Basenji Dog Breed Information

Basenji – Gentle, Curious, and Watchful Dog

Last Updated: November 1, 2023

Basenji is an ancient hunting dog breed from Central Africa, known for its unique yodel noise than regular barking. 

Also known as Congo dog in England, Basenjis are believed to have existed for over 1000 years making them the oldest breed that evolved with time to become an adorable family pet. 

Another unique trait of the breed is self-grooming like a cat and lacking the typical doggy odor, which might reduce your extra grooming effort. 

The highly energetic Basenjis are the perfect family companion since they bark less but with an alert personality. 

If you already fell in love with this breed, scroll below to know more about their hunting instincts, temperament, lifespan, and of course the cost. 

How much does a Basenji cost?

How much does a Basenji cost?

Basenjis are purebred and is also among the rarest dog breed on the planet. 

Since a healthy female produces once a year, the rare Basenji puppies’ cost generally ranges between $1,200 – $1,800. 

You can also adopt one from an authorized shelter at a comparatively lower price. 

Other factors that largely impact the price are availability, the breeder’s reputation, and location. 

For stress-free parenting, make sure to get your Basenji pup from an ethical breeder recognized by the AKC, The Basenji Club of America, The Basenji Club of Great Britain, and such reputed kennel clubs as per your country.

How to select Basenji breeders?

Here are some tips on how you can select Basenji breeders:

  • The Basenji breeders must be recognized by AKC, FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale), KC (British Kennel Club), ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council), or such authorized clubs in your country.
  • Visit the breeder for detailed observation of the surroundings, and condition of the pup’s parents and gather as much information as you can from the breeder.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for the pup’s vaccination and health updates.

Once you get things sorted, you can go ahead and buy your Basenji pup.

When does a Basenji get full size?

When raised in a healthy ambiance under your dotting supervision, your Basenji pup gets fully matured in the 18th month. 

This hunting dog breed needs a protein-rich balanced meal and daily outdoor activities for happy and healthy growth.

Though the 18th month is ideally the time your pup turns adult, some may exhibit slow or unusual growth due to other factors such as genetics, physical activities, and growing environment. 

Remember, Basenjis love table supplies and so tend to gain weight. 

Excess obesity can cause joint pain, diabetes, and breathing issues. 

Get a vet appointment often during its growth period to ensure a problem-free health of your Basenji.

On turning adult, a healthy female Basenji stands between 16-17 inches and weighs around 20-24 pounds. 

While a healthy male grows up to the same height as a female and weighs between 22-26 pounds. 

The size of your full-grown Basenji also greatly depends on the pedigree.

How to care for your Basenji puppy?

Caring for Basenji when they are puppies

Basenji puppies are extremely energetic, and curious, and have chewing issues. 

So puppy-proof your home before getting this pup by clearing off the chewable items which are mainly your valuable stuff. 

Get some kibbles, chewing toys and a large dog crate to provide a safe, and cozy ambiance. 

Visit a vet to get the necessary vaccination and deworming done, besides a monthly health check-up as the breed is prone to genetic diseases. 

Feed your puppy vet-recommended high-quality dog food three times a day and adjust the frequency accordingly every month as it grows. 

As a hunting dog breed, Basenji tends to be a bit reserved and so must be socialized during early puppyhood to turn into a friendly and social pet.

Caring for Basenji when they grow up

As soon as your Basenji turns adult, it’s time to add variations to its daily routine – from diet to exercise, vet visits, and everything else. 

It is recommended to consult a vet to discuss about their diet if you are not confident about the right feeding schedules and plan.   

Since they are prone to thyroid problems, deter from feeding your Basenji table supplies to prevent unhealthy weight gain. 

Instead, feed your dog a balanced diet of lean meat and vet-recommended veggies and smaller quantities of fruit snacks in between. They love treats. 

As your dog grows up, outdoor exercise becomes a part of its daily routine. 

Besides daily oral care, coat care, and paw care giving special attention to its behavior is a crucial part of your grown-up Basenji’s regime.

How to groom a Basenji?

Basenjis are easy to groom and require minimal care. 

Since these dogs self-groom just like cats, they lack that typical dog odor. 

With some easy grooming at home, your Basenji is good to go. 

Basenjis have a short and smooth coat and need not require any extensive grooming treatment. 

For grooming your Basenji at home, you need a soft bristle brush and a clinically tested dog shampoo to ensure lustrous coat health. 

Since they are very active outdoors, it’s natural to trap dirt and particles between the strands and get infections in the ear and nails. 

So, brush your dog’s coat daily to maintain coat health and keep off bugs. 

Bath your Basenji once in every 2 months when it appears matted and dull with a mild dog shampoo to prevent skin rash. 

Trim your dog’s nails with a professional nail grinder for a drama and risk-free grooming time.

How much exercise does a Basenji need?

How much exercise does a Basenji need?

Basenjis are hunting dog breeds with high energy levels and moderate exercise requirements. 

Daily outdoor engagement for at least an hour is enough to keep your fur baby happy and healthy. 

Make sure to offer treats in between to keep your Basenji engaged in the routine and also because they love to treat. 

Since they bark less and require minimal exercise, they are suitable for apartment life too. 

Take your dog for daily outdoor walks and strolling in the park and allow it to engage with other dogs and explore around to feed its curiosity. 

You must also include some brain training games in daily outdoor activities to nurture and support its intelligence. 

A mild exercise routine works best for Basenji in promoting and supporting their muscle and skeletal growth. 

Remember, Basenjis love attention, so don’t forget to cuddle your furry bud on the successful accomplishment of tasks.

Does Basenji shed?

Given their minimalistic coat with short hair, Basenjis are low-shedding dogs. 

But that doesn’t mean they don’t shed at all. 

Just like other dogs, Basenjis too shed a little bit more than usual during the spring and fall. 

But that is manageable with regular pet grooming at home. 

Basenji’s coat mostly stays clean as they self-cleanse themselves which is also a factor behind their low shedding. 

However, if you notice unusual shedding of your Basenji, don’t delay consulting a vet as it might be indicating some serious underlying conditions. 

Are Basenji hypoallergenic?

Yes Banseji is a hypoallergenic. 

As a low-shedding dog, Basenjis are less likely to trigger your allergy and are safe for people with allergy sensitivity. 

But the catch here is, it is not the dog hair that trigger allergies but the trapped dirt and dander on their coat. 

Moreover, since Basenjis lick themselves to self-cleanse, the dried saliva can also trigger your flares.

So, the only way to keep allergies at bay than finding a hypoallergenic dog breed is to keep your fur baby always clean and well groomed. 

So, let your Basenji enjoy the great outdoors while you stay ready with the grooming kit.

Understanding Basenji Temperament 

Understanding Basenji Temperament

Basenjis are curious, intelligent, and outgoing hounds. 

Generally, a Basenji temperament is extremely affectionate towards its human pack and is always eager to please and keep you entertained. 

Though they are dedicatedly loving towards their human clan, are not too comfortable with strangers. 

So, it is recommended to socialize your Basenji early to shed away its awkward shy side when meeting strangers.

Besides, an affectionate dog, Basenjis are also extremely intelligent, energetic, and curious which sometimes lead to unwanted trouble in the extreme quest for adventure.

Being a hound, a Basenji gets alert when it senses something unusual and has its ears shoot up and its forehead wrinkled.

Remember, though they are hunters, as family pets, they are more likely to behave adorably and prefer cuddling to chasing and hunting. 

Having said that, Basenjis don’t gel well with smaller pets and tend to chase them out of primitive instinct.

Since they are extremely energetic, keep them occupied in mild outdoor activities than watching your valuables getting mercilessly wrecked. 

The best part about Basenjis is they hardly bark and make their signature yodeling, which makes them apartment-friendly.

How intelligent is Basenji?

Basenji is an extremely intelligent ancient breed and is loved as the most well-behaved pet. 

Because of their intelligence, the breed adapts quickly and gels well with every member of its human family.

Though they are clever, they need a creative and overpowering trainer to bring out their best qualities. 

According to dog experts Basenjis learn new commands after around 100 repetitions although they rank lowest in obedience. 

On instinctive and adaptive intelligence, Basenjis perform well and can adapt easily to apartment life despite being an ancient hound breed.

So, once you welcome home a Basenji, make sure to start obedience command training and early socialization. 

Early and consistent training at home is the best and proven way to promote and support their intelligence.

Remember they are always eager to please. 

So the more you ensure consistent daily training, the better it would be for them to show a gradual improvement in learning commands. 

Regular indulgence in some brainstorming games is also highly recommended for this breed.

How easy is it to train Basenji? 

How easy is it to train Basenji? 

Basenji is easy to train but its reserve temperament can be an initial challenge. 

According to most experienced dog trainers, Basenji exhibits a cat- like personality that makes training a bit difficult. 

So, the only way for easy training of a Basenji is early socialization and obedience training from puppyhood.

Since they have a cat-like temperament, keep the training session short and include variations to keep them interested. 

This is a particular challenge of training a Basenji where you have to think about creative dog training tricks.

Offer your Basenji sufficient physical and mental stimulation which is highly recommended for curbing its destructive behavior. 

For stress-free training, be the leader and don’t allow your dog to take charge. 

It will complicate things and you may develop a stressful equation with your Basenji.

With time, a Basenji can develop extreme affection for you and seek your company. 

So leaving them alone for long can cause separation anxiety, triggering their howling. 

One of the proven ways to help your Basenji deal with isolation is crate training to calm down anxiety.

What type of hunting is best for Basenji?

Though Basenjis are primitive hunters, they now belong to the ‘family dog’ category. 

But if they notice a small creature moving, they won’t mind flexing their chasing skills. 

Basenjis like to chase smaller animals like squirrels, rats, and rabbits but not meant for bigger games. 

Exploring the yard and chasing smaller animals perfectly complements their hunting instinct and is also good for their overall well-being.

So every time you go out strolling with your Basenji, put a leash on to prevent it from chasing animals and birds. 

If you have a countryside farm, unleash your Basenji to keep away rabbits and smaller crop pests. 

This ancient hunter has evolved down the ages to become an adorable family dog and prefers cuddling more than hunting.

If you are looking for a hunting dog, then a Basenji might not be the right fit but can be the best adorable watchdog on adventure trips.

Basenji Lifespan

Basenji has an impressive lifespan of 12-14 years.

These elegant hounds are full of mannerisms and hailed for their low to no barking trait.

So if you are peace-loving, get one to be your ideal family dog with the soul of a feisty hound. 

The best part about these active preying dogs is they can adapt to both city and country lifestyles and hence a good choice for apartment folks.

Basenjis need plenty of daily activities and exercise to live a frustration-free happy life.

Common Health Issues In Basenji

A Basenji can be born with some inherited diseases based on its lineage besides developing some common canine problems like hip and elbow dysplasia.

Basenjis are vulnerable to chronic eye disorders like Persistent Pupillary Membrane, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and Coloboma Corneal Dystrophy. 

Other diseases that affect this breed are Fanconi Syndrome (a kidney disorder), Hemolytic Anemia (damage of red blood cells), Thyroid, and Obesity, the root cause of most diseases.

Being a responsible parent, you must obtain or adopt a Basenji from a trusted source with a complete update on their health and vaccination and consult a vet for periodic check-ups to prevent an emergency.


Basenji is a gentle, curious, and watchful dog that is not known to many. 

But, the breed is a perfect blend of a loving family pet and an outgoing soul. 

Getting a Basenji can be the best decision to enjoy stress-free parenting except for some minor health issues which can be countered with occasional vet visits. 

Before getting a Basenji, educate yourself for a safe and factual purchase, proper parenting, and grooming know-how. 

Since getting a purebred is tough, I would advise you to wait for the right time and an authorized breeder to accomplish your dream.

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About Me

I am Chhavi Kumari, passionate dog lover and devoted blogger sharing tips, insights, and love for all things canine. Honoring the memory of cherished Dobermans while inspiring a happy, healthy life with your furry companion.

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