Not a Game-Changer
- Mar 13, 2006
- Reaction score
- New Jersey
This was really fun and interesting to read. Thank you sharing, Ray!We got our first Basenji in 1975, joined the Basenji Club of Cincinnati and trained her at the Queen City Obedience Club where she finished 3rd in her class behind a Golden and a Sheltie. That was when I started to realize the incredible potential this breed has. Our girl was small; a 14" high 16" long Tri-Color. she weighed 16 pounds and had a big heart. No, she wasn't sweet, she was a confident "I own the world" Basenji.
My Vet said she had a big heart. I asked what that meant. He said her heart rate was 1/2 of what he would expect from a dog her size. That wasn't a problem because she had a strong pulse and was quite active. I realized that the speed she showed when she ran was based on her proportions (slightly longer than high) a long neck that all Basenjis have, but isn't obvious due to the large amount of mussel in its neck, and the thermodynamics of supplying oxygen for muscular activity for long periods of time, which took advantage of her large heart.
When I took her out to try Lure Coursing, the people at the Miami Valley Gazehound Society were not very interested in seeing "one of those dogs" run. They had their Afghans, lots of Afghans, some Whippets, a few Borzois and some other "fast" breeds. Finally the owner of a 15 month old Afghan "puppy" that had wan her heat was selected to run with bagel, my Basenji.
It was a hell of a race.
They covered the 1st leg neck to neck at which point Bagel decided to "play" Basenji style with the big furry dog she was running with and went after her neck to show her who was the boss. This occurred just as the Afghan began to turn and follow the lure which had made a 90 degree change indirection. Bagel got knocked into a backward roll while her momentum carried her over 20 feet away from the direction of the Lure.
The Afghan people thought that was wonderful and yelled and applauded the Afghan which was now 1/2 way down the 2nd leg of the course. Bagel stopped her spinning skid, went after the Afghan, ran her down AND CAUGHT HER at the beginning of the 3rd leg of the race. She was going to show that Afghan who was the boss and dove for her throat. The Afghan had just started 90 degree turn onto the third leg of the race and Bagel ended up with a mouth full of grass as she tunneled into the adjoining corn field.
Again she picked herself off and again she ran down and caught the Afghan again. The Afghan had about enough of this little dog that was 1/3 her size and threw her head into Bagel (an Afghans head was as big as my entire dog). Bagel went down in a lump, the Afghan went after the Lure and Bagel picked herself up and ran the Afghan down again. This time the confused Afghan broke off the race while Bagel, who had decided the Afghan was no fun to play with, stayed on the lure.
Bagel finished the race with the rabbits skin in her mouth and a smattering of polite applause and a lot of people talking about her blinding speed. At the time of this race Bagel was 9 months old. Over the 3 years I raced her, she made a lot of friends in the club and for her breed. She won almost every race she ran.
At a National Basenji Specialty Show a few years later, one of the Afghan owners I raced against was contracted to make a painting of a Basenji mother and some of her 1/2 grown pups as a prize for that show. While she painted from photos of Basenjis, she used her artistic talents to emphasize their unique appearance, such as their winkled heads and almond shaped eyes. One of the pups is looking out of the painting at the audience. She looks a lot like old Bagel. I asked the painter how she did that and she told me when she painted that pup she put Bagels face on it from memory.
I have had 4 basenjis as family pets over 35 years and I can tell you of their many unbelievable capabilities. They were all alphas except Princess who was a finished Champion and came from a kennel closing that was looking for good pet homes for their Basenjis. She was an almost normal dog in that she was a beta. We still have the pewter candy dish that's about 1/4 " thick with puncture wounds from our 1st Bagel. It was such a good name we gave it to our last Basenji, a really big 30 pound 18" tall Basenji. His temperament and our first girls temperament were exactly the same. He was a Trindle with the new African blood line. The new African blood lines were brought in to stop a genetic disease that affected many Basenji breeding programs.
What I like most about my Avatar is it's the look many posters might have when they read some of the posts on this board - LOL