The Basenji Club of America African Stock Project

Project Library

THE QUESTION of Basenji bloodlines has re-
ceived much attention of late. We hear references
to the bloodlines of this or that breeder, or that
the English stock differs from the American in
one respect or another. In an effort to learn
whether there was any merit to these contentions,
the writer has made an exhaustive study of the
pedigrees of several well known Basenjis, in-
cluding Can. and Amer. Ch. Dainty Dancer of
Glenairley, Ch. Phemister's Kedar, Ch.
Phemister's Adonis, Ch. Rhosenji's Beau and
others that run to a certain pattern, as well as
dogs of the Many Oaks and Koko Crater
Kennels which run to an opposite pattern. The
results of these studies indicate rather conclusi-
vely that, with a few minor exceptions, all of our
Basenjis carry much the same bloodlines and in
about the same proportions.
Basenji breeding as it affects us started in
England in the late 30's. It consisted of inbreed-
ing and close line-breeding on five dogs brought
out of Africa by Mrs. Olivia Burn. These dogs
carried the "of Blean" suffix. There was a sixth "of
Blean" dog that later came to America and was
acquired by Alexander Phemister and given the
name Phemister's Bois. Offspring of the English
Blean dogs were acquired by Veronica Tudor-
Williams and given the names carrying the suffix,
"of the Congo." In 1940 she sent two pair of
dogs to Toronto, Canada, and their progeny,
carrying the suffix, "of Windrush" were the main
factor in founding the American bloodlines.
Before leaving, for a moment, the Blean dogs,
may I say again the Phemister's Bois was of that
group? As they came from a limited area of the
Belgian Congo, it is probable that they were of
line-bred stock in Africa. Certainly they were in-
bred and line-bred after they arrived in England. I
therefore refer to them and their direct descend-
ants as the Blean bloodline.
In April 1941 a dog later known as
Phemister's Congo arrived in the port of Boston
on a tramp steamer, all details unknown. This
dog was mated to Blean stock and her progeny
was likewise so mated. However, these matings
were few in number and only one of the above-
mentioned dogs carries her blood. There is about
¾ of 1% in Dainty Dancer, so for our purposes
we can ignore her.

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However, later in 1941 two Basenjis were 
brought to America from central Africa. They
were Kindu and Kasenyi and their blood, through
Kingolo's Kontender, counts for something less
than 10% of several of our dogs. There are two
exceptions that I will speak of later.
In the mid-1940's progeny of Amatangazig of
the Congo appeared in America and this blood
also appears in our bloodlines but never to ex-
ceed 7%.
The most recent blood to appear in our
bloodlines is that of Wau of the Congo. He was
the great-great-grandfather of Dainty Dancer but,
at present, appears in the pedigrees of but a few
others of our dogs.
The net result of all the foregoing is that, as far
as better than 99% of our English, American and
Canadian Basenjis go, they are approximately
90% Blean blood. There are two exceptions to
this. The Many Oaks dogs of the Texas kennels
of Travis Rumph carry 100% Kindu-Kasenyi
blood and the Hawaiian Koko Crater dogs carry
largely Kindu-Kasenyi blood.
It would appear therefore that, if bloodlines
were the consideration, there are relatively few
opportunities for an outcross. With several thou-
sand Basenjis in existence outcross bloodlines will
be pretty well diluted by the time they have made
the rounds. This is, of course, one good argument
for bringing in new blood from Africa.
May I touch just a moment on In-Breeding
and Line-Breeding? The latter is just a modified
degree of the former. Both types of breeding are
practiced with success by intelligent breeders.
Generally speaking, where practiced it tends to
exaggerate the good and the bad in the parents so
that it behooves one to use extreme care not to
breed two dogs carrying a common fault. As our
dogs are so closely related, it is only by careful
selective breeding that we can hope for good
show specimens. All this points to just one thing:
it is not so much a question of bloodlines that en-
ables some breeders to produce consistently
dogs that will win but rather the use they made of
the available material. Far too many beginners
and, I am sorry to say, some old timers are in-
clined to be kennel blind and to breed to their
own pets rather than to recognize the short-
comings of their own dogs and to correct the
same by looking to other kennels for a compen-
sating mate regardless of the distance and ex-
pense involved. Again I say that the answer lies in
intelligent selective breeding.— George L.
Gilkey, Merrill, Wis.

Article reprinted from
Pure-Bred Dogs: American Kennel Club Gazette
Volume 75 Number 10 October 1958 p. 58
Copyright © 1958 AKC, All Rights Reserved
Used with permission.