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Basenji Lifespan – How Long Do They Live For?

The Basenji is a unique breed, often recognized by its tightly curled tail and its distinct yodel-like bark, called a “barroo”. These dogs typically have a lifespan ranging from 12 to 14 years. Like all breeds, the exact age can vary based on numerous factors, some of which we’ll explore later in this article.

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of a Basenji

  • Genetics: Just as with humans, genetics play a vital role in the lifespan of a Basenji. Acquiring a Basenji from a reputable breeder who tests their breeding dogs for common genetic diseases can help ensure longer, healthier lives for their pups.
  • Diet & Nutrition: Proper nutrition is paramount for the longevity of any dog. A well-balanced diet with appropriate portions can prevent obesity, which is a rising concern in pets and can lead to various health issues.
  • Exercise & Activity: Basenjis are active dogs that require regular exercise. Regular activity keeps them mentally stimulated and physically fit, ensuring a healthy heart and toned muscles.
  • Environment: A safe and caring environment can add years to a dog’s life. Protecting them from extreme weather, potential toxins and providing them with a clean living space is essential.
  • Veterinary Care: Routine check-ups can spot potential health issues before they become severe. Keeping up with vaccinations and preventative medicines can protect them from common canine diseases.

Common Basenji Health Issues

Awareness of potential issues not only helps in early detection but also prepares you to provide the best care should any arise. Here’s an overview of some of the health concerns associated with the breed:

  • Fanconi Syndrome: This inherited disorder affects the kidneys, leading to symptoms like increased thirst and urination. Early diagnosis and proper management can help Basenjis lead a normal life.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This eye condition gradually diminishes sight, eventually leading to blindness. While it’s not painful, owners should be prepared to support a visually impaired dog.
  • Hypothyroidism: This condition, where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, can lead to issues like lethargy, weight gain and skin problems.
  • Hip Dysplasia: A malformation of the hip joint can lead to arthritis and pain. It’s essential to keep an eye out for signs of discomfort or mobility issues.

Leading Causes of Death in Basenjis

While Basenjis can live long, healthy lives, it’s important to recognize potential threats:

  • Age-related Diseases: Like humans, older Basenjis may develop heart issues, kidney diseases, or tumors.
  • Congenital Diseases: Some puppies might be born with hereditary problems that can impact their lifespan.
  • Accidents: As with any active breed, accidents like falls, or encounters with vehicles can pose a risk.
  • Illnesses: Unchecked infections or diseases can become severe if not addressed promptly.

Basenji Life Expectancy Compared to Other Breeds

When we talk about dog lifespans, size often matters. Smaller breeds usually live longer than larger breeds. Basenjis, being a medium-sized breed, fare reasonably well in the lifespan department. For instance, larger breeds like the Great Dane or Saint Bernard often live 7-10 years, while smaller breeds like Chihuahuas can live up to 17 years. With an average lifespan of 13 to 14 years, the Basenji sits comfortably in the middle, outlasting some breeds while being outlived by others.

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