Raising a Basenji Puppy: What to Know

The Basenji puppy is an intelligent dog breed that needs plenty of mental stimulation, training, and exercise to be happy.

Dec 9, 2023By Sara Payne
raising basenji puppy what to know

If you’ve ever watched a Basenji walk, it’s more like the trotting of a horse. These dogs are graceful, beautiful, and so cute. As puppies, they are even more adorable, but what does it take to raise a Basenji puppy?

A Basenji puppy will need a puppy-proof home full of chew toys, exercise, training, and mental stimulation. With a proper diet and care routine, they will grow up happy and healthy.

To learn more about raising a Basenji puppy, read on.

Basenji Puppies Need Mental Stimulation

basenji puppies
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-pet-portrait-puppy-young-7619699/

The Basenji dog breed, or the African Barkless Dog, is a small, lithe hunter. They have short coats that can be black and white, black tan and white, brindle, white, or red and white. They have curly tails, wrinkled faces, and triangular ears that stand upright.

These dogs are true to their name and don’t bark, but they do make sounds that are like chortles to communicate with their owners. People often describe Basenjis as catlike dogs who groom themselves frequently. They are energetic and don’t always have a good relationship with other animals. They also need a lot of mental stimulation to keep them out of trouble.

They are active, stubborn, cunning, and graceful dogs that make great companions for the right family.

What You Need Before Adopting a Basenji Puppy

basenji puppy with toy
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-pet-portrait-puppy-young-7619720/

Before adopting a Basenji puppy, it is important to puppy-proof your home and yard. That’s because a bored Basenji will chew and gnaw on anything they can find. A new puppy will need lots of durable chew toys and plenty of playtime to keep them out of trouble.

Basenjis can also climb chain link fences, so if you plan to let your puppy out in your yard, you will want to keep them always supervised. Also, avoid allowing your pup in the yard if you’ve treated the lawn with fertilizers or pesticides, as this can cause skin problems in dogs.

Inside the home, as with any puppy, you’ll want to unplug electrical cords and move them out of reach or place them inside a concealer. Place any chemicals or cleaning supplies into a high cabinet out of the reach of a curious puppy.

Like toddlers, you’ll want to be mindful of small objects so that your Basenji puppy doesn’t choke on them. Additionally, secure trashcans and toilet lids.

It’s Best to Get Basenjis From Ethical Breeders

basenji puppy lying down
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-pet-portrait-puppy-young-7619703/

When you go to adopt a Basenji puppy, check Basenji rescues or look for ethical dog breeders. A responsible breeder will have the following:

  • Experience
  • Good reviews
  • Health screenings for the parents and pups
  • DNA tests for genetic diseases
  • Breed papers on the parents
  • Contracts for you to sign
  • Requests to check your living space

Getting a puppy from a reputable breeder will improve your chances of getting a healthy, ethically bred, and well-treated dog.

Basenji Puppies Need a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet

basenji puppies food dish

Like other dog breeds, Basenjis will need a balanced diet. Puppies eat more frequently than older dogs, and in the first couple of years, their feeding habits will change as they grow. You may choose to serve your pup dry kibble or wet food. Each has its benefits. Dry is typically easier to serve and buy. Wet provides additional moisture and variety, plus it’s easier for your dog to eat.

According to Purina, either option is fine, as long as your puppy is getting the number of calories and fair portions of healthy dog food brands. Since Basenji puppies are very active, you’ll need to consider how much exercise they have during the day when calculating how much to feed them.

Training and Socializing a Basenji Puppy

basenji puppies looking up
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Basenji puppies must be properly trained very early on. As noted, they are extremely intelligent, but they can be very stubborn. If you need assistance training your pup, you can seek the help of a certified trainer or take your puppy to obedience school.

These options may be more expensive in the short run, but overall, you’ll be happy you took the time to get your puppy properly trained. A well-trained dog will have fewer common behavioral problems than a dog who was not socialized properly.

Basenjis need plenty of mental stimulation. Learning tricks and completing tasks is one way to give your dog the mental stimulation they crave.

These pups are also not fans of other animals, so if you have other pets, it is essential to introduce the two together slowly. Basenjis are hunting dogs and their instinct to see other pets as prey is strong. They usually do okay in a home with other dogs. They can be watchful and wary, but with proper socialization early on, they are friendly dogs.

House Breaking a Basenji Puppy

basenji puppy upside down

You’ll also want to consider how you plan to housebreak your Basenji puppy. They can be more stubborn than other breeds, so you’ll want to be firm and consistent about how you approach housebreaking.

It is important to establish a routine for when you take your puppy out. Some of the best times are when you wake up, after meals, and after playtime or naps. After you take your pup out, if they do their business outside, praise them to reinforce the behavior.

If they do not go at the time you take them out, try again in a few minutes. If your pup has an accident, clean it up immediately, and do not punish your dog or give them any attention over the incident. You can take them outside to finish.

As a rule of thumb, a three-month-old puppy should be able to go four hours without having an accident. So, if you’re going to be gone longer than that, you’ll want to plan to have someone let your puppy out to prevent accidents. You could also get “pee-pee pads” until they’re fully housebroken.

Basenji Puppies Need Love, Attention, and Patience

basenji puppy face
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-pet-portrait-puppy-young-7619684/

Basenji puppies love to chew and need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to be happy. Be sure to feed them a balanced diet. They need to be well-trained and socialized early, as well. Basenji puppies are beautiful and intelligent dogs. With proper preparation, they are a fun breed to adopt and add to your family.

Sara Payne
By Sara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.