Can Basenjis Climb Trees? (YES! with Video)

Can Basenjis climb trees? You may have wondered about this topic but you no longer need to wonder. In this post, we are going to be looking into this subject and by the time you’re done reading this, you will be well informed on the tree scaling Basenji.

Can Basenjis Climb Trees?

Yes, Basenjis can definitely climb trees. They are fast and agile and able to climb a tree from a running start. They do not have claws such as cats that allow them to climb up vertically. They are also able to disembark trees with relative ease if the gradient allows for it or the height is low enough.

It would seem as if the Basenji has one surprise or another up their sleeves and will pull the rug from under you every once in a while. One of the questions we have gotten several times is whether or not Basenjis can climb trees.

When you look at it logically, dogs are not supposed to be able to climb trees. They are simply not built for it. Well, our favorite dog seems to make it a point of breaking the mold when it comes to what we think they can or cannot do.

Well, recently one of our readers reached out to us saying that their Basenji had climbed up a tree about 8 feet and come down again. We wrote a post about Basenjis being able to jump over a 6-foot fence and climbing 8 feet up a tree should not be an issue.

There is a bit of a difference with how Basenjis climb up trees when compared to a cat, for example. They tend to use momentum more than claws.

How Do Basenjis Climb Up Trees?

To give you an idea of how Basenjis go up and down trees, take a look at the video below:

hiking with a Basenji dog
Even though they are small, some Basenji dogs take to hiking and long walks

AS you can see, the Basenji uses a running start to gather momentum which it then uses to get itself up the tree. Getting down is relatively easy as well. The tree in the video is about 10 to 12 feet from the ground which is a relatively easy height for the Basenji to scale.

The gradient of the tree also helps a great deal. There is a slight slant to it and this helps make it easier for the Basenji to climb up. How well does a Basenji do on a more vertical gradient though? Let’s address this in the next sections.

How High Can Basenjis Climb?

basenji climbing tree

When it comes to the height that a Basenji can scale up a tree, there are several factors that need to be put into consideration. Firstly the gradient, as we have already mentioned plays a huge part. Secondly, the momentum that the Basenji has also plays a part.

Thirdly, the height of the lowest branches has a significant impact on how high un the tree the Basenji will go. If the branches are particularly low, the Basenji will be able to go significantly high up the tree. They may have a harder time coming down though.

To bring more into perspective, your Basenji will be able to go 10, 12, 14 or 16 feet up a tree depending on the factors we’ve highlighted above.

Can They Come Down Trees?

Coming down from a tree is another story altogether though. If you’ve climbed trees as a kid, you will be well aware of this fact.

When you think of it, even cats, which are more adept at climbing face this challenge as well. Whether they will be able to get down a tree or not will depend largely on how confident and experienced your Basenji is at climbing.

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

As you saw in the video above, the Basenji was able to climb up then come down the tree again with little to no trouble at all. It indicates that this particular Basenji has done this many times before and is able to repeat it with relative ease.

If the tree has several low hanging branches for the Basenji to step on as it comes down, it will be an easier process. If, however, the lowest branches are higher up, it comes down to how confident the Basenji is in coming down the tree themselves.


To wrap it up, the Basenji is capable of climbing trees but within limits. Don’t expect them to scale up a tree like a squirrel, cat or monkey. At the same time, don’t put it beyond their ability to do some amazing climbing feat.