Labs vs. Other Dog Breeds

Labrador vs. Basenji

Jane Davis

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Welcome to the captivating world of two unique canine companions: the lovable Labrador Retriever and the enigmatic Basenji, famously known as Africa’s ‘Barkless Dog.’

Both breeds possess distinct qualities and traits that make them exceptional pets but cater to different lifestyles and owner preferences.

Labrador Retriever

With its sweet face and friendly disposition, the Labrador Retriever reigns as America’s most popular dog breed. These medium-to-large dogs are outgoing, spirited, and affectionate, making them perfect family companions.

Standing between 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and weighing 55 to 80 pounds, Labradors boast a well-balanced, sturdy build.

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Their dense, hard coat comes in three beautiful colors: yellow, black, and chocolate. With a wide head, kind eyes, and a distinctive ‘otter tail,’ Labradors exude an innate eagerness to please and connect with their human families.

While their easygoing personality might suggest low energy, Labs are enthusiastic athletes requiring regular exercises, like swimming and fetch, to stay physically and mentally fit.


On the other paw, we have the Basenji, a compact and graceful hunter with intelligence and poise. These catlike canines are best suited for owners who can meet their exercise needs and enjoy the training challenge.

Standing 16 to 17 inches at the shoulder, Basenjis are small hounds with a glistening short coat, tightly curled tail, and expressive almond-shaped eyes. Females weigh in at around 22 pounds, and males at around 24 pounds.

Their appearance is captivating, particularly when they exhibit their smooth, mini-racehorse-like trot.

True to their ‘Barkless Dog’ nickname, Basenjis don’t bark; instead, they communicate through an unusual sound, often described as a mix of a chortle and a yodel.

Fastidious and independent, Basenjis groom themselves like cats and display a unique charm that has earned them a devoted following.

Comparison Table

AspectLabrador RetrieverBasenji
SizeMedium to Large: 21.5 to 24.5 inchesSmall: 16 to 17 inches at the shoulder
Weight55 to 80 poundsFemales: 22 pounds<br>Males: 24 pounds
CoatDense, hard, and comes in various colors (yellow, black, chocolate)Short and glistening
Work Ethic and IntelligenceEager to please and highly trainableIntelligent but may have a stubborn streak in training
Family FriendlinessExtremely friendly and affectionateDevoted to family, but reserved around strangers
Courage and LoyaltyLoyal and affectionate towards ownersLoyal and devoted, with a more reserved demeanor
CommunicationUses various vocalizations, including barkingDoes not bark, communicates with unique sounds

Work Ethic and Intelligence

Both breeds bring something special to the table regarding work ethic and intelligence. Labradors are known for their eagerness to please and adaptability in various tasks, making them exceptional working dogs, from service and therapy roles to search and rescue missions.

Their trainability and friendly disposition make them a joy to work with.

Basenjis, on the other hand, possess catlike independence and intelligence. While they are undoubtedly intelligent, they also have a streak of stubbornness, which can present challenges in training.

They require a patient and consistent approach to obedience training, and their unique communication style adds an element of intrigue to their interactions.

Verdict: Labradors are the clear winners regarding work ethic and trainability. However, if you’re up for the challenge of training a more independent and clever dog, Basenjis can be a fascinating choice.

Family Friendliness and Loyalty

Both breeds have their merits when it comes to being family pets and loyal companions. Labradors are renowned for their friendly, outgoing, and affectionate nature, making them perfect for families with children and other pets.

They are known to bond deeply with their human family members and have a reputation for being excellent with kids.

While loving and devoted to their families, Basenjis have a more reserved demeanor around strangers.

They may not be as outgoing as Labradors, but their unique communication style and independent nature make them a cherished companions for those who appreciate their individuality.

Verdict: Labradors excel as family-friendly pets due to their friendly and affectionate nature, but if you prefer a more independent and enigmatic companion, a Basenji might be the perfect fit.

Courage and Affection

In terms of courage, both breeds have their unique strengths. Labradors, with their friendly and social nature, might not be the best guard dogs but they exhibit immense loyalty to their owners.

Their affectionate and gentle demeanor allows them to form strong bonds with their human families.

Basenjis may not be as openly affectionate as Labs, but their loyalty and devotion to their owners run deep. They might be more reserved around strangers, which can add a protective element to their loyalty toward their family members.

Verdict: Labradors are more overtly affectionate, while Basenjis display loyalty and courage in a more understated but meaningful way.


In summary, Labradors and Basenjis are exceptional dog breeds, each with unique strengths and characteristics.

Labradors shine as versatile, loving, and trainable family companions, while Basenjis enchant with their enigmatic charm, independence, and devotion to their families.

The choice between the two breeds ultimately depends on the owner’s lifestyle, preferences, and willingness to invest time and effort in training and understanding their canine companion.

The Labrador Retriever is an excellent choice if you seek a friendly, affectionate, and highly trainable family pet.

On the other hand, if you are captivated by the allure of a catlike and devoted companion that communicates in unique ways, the Basenji might be the perfect match.

As an expert, I encourage potential owners to consider their lifestyle, training preferences, and willingness to meet each breed’s exercise and mental stimulation needs.

Both Labradors and Basenjis offer a lifetime of companionship and joy, and the right match will lead to a deeply rewarding and fulfilling canine-human partnership.


Jane Davis

Hi, my name is Jane Davis, and I love dogs. I own a labrador retriever named Max. When I was growing up, we always had dogs at our house. They provide us with such unconditional love and companionship, and I can't imagine my life without one by my side.

This website does not provide pet medical advice. For professional advice regarding your pet's health, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your local area.
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