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Everything A Basenji Can & Can’t Do (Complete List)

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Basenjis are a unique breed of dog that have been around for centuries. They are known for their intelligence, agility, and hunting skills. Here is a list of 15 things basenjis can and can’t do that you may not know!

I also made sure to answer some of the most frequently asked questions to this list so you can learn everything there is to know about basenjis and their unique skills.

Everything Basenjis Can & Can't Do

15 Surprising Things Basenjis Can & Can’t Do

Can Basenjis bark?

Basenjis are the only breed of dog that cannot bark. Though the reason for this is not certain, it is thought to be due to the structure of their larynx, which is slightly different from other dogs.

Basenjis still make noise – they yodel, growl, and whine – but they cannot produce the same “woof” sound that other dogs breeds can.

This lack of barking has led some people to believe that Basenjis are silent dogs, but that isn’t true.

They can be just as vocal as any other breed when they are excited or agitated.

Can Basenjis yodel?

As mentioned before, basenjis make a variety of noise other than barking. One of their most unique sounds is their yodel.

This high-pitched sound is made by the basenji when they are excited, happy, or trying to get your attention.

It’s a distinct and charming sound that will quickly become familiar to any basenji owner.

Can Basenjis climb trees?

Basenjis are excellent climbers and can climb trees with ease. This hunting skill has been passed down for centuries and is still exhibited by modern day basenjis.

Owners often won’t realize they can do this until they see it first hand.

Nexa from a Basenji forum

“My wife called this weekend because Leo chased a squirrel up a maple tree. She said he got 8-9 feet up an almost vertical branch before he lost sight of the squirrel and came back down.”

Here is a cool video of a basenji climbing up a tree: https://youtu.be/fz9V3VHh3hQ

Can Basenjis climb fences?

Basenjis are great climbers, and many of them can climb fences with ease. A Basenji will climb over or digging under fences to get to the other side, especially when there’s a small, furry animal they’re chasing.

Can Basenjis swim?

Basenji can swim but they usually don’t like water. They’re not natural swimmers and have a low body fat content so they don’t float well.

Basenjis can be taught to swim from a young age and can get pretty good. But most dislike water and stay away.

Can Basenjis be off leash?

Basenjis can be off leash but require extensive training to avoid problems. Basenjis are hunting dogs and have a strong prey drive. So if they are off leash and an animal runs by this could be bad news.

Without proper training or enough exercise Basenjis will be a nightmare off leash.

On the flip side, if you put in the time to train your basenji they can be a great off leash dog.

Can Basenjis live with cats?

Basenjis can live with cats but it’s not recommended. They have a high prey drive and may be too rough when playing with cats.

However, if a Basenji is raised with cats from a young age they can get along and play nice.

Can Basenjis get along with other dogs?

When it comes to other dogs, Basenjis can be somewhat distant. They are not particularly interested in playing with other dogs and may even seem a bit stand-offish.

However, they typically get along well with other dogs when properly introduced and socialized.

Can Basenjis be trained?

Basenjis are often described as “stubborn” or “independent,”. They’re highly intelligent and quick to learn new tricks, but they are also very independent.

This means that they’re less likely to blindly follow commands without understanding why they’re doing so or if it benefits them.

As a result, Basenjis require patience and consistent training in order to reach their full potential.

However, those who are willing to put in the time and effort will find that Basenjis make exceptionally intelligent and obedient companions.

Can Basenjis kill a lion?

Basenjis were once used by the royalty of the Congo basin to help on the hunt. But could this little dog take down a lion? In short, no.

Although Basenjis are athletic and have sharp teeth, they are no match for a lion in terms of size and strength. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t give the big cat a good run for its money.

Basenjis are known for their speed and agility, and they have been known to outrun lions on occasion.

Can Basenjis be aggressive?

Despite a basenjis independence, they are very bonded to their family and can be quite protective. While they are not typically aggressive dogs, they can be if they feel that their family is threatened.

If you are thinking of adding a Basenji to your family, it is important to do your research and make sure that you are prepared to handle their unique personality.

But if you are looking for a fun-loving and devoted companion, a Basenji may be the perfect dog for you.

Can a basenji run? How fast?

The basenji is a dog known for its athleticism and agility. While they aren’t the fastest breed, they are certainly capable of running at high speeds.

On average a basenji can reach speeds of roughly 25 – 30 mile per hour.

So what make this little dog so fast? One theory is that their long, lean bodies are perfectly designed for running.

Another possibility is that their natural hunting instincts give them an extra boost of energy when they are running. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that the basenji is a speedy breed of dog.

Can Basenjis hunt birds?

Though they no longer serve as hunting dogs, most Basenjis still have a strong predatory instinct. While they may not be able to take down large game, they can certainly give chase to smaller birds – and they often do, much to the dismay of their owners.

In fact, some Basenjis have been known to catch birds as large as pigeons. So if you’re a bird lover, you may want to think twice before adding a basenji to your family.

Can Basenjis be left alone? How long?

The answer is yes, Basenjis can be left alone – but only for short periods of time. While they are not particularly needy or destructive, Basenjis do require some level of human interaction.

They are social creatures by nature, and without regular contact with their owner, they can become bored and restless. For this reason, it’s best to limit alone time to no more than four hours at a time. With that said, basenjis are quite adaptable and can usually handle up to 8 hours of alone time if necessary.

Can Basenjis live in apartments?

Basenjis can live in apartments and can adapt easy to this environment. They’re small and compact, and they don’t require a lot of space.

The most significant difficulty with a Basenji living in an apartment is having enough space for them to exercise. They have a lot of vitality and require regular activity.

So long as you can burn off their energy with daily exercise Basenjis will do great in apartments.

Final Thoughts

Basenjis are a breed of dog that is full of surprises. They can do quite a lot of unique things that other breeds of dogs can’t.

If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you will find that Basenjis make exceptionally intelligent and obedient companions. But before bringing one into your home, be sure to do your research and understand their unique personality.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Households Basenjis Are Good & Bad In | Complete Guide

What Can Basenjis Eat: 38 Most Frequently Asked Foods