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The Basenji is a natural breed. While he is referred to as the African Barkless dog, it is an error to assume that the breed is entirely mute. They can and do at times utter nearly all the sounds common to dogs. When happy or when he wishes to attract his master's attention, he will utter a sound that is a mixture of a chortle and the yodel. It resembles somewhat the immature efforts of a young rooster. The wrinkled forehead, immaculate habits, lack of body odour and tireless gait are characteristics of the breed.
In profile the Basenji is a "Square Dog" in that the measurement from the ground to the top of the withers is approximately equal to or only slightly less than the overall body length. He is a small, lightly built, short-backed dog giving the impression of being high on the leg compared to his length. He has survived for countless centuries in his native forests because of his unusual structure which permits rapid dodging and turning as well as straight ahead speed. The wrinkled head should be proudly carried on a long, well-arched neck and the whole demeanour should be one of poise and alertness. He is a finely pointed, aristocratic animal.

The skull is relatively flat, well chiseled and of medium width, with only a slight stop. The forehead is nearly square, being only slightly longer from the occiput to the stop, than it is wide at the eyes. The side line of the skull should run fairly straight back, giving clean cheeked appearance. Cheekiness should be avoided. At the stop this side line should taper gradually to the start of the muzzle, which in turn should taper gradually to the nostrils. The distance from the occiput to the stop should be slightly more than the distance from the stop to the nostrils never less. Down-faced or Bull-terrier type heads are a serious fault.
When alert, with the upright ears pricked forward, there should be a fine profuse vertical wrinkle. Wrinkles are either in parallel lines running between the stop and the occiput, or may form a mid-forehead diamond shaped pattern. A side wrinkle is highly desirable. While wrinkles often deflect from the true vertical, there should be no horizontal or Bloodhound type of wrinkle. There should be no dewlap. Wrinkles are more pronounced in puppies and because of lack of shadowing are not as noticeable in the blacks.

Black is greatly desired. A slight pinkish tinge should not penalize an otherwise first class specimen.

Dark, almond shaped, obliquely set, keen and rather inscrutable in expression.

Should be small, of fine texture, hooded and erect. Should be set well forward on top of the head. Tips may be either pointed or slightly rounded. When alert, the ears should prick forward and the space between the ears, on the horizontal top line of the skull, should be almost exactly the same as the width of each ear at this line.

The upper teeth should slightly overlap and touch the lower teeth in a scissors bite. Undershot or overshot bites are a serious fault.

The neck must be strong and reachy, long rather than thick, with a graceful curve from the back of the head to the shoulders, accentuating the crest. The head should be well placed so as to give a "lofty" carriage.

The shoulders must be well-laid back, muscular but not loaded. The points of the scapula should be fairly close at the withers. The shoulders should gradually increase in width to the elbows, which should be firmly tucked against the brisket so as to form a straight line with the ribs. Viewed from the front, the shoulder appearance is one of medium width, grace and strength. The elbows should be in line with the ribs and the legs should continue in a straight line to the ground. The forelegs should be straight with clean fine bone, long forearms, with well developed sinews. Pasterns should be of good length, straight and flexible. A true terrier type pastern, almost rigid, is not desirable.

Viewed in profile, the Basenji is a "Square Dog". The body should be short and level backed. The ribs should be well sprung with plenty of heart room, deep brisket, short coupled and ending in a definite waist. While ribs are well sprung, they should be deep and oval, rather than barrel-shaped. Loins should be short.

Should be strong and muscular, but clean lined, with hocks well let down, turned neither in nor out and with long second thighs. Stifles should be moderately well bent.

Modified hare foot. Feet should be small, rather narrow and compact, with well arched toes and thick pads.

The ideal Basenji tail should take off on the horizontal top line of the body. A low tail is improper. The tail should tend acutely forward at the take off and should curl tightly, hugging one side or the other of the hips. A tightly curled tail with a somewhat less acute angled take off, should not be penalized, but a single curled tail that centers on the spine with a tea-pot handle effect is objectionable. The posterior curve of the tail should be well forward of a vertical line touching the posterior curve of the upper thigh.

The coat should be short, fine and sleek. Climatic and kenneling conditions may influence the length and density of the coat but not its fine quality. Skin should be very pliant.

Red and white, black, tan and white, black and white. Regardless of the basic colour, all Basenjis should have white tail tips, white feet and white chests. The amount of white on the face, neck and shoulders, underparts and legs is optional.

Any pleasing shade of red is permissible, the exact shade being of less importance than the brilliance of the colour.

In the black, tan and white, the areas of black should conform closely to the areas of red in red Basenjis. The black should be the shiny jet black of a Labrador rather than the dull black of several hound breeds. Tan should be held to a minimum and the demarcation between black and tan should be sharply defined.
Eyebrows, inside of ears and seats are always tan. Tan on the seats often extends down the backs of the thighs. Muzzles are often tan as are the insides of the legs. Except for seats and back of thighs, obvious intermingling of tan and black hairs should be heavily penalized.

Black and white Basenjis, if and when they ever appear should follow the tri-colour standard with the exception that there would be no tan.

Creams are highly undesirable, should never be bred, and should be disqualified for the show-ring.

The ideal approximate size of dogs should be 17 ins. high, and 24 pounds in weight; of bitches, should be 16 ins. high and 22 pounds in weight. Length should be very nearly the same as height. Variations may be permitted in these approximate measurements, bearing in mind that the Basenji is a lightly built, Gazelle-like animal, and that any coarseness is a serious fault. While a 17 ins. male is preferred, size must never take preference over type.

Both forelegs and rear legs should be carried straight forward with a far reaching swinging stride, converging towards a single central line of gravity with increasing speeds. This tireless gait is a characteristic of the breed. Front feet should be timed slightly ahead of the rear to prevent interfering or crabbing.

Any variation from the standard which results in spoiling the fine-ness of structure, or which adversely emphasizes any part of the animal, in particular.
Coarse head, long muzzle, down-faced, cheekiness, lack of wrinkle or pink nose.
Ears too large, ears placed too far apart and tending to the horizontal.
Light coloured eyes or round eyes.
Undershot or overshot bites.
Necks heavy, thick or short. Throatiness. Boxer-type chests, too heavily muscled.
Elbows in or out, toeing in, weak pasterns, terrier type pasterns. Flat and splayed feet.
Long bodies, coarse bodies, dumpiness, obesity, sway backs, low in front, short legs, barrel-shaped ribs, heavy bones.
Cow hocks, sickle hocks, short second thighs.
Low set tails, lack of curl, tails set at right angle to the vertical plane of the spine, tails tending obliquely backwards at the take off.
Creams, dull hound blacks, and inter-mixture of black, tan hairs.
Coarse coats. Bad temperament.