Are Basenjis Smart Dogs? 

There are many aspects and factors that we must take into account when living with a dog, cat, bird, snake, rodent, etc. Each one presents different characteristics and care needs that will be covered depending on the family it belongs to. 

As we all know, dogs are the most popular and common pets in many homes. Canines are amazing animals that we can spend a lot of time playing, having fun, and exercising with. Some stand out more for their physical appearance, temperament, and personality, while others do so for their skills. 

The Basenji is one of the oldest dogs in the world, originally from Africa. It is characterized by being an elegant and athletic canine of small size. The dogs of this breed are known to be curious, independent, and affectionate, especially with their owners and members of their human families.

However, they are a little more reserved with children, strangers, and other animals. In fact, they may not be the best option for families with young children. 

Many owners of these dogs wonder if this breed is really smart.  

Are Basenjis Smart Dogs? 

The first thing you have to know is that Basenjis were bred as hunting dogs from their origins. It is for that reason that they are intelligent and independent. In addition, they can be alert all the time to some threat. 

The Basenji is a very smart dog, yet it may be stubborn. It has never heard of the term “willing to please,” which is used to describe numerous breeds. 

Even if a Basenji understands all of the instructions, you teach it, whether it actually follows them is always a concern. It may think first and then comply, or it could determine there’s no compelling reason to do what you’re asking. Instead, Basenjis employ their brains to draw your attention and persuade you to offer anything they require or desire. 

When compared to other dog breeds, the Basenji canine is ranked #78 in terms of intelligence. This means that, despite being smart, they lag significantly behind other dogs in this area. 

How to Know How Smart Your Basenji is? 

There are a few simple exercises you may do with your Basenji to test its intelligence. You can also use a scoring system to see where your Basenji falls on the pet IQ scale. 

Depending on the task and performance of your Basenji, it will receive 1, 2, or 3 points. Those tasks are: 

Task 1 

Cover your Basenji’s head with a large blanket or towel. That will assess your Basenji’s ability to solve problems. If a Basenji performs the tasks in the following time frame: 

  • Under 15 seconds: It will receive 3 points. 
  • 15-30 seconds: It will receive 2 points. 
  • Over 30 seconds: It will receive 1 point. 

Task 2 

Arrange three empty glasses in a row, upside down. Place a reward under one of them while your pet is looking and distract it for a few seconds until letting it uncover the treat. This test will assess your dog’s ability to learn and remember information. 

If your Basenji goes directly to the best glass, it will receive 3 points; if it studies one empty glass before finding the ideal cup, it will receive 2 points; and if it analyzes both empty cups before identifying the correct cup, it will receive 1 point. 

Task 3 

Arrange three empty glasses in a row, upside down. Put a reward under one of the containers while your dog is investigating and confuse it for a few seconds before letting them discover the treat. This test will assess your dog’s ability to remember and retain details. 

If your Basenji goes directly to the correct cup, it will receive 3 points; if it examines one empty glass before finding the right container, it will receive 2 points; and if it investigates both empty cups before finding the best one, it will receive 1 point. 

Task 4 

Pick a time when you wouldn’t normally take your canine for a walk and grab its leash while it is looking. That will put its ability to make and maintain associations to the test. 

If it gets the hint quickly and becomes enthusiastic, it will receive 3 points; if you have to move towards the entrance for it to comprehend, it will receive 2 points; and if it does not seem to know what is going on, it will receive 1 point. 

Task 5 

Place a reward within reach of your Basenji under furniture that is low enough for only its paws to fit. This will test your dog’s ability to think and solve problems. 

Your Basenji will receive 3 points if it takes less than 1 minute to get to the snack just using its paw; 2 points if it attempts to put its head beneath first or uses both its legs and nose; and 1 point if it surrenders completely. 

Basenji Pet IQ Scale                                     

  • Under 5 points: Your Basenji is not very smart. 
  • Between 5 and 8 points: Your canine will need help to do certain activities. 
  • Between 8 and 10 points: It will have certain difficulties but will solve them well. 
  • Between 10 and 12 points: Your Basenji is brilliant. 
  • Over 12 points: Your pet is practically a genius. 

Can Your Basenji Be Smarter? 

Yes, of course! You will only need to follow a few guidelines in order to assist your dog in further developing its intelligence. The first thing you must realize is that you should train your Basenji from puppyhood.  

Start training your dog as soon as you get it home. That will improve your Basenji’s trainability and intellect. 

Similarly, socialize and educate your Basenji, especially from a young age. Taking your Basenji out regularly and exposing it to various environments and situations will significantly aid in the development of its intellect.  

You must also teach new instructions and tricks on a regular basis. All dogs have the opportunity and ability to learn new tricks, so keep exploring fresh ways to teach your Basenji new tricks.