GENERAL APPEARANCE: Lightly built, finely boned, aristocratic looking animal. High on legs compared with its length, always poised, alert and smart. Wrinkled head with pricked ears, proudly carried on a well-arched neck. Deep brisket runs up into a definite waist, tail tightly curled. A well balanced dog of gazelle-like grace.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: Distance from top of head to stop slightly more than from stop to tip of nose.
BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT: Barkless but not mute. Its own special noise is a mixture of a chortle and a yodel. Remarkably clean in every respect. An intelligent, independent, but affectionate and alert breed. Can be aloof with strangers.
HEAD: Fine and profuse wrinkles appearing on forehead when ears pricked; side wrinkles desirable but not exaggerated into dewlap; wrinkles more noticeable in puppies, but because of lack of shadowing, not as noticeable in tricolours.
CRANIAL REGION: Skull: Flat, well-chiselled and medium width, tapering towards the nose. Sidelines of skull taper gradually towards mouth, giving a clean-cheeked appearance. Stop : Slight
FACIAL REGION: Nose: Black nose desirable. Jaws/Teeth: Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square in the jaws. Eyes: Dark, almond-shaped; obliquely set, far seeing and rather inscrutable in expression. Ears: Small, pointed, erect and slightly hooded, of fine texture, set well forward on top of head, tip of ear nearer centre of skull than outside base.
NECK: Strong and of good length, without being thick, well crested and slightly full at base of throat with a graceful curve accentuating crest. Well set into shoulders giving head a « lofty » carriage.
BODY: Well balanced. Back: Short, level. Loin: Short-coupled. Chest: Deep brisket. Ribs well sprung, deep and oval. Underline: Running up into a definite waist.
TAIL: High set, with posterior curve of buttock extending beyond root of tail giving a reachy appearance to hindquarters. Curls tightly over spine and lies closely to thigh with a single or double curl.
LIMBS FOREQUARTERS: Forelegs straight with fine bone. Legs in a straight line to ground giving a medium width to front. Shoulders: Well-laid back, muscular, not loaded. Elbows: Tucked in against brisket. When viewed from front, elbows in line with ribs. Forearm: Very long. Wrist: Flexible Pasterns: Good length, straight and flexible. Feet: Small, compact. Paws high, toes well arched, short nails.
HINDQUARTERS : Strong and muscular. Stifle : Moderately angulated. Second thigh : Long. Hock : Well let down, turned neither in nor out. Feet : Small, narrow and compact, with deep pads, well arched toes and short nails.
GAIT / MOVEMENT : Legs carried straight forward with a swift, long, tireless, swinging stride.
SKIN : Very pliant.
COAT HAIR : Short, sleek and close, very fine.
COLOUR : Pure black and white; red and white; black and tan, and white with melon pips and tan markings on muzzle and cheeks; black; tan and white; brindle : red background with black stripes, the more clearly defined the stripes the better. The white should be on the feet, chest and tail tip. White legs, blaze and white collar optional.
SIZE AND WEIGHT : Ideal height : dogs 43 cm (17 ins) at withers, bitches 40 cm (16 ins) at withers. Ideal weight : dogs 11 kg (24 lbs),bitches 9,5 kg (21 lbs).
FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog. Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
NB! Male animals should have two normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
(Translated and adapted from the Finnish Basenji's Breed Standard 2016)