Family Life


Household Pets


Are Basenjis Good With Kids? What Parents Need To Know

basenji against a field

Are Basenjis Good With Kids? What Parents Need To Know

If you’re looking for your next dog to be slightly out of the box for typical dog breeds, check out the Basenji. You may be wondering, are Basenjis good with kids? These fox-like African hunting dogs are a peculiar type of companion. If socialized from a young age, Basenjis can be endearing and excitable playmates for children. They do well with first-time dog owners in the sense that they’re quite independent and groom themselves with a feline-esk degree of detail. They are nicknamed the “barkless dog” because they emit more of a yodel-like sound when prompted. The history of this breed spans back very far. There are some cave drawings in ancient Egypt depicting a dog that looks quite like the Basenji! Keep on reading to learn more about this particular dog breed. Find out if the Basenji is a good fit for you and your family (via Be Chewy).

Basenji Personality and Physical Traits

Basenjis are independent, fearless, and intelligent dogs. They are profoundly stubborn, which means even if they know what command you’re using, they may simply choose not to follow it. They are active and playful, although they enjoy more sporting activities than catching a ball or tossing a frisbee. The Basenji excels at lure chasing and will enjoy the challenge of competition (via Lone Star Vet Care). According to Dog Time, they are major escape artists and when they are bored, can have quite a destructive streak. Thus, it is important to keep your Basenji active and engaged. Physically, Basenjis are quite striking dogs. With foxlike features, pointed ears, and a curled tail, they come in an array of colorations. From a deep black to red to more of a tan coat, most Basenjis have white offsetting the main color of their fur.

Why The Age Of Your Child Is Important

Basenjis are not much of a people pleaser, which does not necessarily mean that Basenjis aren’t good with children. If you can ensure that your Basenji has been socialized from a young age and trained to be patient around children, they are excellent playmates. Basenji Rescue notes that this breed will see small children as fellow dogs, which means they might play a bit rougher than other dog breeds would with a young child. However, if you are bringing an older Basenji into your home, it is likely to be a better match with older children that can understand the importance of a dog’s boundaries and help with the training process. Basenjis are active playmates when they feel comfortable. So, while the age of your child can impact this choice in dogs, it is also important to teach your child from a young age the best way to interact with all kinds of dogs. This will make it easier to get a pet, no matter the breed you decide upon. 

Basenji puppy, house pet playing under the bed on the carpet
Basenji puppies can be fun playmates as long as they have guided training to be around children.


What If My Child is Allergic?

According to Be Chewy, Basenjis are quite a good breed choice for people with dog allergies. When people are allergic to dogs, it is typically the dander or saliva of the dog that they are reacting to. Basenjis are minimal droolers and minimal shedders as well. On top of that is the fact that they are fastidiously clean, which can help with any allergens in the house. No dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic, but the Basenji is a great option for those who can treat their allergy with medication or are just hoping for less shedding in general!

How Big Do Basenjis Get?

Basenjis are small to medium-sized dogs, which is what discounts them from being a full-on watchdog despite their protective tendencies. The Basenji breed can grow between 16 and 17 inches in height. Males typically weigh around 24 pounds, while females only weigh a couple pounds less on average at 22 pounds (via American Kennel Club).

Energy Levels of Basenjis 

Basenjis are active dogs that require mental and physical stimulation. When they become bored they will resort to destructive or escape-artist tendencies that can be a headache. They enjoy being included in family activities. So as much as you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine, your Basenji will benefit from it (via Basenji Rescue). One of the major plus-sides to owning a dog is how much exercise becomes a part of your routine. Use this as the chance to change things up and keep your Basenji properly stimulated while also getting yourself out and walking!

How Much Does It Cost To Own A Basenji? 

Basenji puppies can run between $1,000 and $2,000 depending on the breeder, and the pedigree/parentage of your Basenji pup. There are adoption and rescue groups that specialize in the Basenji breed. BRaT (Basenji Rescue and Transport) will offer lower prices on this special breed of dog. The American Kennel Club also has a list of respected breeders on its website. Keep in mind the cost of feeding, clothing, gearing up, and taking care of your new Basenji into the initial cost of just buying one. A dog is an investment, but a worthwhile one!

Cute Basenji dog with big ears laying on a wicker rug. Small adorable doggy with red and white markings resting on a carpet at home. Close up, copy space for text, interior background.
This unique breed may be available for adoption from rescue groups as well as breeders.


What To Know About Basenjis 

Overall, Basenjis are a lovely if not particular breed that, like most dogs, can do wonders as a family pet if they received the right socialization and training. They are fearless and protective, intelligent and sweet with their owners. With historical roots running back to ancient Egypt, it’s easy to see why this independent breed of dog has stuck around. They yodel instead of barking. And their yodel can be downright funny. The Basenji is a particular dog that requires an understanding of the breed to enjoy owning a Basenji. They are not like Golden Retrievers, looking to please. They will assert themselves, but also show you a lot of love and affection when placed in the right home. Is the Basenji a good fit for you?

Other Breeds to Consider

If a Basenji doesn't sound like the right dog for you, no worries! It's important to be honest about what dog is right for you. Thousands of dogs end up in shelters because their owners picked the wrong breed and weren't able to handle it.

A couple of breeds that are great with kids are spaniels and beagles. These dogs are high energy, making them great for energetic kids who love to play. They're calmer than Basenjis, making them less likely to get too rough with kids. Beagles and smaller spaniels are also less capable of knocking small children down, due to their smaller sizes.

If you're looking for a larger dog that's a good alternative to a Basenji, consider the ever-popular Labrador. This dog has a great reputation as one of the best family dogs available in America right now. They're trainable, loyal, fun, and energetic without being too high energy. Labradors are gentle with kids, making them a great choice for younger kids who may not like the craziness of other dog breeds.

The German Shepherd Dog is also a great choice for kids. Incredibly smart and loyal, this dog is known to be a great family dog. It's important that you train and socialize a German shepherd correctly, since otherwise they can become overly protective of their family. With the right guiding hand, a German shepherd can be a wonderful addition to your family.

To top