The Basenji Standard

From the AKC website    Basenjis are classified as a hound

General Appearance

The Basenji is a small, short haired hunting dog from Africa. It is short backed and lightly built, appearing high on the leg compared to its length. The wrinkled head is proudly carried on a well arched neck and the tail is set high and curled. Elegant and graceful, the whole demeanor is one of poise and inquiring alertness. The balanced structure and the smooth musculature enables it to move with ease and agility. The Basenji hunts by both sight and scent. Characteristics—The Basenji should not bark but is not mute. The wrinkled forehead, tightly curled tail and swift, effortless gait (resembling a racehorse trotting full out) are typical of the breed. Faults—Any departure from the following points must be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault is regarded is to be in exact proportion to its degree.

Size, Proportion, Substance

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. Approximate weight for dogs, 24 pounds and bitches, 22 pounds. Lightly built within this height to weight ratio.


The head is proudly carried. Eyes--Dark hazel to dark brown, almond shaped, obliquely set and farseeing. Rims dark. Ears—Small, erect and slightly hooded, of fine texture and set well forward on top of head. The skull is flat, well chiseled and of medium width, tapering toward the eyes. The foreface tapers from eye to muzzle with a perceptible stop. Muzzle shorter than skull, neither coarse nor snipy, but with rounded cushions. Wrinkles appear upon the forehead when ears are erect, and are fine and profuse. Side wrinkles are desirable, but should never be exaggerated into dewlap. Wrinkles are most noticeable in puppies, and because of lack of shadowing, less noticeable in blacks, tricolors and brindles. Nose—Black greatly desired. Teeth—Evenly aligned with a scissors bite.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck of good length, well crested and slightly full at base of throat. Well set into shoulders. Topline—Back level. Body—Balanced with a short back, short coupled and ending in a definite waist. Ribs moderately sprung, deep to elbows and oval. Slight forechest in front of point of shoulder. Chest of medium width. Tail is set high on topline, bends acutely forward and lies well curled over to either side.


Shoulders moderately laid back. Shoulder blade and upper arm of approximately equal length. Elbows tucked firmly against brisket. Legs straight with clean fine bone, long forearm and well defined sinews. Pasterns of good length, strong and flexible. Feet—Small, oval and compact with thick pads and well arched toes. Dewclaws are usually removed.


Medium width, strong and muscular, hocks well let down and turned neither in nor out, with long second thighs and moderately bent stifles. Feet—Same as in "Forequarters."

Coat and Color

Coat short and fine. Skin very pliant. Color—Chestnut red; pure black; tricolor (pure black and chestnut red); or brindle (black stripes on a background of chestnut red); all with white feet, chest and tail tip. White legs, blaze and collar optional. The amount of white should never predominate over primary color. Color and markings should be rich, clear and well-defined, with a distinct line of demarcation between the black and red of tricolors and the stripes of brindles.


Swift, tireless trot. Stride is long, smooth, effortless and the topline remains level. Coming and going, the straight column of bones from shoulder joint to foot and from hip joint to pad remains unbroken, converging toward the centerline under the body. The faster the trot, the greater the convergence.


An intelligent, independent, but affectionate and alert breed. Can be aloof with strangers.


Approved May 8, 1990   Effective June 28, 1990

Two basenjis sitting

About the Basenji Club of America

The stated objectives of the BCOA:

  • To encourage and promote quality in the breeding of pure bred Basenjis and to do all possible to bring their natural qualities to perfection.
  • To assist in the organization of local Basenji specialty clubs in those localities where there are sufficient fanciers of the breed to meet the requirements of the American Kennel Club and of the Basenji Club of America, and to provide consistent guidelines for the affiliation of those local clubs with the parent Club.
  • To urge members and breeders to accept the Standard of the breed as approved by the American Kennel Club as the only Standard of excellence by which Basenjis shall be judged.

  • To do all in its power to protect and advance the interest of the breed and to encourage sportsmanlike competition at dog shows, field trials, and obedience trials.
  • To conduct sanctioned matches, specialty shows, and other performance events under the rules of the American Kennel Club.

Upcoming Events

What's happening in my neighborhood?  This LINK takes you to a calendar of upcoming events from across the USA organized by BCOA, its members and affiliated clubs.

Judges Education

The BCOA is interested in educating judges about Basenjis. The Judges Chairperson organizes seminars when requested as well as at the National Specialty. There is a list of breed mentors at this link.

Joining BCOA

Interested in becoming a member of the Basenji Club of America.  This page tells you how to go about joining.

Affiliated Local Club

These local Basenji Clubs are affiiliated with the Basenji Club of America.  Local clubs can be lots of fun for their members.

Basenji plays with toy basenjiBasenji Clubs Affiliated with BCOA

These local Basenji clubs are affiliated with the Basenji Club of America.  Local clubs can be lots of fun for their members.  Learn about each club's activities by clicking the links to their websites or their contact person.


The Basenji Club of America has three distinct, official publications for the benefit of its members: The Bulletin, The Bulletin Board and the Roster.


Events hosted and supported by the Club focus on competitive events. Conformation, obedience, rally-o, agility, lure coursing, straight line and oval racing are some of the events that Basenji enthusiasts may participate in.

Affiliate Clubs also have additional social and local events which you can learn about from each Club. See contact details in the Members section under "Affiliate Clubs". 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with updates or questions

National Specialty 

Held between July 1st and November 30 each year, the National runs several consecutive days and utilizes a full weekend to offer competitive events that include Agility, AKC and/or ASFA Lure Coursing, Obedience, Puppy and Veteran Sweepstakes, African Stock Exhibition, Junior Showmanship, regular and non-regular conformation classes and the all important Best of Breed. In addition, an auction, banquet, educational seminars, and the club annual meeting is held. Other activities included have been rally obedience, straight-line racing, oval track racing, seminars, Canine Good Citizenship, eye clinics and fun classes. In all, it's a full week that gathers hundreds of basenjis and their owners together in one setting. 

2020 National Specialty

October 18-23

BCOA's 2020 National Specialty in Mesquite TX.


Future National Specialties

The National Specialty events rotates from year to year to one of the three BCOA Regions. The upcoming year/locations are listed.

Regions for BCOA Events







Upcoming National Specialties


2020  – October 18-23

Central Region

Mesquite, Texas

Regular Classes Judge: Dana Cline*

Sweepstakes Judge: Nina Fetter*

2021 – October

Eastern Region

Lebanon, Tennessee

Chairperson: Tondalea Wright

* Dates and judges listed are pending AKC approval

Supported Entries and Specialties

BCOA supports entries at AKC shows to increase the attendance & participation at these shows. Supported entries are hosted either by a BCOA affiliated club or by 5 BCOA members in good standing. Supported entries are limited to 7 per region with exceptions granted on a case by case basis. These may be supported at regional basenji specialty shows or the basenji classes at an all-breed AKC dog show

 Eastern Region: (AL,CT, DE, FL, GA, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WV) 

August 9

Regional Specialty
safety our members and friends.
Harrisburg, PA

October 1

Designated Specialty
5 Member Request
Morris & Essex Kennel Club
Somerset NJ

October 10

Regional Specialty
5 Member Request
Tri State County KC, Lebanon TN

Central Region:
 (AR, IA, IL, KS, LA, MN, MO, MS, ND, NE, OK, SD, TX, WI) 

24 July

Independent Specialty
Basenji Club of Southeastern Wisconsin
Ixonia WI

24 July

Independent Specialty
Basenji Club of Southeastern Wisconsin
Ixonia WI

July 26

Supported Show
Waukeska WI

October 10

Mesquite TX

October 24

Independent Specialty
Mesquite TX

Western Region: (AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY) 

23 July

Independent Specialty
Willamette Valley Basenji Club
Gresham OR

July 31

Independent Specialty
Evergreen Basenji Club
Auburn WA

August 1

Concurrent Specialty
EBC at West. WA Hound Show
Auburn WA

  • 1
  • 2

Copyright the Basenji Club of America 2017 with all rights reserved.               Questions or comments? Contact the Webmaster.