Do Basenjis Like Water – What to Do If They Don’t

The big question; do Basenjis like water? This question can be asked in both the context of taking a bath or jumping into a water body for a swim. Are Basenjis comfortable with all forms of water or is it specific forms of water that they dread?

Basenjis are like people in a lot of ways and will react differently to water. It is generally a trend among most Basenjis do not like water but sometimes it’s a matter of catching them at the right time and sometimes it comes down to the element of surprise.

Do Basenjis Like Water

Do Basenjis Like Water at All?

Ask different owners of Bs and you will get a host of different answers and a whole lot of funny stories in there as well. I would say that Basenjis behave just like our normal human children would. Some love bath time while others completely loath it.

As an example, you can have a situation where an owner of a Basenji says that they literally have to fight with their dog to keep them in the bath during bath time. They literally do the dog version of kicking and screaming (which a Basenji is capable of doing too).

basenji in water

They are usually left with a choice of giving up on the bath or forcing them still while they wash them. If this is your situation, I have some suggestions later on in this article that you can implement to help you out so read on.

Basenjis can be a little weird in how they respond to water. One may not like taking baths yet spend long periods of time in the pouring rain and actually enjoy it. The same dog may then be afraid to walk on grass with morning dew.

They can enjoy rolling around in the mud then suddenly be afraid to step into a small puddle of water. Very weird indeed.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are owners who point out that they are able to give their Bs baths without any incident whatsoever. In fact, some even state that their Basenjis love to jump into the pool and swim with other dogs.

A red and white Basenji wearing a snow coat.
A red and white Basenji wearing a snow coat.

This throws the argument that Basenji’s don’t like water into…well, the water..literally. How is it then that Basenjis have gotten the reputation of not liking water? I have a theory which I will share now.

I think the reputation of Basenjis being afraid of water is well earned and not a myth at all. Well, how do you explain the swimmers and the rain walkers? Here’s my theory. I think it has to do with conditioning.

The Bs that love water and take swims have grown accustomed to water and grown, if not fond, used to it. They know that it will not pose any harm to them.

Basenjis Are Clean Dogs

Basenjis are like cats in that they keep themselves very clean. In fact, there really isn’t much need for baths. Because they have very short fur, they don’t smell like many other dogs do. Their baths tend to be few and far between.

Most owners bathe their Bs two to three times per year and usually when there really is a need to do so like the dog getting muddy or stinking due to playing where they were not supposed to.

How to Deal With Basenjis That Don’t Like Water

a basenji with a small child
A Basenji licks the face of a small dog

So, how do you handle a situation where your Basenji really doesn’t like bath time? I am going to share a few tips that other dog owners have managed to use in order to help their little children get over their fears of water.

Tip 1: Get in The Water With Them

If you have a shower, a great idea is to get in the shower with them then shampoo and rinse them off. This has worked for many owners who have had a hard time washing their Basenjis. It seems that they are more at ease when they know that you are in it with them.

Tip 2: Get Them to Do it Together With Other Dogs

If you, a close relative or friend has a dog that your Basenji is familiar with, you can have them come over and play in the water with their dog. This may help your Basenji get over the fear of getting into the pool when they see other dogs getting into the water. This can also work at the beach.

Tip 3: Use Spray on Shampoo

A good idea is to use a spray-on shampoo that you can wipe off. Instead of shampooing your B then rinsing off with water, you can use a spray-on shampoo that can be wiped off instead of rinsing. This tends to work well for a lot of Basenji owners.

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

Tip 4: Use Wipes

Another method that works relatively well is using wipes. Your Basenji will tend not to react negatively when you use this method.


So, do Basenjis like water? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, they have a reputation of not liking water and no they don’t have a dislike for water that can’t be worked out of them. Just like your other children, your Basenji s probably need a bit of convincing and they just begin to like water.