Africanis

He is not recognized by the F.C.I.

Origin
South Africa
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
This breed is also known as
Bantu dog
Hottentot Hunting dog
Zulu dog
Tswana dog
Umbwa wa ki-shenzi

A brief presentation of the Africanis

The Africanis is a recently recognized dog breed that developed naturally in South Africa. They are particularly resourceful dogs of medium to large size, with a muscular but streamlined build and a friendly but cautious nature. Because the breed developed naturally, there is much more variation within it than in most standardized breeds. Until the late 1990s, they were considered mongrels and treated with disdain, but the efforts of the Africanis Society, founded by John Gallant and Dr. Udo Küsel, have improved their status.

History of the Africanis

The Africanis dog breed developed naturally, without much human intervention, and many wild Africanis dogs still roam freely in the villages and surrounding areas of South Africa. It is impossible to determine the true ancestry of the Africanis dog, but it seems likely that it is descended from the wild and pariah dogs that lived in ancient Africa, with perhaps some infusions of greyhounds like the Greyhound. They are exceptionally friendly and naturally docile dogs, often seen in villages where the traditional South African way of life is still maintained. They often serve as guardians for people and their livestock, hunting dogs and even herding dogs in some cases. In 1998, a society dedicated to the conservation of this unique and primitive breed, the Africanis Society, was founded by John Gallant, an ardent protector of the breed, and the former director of the National Museum of Cultural History, Dr. Udo Küsel. Unlike most breed societies, their intention is not to perfect the breed, but to conserve and maintain it as it has developed naturally. Advanced DNA testing of registered dogs is the norm, and the group maintains a code of ethics, as well as regulations and procedures for registration and breeding guidelines. Although a great deal of variation from dog to dog is encouraged in this land breed, certain standards have been put in place to prevent the spread of certain genetic disorders, such as dermoid sinus problems in ridged-back dogs.

Appearance of the Africanis

Although there is great variation from dog to dog within the Africanis breed, a comprehensive breed standard has been established by the Africanis Society. Africanis are fairly large dogs, usually measuring between 50 and 60 centimeters at the withers, and weighing between 15 and 30 kilos. They tend to be athletic but slender, with the ribs barely visible in a healthy Africanis. It has long, slender legs and tends to be slightly longer than it is tall. Its head is wedge-shaped and streamlined, like that of ancient greyhounds, and its muzzle is long and conical. Africanis' oval eyes can be any color, although there are recommendations against breeding these rare dogs with blue or bi-color eyes, and their medium-sized, V-shaped ears can be worn straight, semi-straight or floppy. Medium-sized, V-shaped ears can be carried erect, semi-erect or floppy. Its short, easy-care coat is double-layered and can be any color or combination of colors.

Temperament of the Africanis

These dogs developed alongside man rather than being developed by man, and their temperament reflects this. Although they are generally exceptionally friendly and patient with people of all ages, they still need space and are sometimes uncomfortable with an abundance of physical contact, and if pushed, can sometimes become reactive. Although all interactions between dogs and children need to be supervised, Africanis dogs are particularly patient and playful with children and can generally be trusted to be gentle. They tend to be friendly with other dogs and, although they are vigilant and will alert you to any encroachment, they are not usually aggressive unless their family is directly threatened. These dogs are independent thinkers capable of finding creative solutions to their problems and, if not sufficiently mentally stimulated, can invent problems, such as how to get to the steak you had planned for dinner. Fortunately, they are also highly intelligent and eager to please, so can be easily trained when positive training methods are used.

Needs and activities of the Africanis

Africanis have great stamina and energy, and generally need at least an hour to an hour and a half of vigorous exercise a day. Although long walks and hikes are appreciated, these dogs are happiest if they have frequent opportunities to stretch their legs and run. Activities like rally sports or acrobatic dancing suit them well, and although skijoring is a little too cold for these warm-climate dogs, a high-intensity activity like bike-jor can help them burn off some of their energy. These dogs can adapt to an apartment-type environment if given enough extra exercise, but they are generally happiest with more space.

Maintenance of the Africanis

These dogs have developed a natural resistance to many internal and external parasites and should generally only be bathed when necessary, as over-frequent bathing can strip the natural oils from the dog's coat, making it more susceptible to environmental hazards. Brush this dog every week or so with a slicker or soft bristle brush, or wipe with a damp washcloth, to remove loose hair and maintain a healthy, shiny coat. Africanis ears should be checked regularly to ensure they are clean, dry and free from debris or infection.

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