How Much Exercise Does a Basenji Need?

Basenjis are very energetic dogs but how much exercise does a Basenji need really? Well, in this article we are going to look into this topic to establish how much your B needs on a daily basis and the consequences of not exercising your Basenji.

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

Any Basenji owner will tell you that they are just bundles of energy. They love to run around and chase after things. They love the outdoors and are great if you have older kids who can keep up with them. Just how much of that energy do they need to let out on a daily basis though?

Basenjis need at least 40 minutes to an hour of exercise per day. This helps keep them calm and manageable throughout the day. They tend to be aggressive and destructive when they do not have an outlet for their pent-up energy.

How Much Energy Does a Basenji Have?

Basenjis have a small frame with long limbs that make them very fast and agile dogs. They have a hunting ancestry and part of the reason they were bred for this purpose is because of the qualities mentioned above. In other words, they are built for speed and agility. Their metabolism also makes them very energetic.

They need time and space to run freely. If you have a big enough yard, they will have ample room to exercise on their own. You do however need to have a fence in place that’s at least 6 feet high which they cannot easily scale over. Basenjis are super intelligent escape artists that will easily get over smaller barriers.

Basenji Exercise

Basenjis are generally good with small children as well as toddlers but you may need to keep watch of them around toddlers who are learning to walk.

At this stage, the toddlers exhibit clumsy movements that sometimes startle some Basenjis. At this stage, toddlers are also at eye level with the Basenji and may look straight into the eyes of your Basenji which might be deemed as aggressive behavior.

Toddlers are also not able to read when the Basenji is annoyed at something they are doing and giving signals for them to stop. This is not something that commonly happens but has been known to. You just need to keep an eye out for it.

The ideal ages for good Basenji – child relations are older children. They can be trained to recognize when a B wants to be left alone. They also have a lot more energy to match that of the Basenji.

a cute basenji with a colorful harness
A cute Basenji with a colorful harness. Good boy!

Activities to Do With a Basenji

So, what activities can you do with a B to make sure that they get enough exercise? There are a number of things you can do depending on your lifestyle and living circumstances. Let’s look at some of these.

Playing in the Yard

If you have kids and a fenced yard, one of the easiest ways to get your Basenji to exercise is letting them run around the yard. They can play catch or other fun games and this will allow your B to put in a good shift.

Can you Run with a Basenji?

A common question that people have is whether or not you can go jogging with a Basenji. Generally speaking, you can but you may face some challenges depending on your particular Basenji. Several owners have reported that they sometimes have challenges with their B almost tripping them up because they keep crisscrossing in front of them during runs.

Others have no issues at all and enjoy jogging with their Basenjis. Another problem that could happen is your B stopping a lot to explore their environment. They will often wander off if they are not on a leash. This is common with younger Bs. You can work with an obedience trainer who is familiar with Basenjis to get them to be more under control.

red and white basenji puppies
Two Basenji puppies are playbiting each other.

Are Walks Enough for a Basenji?

Since Basenjis are hyper active, a common question that owners ask is whether taking them on walks is sufficient to get them their regular dose of exercise. Long walks of 40 minutes to an hour should work fine. If you have a dog park nearby, you can walk there then take them off leash and let them run around for a while. This will allow them to release that pent up energy.

The Consequences of Not Exercising on a Basenji

Are there any consequences of not exercising your B? The short answer is yes. If your Basenjis live indoors, they will tend to be destructive and irritable. When you leave home, you can come back to a trashed house.

They can also damage furniture and can be quite loud at night. Basenjis generally sleep for about 18 hours per day when they have an active lifestyle. However, when they don’t get sufficient exercise, they are quite manageable.

patting a happy red basenji on the head
Have you ever seen a happier red Basenji?


As the saying goes, a tired Basenji is a good Basenji. When your B gets enough exercise during the day, you will rarely get problems. They tend to be very easy to deal with. The degree will vary from one B to another but, across the board; a tired B is a good B.

If you live in an apartment building or have a busy lifestyle, you can get a dog Walker to pick up your B over lunch and walk them. You could do another walk when you get back. The last thing is a noisy Basenji in an apartment building.

It’s not uncommon for Basenji owners to have the police called on them because noisy Basenjis sound like you are killing a child in your apartment :).  Follow the recommendations in this article though and you won’t have to face that problem.