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What’s It Like To Own Basenji Rat Terrier Mix?

What’s It Like To Own Basenji Rat Terrier Mix?

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Mixed dog breeds are popular now more than ever. It is easy to see why. Mixing essentially gives you two dogs in one.

For those of us that like two dog breeds but cannot have both, a cross is the closest thing to getting the best of both worlds.

Mixed breeds are also budget-friendly, resilient to diseases, offer genetic diversity, and have a balance of characteristics.

Today I will take a look at the basenji rat terrier mix. If you love both breeds and are looking to get a cross of the two, this guide will come in handy.

I will tell you all there’s to know about owning this crossbreed including temperament, maintenance, health issues, care, and more.


First things first, it would be great to know how your dog will look like. This is based on the looks of both parents.

Here’s a short description of the basenji and the rat terrier.

A. Basenji

Also called the African barkless dog, the basenji is a medium-sized graceful dog of about 22-24 pounds (10-11kg) and a height of 16-17 inches at the shoulder.

With a cute short, polished coat, tightly curled tail, expressive almond eyes, and a wrinkled forehead, she’s a true beauty in the canine world.

The coat can come in a wide variety of colors such as chestnut red, brindle, black, and tricolor all with white tail tips, chest, and feet.

The basenji is a well-poised and balanced dog. Her gait resembles that of a racehorse trotting at full speed.

Everything about the breed’s physique enables her to move with relative ease and agility.

B. Rat Terrier

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The rat terrier is a toy breed of the terrier family of dogs. She weighs 6-9 pounds (3-4kg) and stands at a height of 7-18 inches at the shoulder.

The breed has a single, smooth, and short coat that comes in many colors such as chocolate, grey, tan, tricolors, white, and black.

The ears are erect or half-erect/half-floppy while the tail is beautifully docked to give him an elegant distinctive look.

These days, rat terrier owners leave the tail undocked. Either way, this breed is true eye candy.

From the above, you can tell that a basenji rat terrier mix is a rather small dog of no more than 24 pounds.

Depending on which genes are passed on, she may weigh a mere 10 pounds or inch towards the 24-pound-mark.

Height also ranges from 7-18 inches at the shoulder.

Both folks have short smooth coats and the resulting cross will not be any different.

Other physical features will depend on inherited genes.


The basenji rat terrier mix is generally a friendly dog. Both parent breeds are great family dogs with a tendency to get along with kids, adults, and other pets.

The rat terrier is a bit antisocial with other pets and aloof with strangers at home but early socialization and training always do the trick.

The basenji, on the other hand, can also be standoffish around kids but with his high energy levels, she makes a great playmate.

Expect your mix to be loyal, wary, intelligent, playful, independent, and stubborn at times.

If she takes after her basenji side of the family, she will have a rather primitive expression, a self-confident look, and good manners.

No matter the resulting genes, the basenji rat terrier dog is a great family dog. She will play with the kids in the yard, join you for your hiking excursions, and just be fun to hang with.

Basenjis are known to not bark but rather yodel, shriek, and howl. However, when mixed with other dogs, the resulting cross is likely to bark.

Rat terriers can be really noisy so keep that in mind.


With a single short coat, this cross is one of the easiest to care for.

The coat sheds minimally and a weekly brushing schedule will take care of any loose hairs.

Brushing also stimulates the natural oils in the skin and brings out the polished look on the coat.

You’d be happy to know that if the mix ends up being like her basenji side of parents, she will be a dedicated groomer.

Basenjis are said to have cat-like tendencies in that they are rather independent—perhaps more than other dog breeds out there.

They are also very clean. Unlike other canines that have bad odors, basenjis have no typical odors. They are always licking their coats to keep them neat and clean.

To care for your rat terrier basenji mix, all you have to do is brush the coat weekly, give baths every few months, brush the teeth twice or thrice a week and trim her nails regularly.

That’s all about it. No need for detangling tools, special shampoos, conditioners, and all that fancy stuff.

Exercise Requirements

Basenjis are super-active dogs. Bred to hunt, they are always on their feet.

You will have to offer plenty of daily walks and other intense activities to make the dog happy.

The rat terrier is not the most active breed but she too needs a lot of physical stimulation for her general health and wellbeing.

If you have kids at home, they will tire the dog out and vice versa. Still, consider taking the dog with you during your runs, jogs, walks, and hikes.

Without at least 30 minutes of walks every day, your dog may become bored.

If you know a thing or two about basenjis, you probably understand that they are escape artists. Even a strong fence cannot stand up to the breed if she is bored and in need of some entertainment and stimulation.

Because of this, keep the dog on a leash at all times and let her expend energy daily.


The mix between a basenji and a rat terrier is an intelligent dog and one that can easily learn commands.

Unfortunately, she can also be stubborn and strong-willed. You will have to work hard to catch her attention and get her to be present.

A firm alpha leader is also necessary to get the dog to focus during training.

To score high, make the training sessions short to keep her attentive and present.

If possible, tire her out before training to get her head in the game. She can have a strong prey drive and want to chase after anything that moves.

Also, positive reinforcement goes a long way in making training effective.

Health Concerns

When it comes to the health of a dog, some factors come into play. These include care accorded to the dog, health of the parents, and diet, just to mention a few.

One basenji rat terrier mix may enjoy a long healthy life while another one may take the opposite direction. That said, some health complications are specific to certain breeds.

Rat terriers are susceptible to Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, patellar luxation, cardiac and eye disorders.

On the opposite hand, basenjis are prone to hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, corneal atrophy, Basenji enteropathy, Fanconi syndrome, and progressive retinal atrophy among others.

Closing Thoughts

That’s about all you need to know about a basenji rat terrier mix.

Like all breeds, the mix comes with good and challenging qualities.

If you can handle the challenges, you will get to enjoy the good.

Make the right choice!

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