Showsight Presents The Basenji

THE BASENJI: ACCEPTED COLOR AND MARKINGS

Recessive Black

Reverse Brindle

The tricolor (pure black and chestnut red) is open to more variation and we do see several different color patterns that fit this description. The normal tricolor is included here, as is the open faced tricolor, the saddle, and the recessive black. We should always bear in mind the standard’s stipulation that color and markings should be rich, clear, and well-defined, but we are really looking for the best over- all dog—no matter its color. Again, as in the black and white, a grey undercoat may sometimes be present, usually around the neck. The brindle (black stripes on a background of chestnut red) color pattern is also subject to a number of variations, as we do not specify the number or arrange- ment of stripes. We can see very plainly marked brindles with only a few stripes as well as dogs so heavily marked that the red background is barely visible. Again, the dog under the stripes is the most important factor in the greater scheme of things. Additionally, when the brindle color pattern was added to our standard after the arrival of some influential native African imports, we did not think to address the ramifications of superimposing this pattern on our tricolor dogs in our breeding programs. As it happens, the brindle stripes transfer neatly to the red portions of the coat to form a “brindle-pointed tri” or “trindle.” This color pattern is the natural result of breeding two approved colors together and is completely acceptable in the ring. White feet, chests, and tail tips are ubiquitous, and almost always acceptable. If necessary, even a foot with one white toe will pass muster. White legs, blaze, and collar are optional, but are frequently seen. There is no preference for a full white collar, but it is often seen on our top winners as it is flashy and catches the eye of the judges. In some cases, it also gives the illusion of a longer neck, so it may be helpful in the ring. Our standard does have a warning that the amount of white should never pre- dominate over the primary color. There is a very good reason for this and it goes back to our gene pool. “Congo,” the mostly white bitch pictured below, came to this country in the 1940s as a stowaway on a tramp steamer fromWest Africa. She is a part of our foundation stock. Whether from her influence or from that of later imports, the gene for excess white is there and we studiously breed away from it. I would be happy to answer any questions about this aspect of our breed or any others, for that matter. I may be reached at naharin@comcast.net.

WE SHOULD ALWAYS BEAR IN MIND THE STANDARD’S STIPULATION THAT COLOR AND MARKINGS SHOULD BE RICH, CLEAR, AND WELL-DEFINED, BUT WE ARE REALLY LOOKING FOR THE BEST OVERALL DOG—NO MATTER ITS COLOR.

Saddle

Congo

SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SPRING EDITION | 217

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