Basenji vs Rat Terrier What’s The Difference

When it comes to adopting or buying a dog, many people do not know which breed to choose. There is a great variety of them, and each one presents a distinctive characteristic that is striking for each family.

Two of the most interesting breeds are the Basenji and the Rat Terrier, and we will talk a little about each one to compare them. That way, you can make a decision faster.

choosing the perfect dog breed

On the one hand, Basenjis are very particular dogs that originated in Africa and have unique characteristics compared to other dog breeds.

They are known as the “Barkless Dogs” as they rarely or never bark. They are small canines that stand out for their hunting instinct and intelligence.

They love to exercise, which makes them ideal for active families. Another interesting aspect that encompasses the Basenjis is their similarities to a cat. In fact, these dogs tend to groom themselves just like cats.

The Rat Terrier is a canine that was born in the United States. Farmers used it as a hunting canine to get rid of rats and other pests on their fields. It’s an intelligent dog that has been employed for pest control as well as household use by families.

Not all Rat Terriers have the same coat colour. Some can be two colours and others three. They are intelligent and tenacious dogs who will figure out how to obtain what they want when they want it.

Basenji vs. Rat Terrier Comparison Table


BasenjiRat Terrier
Origin CountryDemocratic Republic of the CongoUnited States
SizeSmallSmall
Height38 cm – 43 cm33 cm – 46 cm
Weight9 kg – 12 kg4.5 kg – 11.5 kg
Lifespan10 – 14 years15 – 18 years
Energy LevelHighHigh
Coat TypesSingle CoatSingle Coat
Coat TextureFine and ShortStraight
Coat ColourWhite, Brindle, Red, Black, TanBlack and White; Black, Tan and White; Blue, White and Tan; Red, White and Sable, etc.
HypoallergenicYesNo
GroomingMinimalMinimal
TemperamentAffectionate, Alert, Intelligent,  Curious, Playful, EnergeticAffectionate, Loving, Lively, Inquisitive, Alert
Shedding LevelLowMedium
Health ProblemsKidney or Bowel Problems, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, ObesityEye Problems, Hip Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Heart Problems, Legg-perthes Disease
Basenji vs. Rat Terrier Comparison Table

Basenji vs Rat Terrier History

Basenji History

The Basenji originated in Africa, specifically in the Congo, in 1845 and is known as one of the oldest dogs that exist today.

Basenjis came from other domesticated dogs of a similar appearance and were common to see in Mesopotamian and Babylonian artwork. These dogs were considered semi-wild and managed to survive in the most remote places of the continent.

It is important to note that the Basenji underwent almost no physical change throughout history due to a lack of interbreeding.

Shop Raw Dog Treats at RawPawsPetFood.com

The Democratic Republic of the Congo inhabitants considered these dogs as active, agile, and with excellent hunting instincts. That is why they were trained to start using them for hunting.

The Europeans began to import these dogs to different countries in Europe, little by little. On this continent, this breed began to be known as the “Basenji.” In the 1930s, these canines were brought to the United States.

It is noteworthy that the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Basenji in 1943.

Rat Terrier History

Originally, the Rat Terrier was intended to collect animals and hunt vermin and pests on farms. The Fox Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Old English White Terrier, and Bull Terrier were used to create it.

In the 1910s and 1920s, breeders were trying to develop a breed of dog with the abilities and characteristics of those used for the crossbreeding that gave rise to the Rat Terrier. That resulted in the birth of variations of this breed. 

Rat Terriers were crossed with Italian Greyhounds and Whippets in the Midwest to create fast dogs that may help decrease jackrabbit numbers.

They were bred with Beagles in Central and Southwest America to increase their hunting ability and generate more pack-oriented canines.

The Rat Terriers were on the verge of extinction in the 1940s and 1950s. That was because American farmers who used these dogs for different tasks on the farm tried to annihilate the rodents and pests that affected their crops with poison.

Unfortunately, that substance caused the number of dogs of this type to drop abysmally. Fortunately, some breeders helped preserve them to this day. 

As we have said above, many breeders experimented with this breed, which led to the birth of other variations of it. Two of them are:

  • Hairless Rat Terrier
  • Decker Rat Terrier

The Decker Rat Terrier is a slightly bigger canine that specializes in hunting and can retrieve from water, whereas the Hairless Rat Terrier is a tiny dog that is hairless, as the name suggests.

Basenji vs Rat Terrier Physical Characteristics

Basenji Physical Characteristics

The Basenji is characterized by being a small breed of dog. The maximum size and weight that a canine of this type can reach is 43 cm and 12 kg, respectively. Specifically, the females of this breed can measure 38-41 cm and weigh 9-11 kg, while the males will reach a height of 41-43 cm and a weight of 10-12 kg.

The body of the Basenjis is petite, unusual, and athletic. Its posture is elegant, its head is moderately wide, its skull is flat, its chest is large, its back is level and short, its ears are pointed and small, and its eyes are dark, almond-shaped, and with a penetrating gaze.

A Basenji’s coat is short, fine, and dense and can come in several colours:

  • Red and white
  • Black and red
  • Black
  • White
  • Brindle
  • Multi-coloured (black, white, and red)

Rat Terrier Physical Characteristics

Rat Terriers are small dogs whose weight can vary between 4.5 kg and 11.5 kg. It could reach a height of 33-46 cm.

The body of a Rat Terrier is small and slender with a short, smooth coat that can be brown, black, chocolate, grey, or apricot in colour. Notably, its coat can come in three or two colours.

The head of this canine is small and refined, its snout is thin and not so long, its ears are tilted upward, its eyes are small and black or brown, and its nose is black. In addition, its tail curls towards its back.

Basenji vs Rat Terrier Personality and Behaviour

Basenji Personality and Behaviour

Basenjis are known throughout much of the world for not barking. They are not vocal dogs when it comes to barking, but they can produce other sounds, including yodelling, screaming, and howling.

We can highlight their affectionate, curious, and alert personality. Basenjis are independent dogs that can be aloof from strangers and other animals, especially if they do not receive the necessary education and socialisation. In fact, they can be aggressive towards other smaller pets due to their hunting instincts.

If you don’t provide them with the necessary physical activities and enough mental stimulation, they will easily get bored, which will lead them to want to release all the accumulated energy. They will do this through destructive behaviour. 

They are calm and quiet dogs that need moderate attention. They do not tend to disturb people around them and are excellent options for families who live in apartments or houses surrounded by neighbours.

This is because their size does not represent a problem, and they will not bark like other dogs, so you do not have to worry about causing inconvenience to your neighbours.

Rat Terrier Personality and Behaviour

Rat terriers are generally non-aggressive canines that enjoy resting on the couch as well as scraping and digging in the yard. These animals are normally happy, peaceful, and attentive to changes in their surroundings, their family’s moods, and surprising noises and individuals.

For a canine of this species to be more sociable, it should be exposed to a wide variety of locations and individuals from the time it is a puppy, especially during the first three months of life, as it is not very confident with outsiders.

They will be okay only with their human family members if they are not properly socialised, but they may become distant and distrustful of strangers and other animals.

Rat terriers make excellent family pets because they crave attention and praise, to the point that they will accompany you around the apartment or house as you indulge and praise them.

Because these canines have a lot of energy, it is recommended that you take them out for at least 40 minutes of exercise each day; otherwise, the rat terrier may become destructive as a method to release all of its pent-up energy.

Basenji vs Rat Terrier Life Expectancy

Unfortunately, not all dog breeds live the same number of years. Some live longer than others. Regardless of the data that we are going to share with you below, the life expectancy of Basenjis and Rat Terriers will be influenced by various factors such as care, feeding, exercise, etc.

Basenjis can live 10-14 years, while Rat Terriers’ life expectancy is 15-18 years. As we can see, Basenjis live fewer years than Rat Terriers.

The Best Dog Gear To Use

KIPRITII Dog Chew Toys

Dogs are chewers by instinct we just have to deal with that fact, it happens when teething, boredom, loneliness, stress relief, or to just have fun basically. I advise anyone who has a dog to have this set just in case. Check them out on Amazon

BOSHEL Dog Nail Clippers and Trimmer

Recommended by trainers, veterinarians, pet groomers, and basically everyone I know who owns a dog as the best dog nail clippers on amazon for dogs and even cats. Check them out on Amazon