It's true, there are many types of dogs – from large Great Danes and Saint Bernards to tiny Chihuahuas and Pomeranians. There are sporting dogs, such as golden retrievers and Labradors, and working dogs, such as Akitas and Siberian huskies. Some dogs are furry, such as Samoyeds. Others have little fur at all, such as short-haired boxers.
No matter what you're looking for in a dog, you're likely to find it – including one that doesn't bark.
Did you know there is a dog breed that doesn't make a true barking sound? It's the basenji (pronounced buh-SEN-jee), a hunting dog from Africa that uses sight and scent to track other animals in the wild. Its short, silky coat comes in several colors including red and white; black; tricolored black, tan, and white; and brindle (gray or tan with streaks or spots).
Measuring about 17 inches tall and weighing 22 to 24 pounds, this little dog is quick on its feet. With a tightly curled tail, a wrinkled forehead, and pointed ears, the breed is recognizable from hieroglyphics on the ancient Egyptian pyramids.
So what about this breed being barkless? There's no real reason basenjis can't bark, but they generally don't. However, they aren't silent: basenjis can yodel, chortle, whine, howl, and growl.
While basenjis can be "talkative" with their owners, only the most fortunate of guests usually get to hear one yodel. That's because teaching one to yodel on command is a rare feat.
Basenjis are intelligent and independent. They can detect a squirrel from hundreds of feet away. They aren't afraid to take on prairie dogs, mice, or snakes, either – to keep a home free from pests.
Basenjis can quickly learn to open lever-handled doors – to get to a warm bed on the other side. These dogs love to cuddle on their owners' laps, sleep under the covers in their beds, and curl up at their feet to nap.
While basenjis can be taught to sit, stay, lie down, come, and other basic dog commands, they often have their own idea of what they want to do. Unless they have a good reason to obey a command (such as a tasty treat), they might just do as they please.
So what does a basenji prefer to do in its free time? This dog loves to lie around in warm, sunny spots; chase cats and other small animals; and get into things. Basenjis are also known for opening cabinet doors, tipping over trash cans, shredding tissues into tiny pieces, and climbing over fences.
But their unique characteristics don't stop there: They shed very little and are almost odorless. They also have been compared to cats. That's because basenjis bathe themselves like a cat, licking their fur to keep clean.
They can be aloof to strangers, too, meaning they might appear uninterested or snobbish to those they don't know.
However quirky basenjis are, they are loyal to their owners. But if you want to see one, you must keep your eyes wide open. Since they don't bark, you may not hear one – but you may spot one walking proudly with its owner.