The Basenji Club of America African Stock Project

Project Library


COLOUR - SENSE OR NON-SENSE?
Veronica Tudor-Williams, Surrey, England

Although I have helped to draw up every Basenji Standard, I often read it through, and a short time 
ago in "Faults" I was suddenly taken aback at the sentence "Creams, sables, or any other colours
other than those defined in the Colour paragraph should be-heavily penalized." I thought the whole
point of a list of faults was that all should be penalized, and why should colour be selected for special
reference? In my opinion a bad mouth, thin, flat feet, or weak hindquarters are far worse faults in
what is primarily a hunting dog than any deviation in colour.
But I now remember that this sentence was inserted in the 1954 Standard before tiger-striped 
brindles, Fula black and whites or dominant black and whites had been seen. This was because we
already had creams and chocolate, cream and whites, both recessive and both with albino pigment-
ation. The idea was to stress that these were undesirable, not because of their colour, but for their
lack of pigmentation.
Out of interest I thought back into the past, and found snaps of native dogs, some never published 
before, and I came up with the following rather surprising results. Remember that it is up to Basenji
Clubs all over the world to preserve native type, as laid down in the Standard. It is written into the
constitution of some Clubs and judging by these photos it might appear that colour, or the banning of
it has sometimes taken precedence over type. All these photos were taken in Africa, apart from the
on of Tiger in quarantine, either in S. Sudan, along the Sudan/Uganda border or in Liberia.
PHOTOS.
1. Nyanabiem. Bred in S. Sudan by Captain Richards, M.D., the great Basenji expert of that time,
1928-1938. A terrible snap of a lovely little dog whom the writer saw in 1939. Captain Richards
chose her out of several to bring back with him to England.
COLOUR -- Presumably unacceptable as she was dark mahogany, tan and white, with tan spect-
acles and tan in the collar. We also saw mahogany, tan and white in the South Sudan in 1959. It
reminds me of the Basenji she imported from the S. Sudan in 1938, described as black and white,
but on arrival was found to have pale yellow melon pips, but no tan on the cheeks. Again, she would
presumably have been unacceptable colour-wise. She died of rabies three weeks after arrival.
2. and 3. Simolo of the Congo. Imported by the writer from the Sudan/Uganda border in 1939. He 
was used once for stud as, though his puppies were undoubtedly purebred, they were bigger and
coarser than desired, and the writer has never believed in using poor stock, then breeding out the
resultant faults, which can recur generations later.
COLOUR -- Presumably unacceptable as he had tan spectacles and what looks like a black blaze.
4. and 5. Mr. Hughes-Halls' Rhod. and S.A. Ch. Binza of Laughing Brook, selected by his owner, 
the writer and Col. Rybot, in the S. Sudan, 1959. His mother was a similiar tiger stripe and his sire
was red and white. The puppy snap was taken in the jungle during his purchase, the other bad snap
was taken in a quarantine, but shows his tiger-striped head and part of his body.
COLOUR -- Presumably unacceptable as he was a rich red with dark brown tiger stripes, of which
we saw a number of other Basenjis similarly marked in S. Sudan.
6. and 7. Dogs in Liberia, 1959. These snaps were taken in Liberia (see natives in background) and 
were then circulated in America, and later Britain, to try and show how similar they were to Basenjis.
COLOUR -- Presumably acceptable because of black and white.
8. A puppy aged 8 - 9 weeks in Liberia 1973. Described as a "very good and typical specimen from 
the Kru tribes." The writer was asked to take this puppy and breed from her so as to obtain the req-
uired number of generation for the American Kennel Club. the request was not taken up.
COLOUR -- Presumable acceptable as red and white, though it was suggested that she had black
hairs running through the red, which would have made her a sable, in which case she would have
been unacceptable.
After reading this it is believed that the title "Colour - Sense or Non-Sense" will be thought to be very 
apt?


1. Nyanabiem


2. Simolo of the Congo

 


3. Simolo of the Congo

 

4. "Tiger" -Ch. Binza of Laughing Brook

 


5. "Tiger" in quarantine

 

 


6. Liberian Dogs

 

 

7. Liberian Dog


8. Liberian Puppy


Reprinted from
The Official Bulletin of the Basenji Club of America
Volume XIII, Number 3 May-June 1979 pp. 19-21
Copyright © 1979 Basenji Club of America, Inc., All Rights Reserved.