How High Can Basenjis Jump – Are they Good at Agility

So, how high can Basenjis jump? Are Basenjis fit for agility events in light of all the reports out there about how untrainable they are? Is that assertion actually factual? We are going to look a little deeper into this right here in this article.

Basenjis are very agile dogs and have been known to jump as high as six feet into the air. This and their speed make them good candidates for agility courses. The one drawback is that they are pretty difficult to train and generally pick and choose the moments in which to obey you.

Many Basenji owner has been left with egg on their face when their Basenji decided to simply not obey them. This does not imply that Basenjis can’t be trained. It simply means that you will need to use a different approach when it comes to training a Basenji.

They require a little more patience and shorter training sessions because they have the attention span of a Gold Fish.

A running Basenji leaping through the air.
A running Basenji leaping through the air. They are FAST!

How High Can Basenjis Jump Really?

If you watch a Basenji playing outside, you will realize how fast and agile Basenjis really are. One of the ways that Basenjis hunt on the African plains is by jumping up and down over tall grass so that they can spot and flush out prey.

This behavior has earned them the nickname of the jumping dog. As a matter of fact, despite their relatively small frame, they have been known to scale over fences as high as six feet.

Whether you want your Basenji to compete or just as a way of having fun, watching a Basenji jump is one of the coolest things you will ever see. Just do a YouTube search for Basenji jumping and you’ll see many videos of Basenji owners who have shot some of the coolest Basenji videos out there.`

There are different reasons why Basenji owners generally want to know how high their Basenjis are able to jump. One reason is to find out what height fence they need to have installed and another is to know whether they can participate in agility events.

Offering a Basenji dog a treat during reward based training.
Offering a Basenji dog a treat during reward based training.

Can My Basenji Jump Over the Fence?

Basenjis tend to be very curious animals with seemingly boundless amounts of energy. Like most dogs, they want to explore their surroundings and defend their territory. It’s not uncommon for a Basenji to take off after a cat, squirrel or another dog.

For this reason, a lot of Basenji owners want to know how they can best keep their curious little children within the confines of the yard. There are a couple of options that you can explore and we are going to look into these in this article.

Basenji and Fences

I’ve already stated that some Basenji owners are known to be able to jump over fences as high as six feet. This, however, is a case of a Basenji with exceptionally high agility. A five-foot fence usually gets the job done but for that added layer of security, a six-foot fence isn’t a bad idea.

Generally speaking, you don’t want to start off with a lower fence and work your way up to a high one. When a Basenji gets it into their head that they are able to jump over a smaller wall, they will attempt to jump over a wall even when you put up a higher one.

Given their tenacity and hard-headed nature, they probably will be able to scale over a five or six-foot wall.

What about underground invisible fences, are they suitable for Basenjis? An underground fence is basically an electrical field that acts as a fence and won’t allow your basenji to go past it. There have been mixed reactions to this from Basenji owners.

Others have stated that it works well for them and keeps their Bs confined within specified parameters. Others have had different results though stating that after some time their Basenjis figured out that they could pass over the electric field and that the shock was only for a moment.

An owner sits with her larger red and white Basenji. Not so small!
An owner sits with her larger red and white Basenji. Not so small!

Should I Do a Normal Fence or Underground Invisible One?

Ideally, you would want a normal fence of about five to six feet in height surrounding your property. An alternative is to fence off a part of your yard where they can roam freely in the event that you don’t want to fence off your whole yard.

If you don’t want to go the route of a normal fence and would prefer to go with an underground invisible fence, it is best to seek the advice of experienced Basenji breeders in your area or consult with the installation company to see how best to go about it.

Either of these professionals can give you the best insight into what would work best for you. Every Basenji is unique and even though one method may work well for one Basenji, it may not work well for others.

Are Basenjis Suited For Agility Courses?

a Basenji doing the dance trick
A Basenji does a dance trick. Easy to teach!

This is one of the areas where you’ll get conflicting experiences from most Basenji owners. This is because some Basenjis will do very well in agility training and seem to enjoy it but will sometimes just switch off during competitions.

This can be frustrating behavior but when you understand the true nature of a Basenji, you will better understand why they are that way. Basenjis are generally known for their short attention spans and general independent nature.

This is common with Basenjis across the board. They are harder to train than most dogs but can learn a lot of commands and be obedient to them. The challenge, however, is that they can quickly switch off at the most inappropriate time and stop obeying your commands.

This is common with sighthounds of which a Basenji is one. They seem to be more prone to distractions and will obey you when they feel like it.

basenji dog looking happy as it explore a hedge
A happy Basenjoy dog explores a hedge. Red and white markings.

There are accounts of owners of Basenjis who say that their Basenjis do exceptionally well during training but space out when it’s competition time. A cause for this could be them adjusting to a new and unfamiliar environment.

Generally speaking, when it comes to agility courses, it’s best to have a good sense of humor with your Basenji because you will definitely need it.


So, how high can Basenjis jump? Basenjis have been known to be able to jump over six feet walls but this is in a few cases. A five-foot wall should be able to confine them. Though Basenjis are agile, they are a bit difficult to train meaning that they don’t make the best candidates for agility competitions.