Pet Insurance for Basenjis

Find out all about Basenjis and their common health conditions, and then compare pet insurance options from some of Australia’s leading insurers.

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, updated on September 15th, 2023       

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Price range



41cm - 43cm


9kg - 12kg


Independent, alert, aloof

Coat length

Short, hypoallergenic

Exercise needs




Life expectancy

10 -12 years



The Basenji, often referred to as the ‘African Barkless Dog’ or ‘Congo Dog,’ is an ancient small hound-like dog originally from Central Africa. They were bred to be hunting dogs by the people of Congo, and the breed has remained unchanged for hundreds of years. They are known for their acute eyesight, strong sense of smell, elegant appearance and their unique yodelling-like vocalisations, a strange noise they make instead of barking. Basenjis have a short, fine coat that doesn’t shed and requires minimal grooming. They are also very clean animals, spending a lot of time grooming themselves rather like a cat. They have almost no body odour. They are intelligent, independent, and have a very strong prey drive.  

Basenjis are not overly affectionate and can be quite aloof with strangers. However, they are loyal and protective of their owners and can form strong bonds with humans. As they were originally pack dogs, they also enjoy the company of other dogs, and have a lot of energy. They don’t like being confined. They can jump very high fences and can also dig their way out to freedom from almost any enclosure.

Common diseases and conditions of Basenjis

  • Fanconi Syndrome: Basenjis are predisposed to Fanconi syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting the kidneys' ability to reabsorb nutrients and electrolytes.  
  • PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy): Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an inherited eye disorder causing gradual vision loss. Initial signs include night blindness, leading to reduced day vision. 
  • Hypothyroidism: A thyroid disorder that can impact metabolism and overall health. 
  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a common orthopaedic condition affecting the joint's development. It can lead to discomfort and mobility issues. 

Breed-specific issues:

Their independent nature can make them aloof at times, and they can be difficult to train. They are not naturally obedient and are not people-pleasers. However, they are highly intelligent and will respond to patient training. Their strong prey drive consistently leads them to chase smaller animals, and they should never be trusted with smaller pets including cats. 

How much does pet insurance cost for a Basenji?

Most Australians can expect to pay between $20 and $60 a month for pet insurance. There are many factors that can influence the cost of pet insurance for your Basenji, including the following:

  • Age: The older your dog is, the more pet insurance is likely to cost. This is because senior dogs tend to have more physical health conditions and illnesses due to age, and so present a higher insurance risk.    
  • Type of insurance you choose:  There are three basic types of pet insurance available in Australia; accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive insurance. An accident-only policy is the cheapest type of insurance available, with comprehensive coverage costing the most.  
  • The policy annual limit: Each pet insurance policy has an annual limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid out on the policy in one financial year. Annual limits range from around $10,000 up to $25,000 or more.   
  • Sub-limits: In addition to an annual limit, there may also be sub-limits that apply to the policy, for example, a $300 sub limit for consultation fees, or a $5,000 limit for cruciate ligament conditions.   
  • Benefit percentage: Pet insurance does not cover 100% of the cost of your vet bill. Instead, it may pay a percentage of the total bill. This can range from 50% for cheaper policies, up to 90% for the best policies available.   
  • Excess amount: This is the amount you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket each time you make a claim on your policy. Some pet insurance policies do not come with an excess amount, whilst others do.  
  • Any add-ons you choose: It’s possible to add on more cover options to a basic policy, such as emergency boarding fees, routine care and dental care. These add-ons extend the scope of your pet insurance, but do increase the overall cost of the policy.  
  • Discounts: some insurers offer discounts of between 5% and 15% if you have multiple pets insured together, if you pay your premium annually, or if you bundle your pet insurance with other forms of insurance with the same company. 

Types of pet insurance you can choose from

Why compare pet insurance with Savvy?

Common questions about Basenjis

  How much exercise do Basenjis need?

Basenjis are a very active breed and they require regular exercise of at least an hour a day. Strenuous daily walks and playtime are essential to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. 

  Are Basenjis escape artists?

Yes, Basenjis are known for their intelligence and independence and digging abilities, which can make them skilled escape artists if not properly contained. Secure fencing with dig-proof footings are essential to keep a Basenji contained within a garden.  

Are Basenjis hypoallergenic, and do they require much grooming?

While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, Basenjis are considered a very low-allergy breed due to their short, fine coat and minimal shedding. They are meticulously clean dogs and require very little coat maintenance. However, their nails do need to be kept short to prevent excessive digging.

Why are Basenjis known as barkless dogs?

Basenjis make unique yodelling-like sounds called ‘baroos’ instead of traditional barking due to their unique genetic makeup and the shape of their vocal cords. They lack the usual vocalisation abilities of most dog breeds. This unique trait is a result of their African heritage and selective breeding over centuries. When they are very excited or aroused they can also make a very loud howling sound which is compared to the sound of an air-raid siren, and can be heard from a very long distance away. 

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