Alert looking basenji dog outside
Basenji isolated on white background


Owning a basenji can be a joy for the right person or a real challenge for the wrong one. If you’re considering adopting a basenji dog, here are some points to consider.

Advantages of a Basenji Dog Breed

They’re small, odourless, and shed minimally.

A Basenji dog comes in a cute, compact package. Weighing only twenty to twenty-five pounds, a basenji dog is small enough for most people to manage, if the dog is well trained. A basenji fits comfortably in the lap and has the advantage of shedding very little. You won’t find patches of hair stuck to your carpeting with this short-haired, easy-to-groom breed. This is a dog that will give your vacuum cleaner a break. Basenjis don’t need frequent bathing or grooming since they’re almost odourless which can be a big advantage if you’re living in an apartment.

They’re quiet.

If you like peace and quiet, a basenji dog may be for you. This breed is often referred to as a “bark-less dog”. Although the breed isn’t completely silent, they’re more prone to “yodelling” and occasionally howling rather than barking due to their misshapen larynx, but for the most part the basenji is a quiet breed.

They’re graceful.

The basenji is an elegant and graceful breed that’s also athletic. Having been bred in Africa to be hunting dogs, they can move quickly and surely. Of course this can be a problem if they escape from behind a fence or dart out the front door.

Disadvantages of a Basenji Dog Breed

They’re very active.

A basenji is not a dog that enjoys lying around on the couch. They have a high activity level and are prone to delinquent behaviour when not given a chance to vent their excess energy. Be prepared for frequent exercise sessions and lots of stimulation. Otherwise, you’ll pay the consequences with chewed up slippers and other articles.

They don’t always listen.

Basenjis have a mind of their own. They need a “take charge” owner who’ll take the time to train them. They’re an independent and confident dog breed that isn’t afraid to challenge the authority of a weak alpha leader. They may also be dominant with other pets in the house, so be aware of this if you have other animals. Their independent nature can make training a challenge.

They’re mistrustful of strangers.

Basenjis don’t adapt readily to strangers which goes along with their independent nature. They require a great deal of socialisation to interact adaptively with other dogs and humans. Be prepared to spend time working with them and exposing them to humans and animals as early as possible.

Health Problems

As with most purebred dogs, basenjis are susceptible to health problems including a rare disease called Fanconi’s syndrome which leads to kidney failure. They’re also prone to blindness from progressive retinal atrophy.

The Bottom Line?

By all means, consider a basenji dog as a pet, but keep these pros and cons in mind. If you do choose a basenji or any other dog, consider adopting from a rescue organisation or humane society. There are lots of basenjis that need good homes.

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