How Much Does a Basenji Dog Cost?

Last Updated on January 27, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

The Basenji is a unique breed of dog originally from Africa. With their curled tails, small stature, and barkless nature, Basenjis have many distinctive characteristics that make them appealing yet challenging pets. As you consider adding one of these ancient dogs to your home, an important question arises: how much does a Basenji cost?

Basenji prices can vary quite a bit based on factors like lineage, location, breeders, and whether you adopt or buy from a breeder. However, across these different situations, you can expect to make a significant financial investment when bringing home a Basenji puppy or dog.

In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the typical costs associated with Basenji ownership. Understanding the initial purchase price, preparation expenses, and ongoing care costs can help you budget for and decide if a Basenji is the right dog for you.

How Much Does a Basenji Dog Cost?

Bringing home a new Basenji, whether a puppy or adult, requires some upfront costs and preparation. Two major factors that influence total initial investment are pedigree and whether you adopt from a shelter or purchase directly from a breeder.

Purchase Price from a Breeder

Purchasing a Basenji puppy from a breeder generally costs between $1,500 to $2,500. Well-bred Basenjis with champion show dog lineage can sometimes cost closer to $3,000 to $5,000.

You’ll likely pay less if adopting an adult Basenji from a breeder or other seller rather than buying a young pup. Adult adoption fees typically range from $100 to $500.

Adoption Fees from Rescue/Shelter

Adopting a Basenji from a rescue group or shelter is often under $300. Since the dog’s background and pedigree is unknown, adoption costs are much lower. An adoption fee of $100 to $200 covers things like medical checks, vaccinations, and spay/neuter procedures.

Adopt a Pet notes that the cost to adopt a Basenji is around $300 to cover the expenses of caring for the dog before adoption.

According to A-Z Animals, shelters or rescues usually charge between $50 to $500 per dog, but the cost of a Basenji puppy from a breeder can range from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on factors such as breeder’s reputation, color, location, and lineage.

Dog Breeds List writes that a Basenji puppy typically costs between $1,500 and $3,000, with prices varying somewhat due to factors such as a low number of puppies born each year, few breeders, and the breeder’s reputation.

Basenji Price Guide says that on average, a Basenji puppy from a reputable breeder can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,500, with prices varying based on factors such as the breeder’s reputation, health testing, and location.

According to Spot Pet Insurance, the initial cost of a Basenji is about $2,000, and the breed could cost around $8,000-$9,000 in its lifetime due to healthcare and other expenses.

Supplies, Training, and Preparation

On top of the Basenji’s purchase or adoption cost, you’ll need to buy supplies and likely invest in training. These prep expenses add $500 to $1,500 during the first few months.

  • Crates, beds, leashes, toys – Basic supplies cost $150 to $500.
  • Training and socialization – Professional training to socialize and teach commands costs $200 to $1,000.
  • Medical exams and procedures – Initial vet visits and vaccines cost $100 to $300.

So all said, purchasing a well-bred Basenji puppy from a breeder could cost you $2,000 to $4,000 upfront after supplies, medical costs, and training. Adopting a Basenji may cost $500 to $1,500 total at first.

You might also like our article about the cost of other hunting dog breeds like the Bloodhound, the Weimaraner, or the Kangal Dog.

Overview of the Basenji Breed

The Basenji originated in central Africa as a hunting dog valued by local tribes. Their petite size made them ideal for flushing small game into nets. And their unusual yodel-like vocalizations could be heard from afar yet didn’t scare prey as barking would.

Brought over to England and North America in the 1930s, Basenjis are still used by some for hunting purposes but are primarily companion dogs today. They are alert, energetic pets that can be aloof with strangers but affectionate with their families.

A few other interesting traits that set Basenjis apart:

  • Barkless – Basenjis make a variety of yodeling, howling, and whining noises instead of traditional barking.
  • Cat-like grooming habits – Basenjis are fastidious, cleaning themselves much like a cat.
  • Difficult to train – They are intelligent but not always eager to please, presenting training challenges.
  • Athletic build – Their lean, short-haired build makes them nimble and speedy.

The Basenji is an eye-catching, quirky breed with some unique care needs and personality traits.

Ongoing Costs of Basenji Ownership

The expenses don’t stop after bringing your Basenji home. Regular recurring costs will keep your dog happy and healthy for years to come. Expect to budget $500 to $2,000 annually for food, medical care, grooming, insurance, and other needs.

Health Care and Medical

Vet visits, medications, and procedures can cost $200 to $1,000+ per year. Basenjis are relatively healthy dogs, but expenses crop up for routine checkups, illnesses, injuries, or dental work. Budget $500 to $1,000 annually.

Food and Treats

Quality dog food and treats generally run $150 to $400 per year for a Basenji. Higher cost foods with premium ingredients are $200 to $400 annually.

Grooming and Hygiene

Thanks to their clean habits, Basenjis require minimal grooming. Occasional baths every few months and nail trims cost $150 to $300 per year.


Pet insurance for a Basenji costs $300 to $700 per year depending on your coverage level. It pays for veterinary costs if your dog becomes ill or injured.

Other Basic Care

Miscellaneous supplies, toys, license fees, boarding when traveling, and other routine costs total $200 to $500 per year.

Understanding the Cost of a Basenji

Several factors influence the price range for Basenjis and reason why some may be more or less expensive.

Supply and Demand

Purebred Basenjis are relatively rare, especially compared to Labs or Goldens. Their uniqueness and short supply means higher demand. This drives up pricing from breeders.

Breeding and Pedigree

Top breeders can charge premium pricing for puppies with exceptional championship pedigree and lineage. Show-quality pedigree raises prices to the $3,000 to $5,000+ range.

Color Variations

While most Basenjis are chestnut red, some carry rarer color genes like brindle or pure black that attract higher pricing from breeders.

Location and Availability

There are fewer reputable Basenji breeders than more popular breeds. Depending on where you live, availability may be limited, again driving up costs due to high demand.

Basenji prices reflect their uniqueness, intensive breeding costs, and relative scarcity compared to other breeds. But adoption or purchasing from a less prominent breeder can still yield a wonderful dog at a more affordable investment.

Cost Comparison with Other Breeds

Basenji PuppyTo put the costs of Basenji ownership into perspective, how do they compare to other breeds?

Basenjis are one of the more expensive breeds to purchase upfront, averaging $1,500 to $2,500 for a puppy. More affordable companion dog breeds like Labs and Goldens cost $500 to $1,500. But popular small breeds like French Bulldogs can cost up to $3,000 to $5,000.

In terms of ongoing care and maintenance, Basenjis fall in the moderate range, averaging $500 to $2,000 annually. Larger breeds cost more to feed while long-haired dogs require extensive grooming. But the Basenji’s smaller size, minimal shedding, and good health keep costs down compared to many breeds.

Basenjis land at the higher end of expenses due to their rarity and intensive breeding required. But their minimal grooming and good health prevent their long-term costs from being cost prohibitive.

Budgeting for a Basenji

Interested in adding a Basenji to your home? Here are some tips for budgeting and affording one of these unique dogs.

  • Adopt don’t shop if cost is a main concern. You can find Basenjis in rescues and shelters for under $300 instead of breeder prices.
  • Seek out less prominent breeders charging on the lower end of the $1,500 to $2,500 range for puppies.
  • Prepare for $500 to $1,000 in supplies, vet bills, and training when first bringing home your dog.
  • Budget $500 to $2,000 per year for food, medical, grooming, insurance, boarding, and miscellaneous doggy expenses.
  • Look into financing options. Some breeders offer payment plans. And you can use credit cards with dog insurance and veterinary care.
  • Get pet insurance to make costs more predictable. It spreads out the risk of expensive vet bills over time.

With some savvy shopping and financial planning, a Basenji can be a very rewarding yet manageable investment that pays dividends through years of companionship.


Basenjis are enchanting dogs but require serious research and financial commitment. By understanding the various price points and costs of ownership, you can make an informed decision if adding one of these athletic, alert, unique dogs to your family is the right choice.

While purchasing a top pedigree show puppy from an elite breeder may cost you over $3,000 initially, adopting a Basenji from a shelter or less prominent breeder can cost under $500. And when you account for all the joys of dog companionship, there’s really no “price tag” that can quantify the value of a faithful canine friend.

With proper financial planning for their care and commitment to training, a Basenji can be a delightful addition to your home for many years. Their spirited personalities and athleticism make up for any added expenses. If you’re up for the challenge and can provide the proper environment, a Basenji may just steal your heart.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Basenjis Make Good Pets?

Basenjis can make excellent pets for owners who understand their unique traits and provide proper training, activity, and socialization. Their athletic build, minimal shedding, and playful nature are great attributes in a companion dog. However, Basenjis also have some quirky characteristics to consider.

Pros of Basenjis as Pets

  • Energetic, lively, and playful
  • Very agile and love activities
  • Minimal grooming and shedding
  • Don’t bark excessively
  • Clean habits, like a cat
  • Loyal and affectionate with family

Potential Cons of Basenjis as Pets

  • Stubborn about training
  • Prone to mischief when bored
  • Can be aloof with strangers
  • High prey drive makes them want to wander and chase
  • Require plenty of exercise
  • Vocal yodeling and howling instead of barking

With patience, an active lifestyle, secure fencing, and proper socialization, a Basenji can thrive as a fun-loving and entertaining pet. But their challenging traits mean they are not ideal for all owners. Do your research to see if they are a good match!

How Rare Is a Basenji Dog?

While not the rarest breed, Basenjis are definitely far from common. As an ancient African breed, they have a very limited ancestry and selective breeding pool.

Some key facts about their rarity:

  • Basenjis are ranked the 86th most popular breed by the American Kennel Club out of 195 total breeds.
  • They account for only about 0.1% of all AKC dog registrations each year, with around 1,000 new registrations annually.
  • For comparison, over 100,000 Labrador Retrievers and 60,000 Golden Retrievers are registered each year.
  • Due to their origins in central Africa, Basenjis are still uncommon outside of areas like Europe, North America, and Australia.
  • Reputable breeders are few and far between compared to more popular breeds.
  • Limited gene pool makes thorough health testing important in ethical breeding programs.

So while the friendly Basenji temperament makes them appealing to many, their uniqueness and very specific breeding needs definitely contribute to them remaining a relatively rare breed. Those who own a Basenji can be assured they have a very special dog!

Why Are Basenjis So Expensive?

A few reasons contribute to the above-average purchase price of a Basenji puppy or adult dog compared to other breeds:

  • Minimal breeding stock – Only a small pool of core breeding lines exist globally, concentrated among a select group of breeders.
  • Intensive health testing – Reputable breeders invest heavily in health and DNA tests to ensure genetic soundness.
  • Unique attributes – Basenjis’ barkless nature, yodeling vocals, and cat-like traits require meticulous breeding.
  • Relative scarcity – They are not common in shelters/rescues, so supply is low.
  • High demand – Their rarity and mystique make them highly desirable to niche buyers.
  • Premium for show dog pedigree – Top-winning lineage dogs can cost up to $5,000.

While the Basenji’s purchase price is above average, devoted Basenji owners say their companionship is priceless. Providing excellent care for the breed also remains a top priority for ethical breeders.

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