• First Basenji's

    I have a quick question regarding the appearance of Basenji ribs on a normal Basenji.

    So even though they're sighthounds, my understanding is that Basenjis should NOT typically have their ribs showing except maybe a hint of it when they're stretched out and running, for example. If their ribs and pelvic bones are jutting out like, say, a Sloughi or an Azawakh (or whatever the boniest sighthounds are – these are just the ones that came to mind for me), then they are severely emaciated to the point that their health is in danger. Or is this okay in some parts of the world?

  • Hip bones and ribs that stick out indicate (to me) that the basenji is too thin. They should have a nice tucked-up abdomen and ribs that are easily felt and, as you said, show when stretched out or running. Spine should be easily felt, but not clearly visible. They are not bony dogs like Salukis, etc. JMHO, haha!

  • 1+ I agree with MacPack, ribs and hip bones should not show.

  • Agreement here too. When Sayblee refused to eat, she reached that point. It was why after trying everything and running every test imaginable, we put her on chlorpheptadine.

  • Houston

    I agree too..not knowing what is prefered around the world, but I prefer sleek not skinny, if that makes sense. ..

  • First Basenji's

    The reason I ask is because of an article about some Malaysian basenjis that I came across. It's from 09-04-2010:

    This article talks about Mr. Li and his 2 basenjis, Ben (5 years old) and Dina (4 years old) – 2 of only 10 basenjis in all of Malaysia. He got them from an Australian breeder with the intention to show his dogs and popularize the breed in Malaysia. And according to the article, he did show them, but that didn't go anywhere. So instead of showing his dogs, he's now keeping them as pets. But he did breed his female once.

    The article also talks about how they escaped from their crate when they were traveling for the dog show, and were lost for 8 days before they were recovered. So at first I thought that was why the first pictured dog seemed so skinny. But that event sounds like that happened some time ago, so when I looked at the other pictures accompanying the article (picture #3 of 6, in particular), I was horrified. Warning: I found it disturbing. You might, too. The caption on that picture simply states: "By nature they are quiet, seldom bark, and avoid strangers. If it was not for a dog fanatic like Mr. Li, perhaps only a few people would think of importing them to Malaysia."

    The article made it sound like he does love his dogs, so I wondered if he was keeping them that skinny because he thinks that's how Basenjis should look. Dunno if anyone here happens to know an Australian breeder who exported two dogs from "champion lines" to Malaysia... and if they'd like to have a word with Mr. Li on proper Basenji care??


    Anyway, I know it's normal for some of the larger sighthounds to have their ribs sticking out, and it's not a sign of abuse. I would always be tempted to feed them more though, so some of those breeds are in danger of getting overweight in my care, heh. It's one of the reasons I like Basenjis. Yes they are sleek, but they don't look fragile. And I don't think they're meant to.

  • OH my….. they are in horrible weight.... I can't image anyone thinking that is correct, even for a Sloughi or an Azawakh. They are not even close to that kind of weight or more correctly put, lack of weight

  • These dogs look malnourished. No dog should look like that whether Azawakh or Sloughi or what. Not only do their ribs have no covering but their stomachs are severely sucked in. Dogs looking like that here would probably end up with animal protection societies.

  • @Patty:

    These dogs look malnourished. No dog should look like that whether Azawakh or Sloughi or what. Not only do their ribs have no covering but their stomachs are severely sucked in. Dogs looking like that here would probably end up with animal protection societies.

    And here too, Patty

  • I only see one dog but horribly thin. Wow, that makes me very sad.

  • Oh, that is horrible!!!! Deb, there are more pics you can click on the forward arrow under the pic. (course you may not want to see more pics.)

  • I wonder who the Australian breeder is-I would assume that person would definitely want to know the condition of these dogs!

    Could they also have an illness/disease-Fanconi perhaps?


  • First Basenji's

    Yeah. The more I think about this, the more upset I am about it. I'm sorry I wasn't more forthright about putting my question in context.

    I haven't been able to dig up contact information for the Malaysian owner/breeder. I'm not sure what I would write to him if I find his e-mail, though. Maybe ask if his dogs are okay or are they ill? Because if he was showing them like this, no wonder they "failed" to bring home any prizes… Debra, you'll enjoy this -- he decided not to follow through with his Basenji breeding program, so he's focusing on his Rottweilers instead.

    Anyway, I'm serious... if any Australian breeders know who originally sold him his Basenjis (the article says he got them from a pair of Australian "champion" parents and paid over 20,000 Ringgits each to import them!), please forward the info. I don't think the reporter knows what she was looking at either, because the whole point of the article was to showcase a rare breed that nobody in Malaysia knew about. The article is entitled "Don't judge a dog by its looks," and the point that the reporter makes is that the Basenji isn't popular because they aren't particularly eye-catching to most Malaysians since they look like garden variety street dogs... But I would be saddened to think that it's "okay" for typical Malaysian street dogs to look that skinny, too...

    For reference, this is what I had in mind when I was thinking of a naturally skinny sighthound:

    Skinniest dog I've ever met, but I think that's how he's supposed to look, and the owner is a nice man. He also has a gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback who appears to me to be a perfect, sturdy weight, so I think he knows what he's doing.

  • Honestly, that picture of that hound is too thin also… that is not what I would call a natural weight that you would want on any dog. Notice how sunk in he/she is in the waist.. that is not normal for any dog at least, not in my opinion

  • I too thought the same thing, what stuck out more than the ribs were the protrusions in the hindquarters- no dogs hips should "jut out" that way… They are slender by nature but not to this degree

  • First Basenji's

    Hmm, I see what you guys are saying. I did a Google image search for some other Sloughis, and I think I see what you're pointing out. I don't know if the dog's age makes any difference? He's still fairly young, and has yet to develop muscles, but I don't know if it's better to work a chubby puppy down to a slim toughguy, or bulk up from a skinny frame.

    I do honestly think the Sloughi's person is a responsible owner though, and he's not starving his dogs or anything as shocking as the Basenji guy in Malaysia. I'll keep an eye out next time I run into him. 🙂

    I guess my original question about ribs and frame is also because I don't really understand how to compare the Basenji frame to other sighthounds, since they are NOT built the same. But in general, they're not built like most dogs. The difference between when I feed Bowpi and when my boyfriend feeds Bowpi is about 1.5 pounds over 2 weeks. That is, when he handles her meals, she's over 24 pounds, and when I feed her, she's about 22 ~ 23. I think even amongst ourselves, we have different perceptions of what her "ideal" weight is, but we'd certainly never get to the point where her ribs or hip bones are jutting out.

  • There could be a number of reasons for the appearance of the sloughi you showed, from age to health, nutrition ( is the dog absorbing the nutrients of it's meal) etc. And knowing this i dont immediately judge an owner. I am not a breeder so this is all my opinion. I for one have a friend whose dog is healthy as a horse and no matter how much she feeds him, he maintains a slender, ribby look. You are right that everyone sees their own "ideal". My view in regards to the right weight " I know it when I see it"

  • I dont understand how someone could pay for show dogs and import then to Malaysia but not have the …. "curiosity" to research the breed , at least look at other basenjis to know what they are supposed to look like... It makes me think somethings up,... No one can see these dogs and think that's how they should be, all you have to do is google basenjis to see how they are supposed to be!!!! Not only the owner, but also the person doing the article should have investigated....

  • Even if the guy seems responsible, something looks wrong with that dog's weight. Please talk to him. 😞

    Dear spirits, I should not have clicked on those pics. First, how do you know what it says, is there a translation? Is there any way to contact the reporter for info on the guy? That makes me sick. 😞

  • First Basenji's

    Debra, I read and speak Chinese. I stumbled across the site when I was trying to get a sense of whether there was any interest in Basenjis in the Chinese-speaking world, and sadly, this is what I found…

    I have the reporter's name, but neither she nor the site has any contact info/e-mail/feedback form that I've been able to find yet. I think I have to contact the publisher. The website itself is annoying because you can't even comment on the articles, otherwise I would've left a note.

    That was a headline article the week that it was published. The reporter concludes that Basenjis are NOT popular in Malaysia because (and I'm paraphrasing here from the article): 1) They look like street dogs, 2) They can't guard the home (because they don't bark), and 3) since they only come to heat "once a year or every other year" (according to the article), they don't have much economic value.

    At this point, I feel like the reporter AND the breeder should both be boxed for not knowing what they're doing.

    Sorry for the shocker re: pictures in the article, guys... but I guess that's why it's all the more unnerving that it was published as if this was how Basenjis normally look. I'll whip up a more complete writeup over the next couple days.

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