What Do Basenji Dogs Hunt? (Basenji Prey)

Basenjis are medium-sized dogs that are known for hunting. The Basenji is a type of sighthound; they have short noses so that they can breathe easier while running after prey. They will follow their prey for miles and will not stop until it is caught. This makes them excellent hunters.

Originally bred for hunting small prey such as gazelles and antelopes, Basenjis are now more often kept as companion dogs.

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

Basenjis are an ancient Spitz-like dog breed that originated in central Africa. Today, these dogs are commonly recognized for their interesting facial markings and lithe stature.

Their original name was “Mbwa-mbwenni“, which was supposedly meaning ‘dog of the bush’. The breed is known for its unique, short coat and its lack of a traditional bark.

Is a Basenji a Good Hunting Dog?

Yes, they are great hunting dogs. They can hunt small game such as rabbits and squirrels, but they are also very good at tracking large game such as deer, elk and even lions. They are also very fast and agile runners so they make excellent trackers.

training a tricolor Basenji puppy
In the process of training a tricolor Basenji puppy

Basenjis have been used as hunting dogs since ancient times. There is archaeological evidence that dates back to 3500 B.C., showing these dogs being used for hunting in Egypt and other African countries.

Hunting and chasing are natural instincts for this breed. The Basenji will hunt small animals, such as squirrels, rats, mice, and birds, but they will not hunt larger animals. They do not bark or bay like other hounds. Basenjis are often considered the world’s oldest hunting dog breed. They were first discovered in Africa on the banks of the Congo River. Basenji translates to “dog of the bush.”

They were developed as hunting dogs in Africa, and they are very good at it. They hunt by scent and sight, silently stalking their prey until they are close enough to make the kill. Their barkless nature makes them silent hunters and the best choice for hunters who want the element of surprise.

They can trail game much better than any other breed of dog, and they are also able to hunt all day without tiring. Many people believe that the Basenji was meant to be a pack hunter, but this is actually not true. He’s a solitary hunter and prefers to work alone when tracking prey.

Although it’s possible for him to hunt with other dogs, he works more effectively on his own. They are also one of the few breeds that can hunt on their own without supervision from a human companion. Because of this, they’re often called independent or stubborn dogs.

These traits can frustrate owners who are used to dogs who are always attentive and obedient, but these traits are typical of an independent hunter who doesn’t need constant guidance from a human master

Are Basenjis Aggressive?

a white and red basenji sleeping on a bed
A white and red Basenji sleeping on a bed. Comfortable!

The Basenji is not an aggressive breed. It has been known to be aggressive with other dogs, but not with humans. Some are affectionate, others are not. They make good watchdogs, but don’t believe what you read about them being good guard dogs.

They will bark at strangers but will not attack unless provoked or if their owner is in danger. Their bark is unique, it sounds like a yodel or howl and is quite loud for such a small dog.

Males can be territorial and bark for attention. It is best to get a male neutered at about 6 months of age to avoid these behaviors. After neutering, the dog will still be affectionate and playful but will be less likely to roam and less likely to fight with other dogs.


Basenjis are hunters by nature. They are a working breed, which means they were bred for hunting purposes. This does not mean that they are wild and uncontrolled. The hunting instinct is very strong in this breed and that is why most Basenjis tend to chase things like cats and birds.

You do not want to own a Basenji if you don’t have time for them or don’t want a lot of attention and affection from your dog. Even though they are known as independent hunters, they still need plenty of socialization with other dogs and people to ensure that they grow up to be well-rounded dogs.