Do Basenjis Shed Much Hair?

Basenjis might be small in appearance, and they don't bark much, but don't let that fool you. They were originally bred as hunters in Africa, and they're one of the most intelligent, courageous dogs out there. Not to mention, surprisingly powerful for their size!

How much hair do they shed? Basenjis are considered a low shedding breed. Like most dogs, they do shed more during seasonal changes like Spring, but it's not very noticeable given their short coat, and they're very easy to groom. So Basenjis are well suited to anyone looking for a quiet, low maintenance and low shedding breed.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at Basenjis so that, if you do decide to adopt one of these guys, you'll have a better idea on what to expect.

Basenji Shedding

Basenjis are a low shedding breed. However, like most dogs, they do shed at least some hair, so you shouldn't expect that your home is going to be completely hair free.

Low Shedding

It's just that, with Basenjis, the hair you will find floating around your home will typically be a lot less than with most other breeds. Like a Bernese Mountain Dog for example, which sheds quite a bit.

Another thing worth mentioning is that Basenjis tend to shed more during seasonal changes, like spring and fall, which typically lasts for a couple of weeks as they "blow coat".

This just means that they shed a little more, or in some cases a lot more, as their coat naturally sheds in preparation for the new season. However, given the short, fine hairs on his coat, this is hardly noticeable and quite easy to keep under control.

What Are They Like to Groom?

Basenjis are one of the easiest dogs to groom on the planet. And one of main reasons for this is because of their short, smooth coat. Even with a full day out and about, mud and all, they are so easy to groom that a simple wipe down with a cloth is often sufficient.

Easy Grooming

When it comes to brushing, using a simple bristle brush or curry brush once per week will get the job done.

The only caveat here is that some Basenjis have a thicker undercoat, which can cause more shedding when they blow coat, so you may want a deshedding tool to help remove the dead undercoat fur.

If you want to learn more about the different types of brushes you can use to groom your dog, check this article out.

Brushing doesn't just remove loose dead hairs from his coat. It also helps to evenly spread the natural oils of his coat, which in turn helps to prevent excessive shedding due to dry skin.

The other reason Basenjis are such a low maintenance breed is because they actually groom themselves in a similar manner to a cat. Which is why some refer to them as being fastidious and even "cat like" when it comes to keeping themselves clean.

And to top it off, they have an odorless coat. Which means that even if you don't bath him for awhile, his coat is not going to have that common "dog odor" smell as with other breeds.

Are Basenjis Hypoallergenic?

Basenjis are considered a "hypoallergenic breed" because they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction among allergy sufferers in comparison to other breeds. However, no dog is ever completely allergen free, so even hypoallergenic breeds can still cause allergies.

It's important to understand that just because a dog sheds very little hair, doesn't mean they won't upset your allergies. It definitely does make a difference, but the main problem is not the hair itself. It's actually the dried saliva and dander (dead skin) that attaches itself to the hair and, when that hair falls out, gets airborne.

But even without the shedding aspect, dander and dried saliva can still find its way into the air, and so these allergens can still present a problem for those who suffer from conditions like asthma and allergic rhinitis for example.

Thankfully, Basenjis are a very low shedding, clean breed that requires minimal maintenance to keep it that way. So, while no breed is every 100% allergen free, these guys are up there with the best of the bunch. 

Keeping Shedding to a Minimum

There's not a lot you need to do to keep shedding to a minimum, since Basenjis don't shed much to begin with. A simple brush once per week, with a regular bristle brush is all that's required. Not only will this remove any dead hairs on his coat, but it will help spread the oils of his coat evenly over the skin and hair, which helps keep shedding to a minimum.

With that being said, you may need to go further than this depending on the individual dog and during certain times of the year, such as autumn and spring, as he blows coat. But a good quality deshedding tool is all you really need to minimize the fallout (no pun intended).

Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid over bathing your dog. And when you do, try to use a quality dog shampoo. Because this will help ensure your dog doesn't get dry, irritated skin. Which is one of the leading causes of excessive shedding.

See also: 7 Real Ways To Stop Your Dog Shedding Excessively

Should You Adopt a Basenji?

Basenjis make excellent family companions, especially for those wanting a low shedding, easy to groom dog that doesn't bark. They're affectionate, loving and loyal to their humans.

They also make great watchdogs. Which might sound strange given their size and the fact they're known as the "barkless dog". But they're surprisingly powerful for their size and, even though they don't bark, can still make plenty of noise! 

You'll typically hear pleasant yodels from a Basenji, but if trouble is around they'll let you know by way of a typical growl or howl, or in some cases, an all out ear piercing scream.

They're also a highly intelligent, curious and energetic breed. One that values their own independence over taking commands. So they can be a little stubborn and are probably not suited to someone who isn't wanting to put much effort into regular training.

It's entirely possible to train your Basenji to become a highly obedient dog, but they are more work than many other breeds in this respect. Mostly because they're stubborn and like to do what is pleasing to them, rather than their owner.

This is why playing fetch doesn't always work out according to plan. They love to play, but not necessarily the way you want to. So don't be surprised if they wander off and get themselves into mischief if left unchecked.

What about leaving him at home during the day?

Basenjis are known to be quite destructive if left to their own devices, so it might pay to consider this before leaving him alone inside your house for extended periods of time. And the story isn't much better outside either (lol). They're very good at escaping fenced yards given their ability to climb, high energy levels and sheer determination.

What's Their History?

Basenjis are part of the American Kennel Club's "hound group" classification, so they share similar traits to breeds like the Rhodesian Ridgeback and Afghan Hound. They're also one of the oldest breeds the AKC has on record, with their lineage dating all the way back to the days of ancient Egypt, where they were bought to pharaohs as gifts from Africa.

They get their reputation as being hunting dogs because they were originally bred in the African Congo by local tribes to hunt small game. In some parts of Africa, the name Basenji means "wild dog" or "dogs of the savages", while in other parts it means "dog that jumps up and down". Either way, the Basenjis purpose was always the same, help tribespeople hunt.

Which probably explains why they have a natural tendency to hunt cats, rabbits and other small animals like squirrels for example. And why they typically don't mix well with other dogs unless socialized early on. They might be small, but they're a force to be reckoned with.

In any case, the first Basenji entered Western society in the 19th century, but it wasn't until the 1930's that they were officially accepted as a breed in England. And eventually, in 1944 they were successfully established in the United States.

Basenji Breed Summary


The Basenji is a small hunting dog that originated in Africa. It is also known as the "barkless dog" and is likened to cats in the way it cleans itself.


They have short coats that come in either red, black, brindle or tricolor with a white tail, feet and chest.

Level of Shedding

Low shedding.

Grooming Difficulty

Very easy to groom.



Related Questions

Do Basenjis Smell?

Basenjis have an odorless coat. Which means that even if you don't bath him for awhile, his coat is not going to have that common "dog odor" smell as with other breeds.

Are Basenjis Good Family Dogs?

Basenjis make excellent family companions, especially for those wanting a low shedding, easy to groom dog that doesn't bark. They're affectionate, loving and loyal to their humans.

Do They Bark Much?

No, Basenji's do not bark because of they have an unusually shaped larynx. However, they do yodel, howl and whine like any other dog and can scream quite loudly to alert their owner.

Should Basenjis Be Left Alone?

Basenjis are definitely not the best dog to leave alone given their destructive nature and their keen ability to jump and climb fences. This is why they need regular physical activity and stimulation to keep them from getting into mischief.

What Are Some Low Shedding Breed Alternatives?

Other low shedding breeds that don't bark much include the French Bulldog, Afghan Hound and Chinook for example. But there are many other low shedding breeds to consider.

Do Basenjis Shed Much Hair?

Let's Face It... Cleaning Up Loose Dog Hair Sucks

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