On January 24th, I drove to the San Jose Airport to meet my husband, Bob, who was flying in
from Phoenix. Bob had spent some time with his parents in Tucson, and then driven to Phoenix to
see a litter of Basenji pups - the third generation in an all African Basenji breeding program. We had
agreed before he left that he would only come home with a pup if he liked what he saw in both the
adults and the new litter. We had both been intrigued by the BCOA's Foundation Stock Project1
and our interest had been piqued by an announcement of a third generation litter in the January 1994
edition of THE BASENJI.
When Bob came through the gate he was carrying a Sherpa bag containing 7-week old
Avongara duBele by Breka. My first impression was that she seemed smaller than I remembered my
American-bred pups being at the same age, and her ears were not quite erect yet, but those soulful
mascara'd eyes were unmistakably Basenji.
We call her Addie because she is the African "addition" to our Basenji household. Addie is the
only pup we've owned who came with instructions! Brenda, one of Addie's breeders2, firmly
instructed that we (a) love her, (b) keep meticulous notes, and (c) take lots of pictures. We do, we
have, we are.
As we've watched Addie develop and tried to compare her growth and personality to our other
"kids", we've been fascinated by some of the differences and marveled at the similarities. I have
asked what must have seemed like endless questions of Terri Gavaletz and Brenda Jones-
Greenberg. I poured through my back issues of both THE BASENJI and THE OFFICIAL
BULLETIN OF THE BASENJI CLUB OF AMERICA and was able to assemble pictures of
everyone in Addie's pedigree we were pretty excited about that!
What I was not able to find about either the Foundation Stock or their descendants are stories
and articles about how they adjusted and how they are doing. Are they what was expected, or
better, or worse? Which African traits have the half-Africans inherited or rejected? My questions
and interest are from the point view of living with and loving these dogs, not from a breeder's
I applaud the efforts and commitment of everyone involved in importing and gaining acceptance
for the African imports registered by the American Kennel Club in 1990. It is my humble concern
that much of the information about these Africans and their descendants resides only in the memories
of those who were able to participate first hand. I hope that everyone who lives with and loves the
imports and their heirs will take advantage of the Avongara Profile, graciously made available by
THE BASENJI, and share stories about the imports and their get and their get, and their get...
If you have one of the imports3 or a descendant, I invite you to share your knowledge,
perceptions, news, and stories. Send a photo and as much material as you please to me at the above
address.... I look forward to hearing from you.
Avongara duBele by Breka
Addie fit into our pack of four immediately and well. She is loving and affectionate with Bob and
I, although a little shy with strangers for the first few minutes. She is just as content playing by herself
as she is running with the group. Much to his delight, Bob finds she is quite willing to share his desk
chair in his offfice while the rest of the gang hangs out in the family room. At 7 months there are
statements I can make about her that I can't make about the rest of the gang. Addie thinks that sticks
and twigs are marvelous toys and is as willing to gnaw on a branch as on a chew stick. Her fondness
for landscaping was demonstrated one day when she dragged some leaves into the family room and
put them on the couch. (Stick chewing and carrying has become popular with the rest of the group
My impression was that Addie's teeth (and they're lovely) came in a little sooner than our other
pups' did. With no empirical data, that's just an impression I had. She did react to her puppy
inoculations, and is the only pup of ours who's growled at the vet during an ear exam. She also holds
the distinction of being the only one of my brood who offered to grip my wristwith herteeth when I
did her nails. Addie likes water. Not only was her first bath uneventful, but on an exceptionally warm
(104F) day last month, she ran through the sprinkler to cool off. She cries when Bob takes a
shower, though. As soon as he closes the shower door she begins to howl softly. Someone want to
explain that for me?
She is more wary than the others. For example, when there's a strange noise in the yard the
group runs to investigate, but Addie runs behind a tree and watches them. I guess she figures that if
they don't get eaten by a monster, it'll be okay for her to investigate, too.
Addie likes to "garoo, baroo and arrghh" softly when she's happy, but is otherwise pretty quiet so
far. She learned basic obedience commands in Sirius puppy training and will definitely be trained for
the obedience ring in the future.
1THE OFFICIAL BULLETIN OF THE BASENJI CLUB OF AMERICA, July/August/September 1990, pp 1A-4A
2Brenda Jones-Greenberg and Karon A. Begeman
3Owners of Foundation Stock as published above have been contacted and invited to participate.