“THE BREED MAY BE KNOWN FOR ITS WRINKLES AND CURLY TAILS, but there is a lot more to a Basenji than the emphasis on these two features alone would indicate.”
Th ese dogs can go all day and come back for more; ine ffi cient movement is wasteful and dangerous for a dog whose life may depend on his ability to avoid a deadly predator at a moment’s notice. Th e breed may be known for its wrinkles and curly tails, but there is a lot more to a Basenji than the emphasis on these two features alone would indi- cate. Th e wrinkles on the head serve as a hallmark that the skin on the body is su ffi ciently fine and loose, a require- ment for a dog that needs to make its way unimpeded and unharmed at speed through coiled vines and thorny shrub- bery. And that curly tail must be set high for the dog’s rear construction to be correct; even though we love our triple- curled donut tails, we would much rather see a high-set single curl than a low set, multiple-curled tail. Heads are distinctive and do not look like any other breed. Ears are set high on the head and carried erect when the dog is alert. Th ey can be carried back when the dog is relaxed, expressing a ff ection or dozing. Eyes are dark, almond-shaped, obliquely set and surmounted by a dis- tinct brow; they do not stare forward
with a piercing gaze. Th e skin is fine and loose enough to form wrinkles on the forehead when the ears are up but not so loose that it hangs in folds as dewlap. Side wrinkles are desirable but, sadly, in short supply these days. Th e muzzle is very definitely shorter than the skull and a very untypical look is created when these proportions are equal or even, heaven forbid, reversed. Basenjis come in a variety of wonderful colors which include a rich chestnut red, pure black, tricolor, and brindle; a brin- dle-pointed tricolor will have black stripes in the areas of red and this coloration is not to be faulted. All colors are smartly accented by a white chest, four white feet and a white tip on the tail. Additional white in the form of facial blazes, stock- ings and full or partial collars may be attractive but are not required. Full white collars may further the illusion of a longer neck on dogs so marked and are some- times favored by exhibitors. Th e Basenji ring is a pretty cheerful place to be as we encourage judges to greet both our dogs and our exhibitors with a friendly smile. Th ey should return the favor.
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