Basenjis are an ancient breed. Carvings indicate that they were even given as gifts to the Egyptian Pharaohs. But their primary purpose, at least in Africa historically and today, was to serve as hunting partners for the native people of the Congo. The hunters would tie wooden bells around the Basenjis' necks so the could locate the dogs as they drove game towards their nets. The reason for the bells is simple. Basenjis, unlike other dogs, do not bark. They hunt by sight and scent and their hearing is excellent as well - though you may not believe this when you call or reprimand your Basenji and he ignores you as though he's completely deaf!
Today, Basenjis can be found all over the world. Most of them are primarily companion animals and serve many purposes as family dogs. While they aren't always the easiest dogs to train, Basenjis are used for hunting, lure coursing, tracking, conformation shows, obedience, agility, therapy dogs and jogging partners. They are also good to keep your yard free of squirrels and make excellent "green" bed warmers! A side benefit is that your children will quickly learn to keep their toys put away or risk finding them in little chewed up chunks...