Basenji

FCI standard Nº 43

Origin
Democratic Republic of Congo, under the patronage of Great Britain
Group
Group 5 Spitz and primitive types
Section
Section 6 Primitive type
Working
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Thursday 26 March 1964
Publication of the official valid standard
Thursday 25 November 1999
Last update
Monday 24 January 2000
En français, cette race se dit
Basenji
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Basenji
En español, esta raza se dice
Basenji
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Basenji
This breed is also known as
Terrier du Congo 
Terrier Nyam-Nyam

Usage

Hunting dog, companion.

General appearance

Lightly built, finely boned aristocratic looking animal, high on legs compared with its length, always poised, alert and intelligent. Wrinkled head, with pricked ears, proudly carried on a well arched neck. Deep brisket runs up into a definite waist, tail tightly curled presenting a picture of a well balanced dog of gazelle-like grace.

Important proportions

Distance from top of head to stop slightly more than from stop to tip of nose.

Behaviour / temperament

Barkless but not mute, its own special noise a mixture of a chortle and a yodel. Remarkable for its cleanliness in every way. An intelligent, independent, but affectionate and alert breed. Can be aloof with strangers.

Head

Cranial region

Head
Fine and profuse wrinkles appearing on forehead when ears pricked; side wrinkles desirable but not exaggerated into dewlap; wrinkles more noticeable in puppies, but because of lack of shadowing, not as noticeable in tricolours.
Skull
Flat, well-chiselled and medium width, tapering towards the nose. Side lines of skull taper gradually towards mouth, giving a clean-cheeked appearance. 
Stop
Slight.

Facial region

Nose
Black nose desirable.
Jaws and teeth
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square in the jaws.
Eyes
Dark, almond-shaped; obliquely set, far-seeing and rather inscrutable in expression.
Ears
Small, pointed, erect and slightly hooded, of fine texture, set well forward on top of head, tip of ear nearer centre of skull than outside base.

Neck

Strong and of good length, without thickness, well crested and slightly full at base of throat with a graceful curve accentuating crest. Well set into shoulders giving head a « lofty » carriage.

Body

Body
Balanced.
Back
Short, level.
Loin
Short-coupled.
Chest
Deep brisket.
Ribs
Ribs well sprung, deep and oval.
Underline and belly
Running up into a definite waist.

Tail

High set, with posterior curve of buttock extending beyond root of tail giving a reachy appearance to hindquarters. Curls tightly over spine and lies closely to thigh with a single or double curl.

Limbs

Forequarters

Generality
Forelegs straight with fine bone. Legs in a straight line to ground giving a medium front.
Shoulders
Well laid back, muscular, not loaded.
Elbows
Tucked in against brisket. When viewed from front, elbows in line with ribs.
Forearm
Very long.
Pastern
Good length, straight and flexible.

Hindquarters

Generality
Strong and muscular.
Lower thigh
Long.
Stifle
Moderately bent.
Hock
Well let down, turned neither in nor out.

Feet

Small, narrow and compact, with deep pads, well arched toes and short nails.

Gait and movement

Legs carried straight forward with a swift, long, tireless, swinging stride.

Skin

Very pliant.

Coat

Hair
Short, sleek and close, very fine.
Colour
Pure black and white; red and white; black and tan, and white with melon pips and tan markings on muzzle and cheeks; black; tan and white; brindle : red background with black stripes, the more clearly defined the stripes the better. The white should be on the feet, chest and tail tip. White legs, blaze and white collar optional.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Ideal height : dogs 43 cm (17 ins) at withers, bitches 40 cm (16 ins) at withers.
Weight
Ideal weight : dogs 11 kg (24 lbs), bitches 9 1/2 kg (21 lbs).

Faults

• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

Bibliography

http://www.fci.be/

 

Detailed history

It is in Africa that we must look for the origins of Basenji, whose name derives, in fact, from that of a tribe from the Congo River region: the Bashingi. It is actually further east, in the heart of the Ituri forest region, that we find the first traces of this race. A few millennia ago, this dog was the favorite hunting companion of the Pygmies. The legend says that, then, he fought without fear the lion, but the reality is much more modest. It was rather to poultry and antelopes that Basenji hunted. The Africans thought, moreover, that this dog removed evil spirits, and they entrusted to him the guard of their dwellings.

It is in any case in this part of black Africa that the Egyptians discovered this animal. After adopting it, they went so far as to worship it, and Basenji became a sacred dog. As such, he appeared on the tombs because he was supposed to accompany the dead in the afterlife. Be that as it may, it has been found, on a large number of tombs dating back to about 3600 BC, representations of a dog breed in every respect identical to today's Basenji. The Basenji was also baptized for some time "dog of Kheops", named after the pharaoh who built the great pyramid of Guizèh.

This is all that we know about the African history of Basenji, which is lost until the nineteenth century. It was around 1870 that English settlers rediscovered this race in an area between the former kingdom of Kongo and Sudan, where its representatives were used for hunting. And so, a few years later, in 1895, dogs named "Terriers of the Congo" made a remarkable appearance at the National Cruft's Show in London, one of the most famous international exhibitions.

Alas, suffering from the disease of Carré, these imported dogs died before being able to reproduce. Six other subjects suffered the same fate in 1923. It should be noted that at the time Carré's disease was unknown in Africa and that the dogs that came from this continent did not offer any resistance to the virus.

Basenji did not succeed until 1937 in Great Britain, in 1941 in the United States. The establishment of this breed in the Western world is undoubtedly due to the efforts of an English breeder, Veronica Tudor Williams, who, for years, traveled across Africa to find the most beautiful specimens.

Basenji made its entry into France in 1966, but, if there are some breeding quality, this breed remains virtually unknown in the Hexagon, which explains in part its low birth rate: there is in fact only about ten births each year (females of Basenji are those who have heat only once a year).

There is one point that should be emphasized: Basenji is a purebred dog. This precision is not superfluous, because we meet in Africa a large number of dogs who are like him but who are only bastards or horny. The real Basenji is easy to recognize, however, because it has a particularity a priori inimitable: it does not bark, but sounds sounds both laughter and the "jodler" Tyrolean. This originality is not transmitted to the products of a cross between a Basenji and another race. Indeed, the horny and the bastards bark, and this sign does not deceive.

"He is the most cat of all dogs. This is what is often said about Basenji. In fact, not only does Basenji not bark, but he licks in the manner of a feline, and as his short hair does not require any particular maintenance, he remains clean. Another common point with the cat, Basenji loves to perch on a table or a chair from where he dominates his entourage.

In any case, it is his character that best defines Basenji. This dog is both mischievous and stubborn, and it is desirable to educate him with a firm hand. The animal is sometimes hard enough, and his fierce will often disconcerts the too lax masters. Very exclusive, Basenji attaches to his master, which he can not bear the slightest sign of indifference. However, enthusiasts readily claim that it is its independent character that is the charm of Basenji. For the latter, disobedience is obviously a deliberate act, just as his behavior is when he stands apart from the rest of the canine gent. Moreover, Basenji is very curious and always seems on the alert.

Educated at a very young age, this African dog adapts well enough to living in an apartment, but he nevertheless prefers the freedom that can be offered to him in the country. In this regard, it should be noted that it is prudent to fence the garden in which it evolves. Very rustic, Basenji does not require any special maintenance. Naturally clean, it will still benefit from regular brushing and friction horsehair. It does not lend any particular fragility, but it must however avoid him to take cold, because he is not used to low temperatures.

As noted above, females are in heat only once a year, and puppies (five or six per litter) are born, usually, in November or December, so at a time when they are the most vulnerable. Still used to hunt small game in Africa, Basenji is appreciated in Europe and the United States in the only role of pet.

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