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The Basenji is one of the oldest breeds, and was discovered in the African Congo living with pygmy hunters. Early explorers named dogs after the tribe or area in which they were found, such as Zande dogs or Congo Terriers. The native tribes used dogs (which used to wear bells around their necks) as hunters in packs, which led their prey to the nets. The first attempts to bring Basenji to England in the late 1800's and early 1900's failed because the dogs died of diseases such as distemper. In the 1930s, some dogs were again brought to England and became the start of the breed outside of Africa, along with imports from Sudan and Congo.  


Country of Origin: Central Africa


GENERAL APPEARANCE L :  Lightly built, fine-boned aristocratic animal, tall limbs compared to its length, always poised, alert and intelligent. Wrinkled head with erect ears, carried proudly on a well-arched neck. Deep chest rising to a well-defined tuck-up, tail tightly curled, presenting the figure of a well-balanced dog, with the grace of a gazelle.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS :  The distance from the top of the head to the stop is slightly greater than the distance from the stop to the tip of the nose.

BEHAVIOR AND TEMPERAMENT :  It does not bark, but it is not mute, it has its own special noise, a mixture of chortle (disdainful sneer, mockery) and yodel (singing or singing in which the normal voice and falsetto abruptly and continuously alternate. Notable for its cleanliness in every way. An intelligent, independent race, but affectionate and alert. Can be indifferent to strangers.

HEAD :  Fine, profuse wrinkles appear on the head when the ears are erect; wrinkles on the sides of the head are desirable, but not in excess to the point of dewlap. Wrinkles are more evident in puppies, but due to the lack of shade on the coat, they are less noticeable in tricolors.


skull :  Flat, well chiseled, medium width, tapering to the nose. The lateral lines of the skull gradually taper towards the mouth, giving the cheeks a flat appearance.


Stop :  Light


Truffle :  Desirable black truffle

Jaws and Teeth :  Strong jaws with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite.

eyes :  Dark, almond-shaped, obliquely inserted, with a distant look and impenetrable expression.

Ears :  Small, pointed, erect and slightly sloping forward, fine in texture, well set forward on top of the head. The tips of the ears are closer to the center of the skull than to the outer edges of the base.

NECK :  Strong and of good length, without being thick, well sprung and slightly full at the base of the throat with a graceful curve accentuating the bow. Well set on the shoulders, giving the head a proud bearing.


Back :  short, level

Loin : Short

chest :  Deep. Ribs well sprung, deep and oval.

TAIL:  Inserted high. The curve of the buttock extends beyond the root of the tail, giving the hindquarters a wide appearance. The tail ring lying firmly on the croup, forms a single or double curve.



PREVIOUS :  Straight legs with fine bones. Legs in a straight line to the ground giving a medium width front.

Shoulders :  Well laid back, muscular but not loaded.

Elbows :  Well fitted to the chest. Viewed from the front, they are in line with the ribs.

HINDQUARTERS :  Strong and muscular.

Knees :  Moderate angulation.

Paws :  Small, narrow and compact, with deep pads; well-arched fingers and short nails.

DRIVE :  Legs directed forward with easy, long, effortless, cadenced strides.

  Very flexible.

  • COAT


By :  Short, bright and closed, very thin.

  • COLOR:  Pure black and white. Red and white. Black, brown and white with “melon pips” (brown spots over the eyes) and brown markings on the muzzle and cheeks. Black. Brown and white. Brindle: Red background with black bands, these bands as clearly defined as possible. It should have white on the paws, chest and tip of the tail. White legs, white collar and “blaze” (white band that goes from the muzzle to the occiput, passing through the skull between the ears), are optional.


SIZE : Males 43  cm 
            females 40  cm  

  • FAULTS  


Any deviation from the terms of this standard should be considered a fault and penalized in exact proportion to its severity and its effects on the health and well being of the dog.


• Aggressiveness or excessive shyness.

• Any dog that shows any sign of physical or behavioral anomaly must be disqualified.  



• Males must have both testicles, of normal appearance, well let down and accommodated in the scrotum.

• Only clinically and functionally healthy dogs with typical breed conformation should be used for breeding.

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