Basenjis, also known as the African Barkless Dogs, have a distinctive yodel-like bark that they use to communicate their feelings. They are athletic, energetic dogs that are sure to be a welcome addition to any household.
Basenji dog breed originated in Central Africa where they were primarily bred for hunting. Today, they are mostly used as companion pets.
Male Basenjis weigh about 24 lb. with an average height of 24 inches. Female Basenjis weigh around 20 lb with a height of 15 inches. The average lifespan of Basenjis is 14 years. These short-haired dogs come in different coat colors such as red, black, and tricolor.
As mentioned earlier, the unique feature of Basenjis is that they do not bark. This makes them an ideal companion dog for apartment dwellers. However, they do like to howl and scream and even produce tears when they are sad!
Are you looking to adopt or buy a Basenji? Then it is important to ask how much a Basenji costs. After all; the initial puppy price (or adoption cost) is only the beginning. Owning a dog entails many other expenses including the cost of training, food, and treats, and also major and minor medical expenses. Many pet owners do not pause to think of this. They buy a dog only to realize that it is an expensive affair. So many dogs end up in the shelters for no fault of theirs.
Basenjis are relatively rare in the United States which makes them fairly expensive.
Let us study these costs in detail.
How Much Does a Basenji Puppy Cost?
The cost of a Basenji will depend entirely on the breeder. Most breeders charge between $600 and $1000 although puppies from champion bloodlines can cost up to $3000. To find reputed Basenji breeders in the USA, click here.
Here are the factors that affect a purebred Basenji’s price:
Health checks of parent dogs
Good breeders conduct several health checks on the parent dogs before breeding. Only after the vet has cleared the dogs, do they start the breeding process. This can increase your potential puppy’s price.
Sometimes, breeders have to import the Basenji dogs from abroad. At other times, they may only have the bitches and may have to pay a stud fee for champion male dogs from other breeders. This too can increase your Basenji’s price.
Sometimes, breeders have to use progesterone testing and artificial insemination for impregnating the female Basenji. This too could increase a Basenji puppy’s price.
Reputed breeders make sure that the young puppies are wormed and vaccinated. They only give away the dogs to loving homes (at around 8 weeks) after thoroughly vetting the potential dog owners. Due to this, there may be a significant waiting period for a pup. If the breeder is located far away from you, you’d also need to factor in the shipping costs.
Here is a table showing the price range for Basenji pups:
|The minimum price of a Basenji puppy||$600|
|The maximum price of a Basenji puppy||$3000|
|Price bracket||$600 to $2500|
|Median price||$800 to $1000|
Adopting a Basenji
The cost of adopting a Basenji is a lot less than buying it from a breeder. The adoption fee is around $300. You can find rescue Basenjis on this site.
Basenji Basic Supplies & Costs
Once you’ve decided that the Barkless Dog is right for you, it is time to puppy-proof your home and also buy some basic supplies:
Crate and bed
A crate will provide your pup a room of its own to relax and have some ‘down time’. Buy a crate at least 19 x 19 x 27 inches or larger. Add in some blankets or crate pads. The cost should be around $50.
Along with food and treats, your pet will need sturdy bowls for eating and drinking. Choose a heavy ceramic bowl or a sturdy stainless steel bowl that won’t tip over. These cost around $20.
Lead and collars
Once your vet allows you to take your dog for walks (after all initial vaccinations), you’d need sturdy leads and collars for the task. Look for ones made of nylon. Ensure that they don’t chafe or rub the dog’s fur. The size of the collar should be appropriate – not too tight or loose. Make sure your pet won’t be able to chew through it. The cost of leash and collars/harness – around $20.
Basenji’s short coat won’t need too much grooming but you may want to brush it a couple of times a week. Invest in some basic pet brushes, wide-toothed combs, and a slicker brush. Also, you’d need a vet-approved shampoo, ear cleaner, some pet wipes, and nail clippers. These come to around $40-$75.
During the potty training phase, you may want to invest in some potty pads, strong enzymatic cleaners, and poop bags. These will ease the cleanup process. The cost is around $30.
Toys and chews
Your Basenji will need plenty of toys for entertainment. Nylabone™, Kong toys, and rope toys are good choices as they are sturdy and safe. Avoid rawhide toys and plushies as they can rip and pose choking hazards. The cost of toys is around $40.
|Dog Supplies||Approximate cost|
|Crate, bed, crate pads||$50 to $100|
|Toys and dental chews||$$40-$75|
|Grooming tools: shampoo, wipes, nail grinder/clippers||$50 to $75|
|Training tools: lead, collar, Potty pads, wipes, poop bags, cleaners||$100|
|Food and water bowls with silicone mats||$20-$40|
Basenji Training Costs
Hours of outdoor fun, bonding time with pet parents, and socializing with other dogs: your Basenji will have loads of fun during dog training.
You can always choose to train your dog at home. Take some tips from YouTube videos and other free online resources. This is the most cost-effective way of dog training if you are on a budget. However, you have to be very disciplined and consistent to see results.
Alternatively, you can opt for professional dog training. There are a variety of training programs for your Basenji and the choice entirely depends on your schedule, budget, and also your pet’s needs.
Thanks to the pandemic, many dog trainers offer online/video (Skype, Facetime) and even phone consultations these days. Most charge around $60 per session depending on the trainer. The trainer will walk you through specific training commands and also solve any issues that your Basenji may have.
In-person training/private dog training
In-person training is slightly more expensive and can cost between $120-$200 per session. A dog trainer will come to your place and observe your dog. He will then recommend exact training techniques and tools to use.
Board and train/puppy obedience school
A 3-week board-and-train puppy obedience boot camp can cost between $500 and $1250 per week. Your dog will learn the following commands: Sit, Heel, Stay, Come, Place, etc. Advanced behavior modification for dogs with behavioral issues (aggression, bite history, excessive separation anxiety, indoor soiling, etc.) can cost around $4000 for 4-weeks.
You can also opt for pocket-friendly group training classes at a nearby Dog Park or PetSmart. Most cost between $10-$50 per class.
|Type of training||Training Cost|
|Online/phone consultation||$60 per session|
|Board and train||$500-$1250 per week|
|Group classes||Between $10 and $50 per class|
|Private dog training at home||Minimum $40 and Maximum $120 per session|
|Behavior modification training||$4000 for 4 weeks|
|Service dog/therapy dog training||$10,000 over the period of 2 years|
Basenji Food Costs
Your puppy will need the same food as the breeder was feeding it. This way you won’t have to deal with any digestive upsets.
Basenji puppies will need to eat at least 4 times a day. You can transition to adult dog food once your vet gives you the approval. Adult Basenji dogs will need 1-2 cups of high-quality dog food 2 times a day. Pregnant and lactating bitches will need more meals and even different food as advised by the vet. Senior dogs will need different diets and portion sizes based on their overall health.
You can choose to feed dry food (kibble) or wet or canned dog food. Some Basenji owners also feed freeze-dried food and even the BARF diet (bones and raw food diet). Always consult your vet before you make any dietary changes.
|Type of food||Quantity per month for 24 lb. Basenji||Cost per month|
|Dry dog food/kibble||10 lb.||$50-$75|
|Wet or canned food||25 lb.||$80-$100|
|Freeze-dried raw food||20 lb.||$120-$150|
|Raw food||30 lb.||$30-$50|
Basenji Dog Food Comparison
Basenjis need high-quality dog food and your vet will guide you into selecting one. Some Basenjis are sensitive to certain ingredients found in commercial dog food. These include certain proteins, grains, and fillers like corn and soy. If you suspect your pet has a food allergy or intolerance, then work closely with a vet to determine the right food for it.
Most Basenjis can tolerate chicken, fish, and lamb. If your pet is sensitive to these proteins, then you may have to opt for novel protein sources like emu, kangaroo, duck, rabbit, or venison. Always make any dietary changes slowly and wait for at least a month for the new diet to show results.
Premium dog food for Basenjis includes foods without any artificial ingredients. Look for brands made in the USA and containing premium ingredients. Ideally, the food should contain human-grade ingredients. High-quality dog food brands use free-range beef, cage-free poultry, and wild-caught seafood.
The following table shows different foods and their costs for Basenjis:
|Name||Features||Cost per lb.|
|Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach, High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food & Wet Dog Food||Formulated for dogs with skin and stomach allergies||$1.75/lb.|
|Nature’s Recipe Prime Blends Wet Dog Food||High-quality wet dog food without corn, soy, fillers, or preservatives||$14/lb.|
|JustFoodForDogs PantryFresh Dog Food – Fresh, Whole Food Ingredients Ready to Serve Adult Dog & Puppy Food||Human-grade food without fillers, corn, soy, BHT, etc. Vet-recommended||$0.44/ounce|
Basenji Medical Costs
Basenjis are generally healthy dogs but you still need to take your puppy to the vet for its initial checkup. During this first visit, your vet will also give you a schedule for its vaccinations.
All dogs need core and non-core vaccines for protection from diseases like canine distemper, parvovirus, etc. The cost of basic vaccinations varies from city to city and also depends on your vet. Most vets charge between $35 and $100 for core vaccines.
Your Basenji will also need your help in protecting it from parasites like ticks, fleas, and mites. There are different methods of flea-tick prevention. You can opt for shampoos, collars, spot treatments, powders, and sprays. These cost around $50 for 3 months of protection.
Deworming is another routine medical expense for all dog owners. It is very important to prevent worms like pinworms, roundworms, etc.
In your pet’s first year, you also need to have it de-sexed. Neutering surgery costs around $100 while spaying costs about $300 depending on the vet.
The following table shows the vaccination, age, and approximate costs:
|Core vaccine||Age of puppy||Cost|
|Distemper||At least 3 doses are to be given between 6 and 16 weeks of age. (2 doses to be given 3-4 weeks apart)||$15 to $25|
|Parvovirus||Same as above|
|Adenovirus, type 1 (CAV-1, canine hepatitis)||The intranasal vaccine may be boostered at one year. Your Cavalier will also need a booster at 1 year after completing the initial series, then again, every 3 years.||$15-$50|
|Adenovirus, type 2 (CAV-2, kennel cough)||Between 6 weeks to 16 weeks, at least 3 doses.||$15-$50|
|Rabies 1 and 3 years||Can be given as early as 3 months of age. States have laws about this core vaccine||$35 to $50|
Non-Core vaccine costs
- Parainfluenza – $15 to $35
- Lyme disease – $20-$40
- Leptospirosis – $15-$35
- Kennel cough – $15-$50
Other medical costs
A routine visit to the vet for ensuring your Basenji’s wellbeing can set you back by nearly $50. Your pet will need two such visits per year. This can cost $100 per year.
If your naughty dog gets injured, then an X-ray can cost around $400. If there is a hospitalization required, then be prepared to spend $1000 on it.
Emergency surgery can cost around $500 to $4000 depending on the kind required. You might also have to spend between $100-$200 on blood tests, $500 on sonography, and up to $300 on allergy testing. A dental cleaning can cost up to $100 to $400 depending on the extent of work needed.
Common Diseases in Basenjis
Basenjis are generally healthy dogs. However, there are some common issues seen in the breed. These include:
This is an inherited urological disease very common in Basenjis. The kidneys fail to reabsorb the nutrients and electrolytes. Symptoms include excess drinking, frequent urination, and glucose in urine. There is no cure for FS but you can manage the symptoms with proper diet and medication.
Hemolytic anemia or HA is also an inherited disorder quite common in Basenjis. It can be prevented by testing the parent dogs before breeding. There is a non-invasive DNA test that can show which dogs have HA. That is why it is important to find good breeders when buying your puppy.
Basenjis sometimes suffer from hip dysplasia that gives rise to painful arthritis-like conditions. It can even lead to loss of mobility. Add dogs can be tested for OFA and PennHIP before breeding. The cost of surgically treating hip dysplasia is around $2000 per hip.
Pet insurance for Basenjis: Is it Worth it?
Many pet parents wonder if they need to buy pet insurance. While it isn’t a necessity, it is certainly assuring when you know you can cover expensive medical treatments and hospitalizations.
Given the fact that more and more pet parents are buying insurance covers for their pets, goes to show that it is indeed a wise decision. Pet insurance can cover wellness and routine checkup, emergency medical expenses, accident, and injury treatment costs. Some even cover hospitalization, diagnostic tests, etc.
Basenji owners can choose from several top insurance firms. It is important to read all policy documents carefully to see what is and isn’t covered. Many policy plans make you pay upfront and reimburse the costs later. In such cases, it is important to find out how long the claims processing takes.
According to Forbes, here are the best pet insurance companies in 2022:
|Name of the company||Features||Cost (approx)|
|Pet’s Best||Great for deductible choices||From $18|
|Embrace||Best benefits||Basic coverage from $7 per month|
|Many Pets||Lowest out of pocket claims cost||Start from $20 per month|
|Figo||The shortest wait period for accident coverage||$45 per month|
|Spot||Best annual coverage choices||$9.95 per month|
|Prudent||Great extras||Between $30-$50 per month|
Additional Costs of Owning a Basenji
In addition to food, medical, and training costs, Basenji owners must also be prepared to spend on some of the following:
If you travel frequently, you need to board your Basenji. These costs can quickly add up as most pet hostels charge between $50 and $75 per night. You can hire a pet-sitter if you do not want your pet in boarding. Most charge between $45 and $100 per day depending on your city and the tasks covered.
Dog walker costs
Basenjis are an energetic and active dog breed. They need daily exercise without which they can get bored and even destructive. Dog walking cost for a single 30-minute walk is around $30 to $45 depending on the location.
Lease/rent deposits or home improvement costs
If you live in a rented home, some landlords may demand a pet deposit fee between $100 and $300 per year. If you have your own home, then you may have to make some structural changes including adding a sturdy fence to keep your pet free from harm. Expect to spend between $500 and $1000 for home improvement as a one-time cost.
Basenjis do not need a whole lot of grooming but you may want to get some professional help from time to time. Simple baths are not too expensive but medicated baths for fleas can cost around $50. Full grooming can cost around $100 depending on where you live.
Key Takeaways – How Much Does a Basenji Cost?
Many dog owners underestimate how much a dog costs. They are willing to pay the initial puppy price, but that is not all that dog ownership entails. As seen above, there are numerous expenses to consider over your pet’s lifetime. Here is a summary:
The puppy price or adoption fees are not the only costs to consider. A Basenji puppy can cost between $600 and $3000 depending on the breeder. In the first year, you will also have to consider the cost of basic supplies, training, and medical expenses like vaccination and spaying. Adding these up, you’d spend between $2000 and $4000 in the first year.
Basenjis will need high-quality food and treats. Expect to spend nearly $100 per month on food and treats. The monthly costs can also include flea-tick prevention, pet insurance premium, and medical costs. Adding these up, expect to spend almost $300-$500 a month.
The annual cost of Basenji ownership can include travel, grooming, pet-sitting, lease, registration, and licensing costs. Expect to pay nearly $1000 on these. These costs will vary based on your style of dog parenting.
The lifetime cost of Basenji ownership
The average lifespan of Basenjis is around 14 years. Expect to spend anywhere between $14,000 and $20,000 over your pet’s lifetime. Should your pet develop any serious health issue, then this cost can be even higher.
It is wise to consider all of the costs of Basenji ownership before you bring one home. If you’re financially able to care for a Basenji throughout its lifetime, then it will reward you with love, affection, and loyalty.