Square like a Basenji

Square like a Basenji

Basenji is my first breed and, as a breeder-judge, I thought I might discuss my pet peeves…
one, at least.

Basenjis are a square breed (not that the standard describes it that way). So, I went looking at other Hound breed standards that give the same proportion—and this is what I found:

Afghan Hound – The height at the shoulders equals the distance from the chest to the buttocks.

Basenji – Ideal height for dogs is 17 inches and bitches 16 inches. Dogs 17 inches and bitches 16 inches from front of chest to point of buttocks.

Cirneco Dell’Etna – Length from point of shoulder to point of buttock equal to height at withers.

Norwegian Elkhound – Distance from forechest to rump equals the height at the withers.

Redbone Coonhound – Should be equal in height from highest point of the shoulder blade to the ground as long measured from sternum to the buttocks.

Now, as a relative old-timer, I think of “Basenji square” as being much like “Norwegian Elkhound” square. Thus, I like a compact little dog, giving the appearance of being high on leg without actually being so. However, if I twist my aging brain and consider the possibility of “Basenji square” being perfectly acceptable in the realm of “Afghan Hound square,” it does allow for a leggier dog and a more sweeping movement. Although I think of Basenjis as being carried around the necks of Pygmies (indicating the smaller, more compact dog as the “original”), my investigative search turns up imports deemed appropriate to those early pioneer breeders in England as ranging from 14 inches to 17 inches. The importance of those sizes is the inevitability of size increase in successive generations due to the influence of better feeding practices, etc.

In any case, I have determined, for myself, that I will always prefer the square Basenji—allowing for “Norwegian Elkhound square” AND “Afghan Hound square!”

  • I am the Judge’s Education Coordinator for the American Chinese Crested Club, the first AKC Xoloitzcuintli breeder-judge, and I serve on the Judge’s Education Committee for the Basenji Club of America and the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America. (I am a Parent Club Approved Mentor for all three breeds.) I am a member of the Santa Clara Valley Kennel Club, the Chinese Crested Club of Greater Los Angeles, the Gold Coast Xoloitzcuintli Club of Southern California, the American Chinese Crested Club, the Basenji Club of America, and the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America. I am currently Secretary of the Angeles Canyon Dog Club and the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America. Penelope (Penny) Inan, AKC #25622

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