There is only one dog breed that is referred to as barkless, a hunting breed from Africa called the Basenji. Instead of barking, the Basenji makes sounds that approximate whining, yodeling, screeching and howling.

Basenjis find it impossible to bark because their larynxes are shaped and positioned differently than that of other dogs. The sounds they make depend upon context. When they are excited, they yodel or whimper, but when they are hurt, they make a high-pitched sound like a screech.

The Basenji is one of the oldest breeds of dogs, having lived with humans on the African continent for thousands of years. The first attempts were made to import them to Europe in the early 20th century, but they failed because the dogs died of diseases. Finally, in the 1930s, the Basenji breed became established in England and the United States. Because Basenjis have short coats, they lack the strong odor that other dogs have. They actually clean themselves, as cats do. Due to their cleanliness and lack of shedding, they are a good choice of pet for those who suffer from allergies. Lean, agile and muscular, Basenjis require lots of exercise. If they receive enough attention and training, they can be very affectionate and loyal. When they are curious about something, they have the unusual habit of standing up on two legs, either independently or leaning against something.