as approved by the Kennel Club - 1965


The Basenji does not bark, but it is not mute, its own special noise is a mixture of a chortle and a yodel. It is remarkable for its cleanliness in every way. The wrinkled forehead, tightly curled tail, and legs carried straight forward with a swift, long tireless, swinging stride, are typical of the breed.


The Basenji should be a lightly built, fine boned, aristocratic looking animal, high on the leg compared to its length, always poised, alert and intelligent. The wrinkled head, with pricked ears, should be proudly carried on a well-arched neck. The deep brisket should run up into a definite waist and the tail be tightly curled, presenting a picture of a well-balanced dog of gazelle-like grace.


The skull should be flat, well chiseled and of medium width, tapering towards the nose, with only a slight stop. The distance from the top of the head to the stop is slightly more than from the stop to the tip of the nose. The side lines of the skull taper gradually towards the mouth, giving a clean-cheeked appearance. Fine and profuse wrinkles should appear on the forehead when the ears are pricked, side wrinkles are desirable but should not be exaggerated into dewlap. Wrinkles are more noticeable in puppies, but, because of lack of shadowing, are not as noticeable in tri-colours. A black nose is greatly desired.


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


Small, pointed, erect and slightly hooded, of fine texture, set well forward on top of the head, the tip of the ear should be nearer the centre of the skull than the outside base.


The mouth must be level, with scissors bite, the upper teeth slightly over-lapping and touching the lower teeth.


Strong and of good length, without thickness, well crested and slightly full at the base of the throat, with a graceful curve accentuating the crest. It should be well set into laid-back shoulders so as to give the head a "lofty" carriage.


The shoulders must be well laid back, muscular but not loaded. The points of the scapulae should be fairly close at the withers. The elbows should be firmly tucked in against the brisket. When viewed from the front the elbows should be in line with the ribs and the legs should continue in a straight line to the ground giving a narrow front. The forelegs should be straight with fine bones and very long fore-arms. Pasterns should be of good length, straight but flexible.


Balanced with short, level back. Ribs well sprung, deep and oval. The loin short coupled and the deep brisket running up into a definite waist.


Should be strong and muscular, with hocks well let down, turned neither in nor out, with long second thighs.


Small, narrow and compact, with deep pads, well-arched toes and short nails.


The tail should be set high with the posterior curve of the buttock extending beyond the root of the tail giving a reachy appearance to the hind-quarters. The tail curls tightly over the spine and lies closely to the thigh with a single or double curl.


Short, sleek and close, very fine. Skin very pliant.


Pure, bright red, or pure black, or black and tan, all with white feet, chest and tail tip. White legs, white blaze and white collar optional.


Ideal heights, Dogs 17 ins. at shoulder; Bitches 16 ins., an inch either way should not penalise an otherwise well-balanced specimen. Ideal weights; Dogs 24 lbs., Bitches 21 lbs.


Coarse, domed or peaked skull. Muzzle too long or too broad. Cheekiness. Mouth over-shot or under-shot. Round or light eyes. Ears too low-set or too large. Wide chest, barrel ribs, shelly brisket. Short in the leg, out at elbows, toeing in. Heavy bone, cow hocks, low-set or straight tail, thin flat open feet. Long or heavy coat. Creams, sables, or any other colours than those defined in the Colour paragraph above should be heavily penalised. Poor temperament.

British Standard of 1942
British Standard of 1954
British Standard of 1986
British Standard of 1999
American Standard of 1943
American Standard of 1956
American Standard of 1954
American Standard of 1990
Current Canadian Standard
Exhibitors' Standard
Judges' Standard
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Sally & Marvin Wallis
Zande Basenjis
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