Borzois and Basenjis are both sighthounds with similar temperaments, trainability, and body shapes. Their biggest differences are their size and fur lengths. Borzois are giant dogs with long, curly coats. Basenjis are small to medium-sized dogs with short, smooth fur.
This means that Basenjis tend to be cheaper and lower-maintenance than Borzois when it comes to grooming. However, the Borzoi is still an incredible breed. Their long fur is elegant and their size is preferable for many!
Table of contents
- Borzoi vs Basenji
- Borzoi vs Basenji Appearance
- Borzoi vs Basenji Cost
- Borzoi vs Basenji Temperament
- Borzoi vs Basenji Exercise
- Borzoi vs Basenji Grooming
- Borzoi vs Basenji Environmental Needs
- Borzoi vs Basenji Health
- Borzoi vs Basenji History
In this article, we’ll discuss all of the similarities and differences between Borzois and Basenjis to help you decide which breed is right for you.
Borzoi vs Basenji
The biggest differences you’ll see in these breeds are size, grooming needs, and temperature tolerances.
The Borzoi is a giant breed, while Basenjis are small to medium dogs. Borzois may be more difficult to handle on leash due to their size, are not well-suited to apartment life, and cost more when it comes to food and veterinary care.
Basenjis have short coats that shed a moderate amount. Compared to Borzois and their long double coats, Basenjis are very low-maintenance in the grooming department.
Lastly, the Borzoi and Basenji were first bred in two very different parts of the world. Borzois originated in Russia as a sighthound that could withstand harsh winters. They tolerate cold well but not heat.
Basenjis originated in Africa, so they tolerate heat well but not cold. If you live in a very hot or cold climate, this can be a big factor in your decision-making.
Here is a quick rundown of each breed’s key features:
|Lifespan||9-14 years||13-14 years|
Borzoi vs Basenji Appearance
As we’ve already discussed, Borzois are much larger than Basenjis. Borzois stand at least 26 inches tall and weigh 60-105 pounds. Basenjis are just 16-17 inches tall and weigh 22-24 pounds.
While Borzois are bred in a large range of colors, Basenji’s coats are more limited according to the breed standard.
Despite their different sizes, these dogs have similar body structures. They’re both sighthounds, which are bred with long features and deep chests. This makes them suited to running at top speeds (Borzois can run over 40 mph!)
Borzois have tiny, triangular ears, while Basenjis’ ears are larger and upright. While Borzois have long, fluffy tails, Basenjis have short tails that curl adorably onto their backs.
Basenjis also appear more stout, with shorter snouts and less defined chests than Borzois.
Borzoi vs Basenji Cost
Borzoi breeders can charge up to $5000, but you can usually expect to pay $2000-3000 for a puppy. Basenjis cost between $800-2500 with an average closer to $1000-1500.
Price isn’t everything, but it’s important to look at what the breeder is charging for. Extremely low prices may indicate a backyard breeder or puppy mill, though not always.
Breeders who health test and train their puppies spend more money and time with them, which often accounts for the additional cost.
Another great option is to adopt a dog from a rescue or shelter. This is often less than $500, and the money goes toward helping other dogs in need.
Adopting from a Rescue or Shelter
Purebred dogs can often be found at breed-specific rescues or, in this case, a sighthound rescue group. You can also find lovable mixed breeds in these groups or at your local shelter.
The great thing about rescuing an older dog, in particular, is that they already have a set personality. You also skip the puppy years, which can be difficult and time-consuming.
Many older rescues are already potty trained and know basic commands. They’re also past the teething phase and you’ll lose fewer shoes to those sharp puppy teeth!
Of course, you can also find puppies in rescues and shelters. They’re a great avenue, particularly if you don’t want to deal with the work that comes with vetting a breeder.
Finding a Breeder
If you’re purchasing a puppy from a breeder, you must research and ensure they’re breeding ethically! Unfortunately, too many people go into dog breeding without knowing anything about their breed.
This leads to genetic health issues being passed down, and the breeder might give poor advice to the puppies’ new families as well.
Worse than these backyard breeders are puppy mills, which are designed to breed and sell puppies quickly. They’re focused on profit, not the dogs’ well-being. This leads to neglect, poor health in the puppies, and bad housing conditions for the dogs.
To ensure you’re working with a reputable breeder:
- Ask lots of questions. Breeders are used to people asking questions and are glad you’re doing your research! Ask about the breed’s health, behavior, and what to expect. Reputable breeders will provide honest answers without sugar coating.
Avoid breeders who don’t know how to answer common questions, as this indicates a lack of knowledge about the breed. If the breeder lies about anything, walk away.
- See where the puppies are raised. Meet the breeder at their home where they raise the puppies and ensure it’s suitable. They should have plenty of space, constant access to water, and plenty of enrichment. The mother dog should be present as well—showing off only the pups is a red flag.
- Never shop at a pet store or online. You can’t properly vet a breeder unless you can see how and where they raise their dogs. Puppy mills often sell through pet stores or on the internet, where you can’t see the conditions they keep their dogs in.
- Review veterinary paperwork. A reputable breeder will be happy to show you the results of health screenings and vaccination records. If they don’t have veterinary paperwork, this is a massive red flag.
- Be ready to walk away. This is the hardest part! Puppies are so tempting, and sometimes seeing them in poor conditions makes you desperate to bring them home.
However, giving money to a bad breeder allows them to continue breeding puppies—then, even more dogs will be subject to their poor treatment.
Often, the cost of a puppy is nothing compared to their lifetime expenses. Make sure you can handle regular purchases of food, toys, veterinary care, and grooming.
Borzois have hefty food and veterinary bills compared to Basenjis. This is because of their massive size difference! Not only do Borzois need to eat more, but they also need higher doses of medications which increases the amount you’ll pay at the vet.
You may also save with grooming costs for Basenjis due to their short, low-maintenance coats.
Other costs to consider include one-time or occasional costs like bowls, leashes, collars, harnesses, brushes, and spay or neuter surgery. You might also choose to invest in training classes.
Borzoi vs Basenji Temperament
Sighthounds are often described as cat-like, and these two breeds don’t defy that description. Training will be difficult if you anticipate an eager-to-please personality like you might find in a Labrador. These breeds are more aloof.
Use positive training techniques. These dogs are sensitive and also must be given a reason to obey. Remember that they were bred for independent hunting, so their instincts tell them to do what they think is best—not necessarily what you say is right.
Socialization and good manners are important to teach any dog at a young age. Don’t expect reliable recall from your Borzoi or Basenji—their hunting instincts are very likely to overpower their training.
You might also be surprised at how often these active dogs will lounge around the house. Rest assured, they’ll be ready to go when you are—but also content to relax when you are.
Along with matching your energy, you might notice your pup matching your emotions. Sighthounds tend to be empathetic and sensitive dogs.
Despite their independent natures, these breeds also love their families and you’ll often find them at your side observing your activities, if not participating in them.
Teach them how to be alone at an early age to prevent separation anxiety. However, don’t expect them to stay alone for long periods of time. These dogs are best suited to a family where at least one person is home most of the day.
Borzoi vs Basenji Exercise
Both breeds require high amounts of exercise, but they aren’t hyperactive dogs. They’re content to laze around until it’s time to play or walk.
We don’t recommend adopting one of these sighthounds unless you have plenty of time and energy to spend exercising them!
They need a long walk, run, or hike daily, or multiple shorter activities. In addition, it’s vital for them to have an enclosed space to sprint. A backyard with tall fencing is best for this, but a dog park is a good alternative if you’re willing to go often.
This enclosed space is so important for these fast breeds because you won’t be able to keep up with them at top speeds. It’s important they get those zoomies out when they feel the impulse to go, go, go!
Other great activities include lure coursing and agility. Basenjis might love tracking as well.
Borzoi vs Basenji Grooming
Borzois are quite high-maintenance when it comes to grooming, while Basenjis are incredibly easy!
Comb through your Borzoi’s long fur every one to two days to keep it healthy and free of tangles. Regular baths will also help to keep their coats clean.
Basenjis should be brushed once weekly to distribute the oils on their coat, keeping it healthy and sleek. This will also reduce shedding.
There is no risk of matting with these dogs as their fur is too short to tangle. They can be bathed as needed.
Both breeds will need their nails trimmed monthly, their ears cleaned every couple of weeks, and their teeth brushed daily.
Borzoi vs Basenji Environmental Needs
Both breeds benefit from a large, well-enclosed yard to run around in. However, Basenjis can do well in apartments if given enough exercise and a suitable space to sprint on occasion. Borzois don’t make great apartment dogs in most cases.
Like most sighthounds, these breeds have a tendency to roam due to their hunting instincts. Always keep them on a leash or in a well-enclosed space. Remember that they can and will jump a fence if it’s short enough!
When it comes to barking, neither dog is likely to bother the neighbors. Basenjis are actually known for their lack of barking! Both breeds may bark once to alert you to a stranger passing by, for instance, but won’t be noisy for prolonged periods.
Borzois tend to be good with other large to giant breeds, while their prey drive might make keeping them with smaller dogs or cats difficult. If you live in a multi-pet household, it’s best to adopt a rescue who was raised in a similar family to yours.
Basenjis have a high prey drive as well and may chase cats, however, their size is on your side when it comes to other dogs. They should still be taught how to interact appropriately and introductions to new pets should be taken slowly.
Both breeds can be great with kids, but you must ensure they know not to chase a running child! Both breeds, but Borzois especially due to their size, should be taught restraint in jumping or playing rough with children.
Children should also be taught how to interact appropriately with dogs, which includes staying away from their faces and their food, and not roughhousing as this can hurt the dog—especially the smaller Basenji.
Never leave a child with any dog unattended. Both dogs can kids can be unpredictable at times!
Borzoi vs Basenji Health
Both breeds are sensitive to anesthesia, which should be brought up with any veterinarian prior to surgeries. They’re also prone to bloat due to their deep chests.
It’s crucial to know the signs of bloat because it’s very deadly and it’s vital you catch it early if it occurs.
Symptoms of bloat include:
- Enlarged abdomen
- Pain in the stomach area, especially when touched
Ways to prevent bloat include feeding a balanced diet, encouraging your dog to eat slowly, keeping their environment low-stress, and not exercising them too close to mealtimes.
Bowls with grooves on the bottom can help slow eating, as will feeding your pup alone to reduce stress and keep them from scarfing down their food in the presence of other animals or children.
Borzois are also prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, heart conditions, and eye problems. Basenjis may suffer from hypothyroidism, IPSID (an inflammatory bowel disease), hip dysplasia, kidney disorders, and eye problems.
If adopting from a breeder, ask which of these issues they’ve screened for. A number of them are genetic and can be prevented with good breeding practices.
Borzoi vs Basenji History
These dogs come from very different parts of the world, which explains some of their key differences!
Borzois were first bred in Russia in the 1600s. They were used on the infamous wolf hunts of the Russian nobility at the time, hunting in small groups and catching wolves for human hunters to either capture or kill.
Basenjis are an ancient breed with a slightly unclear lineage. They were likely one of the first domesticated breeds.
They were bred in Africa and remained in the wild for a time before again being bred for human companionship. They have a sharp sense of smell as well as sight, making them well-suited to scent tracking.
Despite the Basenjis ancient history, they were introduced to the Americas fairly recently in the early 1900s.
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