I ran into a woman at the dog park the other day who was very excited to see Bowpi. She told me she'd had a Basenji a few decades ago, and it'd been a long time since she'd seen another one. She was shocked by how gentle Bowpi is, because hers was "mean and aggressive until the day he died" at 16 years. According to her, all the B's that she knew were like that, because "they bred them mean back then." (I didn't ask who her breeder was.)
So I told her that I couldn't speak for Bowpi's breeder because I have no idea where she came from, but the breeders that I knew of (on this forum) do take temperament into account. And she seemed glad to hear that, as she insisted that wasn't her experience.
Any responses? Have Basenji breeding practices really changed over time to account more for temperament, or is that a false impression we put together due to selective sampling?
I'm wondering if she was just being imprecise with her terms… perhaps it wasn't that her B was "aggressive" but that he was acting out as a typical B will sometimes snark when they meet up with other B's.
I also thought that there was plenty of talk of Basenji temperament back in older manuals. Seems to me that Basenjis were always expected to be a little naughty, a little unruly, but not "mean." Or could the "meanness" be something else, like a certain drive or primitive edge that is easily misconstrued as aggression?