It is a known fact that puppy dogs exported to
certain countries where the climate is hot - notably some parts of
Africa, end up tall and high on the leg - a great disadvantage in the
numerous breeds in which such characteristics are undesirable.
Adult dogs, their development complete before they are
exported, may be kept in Africa without undergoing any alteration in
build, but their progeny and their grand-children are another story.
Sturdy, low to the ground dogs and bitches produce long-legged puppies
which in turn tend to have lanky, tall, lightly build stock. It is,
therefore, necessary for residents in hot countries to keep importing
fresh, stocky dogs and bitches if they are to maintain any sort of type
in their kennels. They lay the blame on the sun. It draws up all living
things - even the children of immigrant settlers often turn out much
taller than their parents.
But I doubt if anyone
in Britain can truthfully say that the sun is in any way responsible
for the increase in size that seems to take place in so many off the
newer breeds which come into the country. Apart from anything else, the
dogs do not merely grow lanky and tall - they just come big overall,
with the bone, substance and general development commensurate with the
size of the dog.
One cannot term the Basenji a new
arrival - it was introduced here in the late 1930's and was quite well
established by the time war broke out in 1939; indeed, a large number
of new breeds have been imported since then.
Basenji breeders have always had an uphill fight against an increase in
size. The original imports were all very small, slightly built, dainty,
truly gazelle-like little dogs, and breeders suddenly became aware that
subsequent generations were finishing very much larger with much
heavier bone and a general overall coarseness that was not at all what
the standard demanded.
There is till plenty of
typical Basenjis to be seen, and it is a tribute to their breeders that
they are winning the fight against Mother Nature.