Are Basenjis Expensive (Basenji Price Update 2024)

You want to get a Basenji but how much do Basenjis cost and are Basenjis expensive? This is the purpose of this article and we will do all we can in order to answer this question in the best way possible. So, is it expensive to purchase a Basenji?

Basenjis cost $300 to adopt and between $800 to $2,000USD to buy from Breeders. For show-level Basenjis, you can expect to fork out between $1,800 to $4,500USD.

They are expensive mainly because Basenjis only have litters once a year and there’s a great demand for them. The Breeder’s reputation, the pedigree of the puppy, and overall low number of breeders also contribute to the high price of Basenjis.

The summary answer above will give you a rough idea of why it is so expensive to get a Basenji puppy. There are just a lot of factors involved and we will go a little deeper into explaining them so you understand why they are so pricey.

A Basenji puppy sleeping on the couch.
A Basenji puppy sleeping on the couch.

How much do Basenjis cost?

Let’s look into this, shall we? When it comes to Basenjis, there are a lot of options available to you and you need to be well informed before getting one or the other. The most affordable Basenjis you can buy will be from a rescue shelter.

Rescue shelters usually only charge to cover the expenses incurred in keeping the puppy at the shelter. You will usually find prices ranging from $300 to about $600 depending on where you live. This is just the cost of getting the puppy.

There will be other costs involved as well such as a dog bed, crate, dog food and other associated costs to help get your Basenji settled in comfortably. Those could easily mean another $200 to $300 on top of the cost of the Basenji.

How Much Does a Purebred Basenji cost?

Expensive purebred basenjis

Buying your Basenji from a breeder will be a lot more expensive. The least you can expect to pay from a reputable breeder will be around $800 and the prices generally range to about $2,000 for a purebred Basenji.

You may have come across “breeders” who offer supposedly purebred Basenji puppies at lower prices. If you haven’t already, you sure will as you shop around for your Basenji. You need to stay away from these breeders if you want a quality purebred Basenji.

The problem with these breeders is that they often don’t have records of the parents and family history. We will get into why this is important further down in this article. Reputable breeders are always the best option when it comes to getting the best Basenji pups.

You can ask a local vet or dog groomers who they recommend when it comes to Basenjis. They will most likely know the reputable breeders in your area.

If you are looking for a show quality Basenji, breeders will charge anywhere from $1,800 to $4,500 per puppy. The better the pedigree and the higher the reputation of the breeder, the more expensive the Basenji will be.

Why Are Basenjis So Expensive?

Now, let’s look at some of the reasons that Basenji puppies cost so much money.


The history of the stock from which they are bred plays a huge part in the price of the puppy. This is true in cases where the lineage comprises show winners. This will significantly raise the price of the puppy. Unless you want to participate in dog shows, it’s best to steer clear of these.

If you just want a pet Basenji, there really is no need to spend that much on a Basenji puppy.

Puppy Care Expenses

The expenses that go into the care of the puppy prior to you buying them also play a part in the final price of the Basenji. Usually, these include veterinary and grooming costs. They are factored into the final price when you buy.

Breeder’s Reputation

Just like in any other field really, reputation plays a part in just how much you end up paying for a product or service. This is no different when it comes to Basenji breeders. The better the reputation, the more people want to buy from them and the higher the price they command.

There are Few Basenji Breeders

Basenji breeders are few and far between. Most people actually have to drive long distances in order to find a reputable Basenji breeder. In fact, Basenjis are generally considered to be rare. Just like diamonds, purebred Basenjis command a high price.

Basenjis only have Litters Once a Year

Most dogs will have litters two or three times a year but Basenjis only have litters once a year. Most breeders have litters booked in advance and will usually not breed their Basenjis every year as well.

A happy full grown Basenji wearing a no pull harness
A happy full grown Basenji wearing a no pull harness

Are Basenjis Expensive to Maintain?

When it comes to the day-to-day maintenance of a Basenji, you won’t expect to spend much more than you would with a regular dog. You will definitely spend a lot less on dog shampoo as Basenjis generally keep themselves clean and you only need to bathe them once every couple of months.

Why Do you Need to Know a Basenji’s Lineage?

Purebred Basenjis in America and Europe originate from a limited breeding stock meaning that they descend from a small gene pool. It took time for Basenjis to acclimatise to northern hemisphere environments.

The first attempts to breed Basenjis failed for a very long time up until success was recorded in Europe in the 1930s. From that point on, Basenjis were then exported to the United States where they have been successfully bred ever since.

The problem with having a small gene pool is that there is the challenge of hereditary sicknesses being passed down to future generations. Basenjis are prone to diseases such as Fanconi syndrome, autoimmune thyroiditis, retinal atrophy as well as hip dysplasia.

All breeding Basenjis are recommended that they be tested for these by the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals. Reputable breeders will adhere to these guidelines whereas the other breeders offering cheaper alternatives will not. We will point out here that this is also a big risk when it comes to adopting Basenjis from shelters. Not all of them will have these records available.

A Basenji dog has its nails clipped
A Basenji dog has its nails clipped

When you deal with breeders who have been in the business for generations, you will be furnished with breeding records dating back to many generations in the family tree.


We hope that after reading this article, you are better placed in terms of understanding whether or not Basenjis are expensive. It all boils down to what you are looking for in a Basenji. If all you want is a pet, then expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $800.

If you are looking for a purebred specimen or a show quality Basenji, expect to fork out up to $4,500.