The Basenji Club of America African Stock Project

Project Library


OUR FIRST BASENJIS

by George L. Gilkey

  Our present day stock all stems from a few dogs brought out of Africa beginning in 1936. They should be divided into groups, namely those from the upper reaches of the Congo River, those from the lower Congo and those from Egyptian Sudan, known as the Zande Dogs. There was one early import from Uganda, Simolo of the Congo. Miss Tudor-Williams was responsible for this import but she did not care for the dog as he matured and withdrew him from stud service. She informs me that none of his blood came to America so I will ignore him in this report.
  There were three dogs from the Lower Congo basin near the west coast of Africa, namely Kindu and Kasenyi who were born to the north of Leopoldville and Phemister's Congo, place of birth unknown but probably not far from Leopoldville as she was found in the hold of a ship that arrived in Boston in the spring of 1941. This bitch, Congo, was bred but once and had three pups, two of which were later bred to other stock. I have a record of the first 1,500 dogs registered by the American Kennel Club and my studies indicate that the oldest living dog carrying this bitch's blood has today less than one percent of the same. As she is no longer a factor in our bloodlines I will drop her from consideration.


KINDU & KASENYI

  In addition to these Belgian Congo dogs, we had, as of late 1963, a total of three dogs out of the southern Egyptian Sudan, namely: Amatangazig of the Congo; Wau of the Congo and Fula of the Congo.


AMATANGAZIG


BONGO OF BLEAN

  Mrs. Olivia Burn brought six Basenjis from the Upper Congo area between 1936 and 1938. She had spent seven years in the region and writes of her experiences in the June 1937 issue of the American Kennel Gazette. This article is well illustrated and the dogs pictured would do credit to the breed in today's shows. These dogs were: Bongo; Bereke; Bashele; Bungwa and Bakuma of Blean. I will hereafter refer to them as the Blean dogs. Bakuma was bought while in quarantine and went to America. He had a litter in America but the dam and the pups all died. The Phemisters acquired Bakuma early in 1941 and later registered him as Phemister's Bois.
  Veronica Tudor-Williams became interested in the breed almost from the start and bought several pups from Mrs. Burn which she named with the suffix "of the Congo". Some "Blean" dogs came to America starting in 1939 when Dr. A. R. B. Richmond of Toronto, Canada, purchased a pair from V.T.W. Both died and in 1940 he bought two more pairs, namely Kwillo of the Congo, Koodoo of the Congo (males) and Kiteve of the Congo and Kikuyu of the Congo (bitches). I went to Toronto late in June 1941 and saw the four adult dogs as well as two litters born to them. I bought my first Basenji at that time. For a while I thought I had the only one in the U.S. but learned later of the two Phemisters' dogs and also of Kindu and Kasenyi who arrived later the same year. I traveled to Boston and saw Bois and Phemister's Congo. The latter had been bred to Koodoo of the Congo and when I saw her she had a litter of three just a few days old. I then traveled to New York City where I saw Kindu and Kasenyi with a litter of five pups born on board ship, plus a young male of another strain.
  I refer to this male of another strain. he did look very much like the Richmond dogs, Bois and other Basenji I have seen over the years. The Kindu-Kasenyi combination and their pups were considerably different. I was looking for a male for my Tanya of Windrush but the only one of the New York dogs that interested me was the unrelated young male. I would have bought him but the man in charge told me that he was of uncertain temperament.
  The Kindu blood did not make itself felt until a few years later. Therefore our early American Basenjis were made up of a combination of Blean and "of the Congo" stock containing the Amatangazig blood. Kindu was bred to Blean dogs twice and to Kasenyi once in the states. He bred her again in Hawaii but only one dog was registered. Several years after his arrival he and Kasenyi had a litter among which was Kingolo and Kasenyi. These two were bred later and the Phemisters bought one of the pups, Kingolo's Kontender. He was used at stud many times. Kingolo went to Ireland after 1950 and some of his blood has since come back to the U.S.
  To sum up, it is my opinion, based on extensive studies of the pedigrees, that up to recent years our bloodlines in America are about 45% Blean; 45% "of the Congo" from Amatangazig, Wau and Fula, and 10% Kindu-Kasenyi. It appears that as the years pass the percentage will lean more to the Zande blood and less to the Blean with the Kindu blood going still lower.
  Regardless of their early background, I believe that all of the contributors to our bloodlines have added something worthwhile and I further believe that many of our earliest dogs would do well in the ring today, but that the percentage of top quality dogs is steadily on the increase due to selective breeding.


 

Reprinted from
The Basenji
Volume I Number 1 May 1964 pp. 4-5
Copyright © 1964 The Basenji, All Rights Reserved
Used with permission