25 Questions То Consider Before Getting A Basenji Pet
By Sviat Oleksiv | Updated on November 24, 2021
The Basenji is a wonderful African hunting breed, coming to us from the deep forests around the Congo river. Sporting an awesome look accompanied by a great personality, the Basenji makes for a fantastic family pet. These purebred aren’t nearly as popular as they deserve to be but they can still be found both in shelters/rescues and from good breeders.
Do you want such a pet, however? Is the Basenji the right dog for you and your family? Below we’ve answered the main 25 questions to consider before getting a Basenji pet.
1. Are Basenjis good pets?
Very much so. Well-trained and socialized Basenjis are lovely pets for families of all types and sizes. Full of both energy and love, a Basenji dog is as good of a pet as it is gorgeous.
2. What is bad about a Basenji?
The fact that Basenjis aren’t overly popular as pets may lead you to believe that there’s something wrong with them. Most years, they rank between 85th and 90th spot on the AKC breed popularity ranking but that has nothing to do with the breed’s quality. As far as we’re concerned, Basenjis are a fantastic breed with no particularly bad drawback that’d distinguish it from other dog breeds.
3. Are Basenjis intelligent?
As a hound breed, Basenjis are quite intelligent. These dogs have been bred for centuries to follow commands, remember pathways, cooperate with other dogs and people, and more. At the same time, however, as a hunting breed, they are also quite willful and independent, which means that obedience training requires patience, persistence, and lots of positive reinforcement.
4. Can Basenjis be left alone?
Basenjis love their human pack members but they are still independent enough to be fine on their own throughout the day. This means that separation anxiety isn’t that much of a problem with these dogs as it is with other breeds.
5. Does a Basenji bark?
Basenji dogs are famous as a breed that absolutely does not bark. They are literally famous as the “African barkless dog”. Instead of barking, these dogs make a sound that’s usually described as yodeling – a mix between howling and whining. In a way, it sounds like a cat’s meowing too, only vibrating and howl-like.
6. Do Basenji dogs like people?
Basenji dogs tend to be a bit aloof with strangers. Proper socialization can make up for that and your Basenji will get along with your guests and friends. So, don’t think that these dogs are guard or watchdogs. However, they also aren’t as enthusiastic about meeting new people as shepherd or retriever breeds.
7. Will a Basenji get along with another dog?
Basenjis were bred to hunt in packs so they do quite well with other dogs. They can be a bit argumentative with other Basenjis, however, so you’ll either need to train them well or pick a different breed for your second dog.
8. Can you have a cat with a Basenji?
The prey drive of this breed generally makes it ill-suited for life with cats or other non-canine pets. Hypothetically, with enough socialization, training, and by raising them together with the cat you may be able to circumvent their hunting instincts. However, that may just be too much effort.
9. Are Basenjis good for first time owners?
The independent spirit of the Basenji can make it a bit tricky to train if you don’t have much experience. However, with patience and persistence, even a first-time owner should manage. Virtually every other aspect of this breed makes it very manageable, however. So, if you like how these dogs look and sound, they can be a good choice for you.
10. Do Basenjis like to cuddle?
Basenjis are neither particularly cuddly nor too distant. A Basenji will love a cuddle after a vigorous exercise or a long day but it won’t be an overly attached lap dog.
11. Are Basenjis high maintenance?
They may not look like it but Basenjis do have quite a few maintenance requirements. Between their shedding which we’ll cover below, some drooling potential, and certain health problems, your Basenji will need your care.
12. Do Basenji dogs need a lot of exercise?
Basenjis are a very energetic breed. These dogs require a couple of hours of active outdoor playtime at the very least if they are to stay healthy and happy.
13. Are Basenjis good for apartments or do they need a yard?
Having a yard is a great benefit for any Basenji as it will allow them to expel even more energy after their trips to the dog park. Apartment living can still work, however, as long as the place is spacious enough.
14. What type of breed is the Basenji?
The Basenji is a hunting breed that utilizes both sight and scent to hunt. In that way, they are both and neither sighthound and scenthound. Rather, they are in a category of their own as a cooperative pack hunter.
15. How big is the Basenji?
The average adult Basenji will grow up to 16 to 17 inches at the shoulder (41 to 43 cm). As for weight, they will usually be about 22 to 24 pounds (10 to 11 kg) unless you’ve let them get overweight due to a lack of exercise.
16. What type of coat do Basenji dogs have?
Basenjis have short, dense, and smooth coats. Nice to the touch, they don’t have an undercoat layer as they are a central African breed. This makes them very well-suited for hot and medium climates but not at all advisable for cold climates.
17. Do Basenjis shed?
Despite having short single-layer coats, Basenjis do shed. Regular brushing and grooming are a must unless you want your home to eventually be covered in dog fur.
18. What colors can a Basenji be?
The standard colors of this breed include chestnut red, black, brindle, or a tri-color combination of red, black, and white. The feet, tail, and face will always have a bit of white too.
19. Is a Basenji hypoallergenic?
Not really. When it comes down to it, no breed is truly hypoallergenic. However, some, like the poodle, are at least easier on people with allergies. The Basenji is not one of those breeds.
20. Do Basenji dogs need a lot of grooming?
Pretty much, yes. Fortunately, they are pretty easy and even pleasant to brush and groom. The occasional bath is also a good idea so you’d better get your dog to at least tolerate water from an early age. Ear and eye cleanings are also good ideas as is dental hygiene – all pretty standard things for dogs. Nail clipping won’t be necessary provided that you give your Basenji enough outdoor playtime for the nails to get filed naturally.
21. How long do Basenjis live?
The average expected lifespan of Basenji dogs is 10 to 12 years. With the right care, of course, a healthy dog can surpass that timeframe by a lot. It is important to pick a healthy pup, however, as puppy mills and irresponsible breeders have led to quite a few dogs and lines with health issues. So, you should always prioritize dogs from reputable breeders who offer health certificates.
22. Are Basenji dogs healthy?
Finding a healthy Basenji pup is easy as long as you make sure to look for an adequate breeder. However, Basenjis are often considered to be a relatively unhealthy breed because many breeders and puppy mills aren’t responsible enough with this breed. In those cases, you may encounter some of the following problems:
- Fanconi syndrome
- Hip dysplasia
- Umbilical hernia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Persistent Pupillary Membrane (PPM)
- Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (Hemolytic Anemia)
23. Do Basenjis smell?
All dogs smell but Basenjis tend to be more hygienic than most. This is one of the few dog breeds that groom themselves extra diligently. This, together with their independent character makes Basenjis quite cat-like.
24. Can Basenjis swim?
Surprisingly or not, most Basenji dogs don’t like water nor swimming. While not quite as fearful of it as cats, Basenjis will be much less likely to enjoy a swim than almost any other breed. If you want to raise your dog to like swimming, you’re going to start training it to like it from a very early age and with lots of positive reinforcement.
25. Should I get a male or a female Basenji?
Both male and female Basenjis make for fantastic pets. They are of nearly the same size and have similar temperaments. So, just pick whichever one you prefer.
All in all, the Basenji is a unique hunter and a fantastic family pet. Playful and gentle enough to be a great member of your household, the Basenji is also fairly easy to deal with, even for first-time dog owners.
The main thing you’ll need to ensure is that you give this dog plenty of exercise and playtime. If you’re an indoorsy type person and you’re looking for a lap animal, get a different breed. Or a cat. But the Basenji breed is for people looking forward to spending time in the dog park or jogging with a furry companion.