Basenji Breed Information

Basenjis are a member of the ‘Hound’ breed group. The Hound group include breeds originally used for hunting either by scent or sight. They require a substantial amount of exercise and are considered to be aloof but trustworthy dogs.

Basenjis do have a very unique characteristic that sets them apart from all other dogs – they don’t bark. But that doesn’t mean they’re quiet! Basenjis will happily make a yodelling noise when they’re excited. They’re known to be very inquisitive, confident dogs and become very attached to their family. They’re often described as being very cat-like in their behaviour – partly because of their grooming habits and their desire to keep themselves clean, particularly when it comes to their feet. When it comes to helping them out with grooming, brushing once a week is usually enough to remove any dead hair.

Breed-related health problems:

Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Basenjis are prone to include:

  • Fanconi syndrome - a type of kidney disease which leads to glucose in the urine.
  • Anaemia – an abnormally low amount of red blood cells.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – gradual deterioration of the retina of the eye. Symptoms can start with night blindness and progress to total blindness.
  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency – deficiency of a specific red blood cell enzyme, leading to haemolytic anaemia.
  • Luxating patellas – the kneecaps slipping temporarily out of place.
  • Urolithiasis – stone formation in urine.

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.

You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

Exercise requirements:

Basenjis have high energy levels and need around 60-90 minutes’ exercise per day. Basenjis also require plenty of mental stimulation, and do well at canine sports. They have very poor road sense however and so care should be taken when exercising near traffic. Whilst they are intelligent dogs, they can also be quite strong-willed, which sometimes makes training a challenge. For tips on effective reward-based training for your Basenji, check out our dog behaviour page.

Estimated lifetime cost:

The likely lifetime costs for a Basenji are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:

The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.

Insure your Basenji with PDSA:

1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Basenjis that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:

  1. Dog and cat insurance policies from 8 weeks of age.
  2. 24/7 veterinary advice online or over the phone with Petcall.
  3. Manage your policy online with the PDSA Insure Hub.
  4. Monthly payment at no extra cost.

By insuring your Basenji with PDSA Pet Insurance you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.

For more information on taking care of your dog please visit our puppies and dogs section.

Rehoming from a reputable source:

Where you get a dog from can have a big effect on how healthy and happy it is for the rest of its life. Find out where our PDSA vet experts recommend you get your dog from.

Energy levels
Easy to train
Exercise needed
Barking/likely to be vocal
Size Medium
Average height 40-43 cm
Average weight 9-11 kg
Average lifespan Over 12 years
Minimum exercise (per day) 1 hour
Coat length Short
Minimum cost (per month) £80

Not sure if the Basenji is the right pet for you?