog Show.
After being successfully bred in England, Basenjis were soon exported abroad, making their first appearance in Australia in 1946. By the 1970s, the majestic animals had become a standard feature of Australia’s show-dog circuit.
Today, the Basenji is one of Australia’s most cherished dog breeds. They are widely bred across the country and are relied upon by many Australian farmers to curb pests.
Members of the hound family, Basenjis are known for their loyalty, intelligence and high energy levels. Typically weighing between 9 and 11 kilograms (when fully grown), they can be recognised by their wrinkly foreheads and tightly-curled tails.
Basenjis are unique in the fact that they do not bark, but make a distinctive ‘yodelling’ sound when excited, earning them an exalted place in the hearts and minds of Australian dog lovers.