Whippet vs. Basenji: Which Breed Suits Your Lifestyle?

Whippet vs. Basenji: Which Breed Suits Your Lifestyle?

Are you considering adding a four-legged companion to your family? Whippets and Basenjis are two popular dog breeds known for their unique characteristics and personalities. However, choosing the right breed that suits your lifestyle can be a challenging decision. In this article, we will compare Whippets and Basenjis, highlighting their key differences in terms of exercise needs, temperament, and grooming requirements. Whether you lead an active lifestyle or prefer a low-maintenance pet, read on to discover which breed is the perfect fit for you.

Physical Characteristics

Size and Weight

When comparing the Whippet and Basenji breeds, it is essential to consider their size and weight. Both breeds have distinct physical characteristics that set them apart.

The Whippet is a medium-sized dog that typically stands between 18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder. They have a sleek and slender build, which allows them to reach impressive speeds. In terms of weight, Whippets usually range from 25 to 40 pounds, depending on their gender and overall body condition.

On the other hand, the Basenji is a small to medium-sized breed, slightly smaller than the Whippet. They typically measure between 16 to 17 inches in height, making them a bit shorter than their Whippet counterparts. In terms of weight, Basenjis generally weigh between 22 to 24 pounds on average.

Coat and Colors

The coat and colors of the Whippet and Basenji breeds also vary significantly. These differences can play a role in your preference when choosing a breed that suits your lifestyle.

Whippets have a short, fine, and smooth coat that requires minimal grooming. Their coat comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, including solid colors like black, white, fawn, blue, and brindle. Some Whippets may also have markings such as spots or patches.

Basenjis, on the other hand, have a short and dense coat that also requires minimal grooming. Their coat comes in various colors, including black, brindle, tricolor, and red. Basenjis often have unique white markings on their chest, feet, and tip of the tail, adding to their distinctive appearance.

Considering the physical characteristics of the Whippet and Basenji breeds, it is important to assess which size, weight, coat type, and color preferences align with your lifestyle and personal preferences. Whether you prefer a medium-sized, sleek Whippet or a smaller, compact Basenji, both breeds offer their unique charm and characteristics that can make them a perfect fit for certain lifestyles.


When it comes to comparing the Whippet and Basenji breeds, understanding their temperament can play a crucial role in determining which one suits your lifestyle. Both breeds have distinct personalities that can greatly influence your overall experience as a dog owner.

Energy Level

In terms of energy levels, Whippets and Basenjis differ quite significantly. Whippets are known for their moderate energy levels. They are generally calm and laid-back indoors, making them suitable for apartment living or households with a more relaxed lifestyle. However, they do have bursts of energy and require regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

On the other hand, Basenjis are known for their high energy levels. They are often described as being lively and active. Basenjis thrive in environments where they have plenty of space to run and play. It’s important to note that their energy levels can be challenging to manage for first-time dog owners or those with a more sedentary lifestyle.


When it comes to trainability, both Whippets and Basenjis have their own unique traits. Whippets are generally more trainable and eager to please their owners. They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and are known for their intelligence and willingness to learn.

Basenjis, on the other hand, can be more independent and stubborn. They have a strong prey drive and may be easily distracted during training sessions. Patience and consistency are key when training a Basenji, as they require a firm and gentle approach to ensure effective results.


Socialization is an essential aspect of owning any dog breed, and both Whippets and Basenjis have their own socialization needs. Whippets are known for their friendly and sociable nature. They generally get along well with other dogs and people, making them a great choice for households with multiple pets or frequent visitors.

Basenjis, however, have a more aloof and reserved nature. They can be wary of strangers and may require extra effort when it comes to socializing them. Early and proper socialization is crucial for Basenjis to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded and confident dogs.

In conclusion, understanding the temperament, energy levels, trainability, and socialization needs of both Whippets and Basenjis can help you determine which breed is better suited to your lifestyle. Whether you prefer a more laid-back and trainable companion or an active and independent dog, both breeds have their own unique qualities that can bring joy and fulfillment to your life as a dog owner.

Exercise and Activity Needs

Exercise Requirements

Both Whippets and Basenjis are active breeds that require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. However, there are some differences in their exercise requirements that you should consider when choosing the breed that suits your lifestyle.

Whippets are known for their incredible speed and agility. They are sighthounds and have a strong instinct to chase after anything that moves. To fulfill their exercise needs, Whippets should have access to a safely enclosed area where they can run freely. They enjoy a good sprint and will appreciate regular opportunities to stretch their legs.

On the other hand, Basenjis have a slightly lower energy level compared to Whippets. While they still require exercise, they are not as demanding as Whippets in terms of physical activity. Basenjis are more known for their curious and independent nature. They enjoy exploring their surroundings and engaging in activities that stimulate their senses.

It is recommended to provide both breeds with daily walks to keep them physically active and prevent boredom. However, Whippets may benefit from additional activities such as lure coursing or agility training to channel their energy effectively. Basenjis, on the other hand, may enjoy mental stimulation activities like puzzle toys or scent games to keep their minds engaged.

Mental Stimulation

In addition to physical exercise, mental stimulation is crucial for both Whippets and Basenjis. These intelligent breeds need mental challenges to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors.

Whippets are generally intelligent and quick learners. They thrive when given tasks that require problem-solving and mental engagement. Training sessions that involve obedience, agility, or tricks can be a great way to stimulate their minds. Additionally, interactive toys and puzzles that encourage them to think and problem-solve can also be beneficial.

Basenjis, known for their independent nature, can be a bit more stubborn during training. However, they are intelligent dogs that excel in activities that allow them to use their natural instincts. Mental stimulation for Basenjis can include activities such as scent work, hide and seek, or even basic obedience training with positive reinforcement.

It’s important to note that mental stimulation should be tailored to each individual dog’s personality and preferences. Some Whippets may have a stronger drive for mental challenges, while some Basenjis may be more eager to learn and participate in training sessions. Understanding your dog’s needs and adapting the activities accordingly will help ensure a happy and well-balanced companion.

In conclusion, both Whippets and Basenjis have exercise and activity needs that should be met for their overall well-being. Whippets require more intense physical exercise, while Basenjis have a moderate energy level but enjoy mental stimulation. By providing the appropriate exercise and mental challenges, you can ensure that your chosen breed will be happy, healthy, and a perfect fit for your lifestyle.

Living Environment

Indoor vs. Outdoor

When considering whether a Whippet or Basenji is the right breed for you, it’s important to think about their living environment. Both breeds can adapt well to either indoor or outdoor living, but there are a few factors to consider.


Whippets are known for their love of comfort and coziness. They are generally well-suited for indoor living and enjoy being part of the family activities. These dogs are sensitive to extreme weather conditions, so they may not thrive in extremely hot or cold climates. However, with proper exercise and mental stimulation, Whippets can adapt to apartment living or smaller spaces.


Basenjis, on the other hand, are a bit more independent and may be better suited for outdoor living. They have a strong prey drive and love to explore their surroundings. Basenjis are known for their exceptional climbing abilities, so it’s important to have a secure and fenced yard if you plan to keep them outdoors. However, they can also adapt to indoor living as long as they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation.

Space Requirements

When it comes to space requirements, both Whippets and Basenjis have different needs.


Whippets are medium-sized dogs and don’t require a huge amount of space. They are generally content with a smaller living space as long as they receive regular exercise. However, it’s important to provide them with a safe and enclosed area where they can run and stretch their legs. Whippets are known for their incredible speed, so a securely fenced yard or access to a dog park is ideal for them to burn off their energy.


Basenjis are also medium-sized dogs, but they have a higher energy level compared to Whippets. They require ample space to roam and explore, making them more suitable for homes with larger yards or access to open areas. Basenjis love to run and chase, so having a secure and spacious outdoor area is essential. If you live in an apartment or have limited outdoor space, you need to ensure they receive enough exercise through regular walks and playtime.

In conclusion, both Whippets and Basenjis can adapt to different living environments, whether indoors or outdoors. Whippets tend to be more suited for indoor living, while Basenjis may prefer a larger outdoor space. However, providing them with regular exercise and mental stimulation is crucial to keep them happy and healthy, regardless of their living environment.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

When considering the suitability of a Whippet or a Basenji for your lifestyle, it is essential to understand the common health issues associated with each breed. Both Whippets and Basenjis are generally healthy breeds, but they do have their own unique set of health concerns.


Whippets are generally robust and healthy dogs. However, like any breed, they can be prone to certain health conditions. Some common health issues seen in Whippets include:

  1. Heart Disease: Whippets are known to be susceptible to heart conditions such as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), mitral valve disease (MVD), and arrhythmias.
  2. Eye Problems: Whippets may develop eye conditions like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and corneal ulcers.
  3. Skin Sensitivities: Whippets have thin skin, which makes them prone to skin allergies, irritations, and injuries.
  4. Hypothyroidism: This breed can experience an underactive thyroid gland, leading to weight gain, lethargy, and skin issues.

It is crucial to provide regular veterinary check-ups and maintain a healthy lifestyle to minimize the risk of these health issues in Whippets.


Basenjis are generally known for their excellent health and vitality. However, like any breed, they may be prone to specific health concerns. Some common health issues seen in Basenjis include:

  1. Fanconi Syndrome: Basenjis have a genetic predisposition to Fanconi Syndrome, a kidney disorder that affects the reabsorption of nutrients. Regular urine testing is necessary to detect this condition early.
  2. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): Basenjis may develop PRA, a degenerative eye disease that leads to blindness.
  3. Hip Dysplasia: This breed can be prone to hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop correctly, leading to lameness and arthritis.
  4. Thyroid Problems: Basenjis may experience thyroid issues, including hypothyroidism or autoimmune thyroiditis, resulting in weight gain, skin problems, and lethargy.

Regular veterinary care, a balanced diet, and exercise are crucial for maintaining the overall health and well-being of Basenjis.


The lifespan of a dog is an essential factor to consider when choosing the right breed for your lifestyle. Both Whippets and Basenjis have relatively long lifespans compared to some other breeds.


On average, Whippets live for about 12 to 15 years. However, with proper care, a Whippet can live well into their late teens. Providing a nutritious diet, regular exercise, mental stimulation, and routine veterinary check-ups can contribute to a longer and healthier lifespan for your Whippet.


Basenjis also have a relatively long lifespan, typically ranging from 12 to 14 years. With proper care and attention to their specific health needs, Basenjis can live a fulfilling and healthy life for many years.

Remember that these lifespan ranges are just averages, and individual dogs may vary. It is crucial to provide a loving and caring environment, along with proper healthcare, to ensure the longevity of your chosen breed.

In conclusion, both Whippets and Basenjis can make wonderful companions, but it is important to be aware of the potential health issues associated with each breed. Understanding their common health concerns and lifespan can help you make an informed decision that suits your lifestyle and ensures the well-being of your furry friend.

Suitability for Families

When choosing a new furry friend to join your family, it is essential to consider their compatibility with children and other pets. Both Whippets and Basenjis can make great family pets, but they have different temperaments and characteristics that may influence their suitability for your lifestyle.

Compatibility with Children

Whippets are known to be gentle, affectionate, and patient dogs, which makes them an excellent choice for families with children. They are generally tolerant of kids and enjoy their company. However, due to their slender build and delicate nature, it is important to supervise interactions between Whippets and small children to prevent accidental injuries.

On the other hand, Basenjis have a more independent and stubborn personality. While they can develop strong bonds with their human family members, they may not be as patient or tolerant with children as Whippets. Basenjis are better suited for families with older kids who can understand and respect their boundaries.

Compatibility with Other Pets

Both Whippets and Basenjis can coexist with other pets, but their compatibility may vary. Whippets are generally sociable dogs and tend to get along well with other dogs and animals when properly introduced. They have a friendly and non-aggressive temperament, which makes them more adaptable to living in harmony with other pets.

Basenjis, on the other hand, have a strong prey drive and a natural instinct to chase small animals. While they can get along with other dogs and pets they have been raised with from a young age, caution should be exercised when introducing them to new animals. Proper socialization and training are crucial to ensure a successful integration with other pets.

In conclusion, when considering the suitability of Whippets and Basenjis for your family, it is important to assess their compatibility with children and other pets. Whippets are generally more patient and tolerant with children, making them a better choice for families with young kids. Both breeds can coexist with other pets, but Whippets tend to be more sociable and adaptable in this regard. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your family’s specific dynamics and the individual temperament of the dog.

In conclusion, when deciding between a Whippet and a Basenji, it is important to consider your lifestyle and preferences. If you are an active individual who enjoys outdoor activities and is willing to provide plenty of exercise, the Whippet may be the perfect companion for you. On the other hand, if you value independence and a dog that requires less physical activity, the Basenji may be a better fit. Ultimately, both breeds have their own unique characteristics and it is essential to carefully evaluate your lifestyle to determine which one best suits your needs.