The Basenji Club of America African Stock Project

Project Library


SIZE SPIRALS UPWARD

by Thelma Gray (from English "Dog World")

    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. 


 

Excerpt from
The Basenji
Volume VIII Number 7 July 1971 p. 12
Copyright © 1971 The Basenji, All Rights Reserved
Used with permission.