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Basenji (Congo Dog)
Imagine being a dog lover and tramping through the wilds of Africa, while seeing trees and flowers, birds and beasts of all descriptions, your hosts introduce you to their dog. The little hunter with his prick ears and tail curled over his back is much like the pariah dogs you've heard of from all over the world, so how simple it is to overlook him during your visit in this exotic area but then, as the days past, you discover that he does not bark but has a charming chortle. Then you discover his personality, very catlike, a bit aloof and extremely clean and independent you are completely charmed and realize that the world MUST be introduced to this character.  Congratulations, you've just discovered the Basenji!
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By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): HoundsSighthoundPrimitive-Pariah Height: 16-17 inches
Weight: 22-24 pounds Longevity: mid teens
Colors: white feet, chest and tip of tail with more white acceptable on a majority of black, red, brindle, or tri-color Coat type: short, smooth, dense
Recognized Registries: AKC and others
Overall Appearance: Compact athelete of extraordinary independence and confidence. Prick ears, foxy expression, tail curling tightly over the back with a short body and longer legs, the Basenji is elegant with its ultra smooth coat over a body that is not overmuscled.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: high
General Nature: independent
  with Children: unpredictable unless heavily socialized
  with other pets: with hunting background probably not ideal unless heavily socialized and supervised
  with dogs: can be very good but proper introductions are critical
Socialization requirements: VERY HIGH without exposure to lots of different elements in the world they can become snappish, shy and/or aggressive
Ideal home characteristics: Understanding of this extremely unique dog who has been called catlike. This term is not fair, they are Basenji like. Definitely meet as many as possible prior to adopting so that you can be sure, they are not
Temperament Notes: Independent, clever like a fox, the Basenji defies description in tyical terms used to describe dogs, they can be wildly unpredictable and quirky from standoffish and indifferent to very loving in a moment. They have little use for people beyond family.
Training requirement: basic manners, socialization are crucial
Trainer notes: The extremely intelligent and independent Basenji often suffers from an identity crisis at the hands of its family.  Seeing this charming jaunty "little" dog people often fail to recognize the powerhouse personality contained within.  Shelters have far too many Basenji who have ultimately become far too indulged, over time this develops a dictator complex which can frequently lead to aggression.  The fault, unfortunately does not lie with the dog, but with the unreasonable expectation and misunderstanding on the part of the people.  Please if you decide to add a Basenji to your life work diligently to find an excellent breeder who will not only take you through the steps of determining if the Basenji is for you but also guide you in raising your Basenji to be well mannered.  With this assurance, you will have a companion dog that will become a legend in your mind.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: 1943 in US
Country of Origin: African bush
Original Function: sight/scent hunter
History: Developed as a working companion by the indigenous tribes of Africa. Several trips have been made by US fanciers to Africa to create and continue to add to appropriate stock of the breed in the US.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: too large. loose tail, heavy, long bodied
Health Notes: Fanconi Syndrome, IPSID, PRA and other eye problems, Hemolytic Anemia, Hip Dysplasia, Thyroid issues, Heart Issues
Health Testing: CERF, Michigan State Thyroid Testing, OFA (hips and elbows), Cardiac certification,
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Basenji?
  • What do you like best about them?
  • How would you describe the ideal Basenji?
  • What do you consider the single most important characteristic of the breed?
  • What health issues have you observed?
  • What criteria do you seek in your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • What age do you send the pups to their new homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Basenji home?
Web Sites: Basenji Club of America Standard

Other Resources
Breed standard: FCI Standard of the Basenji

Breeder Ethics: Basenji Club of America Code of Practices

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