The Barkless Dog

For any of you who have ever owned a Shetland Sheepdog –or even lived next door to one–  you’ll know that they love to bark.  My Shelties are especially excitable as I play with them a lot.  They bark when I pretend to box with them, they bark when I play hide and seek with them, and they really bark when I play “who is chasing who around the billiard table”.  And, if I’m out shoveling snow, all hell breaks loose,  because they bark at flying snow.  Oh, and they bark when my husband sneezes.  I don’t rate a bark when I sneeze and I have no idea what makes my husband’s sneezes so special.

Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I heard about a barkless dog….thinking maybe I had found my next pet.    Unfortunately, after some research I was disappointed to learn that, due to the structure of the dog’s larynx, it “yodels”.  I don’t think my neighbors would appreciate that.


BREED:  The Basenji



  • one of the oldest breeds
  • engravings of the dogs that date back to 3600 BC were found in Egypt


  • aloof and independent
  • attaches to one or two members of the family, but not overly friendly
  • very clean dog – grooms itself – no need for you to do grooming – Bonus!
  • highly intelligent


  • 16 to 17 inches
  • 22 to 24 pounds
  • short and silky coat
  • colors:  chestnut red, pure black, or black and tan, all with white feet
  • tail curled on back


  • not easy to train due to independent nature but can learn with much patience
  • used for hunting
  • needs space and exercise



  • needs to be checked for fanconi syndrome
  • life expectancy is about 12 years





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