Showsight Presents The Basenji

THE BASENJI: ACCEPTED COLOR AND MARKINGS

Red and White

Black and White

Open Faced Tri

Later importations included pure black and white Basenjis from Liberia and tiger-striped brindle Basenjis from the Sudan and the Congo, and these dogs have been incorporated into the breed’s modern gene pool. At one point, a recessive form of the black, tan and white color pattern was noted among the offspring of one of the most highly influential imports; these puppies were born pure black, but later developed mottled tan markings. Basenji fanciers were divided in their acceptance of the two (dominant and recessive) black colors and they argued heatedly as to which one was correct. The controversy ended in the 1970s with a Basenji Club of America ballot that spelled out in detail where the tan markings of a black, tan and white Basenji would be placed, thereby eliminating the recessive black Basenjis from competition. The ballot went down in defeat as the majority of BCOA members felt that the breeders and owners of this primitive hunting dog were in the best position to assess and evaluate their own breeding stock, placing an emphasis on temperament, structure, and breed type— and leaving room for color variations as seen in the native dogs. This is still the feeling of most breeders and we can generally “give” a little in the color department on an otherwise excellent dog. The Basenji

Brindle Pointed Tri

standard has no disqualifications for color, and we like it that way. COLOR AND MARKINGS IN THE MODERN SHOW RING

Brindle-Pointed Tri

That being said, the AKC Basenji Standard is very clear that the desired colors are: “Chestnut red; pure black; tricolor (pure black and chestnut red); or brindle (black stripes on a background of chestnut red); all with white feet, chest and tail tip. White legs, blaze and collar optional. The amount of white should never predominate over primary color. Color and markings should be rich, clear and well-defined, with a distinct line of demarcation between the black and red of tricolors and the stripes of brindles.” The chestnut red color most closely resembles the color of a chestnut horse and not the fruit of the chestnut tree, which would be closer to a dark mahogany. We love the vibrant orangey reds when we see them, which is not as often as we would like. We have a lot of paper bag reds, and tolerate them, but our goal is always a bright, shiny red. Pure black is a glossy black with no tan hairs; there may be some grey undercoat at times or scat- tered white hairs, but these are normal. There is a seal variant, which is visible in some light; this color is not often seen and its genetics are unknown to this writer.

216 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION

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