Differences between Domestics and New Africans

When researching the breed prior to deciding on one and eventually getting our B Loki, I came across a bit of info on African or New African Basenjis but didn't pay it much mind until now. I've searched the forums and did a general Google search and found some info saying that there are some differences between them and the domestics. I was hoping to learn more about them and these differences as they've really piqued my interest.

I don't really think there are that many differences. They do require lots of socialization as puppies, maybe more then the domestic Basenjis, but IMO, all puppies need loads of socialization….

What differences are you referring to?

My puppy is half African. I asked the breeder if she noticed any difference in "the Africans" vs "the domestics" - she noticed that they tend to have closer bonds with their humans and high prey drive (not her exact wording). Also, the ones that survive tend to be on the 'dominant' side (obviously). I've noticed that my puppy has a really strong gag reflex, sensitive throat, anything remotely abnormal (nylabone, cat food, etc.) tends to come up almost immediately….that could just be something all basenjis have, but it's the first I've seen of it in any dog breed.

I have bred a 1/2 Avongara litter and 1/4 Avongara litter and the biggest difference I have noticed in my Avongara blends is that they tend to be more environmentally sensitive. This means that they notice things in their environment more than their fully domestic relatives. By making sure they are well socialized you increase the chances when they notice new things in their environment they are more likely to respond, "no big deal" rather than "AAGH! I think I am going to die!" It also means they seem more aware or perhaps care more about their human's response to them. So a harsh word is more likely to hurt their feelings and praise is more likely make them feel rewarded.

I find this to be an interesting thread. I don't know a lot about the 'new africans'. I did get to meet Lukuru Lema down at Fopaws when we dropped Tucker off and she seemed to be a little more shy than the others. But she is such a sweet girl.

Lema's situation at birth was not good. She did not get great socialization especially around people until Dr. Jo got her so I wouldn't consider her shyness to be a "new african" trait but rather a product of her early puppyhood. The fact that she is so sweet is really a testament to what an amazing dog she is.

@krunzer:

I find this to be an interesting thread. I don't know a lot about the 'new africans'. I did get to meet Lukuru Lema down at Fopaws when we dropped Tucker off and she seemed to be a little more shy than the others. But she is such a sweet girl.

Could someone explain what the "new Africans" are? I assume it means new dogs brought directly from Africa, but are they recent imports? Are they being brought here to invigorate the breed? Where are they coming from? Just curious. Thanks!

The basenji stud book was opened in 1990 to add Native Stock to increase the number of breed founders and increase genetic diversity in the breed.
http://www.basenji.org/african/project.htm

This was a single opening and then closing of the stud book. In 2008, the stud book was once again opened by AKC at the request of BCOA. This time it will remain open until 2020.
https://www.basenji.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=98

Thank you for the info Ivoss.

First Basenji's

Really, really good reading-(first link in the Project online library-imports after 1988-Health conclusions,et all) Thanks!!! Just saying this morning while out on a walk with Uzie, Candi and Hershey-he is something special. He gets this alert look on his face and with the surrounding woods/trail, I can just picture him out in the Congo…! Especially when he has to taste the gofer tortoise poo-poo..................at least he doesn't eat the mushrooms anymore..another tail.............

@lvoss:

The basenji stud book was opened in 1990 to add Native Stock to increase the number of breed founders and increase genetic diversity in the breed.
http://www.basenji.org/african/project.htm

This was a single opening and then closing of the stud book. In 2008, the stud book was once again opened by AKC at the request of BCOA. This time it will remain open until 2020.
https://www.basenji.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=98

Thanks for the links, Ivoss!!!!

Thank you for the info lvoss. I've come across the first link before, but hadn't found the second one so I'll be looking over that one soon.

Tanza- I had read that they need more socialization due to being more environmentally sensitive as lvoss said, as well as a few other differences described in this article: http://www.basenji.org/african/lubb0001.htm

Other than that article I hadn't found much information on the Africans, regardless of whether they were/are older or newer imports, so the info about them is much appreciated!

Great article, TMartin! Thanks for posting!

I found the article extremely interesting, as the African traits remind me very much of my first Basenji that I had in the late '60s. Especially the attitude towards people, liking children, not being aggressive to other dogs. And being quiet! Very much describes my girl.

Anyone's have any input or changes in opinion as to what the characteristic/trait differences are between domestic lines and more African lines??

To see the physical differences, all you would have to do is look at some of the photos/videos of actual African basenjis, from 1900s onward, and compare them to the standard basenjis which have been bred for generations to 'look' like what we feel a basenji must be (and not remotely African at this point). There is definitely a greater variety in the "true" Africans due to cross breeding with other breeds due to culture meshing: Curled to slightly curled tails, size variety, color variation, degrees of white, barkless/bark, etc….at least as far as physical characteristics go.

Beauty versus function is the key difference. That's pretty obvious. I'm unsure if the subtleties of personality vary much...more dependent on early socialization (Developmental/regulatory adjustment) than anything else. The only thing I've heard time and time about Africans are 1.) Loyalty 2.) Tendency to be more on the Alpha side... in comparison with standards which have been bred down for temperament.

The lines of Africans aren't heavily recorded- "unknown dog x", so it seems like it would be impossible to really keep track of what's what unless you created an environment where Africans were imported and put into an environment where they'd have to fend for themselves as well as regulate their own breeding patterns, for generations, and then have a record of what occurred...which would be classified as irresponsible ownership I'm sure.

Once you mix an African with a standard, essentially overriding nature...the African lineage is irrelevant unless you keep breeding into African lines...but then you lose select traits we find desirable (barkless, etc.) . In half Africans there is definite size/shape appearance difference....hence why you don't hear of many in the 'ring' ...but that gets more and more diluted down the generation line.

This information is what I've heard/read from those who have actually been doing the heavy work...just regurgitated.

Curious if there is anyone out there breeding only African imports with other African imports?

I guess what I am trying to figure out is, are dogs with higher percentages of AF lineage…have shown tendencies towards certain behaviors...good or bad..and what you should do to ensure successful upbringing..does anyone think one needs to do things differently between more domestic lines vs African lines?

What is interesting about the article is that the three litters showed differences that could only be genetic, given that they were raised in the same environment. So perhaps that answers your question about whether anything in the upbringing needs to change.

I found this particularly interesting, "Because of their understanding of pack roles, it has made it easier for me to assert my dominance as ultimate pack leader. The full Africans do not challenge me as pack leader after about a year of age and they don't challenge one another either."

It seems to me that Africans may indeed be more cooperative with humans and other dogs, and perhaps in breeding for traits we desire in the show ring, we have lost some of that and are now producing animals that require a different approach. Certainly Basenjis in their native environment got by without benefit of animal behaviourists to smooth the way for them and their owners. (of course, the difficult dogs likely ended up in the soup pot!) 😉

One thing about the AF's and raising litters…. from what I know and have heard over and over, one of the most important things is early socialization with the outside world..... Early and often....

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