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Basenji

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Basenji

General
OtherNames Lagos Bush Dogs or Congo Terriers
Dog Group Kennel Club Hound
Breed Classification Basenjis belong to the hound group and are used as companions and seen in the show-ring.
Cost of Ownership
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Average Food Cost
< £4
Feeding Requirements
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.
Other Expenses
The average purchase price of a puppy is £350.
Average Puppy Price
£300-500
Lifespan
9 - 15 years
Average Litter Size
4
General Physical Description
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.
Height Min Max
Bitch 40cm 40cm
Dog 43cm 43cm
Weight Min Max
Bitch 9kg 10kg
Dog 11kg 11kg
Size Category Medium
Weight Height Range The Basenji bitch averages 40cm tall at the withers and weighs in at 9.5 kg. The dog is slightly larger at 43cm and 11 kg.
Ailments There are several hereditary defects which plague the Basenji. Among them is Fanconi's syndrome, which is a dysfunction of the proximal kidney tubules. Pyruvate kinase deficiency also attacks Basenjis leading to an early death caused by severe anemia. Lymphagectasia is the dilation of the lymph vessels, manifesting in diarrohea, swollen abdomen and weight loss. Basenjis are also sensitive to certain flea products and are more susceptible to enteritis than most dogs.
Common Ailments
Susceptibility To Illness
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History 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 .
Intelligence 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.
Show Characteristics 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.
Country Of Origin Central Africa, The Congo. (Zaire)
Famous Examples
Records Held
Characteristics
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Energy High
Overall Exercise 60 - 80 minutes
Distress Caused if Left Alone
Personal Protection Low
Suitability As Guard Dog Low
Risk of Sheep Worrying High
Tendency to Bark Low
Ease of Transportation Medium
Level of Aggression High
Compatibility With Other Animals Low
Suitable For Children
Medium
General Character And Temperament This is a very alert and intelligent dog but it has been likened to a cat in more ways than one. Very clean and prone to self-grooming the Basenji is nearly odour free. They have also been known to climb trees and fences as cats do. This breed does adore their owners and will be affectionate, however, they tend to be aloof with strangers. Due to their inability to bark, they cannot be relied on to guard. Basenjis tend to argue with other dogs but will get along with human family members. As this breed has been specifically bred to hunt rodents, small pets probably will not get on well with Basenjis.
Grooming
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Coat Length Short/Smooth
Grooming Requirement < Once a week
Trimming None
Requires Professional Groomer
Grooming The Basenji does most of its own grooming and upkeep. The coat can be wiped down with a glove from time to time to remove loose hairs. Ears and nails can be checked periodically. Otherwise, little else needs to be done.
Colour The glossy coat of the Basenji comes in chestnut red, black and tri-colours. All coats have the white markings on the chest, feet, tip of the tail and as a blaze on the forehead. In its native country, the Basenji can also be seen in brindle and blue merl
Shedding Moderate
Suffers From Allergies
Tendency to Cause Allergies

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