Shepenji: Basenji and German Shepherd Mix A Complete Guide

When compared side by side, the Basenji and the German Shepherd don’t like dogs which can come up any good when mixed. The dogs look quite different considering the differences between their parents.  

Even though they look comparatively different, a mix of the Basenji and German Shepherd is quite fantastic. When successfully mixed, the result is called a German Shepenji? What does a German Shepenji look like?

First, let’s see the individual characteristics of their parents’ breeds – the Basenji and the German Shepherd. Their parents’ genetic makeup will help us understand their real characters.  

Overview of the Basenji 

The Basenji comes from East Africa and is among the three oldest known breeds of dog. 95-97% of races have their origin in wolves, but that of the Basenji is not clear. Genetically, there is not as much correspondence with Canis lupus familiaris, the domestic dog that we know now. That is why it is believed that it is even older than the wolf.   

Basenjis are African dog breeds that are historically used for hunting. They are similar to the Ekuke dog or Bingo The Dog, a local dog breed found in Nigeria. Their hunting characteristics aren’t what distinguishes this kind of dog from the rest.  

In many towns and cities, some dogs bark insistently and are a nightmare for the neighbors. There are breeds, like the German Shepherd, that for any little detail they cry into the sky.  

Many neighbors tormented by the barking of dogs believe that the perfect dog does not bark or annoy. And that is why a breed that “never barks”, as is popularly said, has become famous. It is the Basenji breed, a small-medium-sized dog.  

So, what is truly meant when they say the Basenji is a dog that “never barks?” And is it truly the case or not? There are many nuances here, but it is true that in terms of the anatomy of the phonation area, it has different peculiarities from the rest of the breeds.  

This implies that the sound that comes out of the breed’s mouth is different from the typical sound of dogs when they bark. 

This does not mean that they are completely mute. If what you want is that your neighbor has a dog that does not disturb, do not think that the Basenjis are mute. This breed vocalizes just like any other type of dog, but with a different sound. Basenjis are some of the most talkative dogs out there. 

Basenjis do bark, but they don’t do it in the traditional way or as we understand it. If you hear a basenji barking, you would feel a noise that you could associate with perhaps a two-kilo dog, when it really could be a dog that weighs 12-14 kilos.  

The characteristics that differentiate Basenjis from other dogs is that they have the phonation apparatus to the larynx, just like humans, and they have narrower and finer vocal cords than other dogs.

So when they try to express themselves and communicate with other dogs, the sound that comes out is different from the rest of the breeds and is described as a yodel.  

Overview of the German Shepherd 

With the most distinct characteristics of the German Shepherd and the Basenjis, now, you’ll understand why they were mixed to make the German Shepenji.  

First, the German Shepherd Dog already has its original role in its name: it is a Germany originated dog that was bred to tend sheep. Because of his loyal nature and conscientious manner, it takes on far more tasks.  

However, the German Shepherd is one of the loudest barking dogs. They bark so hard that they sometimes wouldn’t hear them being spoken to.  

In the case of the German Shepherd, a distinction is made between performance breeding and high breeding. According to most breeders, the animals differ a little in appearance and character. So the dogs of the performance line should have a stronger urge to work and exercise. However, there is no specific breed standard. 

Basically, a German Shepherd should have a strong body. The upper body is ideally slightly stretched and is in a well-proportioned relationship to the wedge-shaped head. A characteristic feature is the pointed, standing ears. 

The history of the German Shepherd Dog probably goes back over 1000 years. For centuries, the animals were bred for one reason: to support people in herding and driving. This background explains the character that can still be observed in animals today – even if they live in the family as a companion dog. 

The German Shepherd Dog is internationally recognized as a particularly docile, loyal, persevering, and alert dog. Every potential owner should be aware that the animals have a very strong protective instinct. That means they guard the family, the house, or the garden. To some extent, this is often desired – but excessive vigilance. 

German Shepherds are also considered brave, which turns out to be beneficial when herding. However, when going for a walk on the street, this trait can become a challenge.  

Because of their character, shepherds are considered to be particularly good service dogs, for example by the police or in the rescue service. Accordingly, this breed can be found there frequently. They also come are used as guide dogs for the blind. 

What’s a Basenji/German Shepherd Mix? 

By now, you probably know what a Basenjis and German Shepherd mix is. It’s a dog breed derived from a mix of two dogs coming from two different climes and with different characters and physical characteristics.  

The Shepenji is a breed mixed to get an intelligent, docile, strong, energetic, and hunting dog that doesn’t bark as the German Shepherd. The hybrid dog is also a good family dog like the German Shepherd. They play well with children and are a good addition to the home.  

Shepenji Appearance  

It’s not so easy to pinpoint the appearance of the dog breed, like any hybrid mix. You just have to expect something unique from one of their parents. They don’t just have a textbook appearance like their parents’ breeds.  

Basically, a German Shepherd should have a strong body. The upper body is ideally slightly stretched and is in a well-proportioned relationship to the wedge-shaped head.

A characteristic feature is the pointed, standing ears. The fur color is distinctive, the animals come in reddish-brown, black and gray with markings. The fur itself is dense, both short and long hair are allowed by the standard. 

Meanwhile, Basenjis have shorter and smoother double or triple colored furs. But the German Shepherd has a little bit longer double-coated fur.  

These should give you an idea of the appearance to expect from their mix. A significant imbalance in genetics could be the reason why a Shepenji is more German Shepherd than the Basenji or vice versa.  

Shepenji Temperament  

Like most of the characteristics of this mix, it’s a fool’s errand if you are seeking to know exactly the temperament of the Basenji German Shepherd mix. Their temperament is always different for each puppy.  

However, what they have in common are the characteristics that both the Basenji and the German Shepherd have in common. So, expect these mixed designer breeds to be intelligent, energetic, and athletic. They are also friendly and loyal companions.   

However, unlike what is probably intended, most Basenji and German Shepherd breeds often bark a lot, taking the trait from their German Shepherd parent. So, they may be suitable as watchdogs. However, they are trainable and can be used for dog challenges and other tasks.  

They need to be kept busy as their parents are active dogs – hunters and shepherds. They’re not the type to be left alone of they will become restless and be a nuisance.  

Shepenji Health 

Does a typical Basenji/German Shepherd mix get diseases because of its breed? There is no fundamental answer to that. There are some ailments to which the breed is considered to be particularly susceptible.

First and foremost, joint problems should be mentioned here, especially hip dysplasia. It is a consequence of the sloping backline. The susceptibility can be reduced by choosing appropriate animals for breeding. 

In addition, they are sometimes considered to be somewhat sensitive when it comes to the gastrointestinal tract. In the event of intolerance, the keepers should switch to an exclusion diet for feeding, so digestive problems can be avoided. 

In general, these dogs have a lifespan that ranges from 10 to 14 years.  

 Basenji German Shepherd Shepenji
Character Aloof, intelligent, alert, quiet, and affectionate Docile, loyal, loud, persevering, and alert dog. Intelligent, docile, strong, energetic 
Coat Short and fine; red and white Medium-long double coat No specific coat characteristics 
Lifespan 10 to 12 years  10 to 14 years  10 to 14 years  
Owner experience New or experienced New or experienced New or experienced 
Apartment dog? Yes Yes; But cannot be left alone  Yes; But cannot be left alone  
Application Hunting Herding, hunting, and watchdog Herding, hunting, and guard dog  

Conclusion 

The Basenji and German Shepherd mix is a fantastic hybrid dog for those who want a unique type of dog for the home, for hunting, or for other dog competitions. These dogs are docile, friendly, and very trainable.  

However, they are not dogs to be left alone. They need to be taken out and involved in dog activities.