Out of Africa, and barkless, the Basenji is one of the oldest breeds, used for hunting, pointing and retrieving. Approximately the size of a Fox Terrier, one should have the first impression of a proud little dog. A Hound with beauty, grace and intelligence, he is also fastidiously clean, making an ideal house dog as well as a good working dog.
His coat is often described as one of his most beautiful features, exhibiting brilliant lustre. It ought to be short and fine but in cooler climates can be a touch more coarse.
Colours must be predominant to any white areas and stated as either Chestnut Red, Pure Black, Tri Colour, or Brindle. White should be on tip of tail, white feet and chest with optional white on legs, blaze or collar.
The main drill I keep hearing for the coat, is of that brilliant shine. So, your quest is one of protection and enhancement of this at all times. Remember coats are not made overnight, so your job begins long before any show season or special show. Just because it is a short coat, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to do much to it. Whilst your job is not one of long hours of hand stripping, trimming or blow drying, you still have to spend time to keep it in A1 radiant condition.
Long term plan, is to always protect from the sun. He may be out of Africa, but you are showing a dog in the show ring - not out on the veld. Plan ahead with coat care, presentation and training and you will always be doing the utmost for your chances in the ring.
To prevent sun damage and fading of the coat, spend the time during the preceeding weeks to pack the hair with slathers of Plush Puppy Revivacoat, a leave in, easily applied moisturiser. It is non greasy and helps protect. For dire situations, mix Plush Puppy Coat Rescue with equal quantities of water to a runny slurry, then slather this through the coat and leave on for as long as you can. Doesn’t matter if the dog runs around the yard all day with it on. The longer the better. Then rinse off. Coat Rescue adds plant protein to the hair and helps restore structure lost in wear and tear. You can then follow up with Revivacoat each or every second day. Neither are greasy and both readily applied and absorbed into the hair.
If you find the reds or blacks tend to fade out with a rusty overtone as the coat ages, then bath with Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo, diluted 3:1. It won’t lighten but will tone, adding back the lost cool tones to the coat and enhance the whites with a pearly sheen. All coat colours are made of the full spectrum of the colours of the rainbow and first tones to fade are always the blues and purples leaving a reddish, orange overtone to the coat. This is a quick and effective way to give depth back to your blacks and reds without damaging the coat nor violating rules for artificial colouring of a coat.
For bathing when the coat is in normal, good condition, use either the Whitening Shampoo or Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo diluted 5:1. This is the Shine Shampoo of all shine, shampoos. You can still use the Whitening Shampoo on the white areas if you wish. Just use the All Purpose Shampoo on the areas where shine is important such as topline and main body coat.
Once rinsed you ought to follow up with a final rinse but I am loath to use conditioners as they overly soften the hair. This dog’s coat works best with a diluted application of Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil. SB Oil is excellent for maintaining the healthy vigour to the skin and coat and is all plant sourced from Evening Primrose and Calendula Oils. It is non greasy and totally water soluble making it easy to apply and remove each time without buildup.
Procedure is to dilute 1 tbspn per bucket of warm water or 1 teaspoon into a hydrobath tank and work well through the coat either with a large sponge or the hose from the bath. Leave in and don’t rinse off. It gives incredible sheen and finish to the hair. I cannot stress enough the wonderful attributes of this product.
Follow with a light medium to cool blow dry to remove excess water and dislodge any dead hair. Grooming mitts and brushes will never get the amount of dead hair out that a good forced dryer will remove. The quicker the dead hair is dislodged, the faster it will regrow. I find that bathing, oiling and blow drying each and every week, gives a better all over finish to the hair and you don’t suffer those horrid times of coat shedding where the coat appears as if moth eaten. The oil allows you to bath and dry each week without damage or dehydration thus getting the best of both worlds.
Follow this routine and your Basenji coat will gleam and not cause worries for show day. Do the bath, oil and dry the night before the show and most of your work is done allowing you to relax for the important day.
Show day just needs a quick tidy up and mini clean. Use Plush Puppy Wonder Wash, a no rinse, fast cleaner on legs, feet and under belly area. Spray and foam with your hands and wipe off with a clean towel. Then add Plush Puppy Cover Up Cream (a whiter than white paste) onto a barely damp, almost dry piece of sponge, and dab a small amount onto the feet and any white areas that need white cover. Don’t pile on a large blob - just a light one and add a good dusting of chalk or cornstarch or your preferred powder. This will dry and set the Cover Up Cream and leave till firmly dry. Finally give a light brush a few minutes prior to show time to remove excess.
When brushing use either the Plush Puppy Anti Stat Brush (a half nylon half bristle brush for smooth finish) or, Plush Puppy Soft Slicker Brush.
A good spray of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher to eliminate any dog trailer odours acquired overnight or in transit and a light spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb sprayed into the air above the topline and allowed to fall mistlike onto the dog - finish with a smoothing of your hand along the topline. Bingo! All done.
Your Basenji is an elegant, graceful breed. An intelligent sight and scent hound, he moves with effortless and swift gait covering the ring with ease and agility. His wonderfully deeply furrowed forehead, pricked ears and intelligent, far seeing eyes, house a dog with great affection and alertness. Let him hit that effortless trot with long striding smooth gait and watch the rest of the competitors take notice. A great dog of ancient lineage and always a tough one to beat.
- Cheryl Le Court