Basenji Rat Terrier Mix Guide! (2024)


As with any mixed breed dog, a Basenji Rat Terrier mix will take on characteristics from both parent breeds. The exact composition of those characteristics can be somewhat tough to predict for an individual pup.

However, there are some general behavioral and physical traits that you can expect from your Basenji and rat terrier mix. 

In addition to getting a fun combination of traits from the rat terrier and Basenji, a mixed-breed dog offers several benefits.

400;”>They tend to be less disease-prone compared to purebred dogs. Plus, mixed-breed dogs are cheaper and often more resilient than purebred ones. 

Read on to learn about Basenji rat terrier mixes so you can decide if they are the right dog for you and your family. 

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Basenji Rat Terrier Mix



Basenjis originate in ancient Africa, where they still play a role as hunting dogs. This breed evolved directly from the earliest dog ancestors.

Thanks to their hunting-centric origins, these dogs have keen senses of sight and hearing. These dogs rose in popularity in Europe and North America in the early 1940s. 

Like many terriers, Rat Terriers are known for their hunting ability. This breed is the result of mixing different terriers.

As indicated by the name, this little dog is known for its ability to hunt rats and other pests. Rat Terriers were very popular in the first half of the 20th century. 

The combination of these two breeds has likely existed longer than is on record. Intentional breeding of this mix started to get popular at the beginning of the 21st century.     



The exact appearance of a Basenji Rat Terrier mix will vary from dog to dog. Some of these pups may look more like a basenji, some like a rat terrier, and others a balanced mix.

Both breeds have short, smooth coats of fur. So, the resultant cross will be similar. 

Rat terriers can weigh between six and nine pounds, and Besenjis weigh around 20 to 24 pounds. As a result, the mix can weigh anywhere between a ten and 24-pound range. 

The coat of the Basenji can be brindle, black, tricolor, or chestnut, and rat terriers can be tricolor, grey, tan, chocolate, white, and black. The resultant mix can be any of these colors. 

Rat terriers are usually between seven and 18 inches tall, while Basenjis are about 16 inches tall. When measured from the shoulder to the floor, a mix of the two breeds can measure between seven and 18 inches tall. 

A mixed dog may inherit a few other features from either parent breed, such as eye and body shape.

Basenjis have almond-shaped eyes, wrinkled foreheads, curly tails, and an agile shape. Rat terriers have wide eyes, a thin shape, and pointy ears or ears that are somewhat floppy. 


A Basenji and Rat Terrier mix can be a friendly pup for people of all ages. They also generally get along well with other pets.

However, both parent and mixed breeds need proper socialization to have a good relationship with children and animals. Start training and socialization early, and you will have a friendly pup. 

Rat terriers are energetic and intelligent. They also need plenty of stimulation and opportunities to learn new things.

Basenjis are a bit more independent and subdued compared to Rat Terriers. However, they are also decently energetic in the canine world. 

The resulting combination of these two breeds often leads to a brainy, energetic dog that can have a bit of an independent streak.

Depending on the dog, you may notice a slight tendency towards Rat Terrier or Basenji qualities. Either way, this mix makes a lovely family dog.   

A big reason that people love Basenjis is that they do not bark. Instead, they howl, yodel, or make other distinct noises.

On the other hand, Rat Terriers are much more vocal. So, blending these two breeds can yield a dog that has the benefits of a Rat Terrier with less barking. 


Basenjis and Rat Terriers have similar grooming needs since they both have straight, short coats. The main issue you need to look out for is shedding.

While a Basenji Rat Terrier mix will likely not shed much, you should still brush them regularly to keep the coat in good condition. A weekly brushing should do the trick. 

More or less brushing may be necessary, depending on the time of year. Both breeds may see an increase in shedding in the Spring or other times of the year, depending on your local weather.

Rat terriers shed slightly more than Basenji, so one Basenji Rat Terrier mix may shed more than another. 

Basenjis are like cats in several ways, including personality and vocalizations. Another way they are similar to cats is their grooming habits.

Unlike other dog breeds, Basenjis lick themselves clean. As a result, they are often cleaner than other dogs and have fewer odors. 

Besides the weekly brushing session, you should give your Rat Terrier Basenji mix a bath every few months or as needed.

It is vital to brush your dog’s teeth several times a week, clean their ears regularly, and trim their nails as needed. Start this grooming ritual early in life for your pup since getting them to.

Activity Levels


Different dog breeds have a variety of activity levels. Some are homebodies that do not do well with excessive exercise, while others need walks, play, and activities of all kinds.

Both the Basenji and the Rat Terrier enjoy plenty of exercise. So, it is likely that a combination of these two breeds would also enjoy the activity. 

Basenjis are very energetic and curious about the world around them. As a result, they can get bored easily, which leads to the destruction of your belongings.

If your pup takes after its Basenji lineage, it should get plenty of consistent exercises, play, and enriching activities. 

Rat Terriers are somewhat less intensive in terms of their exercise requirements. While they are very active, their needs can be handled with daily walks, fetch, and indoor play.

So, a Basenji Rat Terrier mix can be a more subdued version of a Basenji in terms of activity.  

Since both the Basenji and Rat Terrier are hunting dogs, they have a strong instinct to chase and hunt anything they perceive as prey. So, it is important never to walk these breeds off a leash or let them out in a yard with no fence.  


Basenjis are energetic and intelligent dogs that take well to training as long as they have plenty of structure. This breed needs plenty of positive reinforcements and opportunities for rewards.

Basenjis do not have the most robust attention span. As a result, it is vital to attempt training in shorter bursts. 

Rat Terriers are somewhat easier to train than Basenjis, thanks to their intelligence and desire to learn. This breed can be stubborn. However, you can thwart that tendency with positive training, positive reinforcement, and praise. 

It is difficult to say which traits will appear in a mix between a Basenji and Rat Terrier. In general, both breeds are trainable, with some roadblocks. A mix needs plenty of structure and positive reinforcement. 

It is important to remember that these breeds are very intelligent, which means they can learn tricks but also manipulate you into getting distracted from training.

Make it clear you are the alpha, set your pup up for success, keep sessions short, and make sure your pup can focus during training sessions. 

Common Health Problems

Every breed of dog has a few health concerns that it commonly encounters.

Combining two or more breeds can help reduce some health issues in purebred dogs from inbreeding. Basenji Rat Terrier mixes can be prone to the same issues as the parent breeds. 

Rat terriers are pretty healthy compared to lots of other breeds. They can be prone to patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, eye issues, and heart issues. 

Basenjis also tend to be healthy. A few issues to look out for with this breed include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidism, IPSID, kidney disorder, and Fanconi syndrome. 

There are quite a few tests that you can get to assess the likelihood that these issues will develop in your pup. Always talk to your veterinarian to assess your particular dog’s needs. 

Besides the breed-specific health considerations, some general care steps can improve your dog’s health. These steps include brushing teeth and checking eyes and ears.

You should also ensure your pup gets enough exercise and visits the vet regularly. 

Basenji Rat Terrier Mix Guide


If you are looking for a family-friendly, intelligent pup who is easy to care for and highly trainable, the Basenji Rat Terrier mix may be the perfect dog.

While it is difficult to predict the exact characteristics that your pup will inherit, there are so many great characteristics from both Basenjis and Rat Terriers that you are sure to find a fantastic pup. 

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For more information about the Rat Terrier Breed, check out the video below: