The Basenji Club of America African Stock Project

Project Library

Request to AKC to Reopen Basenji Stud Book

	January 26, 1989

To: Mrs. Elaine Young, Director
The American Kennel Club, Inc.
51 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10010

Dear Ms. Young,

The Basenji has been known outside of Africa since the late 1930's, at which time both numbers and interest were very limited. The stud book was opened to the breed in 1944 and after the ten year period, interest was still quite limited. Only two native dogs came directly to this country; the other dozen that made up the entire foundation gene pool came via England. As interest, breeding, and numbers have gradually increased, so has the degree of inbreeding and the corresponding uncovering of recessive traits. Three of the latter have proven to be lethal. One is understood and controlled, while the other two are still unsolved.

The Basenjis that made up the original "Out of Africa" gene pool came primarily from the Southern Sudan and Northern Zaire (Belgian Congo). The remoteness of the region and the absence of possible other canine contaminators has allowed the breed to remain as it was, not just 40-50 years ago, but for tens of centuries. In this jet age, who knows how much longer this situation will remain. While there is still time, it seems advisable to avail ourselves of this endangered resource. If selected individuals were utilized in careful breeding programs, they could possibly make great contributions. The external merits could be assessed in the show ring, while physiological benefits would be evident with time.

Since the closing of the stud book, native blood has twice been obtained through time consuming, expensive manipulations with foreign kennel clubs. When the goal is to benefit the breed and the project is undertaken with intelligence and integrity, deviousness should not be a necessity.

With the foregoing as background, I am writing to advise you of the Basenji Club of America's desire that the stud book for Basenjis be reopened to include, on a case-by-case basis as determined by BCOA representatives; certain African-bred Basenjis and their offspring. The mandate for this request is the unanimous support of the BCOA Board of Directors, together with a poll of the general membership indicating an overwhelming 75% were in favor of the stud book being reopened.

While realizing that our request has few precedents in the AKC, such precedent does exist. We feel strongly that this action is important both to the survival of the breed and for it to continue to be representative of its native heritage. The BCOA has a committee prepared to present the origin, history and present-day challenges of the Basenji, and the details of our request to register more African foundation stock. A short written history describing the individual dogs that form the foundation of the breed, and the avenues by which they became a part of it will be made available to the AKC Board and Staff. The committee could then be prepared to make a formal presentation to explain the details of our proposal and discuss the various options toward the implementation of a program that would be acceptable to both the AKC and the BCOA.

I await your response.

(Mrs.) Sandra L. Bridges
President, BCOA

Louis Auslander
Elysabeth C.B. Higgins
Dr. Jacklyn E. Hungerland
Kenneth A. Marden
Mike Liosis
John S. Ward

Copyright © 1989 BCOA, All Rights Reserved.
Transcribed for Web presentation by Troy J Shadbolt.