Everything about your Basenji - LUV My dogs

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Everything about your Basenji

Barkless but not silent, the mischievous Basenji is a con artist of the highest order and will challenge your intelligence and sense of humor.
  Mischievous, smart, lively and by no means silent, the “barkless” Basenji is a hilarious handful.   You must have a sense of humor to live with him. He’s catlike in his cleanliness and independence, and his wrinkled forehead makes him look worried, but what he’s really thinking about is how he can rearrange your home d├ęcor.  
  Out of Africa, the Basenji dog breed was originally found in the Congo. He uses both scent and sight to hunt and was originally used to flush small game into a hunter's nets and to control village rodent populations. Clever and endearing, he's a good companion for the person or family who can stay a step ahead of him.

Overview
  The basenji is square-proportioned and high on leg. It is far more slightly built and longer-legged than most other primitive breeds, giving it a good amount of speed and the ability to perform the double-suspension gallop. Its erect ears help it locate prey in thick bush and may act as heat dissipaters. Its short coat also aids in dealing with the hot climate of Africa. 
  Some consider the basenji to have terrier-like mannerisms because it is feisty for a hound. More often it is considered catlike in mannerisms: clever, inquisitive, stubborn, independent and reserved. Its hunting roots are very evident, as it loves to chase and trail. It needs regular mental and physical stimulation, lest it become frustrated and destructive. Basenjis may be barkless, but they are not mute. They do make a sort of yodel, howl and shriek — and occasionally bark, but just one or two "fox barks" at a time.


Breed standards
AKC group: Hound
UKC group: Sighthound and Pariah
Average lifespan: 12-16 years
Coat appearance: Short, fine
Coloration: Chestnut red
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Other identifiers: Medium build; muscular; self-grooming and odorless coat; coiled tail; wrinkled forehead; large pointed ears
Possible alterations: Can also be seen in pure black, tri-color or brindle.
Comparable Breeds: Australian Cattle Dog, Rhodesian Ridgeback
Highlights
  • Basenjis normally do not bark, but they can be very noisy, making sounds that include yodels, whines, and screams.
  • They are hard to train. Basenjis survived for thousand of years by being independent thinkers. They see no need to obey humans. Positive training can work to an extent, but they will pick and choose when to obey.
  • Basenjis have a strong prey drive and cannot be trusted off leash unless in a well-fenced area.
  • Basenjis are escape artists. They will use a chain link fence as a ladder, jump up and climb over a wood fence, or bolt out open doors.
  • Basenjis have a great deal of energy. If not provided with outlets for this they will become destructive or find other ways to burn off energy. Crating is recommended when not supervised.
  • Basenjis consider themselves family. They cannot be left in a yard with food and water. They require a great deal of time and attention.
  • They do not do well in homes with other small pets, as their instinct to chase may take over. If raised with cats they can do well but they're not recommended for homes with hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, guinea pigs, birds, or ferrets.
  • Basenjis are stubborn, and you could end up with a confused and aggressive Basenji if you try to overcome his stubbornness with force.
  • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.

History
  This is yet another of those breeds that supposedly dates to the Pharaohs, with no evidence supporting such a claim. The breeds that are said to be depicted on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs range from Dachshunds to Pharaoh Hounds. Dogs that superficially resembled the modern-day Basenji may certainly have existed for thousands of years, but the breed as we know it today has been around for just a little more than a century.


  What is known is that Europeans found small, shorthaired hunting dogs in the remote forests of Central Africa—the Congo, as it was known then—as well as in Sudan and Zaire. Their job was to find prey and flush it so that it ran into cunningly laid nets.  Edward C. Ash in his book Dogs:Their History and Development, quotes a priest, Father Jerom Merolla da Sorrento, who saw the dogs in the Congo in 1682: "These dogs, notwithstanding their wildness, do little or no damage to the inhabitants. They are red-haired, have small slender bodies and their tails turned upon their backs."
  A pair of Basenjis was brought to Britain in 1895, but the dogs died of distemper in those pre-vaccination days. More were successfully imported to Britain in 1937, but Basenjis sent to the United States that same year all died of distemper, except for one, a male named Bois. Finally, in 1941, another female, Congo, was brought in from Africa. She and Bois produced puppies, and more of the dogs were later imported from Britain and Canada. The Basenji Club of America was formed in 1942, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943. Today the Basenji ranks 89th among the breeds registered by the AKC.



Did You Know?
  The first Basenjis were red and white, tricolor (black and tan with white) and black and white. Expeditions to Zaire in 1987 and 1988 introduced 14 dogs with new bloodlines, which brought in a handsome tiger-striped brindle look.





Personality
  The Basenji is a hound. That means he's intelligent and independent, but also affectionate and alert. He's a sighthound, which means that motion catches his eye, and he'll chase whatever he sees that moves — cats, squirrels, rabbits. He's not the kind of dog who will obey commands instantly. He has to think about them and decide if he really wants to do what you've asked.
  Patience and a sense of humor are essential to living with a Basenji. He will chew up or eat whatever's left in his reach, and he's quite capable of putting together a plan to achieve whatever it is he wants, whether that's to get up on the kitchen counter or break into the pantry where the dog biscuits are stored. He can be aloof with strangers, and he shouldn't be trusted around cats or other small animals unless he's been raised with them and you're sure he recognizes them as family members. That recognition won't apply to cats or small animals he sees outdoors, however. They're fair game.
  Basenjis need early socialization and training. Like any dog, they can become timid if they are not properly socialized — exposed to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Early socialization helps ensure that your Basenji puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling your young Basenji in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking your Basenji to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.
Train him with kindness and consistency, using positive reinforcements that include food rewards and praise. The Basenji who's treated harshly will simply become more stubborn and less willing to do your bidding. Your best bet is to keep training interesting. Basenjis will develop selective hearing if there's something more exciting to pay attention to.

  According to the book The Intelligence of Dogs , they are the second least trainable dog. However, Basenjis are extremely intelligent and respond to training that is consistent and positive with plenty of treats. Basenjis do not respond well to punishment, such as yelling and hitting, which can cause them to utter a warning growl.



Health
  All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
  Basenjis are generally healthy, but conditions that have been seen in the breed include Fanconi syndrome; immunoproliferative small intestinal disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease common to Basenjis; pyruvate kinase deficiency leading to hemolytic anemia; autoimmune thyroiditis; certain eye diseases, including persistent pupillary membrane, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and coloboma; and umbilical hernias. The Basenji Club of America, which is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States, recommends that breeding dogs should be cleared by a veterinary ophthalmologist of coloboma, persistent pupillary membrane and PRA; have a recent negative test for Fanconi syndrome; be tested clear for pyruvate kinase deficiency; and have OFA certification for hips.
  The BCA participates in the Canine Health Information Center Program. For a Basenji to achieve CHIC certification, he must have hip and thyroid evaluations from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), an eye clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation and a direct gene test for Fanconi syndrome. The eye clearance must be updated annually until the dog is six years old, then every two years.
  Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. You can check CHIC’s website to see if a breeder’s dogs have these certifications.
Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.
  Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what they died of.
  Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Basenji at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life.

Care
  The Basenji is a hunting dog and needs daily exercise. Some Basenjis do fine with a daily walk, while others require more enthusiastic forms of exercise. Basenjis raised with children often will spend their time wearing each other out.
  The Basenji is not a dog who can be left unattended in the backyard. He's an accomplished escape artist, and an unwatched Basenji will soon become a missing Basenji. If you can provide him with a couple of 30-minute walks or play sessions every day, he's well suited to apartment or condo life. Always keep your Basenji on leash unless you're in a securely fenced area, and don't count on any type of fence to keep him confined. He'll use chain link as a ladder, and a wood fence is a deterrent only if you think to put the smooth side facing the yard where the dog is and then top it with an electric wire.
  Another feline characteristic of the Basenji is his dislike of rain. Expect him to be grumpy if you walk him when it's wet out. The only time he might enjoy getting wet is on a really hot day.

Is this breed right for you?
  City-dwelling owners looking for a quiet and independent sidekick should consider this breed. The Basenji is a loyal breed that will stick beside its human counterpart, yet it thrives on being self-sufficient and holds a mind of its own. Neat freaks will love this self-cleaning, low-shedding and hypoallergenic breed. Due to its aloof nature, a large amount of time during the early years should be dedicated to training and socialization.


Living Conditions
  The Basenji will do okay in an apartment if it gets enough exercise. It is very active indoors and a small yard will do. The Basenji is happiest when it is kept with two or three other Basenjis; they will not fight among themselves.

Exercise
  The Basenji needs vigorous daily exercise. They have a tendency to become fat and lazy unless the owner is consistent about it. This breed needs a long daily walk.

Grooming
  The Basenji has a short, fine, odorless coat that doesn’t shed much. It’s extremely easy to groom, one of the upsides to living with this mischievous dog. A quick brushing with a soft bristle brush, hound mitt, or rubber curry brush will remove any dead hairs and distribute skin oils to keep the coat shiny. The Basenji is also self-cleaning, grooming himself like a cat. He rarely needs a bath.
  The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth frequently for good overall health and fresh breath.

Children and other pets
  Basenjis aren't known for being especially fond of children, but with their high energy level, they can be good companions for older children. If they're going to be around kids, it's best if they're raised with them from puppyhood. An adult Basenji who's unfamiliar with children is most suited to a home with children who are mature enough to interact with him properly.
  Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
  A Basenji shouldn't be trusted around cats or other small animals unless he's been raised with them and you're sure he recognizes them as family members. That recognition won't apply to cats or small animals he sees outdoors, however. They're fair game.

In popular culture
  • The title character of the 1954 novel Good-bye, My Lady, by James H. Street, is a basenji. The book was made into a movie of the same name in 1956, with a cast that included Brandon deWilde, Walter Brennan, and Sidney Poitier.
  • Veronica Anne Starbuck's 2000 novel Heart of the Savannah features a basenji named Savannah. Savannah narrates this story about her adventures as an African-bred dog brought to America. Starbuck also wrote a sequel titled August Magic.
  • Simon Cleveland wrote a novel titled The Basenji Revelation, published by Lulu Press in 2004, in which a government agent suffers amnesia and undergoes a change in personality after inheriting a basenji from his late mother.
  • The true story of a basenji was featured in the episode The Cat Came Back on the radio program This American Life.
  • According to the webcomic Achewood, if Jesus Christ were a dog, he'd be a basenji.
  • Basenjis are featured in an episode of the animated television series The Wild Thornberrys In episode 3.04 "Tyler Tucker, I Presume?". Nigel Thornberry encounters a group of tribesmen along with their Congolese hunting dogs. The series' director, Mark Risley owns several basenjis, and his dogs provided the recorded "voices" for their animated counterparts.
  • An episode of Pound Puppies, "The Pups Who Loved Me", revolves around a basenji secret agent character by the name of Bondo. The dog is drawn with an appropriate likeness, but appears to bark, which is uncharacteristic of the breed.
A dream day-in-the-life:

  A Basenji’s ideal day is marked in ink with its own personal agenda. Depending on the mood, it could spend the day cuddling on your lap, tirelessly playing with toys or simply scoping out potential mayhem on the premises, as long as it’s on its terms. This breed is not a fan of sharing the attention, and a day at the dog park would best be spent playing independently.



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