The Basenji Club of America African Stock Project

Project Library


by Shirley Chambers

    Blackie is a native-born black and white male Basenji who belongs to the de la Haye family, missionaries for the Sudan Interior Mission in Africa. Blackie, I believe, was whelped on the Firestone Plantation in Liberia, where they have been selectively breeding Basenjis for some ten years, using their own breeding as well as native dogs.
  The de la Haye family, due to come back to the U.S. for a year's leave, decided there might be a possibility that Blackie could be sent here as he is so much a part of their family, a constant companion of the two daughters. Through mutual friends, I learned of all this, and volunteered to meet Blackie at the airport and keep him at our home until the the family would arrive in the U.S. First of all, I was most anxious to see a real live native Basenji and secondly, Blackie is an uncle of my unregistered black and white girl, Black Diamond of Cryon, or "Miliku". I must admit that I was most apprehensive as I knew that this would be a radical change in climate, atmosphere and surroundings for Blackie, who I believe is almost four years old and had never been subjected to our modern world. Even a four-year-old Basenji who is used to city noises, cars, people, etc., is hard to place in a new home, and I knew that Blackie was quite attached to his family.
  The day arrived, and after two trips to the airport, I finally managed to get him. I felt sorry for him as he looked so pathetic and lost huddled in the corner of his crate. It took a few days before he wanted me to handle him, but the most admired trait I found in him was that no matter how frightened he was he made no attempt to growl or bite. And in a few days he was acting as though he had always lived here.
  Having Blackie has given me a chance to see a representative of the native Basenji. He is an excellent specimen and could give quite a few of our show prospects a run for their money. He is tall - about 17 3/4" and weighs 28 pounds. He has fabulous bone structure and is certainly a dog who could hunt all day in thick, dense underbrush without tiring. He has slender legs and the smallest feet I have ever seen on a Basenji. His tail is quite long and is double-curled, with perfect placement - far forward on his left side. He is somewhat long in the loin and like my Miliku could have a darker eye. What really impresses me about him is his tireless and flowing gait. He seems to glide along the ground and has such a reach that while most of my dogs are running he is still trotting along. And again, his temperament, for native dog, is amazing. I have learned from Leon Standifer that any native dog that is ill-tempered or shy becomes the evening meal, so perhaps that is why the Basenjis in Africa have good temperaments. This is one quality that the offspring of Fula (the little bitch Veronica Tudor-Williams brought out of Africa in 1959) all seem to have, as well as those of Ch. Binza of Laughing Brook. It is only too bad the A.K.C. will not recognize the registration of these native-bred Basenjis, as I feel that some of them have qualities which could be of great value to our present lines.
  Blackie has not yet finished his long journey, as he will have to be sent on to California, where the de la Haye family will reside. I would be just as happy if they left him here, as I have become really attached to the little fellow, but can understand how much they must miss him.


Reprinted from
The Basenji
Volume I Number 1 July 1964
Copyright © 1964 The Basenji, All Rights Reserved
Used with permission.