Basenji Q& A What is the breed’s most endearing quality? Their intelligence and sense of humor. They have this love of life that takes you right along with them. Is the breed’s temperament ideal for indoor life or are they most- ly an outdoors dog? The Basenji is a primitive breed from central Africa so they are a heat loving dog. So mostly an inside dog if you live in the northern states but they’ve also adapted very well to lov- ing the humans air conditioning and can survive quite nicely inside in the warmer climates provided they have blankets or covers they can snuggle up in. How do I place my puppies? My puppies are placed mostly through word of mouth of current or former owners of my dogs. Several of my puppies have gone to live with people who’ve gotten Basenjis from me in the past or have Basenjis from good friends. At what age do I choose a show prospect? I really don’t have a particular age. I start observing my puppies from the time they pull themselves up on their feet until it’s time for them to leave. I normally make my choices based on what I need/want to carry on for breeding. Showing them is secondary. My current special came very close to being placed in a pet home but I changed my mind last minute and he stayed. Good thing I did. My favorite dog show memory? I actually have several, but if I had to choose just one, it would be the one where my Justin (Ch. Possum Creek Just My Luck, JC) won the Hound Group. It was 1995, Justin was dark
tions before they learn to trust humans like some of the other breeds we know. SUE KITE I live in Marion Ohio and I’ve been a dog groomer for many years. Basenjis have been my passion for almost 49 years, having acquired my first in 1971. We did our first breeding in 1972, which produced our first homebred champion. I have judged many sweep- stakes assignments and hope to obtain my judging license. The secret to a successful breeding program is careful planning and only breeding the best and healthiest to each other. You can’t expect good when you breed mediocrity. My advice to a new judge: don’t ever uncurl the tail or try to examine them on the ground. Speak to them on the table, give them an ear scratch and go over them. They are a short-haired breed so there is nothing to hide with hair. There are many things I love about our breed. I like the size, lack of coat to groom, athleticism and don’t need a dog that hangs onto every word. We socialize ours extensively, so we are proud of our sweet temperaments. How much time do I spend per week preparing these coat- less beauties for exhibition? They are pretty much wash and wear. When I show them, they get a bath, nails ground, tail and whiskers trimmed and off we go. What is the breed’s most endearing quality? Depends on who you ask when you use the term endearing. I like to cuddle with mine. Some are lickers, some are not. After they do the Basenji 500, they are ready to just hang out. Is the breed’s temperament ideal for indoor life or is the breed mostly an outdoors dog? Basenjis are indoor dogs, can spend some outside time but not a lot in the cold. How do I place my puppies? Placing pups can be long term. People contact us, they fill out our questionnaire, we talk to them and develop a relationship, have them come and visit and they may or may not get a puppy. If they do, we stay in contact and welcome them to our Basenji family. At what age do I choose a show prospect? We watch the pups from five weeks until eight or nine and determine if they can be a show prospect. We keep one or two to grow them out more and then finally decide. There are so many dog show memories to choose one. Am/can CH Klassics Rooty Toot Toot winning her first Canadian best in show from the bred by class, winning the BCOA national 2x, Cana- dian national same year and best of opposite sex at Westminster three times in a row. Her children are national specialty winners, #1 in several countries. Crufts best of breed seven times. Enough said? Basenjis aren’t for everyone but those of us who love them, there’s no other breed. CHRIS MAXKA Chris Maxka may have changed her own name from Marshall to Roper to Olson to Maxka, but she never changed her kennel name: Sun- Diata. And although she changed her address from Seattle to Iowa to Wis- consin to Massachusetts to Arizona to Pennsylvania, she never changed her breed: Basenjis. This is her 50th year breeding SunDiata Basenjis, and her puppies are beyond the 20th gen- eration of linebreedings. She is also the current Chair of the BCOA Health Committee.
brindle and at that time the color was still new for our breed and not widely accepted in the ring yet. Justin had won the breed and we were in the Hound Group. Our judge was Alfred Treen, someone I had not shown to before that day. We made the cut in the group and Mr. Treen came down the line, stopping at each dog to look at him/her. Once he reached the end
of the line, he turned and came back up the line, again stopping at each dog to consider them. Except for Justin who he skipped. My heart sank but then mentally I kicked myself thinking I should feel lucky to have just made the cut. I leaned out slightly to look up/ down the line and realized I was the only owner handler in the cut. Again, I thought I should feel lucky to just be here in this line up of handlers and dogs. Once Mr. Treen had looked over each dog he went out into the center of the ring, crossed his arms, again looking up and down the line, stroking his goatee. He then stopped, looked over at us, pointed and said, “You’re first.” I don’t know for certain but I’m sure my mouth dropped open. As I stood up, I picked Justin up and carried him to the first place sign. I picked him up as my legs were shaking so much that I was sure I would fall over him because my feet weren’t working right. As I stood there clutching Justin, waiting for Mr. Treen to finish marking his book I was sure he was going to turn around and say he was sorry but he wasn’t pointing to me. But he walked up to us and handed me the blue ribbon. It was then that it registered that folks ringside were clapping for us! I had gotten my first Basenji in May 1990 and here I was five years later breeder/owner handling our breed’s third brindle Hound Group winner. Justin was my heart and soul. With him I did things I never dreamed of doing. Like the group win and traveling with him to Denmark in 2002. I miss him as much today as I did when he left me those many years ago. He showed me that even the most impossible dream can come true. When I first started in the breed, they were known for not hav- ing good temperaments. Over the years breeders have worked very hard on temperaments and we now have some very sweet tempered dogs. This is a primitive breed, they have survived on their instincts for thousands of years. It’s going to take some time and genera-
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