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Basenji Gifts

Basenjis belong to the hound group and are used as companions and seen in the show ring.

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Basenji Shoulder Bag

Basenji Tapestry Cushion

General Information On Basenjis

The Basenji can generally be fed a normal dog food diet. However, Basenjis will steal any food that is left lying around, and as a result, can quickly become overweight.

This is a small to medium sized smooth coated dog with a distinctive tightly curled tail. The wedge shaped face with the wrinkled forehead are also peculiar to the breed. The Basenji should be fairly finely boned and short coupled, creating the image of a graceful, lithe and compact creature. These dogs are unique in the fact that they do not bark. They do however make all the other usual doggie sounds and they will yodel when excited.

Basenjis orginate from pariah dogs, having characteristics particular to this group of canids. Pariahs have the tightly curled tail and a once year oestrus cycle, rather than the more common bi-annual oestrus cycle of the domestic dog. Basenjis were probably bred to be companion dogs for the Pharoahs and there are portraits of Basenjis in the Egyptian pyramids. With time the breed moved down to Central Africa where it was used to kill the long toothed and reed rats in the Congo region. These large, vicious rats were a real threat to the native people´s livestock and a good hunting dog was essential for survival. The Basenji was also used to point, retrieve and drive game into a net, as well as track wounded prey. They are excellent all round hunting dogs and their place in the hound group is somewhat misleading. While the breed has been long established it wasn´t known to the Western World until the time of the Victorians. Early African exploreres remarked on a ´barkless dog´ and finally a pair of Basenjis was brought to England in 1895. Unfortunately, the pair succumbed to distemper, as this disease was then unknown in Africa. However, the pair, exhibited as "Lagos Bush Dogs," were exhibited at Crufts before expiring. In 1923, Hellen Nutting brought 6 more Basenjis to England, all of whom died of Distemper. It wasn´t until 1936 that ´Bongo of Blean´ and ´Bokoto of Blean,´ being known as "Congo Terriers," lived long enough to breed a litter. In 1937, the breed was taken to America, again many exports dieing of distemper until 1942, when enough survived that a breed club could be formed and the Basenji was later recognized by the AKC in 1943. Current breeders still look to Central Africa for stock .

The Basenji is alert and intelligent but is at the same time spirited and anxious. This personality combination makes them a challenge to train. They should be socialised early, especially with other dogs, as there is a breed tendency to fight which can be curbed. This breed will never excel in obedience competitions but it can be gently shown the way to fit in the role of a family pet.

The head is wedge shaped, with a visible stop and a wrinkled brow. Almond shaped eyes should be dark hazel in colour with black rims and set obliquely in the face. The ears are small and erect, slightly hooded and set well forward on the top of the head. A well arched neck, slightly crested leads into the well laid back shoulders and short coupled back. The chest is of medium width and is fairly deep. An obvious waist gives the dog a trim and elegant look. The forelegs sport straight, flexible pasterns and the hindlegs have well let down hocks. The feet are small and narrow. Single or double curled, the tail is held tightly over the back. Smooth, glossy hair covers the pliant skin and the coat can be chestnut red, black or tri-coloured with white markings on the chest, tip of tail, feet and forehead. The gait should appear graceful and tireless.

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