Are Basenjis Good Off Leash?

Question; are Basenjis good off-leash? Can you walk them or take them hiking off-leash without incidence? We will be exploring this topic to establish the truth behind this matter and see whether your B can be trusted to walk without a leash.

To put it in summary; Basenjis are generally not good off-leash. They have a high prey drive and will chase after small animals and stalk birds. They also have a heightened level of curiosity and will generally disappear into bushes and reappear after an extended spell. In short, they should not be trusted off-leash.

That’s the gist of it and in the rest of this article; we are going to get into the meat of the matter to establish a better understanding of whether or not you can leave your Basenji off-leash.

basenji puppy

How Often Should You Walk a Basenji?

Basenjis are generally very high-energy dogs. They require considerable amounts of energy. IF you happen to have a yard with a high fence where they can roam freely, they will naturally get sufficient amounts of exercise.

On the other hand, if you have limited space for them to roam or live in an apartment, you will need to take them out for walks frequently. They need at least 40 minutes of exercise per day. If you are walking them, you need to do it once or twice a day so that they manage to get sufficient levels of exercise.

Hiring a dog walker is a good idea if you spend significant amounts of time at work. When they don’t get enough exercise, Basenjis tend to get destructive. They will try and release their pent up energy through other means.

You may come home to a trashed house or apartment. As the saying goes, a tired Basenji is a good Basenji. Make it a point to give them the necessary exercise by taking them for walks daily.

hugging a basenji in the snow
A Basenji all rugged up for the snow.

Do Basenjis Like to Hike?

There are fewer things that Basenjis enjoy more than going for hikes. They tend to satisfy their high levels of curiosity and prey drive, that is, if you allow them to roam off-leash. For most Basenjis though, this is not advisable. They need to be kept on a tight leash at all times when you do take them hiking.

In cases where the Basenji has received good training preferably from a professional dog trainer, they may be allowed to roam off-leash.

They will be more inclined to listen to you when you call them. Basenjis typically have a mind of their own and are often not responsive when they are allowed to roam freely.

patting a Basenji on the head
Patting a happy red and white Basenji

Are Basenjis Hard to Train?

Basenjis are quite intelligent and can be trained. The only problem is that they have low attention spans and will typically stop responding when the training sessions become too long.

The best time to train a Basenji is when they are still puppies. As they grow older, it becomes more difficult to train them but not impossible. In cases where you may struggle to train them, you might want to consider engaging a professional trainer for help.

Basenjis do have a reputation of being difficult to train and some interpret that as them being dumb. On the contrary, it is their high levels of intelligence that cause them to pick and choose when to obey and when not to.

When they don’t stand to gain anything, they may just choose to ignore you and do their own thing. When training an adult Basenji, it is important to not force things and resume training at a later point. The same can be said for Basenji pups as well.

Make sure to keep the training sessions at 10 minutes and below if you want effective results in the long term.

The floppy face of a Basenji smiling
Basenji dogs have a surprising amount of loose skin on their face!

Are Basenjis Obedient Off-Leash?

Whether or not they are obedient off-leash will depend on individual temperament as well as the amount and quality of training that has been done. A well-trained Basenji will be obedient off-leash and follow commands.

An untrained one will tend to follow their own whims and do as they please. Their curiosity and strong prey drive tend to take over their faculties and basically shut everything else out.


As you can see, whether or not your Basenji is good off-leash is dependent on several factors. We hope this post has helped shed some light on this issue for you.