Monday, January 2, 2012

The Joy of Barooo

I find basenji vocalizations one of their most intriging traits. Our first basenji, Mowgli, would baroo in greeting each time we returned home. He would baroo at our poodle, his constant companion, to invite him to play. Baroos burst forth from Mowgli for any number of reasons and always seemed such a joyful sound. I incorrectly assumed all basenjis barooed. After Mowgli passed, having become so fond of the breed, we purchased a puppy from a breeder. Initially when Katy didn't baroo at us we believed she would find her voice when she was older. It has been a ten year wait and she still remains silent except for the occasional basenji screams when startled or injured. The noises she makes creates visions of a foot shut in the door though usually the cause is much less significant. She tends to be overly dramatic! About six months after Katy joined our family we rescued, fostered, and eventually adopted Vegas. In his early days in our home he made lots of basenji noises, most of them scary and unhappy, but no baroos. Every now and then Vegas howls sounding as though he is grief-stricken over some loss only he is aware of. Twice he has howled in his sleep possibly having a nightmare (if dogs can have nightmares?). Only about once a week, he will baroo telling me I am a little too slow at delivering his breakfast. That is the sum total of his vocabulary. In 2008, Blaze, a puppy mill rescue, became our third permanent basenji resident. She talks but her voice sounds like a cross between a growl and a gargle, never a joyous tone. The timing of her speeches leads me to believe she is really just sassing and if what she has to say were words she might get her mouth washed out with soap. She also growls, her tone much louder and fiercer than expected from such a little girl, to tell the others that her food dish is totally off limits to anyone but her. Recently, we have been fostering a young brindle female who has a wide variety of vocalizations. Riley baroos to welcome us home as Mowgli used to do. She baroos to invite the other basenjis to play. Sometimes she baroos for no apparent reason. It would be tempting to keep her so we could enjoy her constant baroos for many years if we did not already have three lovely basenjis. Riley will soon be posted and placed for adoption allowing someone else to enjoy the pleasure of her frequent happy baroos.


  1. Hi Liz,

    We had the same experience with our old man, Lance. He was the quietest Basenji I know. But, after a year of living with Bomba and especially Pharoah, Lance started 13 years old. Now, his noise is very similar to a rooster crow and let me tell you I was extremely startled to hear it. But, I'm so thrilled that he talks to her.

  2. Like you, I keep waiting for my silent basenji, Reef, to learn to vocalize. She's like Katy - silent and aloof, letting you know with a shriek when something is wrong, but otherwise staring placidly ahead and never making a peep. When I adopted my BRAT boy Biko, I thought that he was silent too, until he started barking at things he found scary, and eventually started barooing when he's happy. His baroos kind of look like he's yawning and spitting out something stuck to his tongue, and they are the oddest sound I've ever heard a dog make. I encourage them by telling him "Good talk!" every time he does it, and he's now talking to me much more frequently. But alas, the encouragement and imitation is still lost on Reef, who appears destined to remain a silent basenji.

  3. I posted a new poll for this month about basenji noises, in honor of Liz's post. Check it out!! (top right column of this blog).