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LETTER ABOUT SIMOLO OF THE CONGO

from Veronica Tudor-Williams, Surrey, England

 In the January issue of The Basenji, Mr. Robert G. Brown makes a number of statements in The 
Mailbox which I think should be answered. He writes: "In Veronica Tudor-Williams' book she states
that her dog SIMOLO was a perfect physical specimen but contributed nothing to the breed because
he was too big!" This is not a correct quote, what I said was, "Though the dog SIMOLO was a
magnificent specimen, he was bigger than I had been led to expect -- SIMOLO was retained as a
useful outcross dog; though his immediate descendants, apart from giving new blood, did not con-
tribute any particularly good points." This stated the case briefly and politely, but because of Mr.
Brown's statement, I feel I must go into it more fully.
SIMOLO arrived in England in August 1939, a few weeks before the outbreak of World War II.
I was so bitterly disappointed with SIMOLO and his companion, CHOTI when they arrived, I felt
the wisest course would be to have them put down and not have the heavy additional expense of six
months of quarantine. But, first, I am against destroying dogs unless it is for their own good, and this
certainly would not have been. Also with a world war looming up, I was advised to keep them as no
one knew when new blood could be obtained again.
Mrs. Burn saw the dogs in quarantine, and was not at all approving of them, her experience of
native dogs being far greater than mine in 1939. I think if I saw them now I would hardly consider
them true Basenjis, but more like the purebred village dogs one sees in quantities all over Africa, and
which, unless one is a real stickler for type, some people would describe as Basenjis. There were
semi-Basenjis in many parts of the Sudan, and I've seen black and white dogs of Basenji type in
Senegal, in West Africa, and I think now I would probably class SIMOLO as "of Basenji type."
However, he was kept and CHOTI was given away as a "charming dog of Basenji type" very soon
after she was released from quarantine. I then used SIMOLO for stud. He was bred to K'IMPI OF
THE CONGO, a very typical red and white daughter of BONGO and BEREKE OF BLEAN, so
he could not have had a more ideal wife. The result was rather disastrous - six puppies were born,
large, hairy and heavy boned. When they were 8 weeks old Mirrie Cardew, who at that time was my
greatly-valued kennel maid, and I looked at them and she said, "They look must like baby St. Bern-
ards, don't they?" How right she was, thick coats, thick bone, large feet, sloppy tails, no wrinkle and
floppy ears. They were Basenji-type, but of little use to the breed, so we reluctantly decided they
must be put to sleep, especially as it was then 1940 with Hitler overrunning Europe and few pet
homes were available. The best bitch puppy was kept and bred from, but you cannot breed a silk
purse from a sow's ear, so the line just faded out.
I hope this will explain to Mr. Brown that it was other things besides size which condemned poor
SIMOLO...


Reprinted from
The Basenji
Volume IX Number 3 March 1972 p. 5
Copyright © 1972 The Basenji, All Rights Reserved.
Used with permission.

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