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Basenji vs Samoyed What’s the Difference

A Basenji and a Samoyed are two dog breeds that enjoy herding, as well as hunting. While the basenji originated from Africa, the Samoyed came from the samoyede people in Siberia. 

Both dogs have distinct differences. For instance, the Samoyed thrives in cold weather, the reason it has a straight coat. The Basenji on the other hand loves to stay within the rays of the sun and get nervous when it walks in the dark. 

Basenji vs Samoyed

Both breeds are affectionate and independent but which breed would you rather have in your home? This guide is made to help you make the right choice.

In the next few lines, we will be providing you with every detail you need to know about these dog breeds. Information covered includes their history, appearance, activities they enjoy as well as health needs. 

The Basenji 

The basenji is a dog that came out of Africa. Its roots are tied to hunting despite having a lean structure. Nowadays, the basenji is used as a domestic pet. Its low affinity for noise makes it a perfect option for households where kids are present. 

History of the Basenji 

There are disputes over where the basenji originated from. A lot of history books claims that the basenji originated from Congo while others suggest they were first seen in Egypt. Well, their origin is complicated.

There is evidence that indicates that they’ve been around since 4000 BCE and in that era were kept by Egyptian Pharaohs. However, it’s claimed that they were gifted to the pharaohs by the Congolese who use them as hunting dogs. 

The pharaohs took a liking to them thanks to their clean coat and calm nature. The basenji made an entrance into Europe in the 20th century and were adopted as family pets for their ” cat-like” behavior. All through history, the basenji has been referred to as a “barkless” breed. 

Well, that doesn’t mean they’re mute. The dog can bark but they don’t and even when they do, it isn’t very loud. 

Basenji Essence and character 

Basenji Essence and character
Basenji Essence and character

One thing that sets the basenji apart from other dog breeds is its cleanliness. They wipe their skin clean with their tongue, hence, they don’t always require grooming from their owners.

This dog breed is also affectionate and even though it might be uptight with strangers, it usually forms a bond with the family member that gives it a lot of attention. Obviously, this is why they’re adopted as a pet. 

Also, the basenji has a strong sense of smell. This trait allowed them to fish out animals from their hideout during their hunting days. Hence, don’t be surprised if your dog can smell you from a distance. 

The downside to their hunting attributes is that they enjoy daytime more than moonlight. A basenji isn’t comfortable with strolling at night. Hence, your basenji might refuse to go for a night walk with you. Experts say that they’re probably afraid of the dark. 

Appearance of the Basenji 

Basenji dogs are easy to recognize. They have a lean frame which is supported by their long legs. This dog breed has short coats which experience little or no shedding. They also have wrinkled foreheads just like a Chow chow and an erect ear. 

In terms of height, they measure between 16-17 inches while their weight is likely to be within the range of 22-25 pounds. They’re not the heaviest breed out there. 

Lastly, a basenji has “cat-like” features. When they bark, it isn’t so loud, their bark sounds like a whining cry. The color of their coat ranges from ginger red, and brown to a mixture of two or three colors. 

Basenji Health and care 

Basenjis usually suffer from dysplasia and a condition known as Fanconi syndrome. The Fanconi syndrome could be deadly if not properly treated. This is because it strips the dog of its protein. 

Usually, a basenji can live for as long as 13 years if well catered for. Fortunately, the daily care need of a basenji is not cumbersome. They’re independent and can look after themselves.

They’re not high shedders, so you won’t have to brush their coats daily. Lastly, you ought to know that a basenji doesn’t have any body odor. Hence, if your dog starts producing any smell, it’s a sign that you need to see a veterinarian. 

The Samoyed 

Often mistaken for a wolf, the Samoyed is a dog breed that originated from Siberia. They’re double-coated, odorless, and have a smiling face. They’re also playful with children and love to cuddle in a bid to keep their owners warm. 

History of Samoyed 

The Samoyed is a vibrant working dog that originated from the Samoyede people in Siberia. They were mainly used to drag artistic expedition and had to perform strenuous tasks for their owners.

The samoyed of those days suffered a lot of hardship in the hands of its owners. This is how their vibrant nature came about. 

Coincidentally, most of the Samoyed brought to America were descendants of those who served in the hands of the early men in the arctic.

This is why they have a different appearance from most domestic breeds. This dog breed has a “wolf-like” appearance and is also strong-willed. 

Samoyed Essence and character 

Samoyed Essence and character 
Samoyed Essence and character 

The Samoyed is gentle and cool-spirited. It enjoys human socialization and loves to participate in outdoor activities. You might find the Samoyed playing in the snow. It enjoys cold weather.  

The Samoyed’s barking alarm is easily tickled. Its bark is very similar to the howl of a wolf. It’s common for them to bark at the sight of a stranger to notify its owners that a guest is around. 

Samoyed’s are loved by kids for their affectionate nature and are also friendly with other animals and dog breeds. When you have a Samoyed in the house, they might take off at the sight of dangerous animals that try to trespass. Hence, they have to be confined to a fenced area. 

Appearance of the Samoyed 

The Samoyed is a heavy dog with its weight ranging from 50 -65 pounds. It isn’t the tallest breed. However, it’s still a bit taller than the basenji at 19 – 23 inches. Samoyed is sturdy and has a squared structure. 

This is another breed with a curled fluffy tail. There are no wrinkled lines on its forehead however the ears are erect to suit its broad skull.

The Samoyed has a cool appearance and this is highlighted by the shape of their lips which curls to give them a smiling face  

Most Samoyed breeds have thick, straight coats which is a reflection of the climate they originated from. Their coat is always erect to give them a “wolf-like” appearance  

Activities with the Samoyed 

A Samoyed needs to indulge in exercises to keep them in the right physical condition. Hence, their owners might have to do all it takes to meet their physical needs. For this reason, you must create an avenue for them to unleash their energy which is accompanied by loud barking. 

Also, a Samoyed loves to pull weights. This was the major role their descendants were used for by the early men.

Hence, you might want to allow your dog to participate in weight-pulling competitions. On average, a Samoyed can pull weights 20 times their body mass. That’s an average of 100 kg  

Samoyed Health and care 

The Samoyed’s genetic makeup has been altered by the strenuous activities they went through in the hands of man. However, they can stay healthy provided you meet their nutritional and physical condition. 

About their physical condition, it’s a must you keep them through their pace, else they get aggressive. The most common health conditions a samoyed suffers from are cardiac issues as well as diseases related to the skeletal, gastrointestinal, and metabolic system. 

In terms of medication, samoyed owners have to be careful. This is because they tend to react negatively to drugs that contain ingredients such as sulfa. In terms of grooming, they have to be cleaned with a brush frequently since they shed their fur occasionally. 

 Basenji vs Samoyed Comparison Table

Features Samoyeds Basenjis 
Lifespan 10 – 12 years 10 – 13 years 
Height 19 – 23[Equation] inches 16 – 20 inches 
Weight 50 – 65 pounds 20 – 25 pounds 
Intelligence Very high Fairly 
Origin Samoyede people of Siberia Congo/Egypt 
Personality Strong-minded, vibrant, and loyal Affectionate, calm, and loyal 
Shedding Medium Low 
Functions Hunting and guard dog Family dog 
 Basenji vs Samoyed Comparison Table


At this point, it’s clear what both breeds have to offer. On one hand, you have the basenji who is gentle, soft-tempered, independent, and social. On the other hand, we have the Samoyed which happens to be bigger, bolder, and in some cases a terrible barker. 

Both dogs have their downside. However, the basenji would be a better fit for individuals who want a dog that’s gentle, social, and loving around the kids. While keeping it in mind that they’re not the best in terms of security.  

For those who want something extra in terms of security, a Samoyed might be a better fit. However, you need to be wary of its aggressive nature as well as its physical needs.