The Basenji Club of America African Stock Project

Project Library

The Black and White Basenji

by Mrs. C. W. White

"Dormtiki, " Old Mill Road, Bray, Berkshire, England

 A year has passed since I wrote my article, "I Have a Bone to Pick With You, " and although 
I did not mention it at the time, this light-hearted account did, in fact, relate to an incident surround-
ing our first black and white litter, and was the start of an intriguing and enlightening insight into a
new venture of colour, conformation and character of our breed.
As I have had several letters from readers requesting an article about the black and whites, I
decided to set down a few observations which may be of interest both generally, and in relation to
our own black and white litter.
The native dog from which the black and white genes were obtained originates in Liberia and
differs quite considerably from the red and white and tri-colours found in the Sudan both structurally
and in temperament. Basically, the common denominator is identical - the lack of bark - the yodel
and originality of make-up - all are the same. Structurally and mentally there appears to be a differ-
ence which is of interest.
Taking the structural pattern first the black and white appear to possess most of the much de-
sired attributes peculiar to the breed. In some respects these attributes are even more pronounced,
for example - the long reachy neck, a well-defined and elegantly sloping stifle and in some of them I
have seen these attributes have been coupled with the much desired short back and length of leg. I
remember seeing my first pure black and white Basenji and seldom have I seen anything to match
him for grace and beauty. Others I have seen just did not match up - with very few exceptions. The
aspect of the mask differed and still differs in several respects, mainly because the ears tended to be
too large and placed too much to the side of the head. Because of this fault, added to the fact that
the mask is predominently black, the wrinkle appeared undefined and in some cases, the eyes too
light. Perhaps, like the unobtrusive wrinkle, this feature may have been partly exaggerated by the
overall depth of colour of the mask.
As time passed and with selective breeding to the bitches originating from the Sudan, these
discrepancies are improving and I am submitting a photograph of both my dogs in illustration. (See
my advertisement above). Clearly the contrast can be seen and the addition of extra white outlining
the mask on DORMTIKI DEE JAY'S more chiselled head is of advantage to his overall refinement.
When the black and white Basenji first appeared, it is not surprizing that his advent into our
show rings was subjected to much scrutiny and conjecture, but as time passed this smart dog with
his dinner-jacket appearance is not only holding his own among the top-winning red and whites and
tri-colours, but I remember an incident, a brief encounter whilst walking in the country accompanied
by my young son. One of my dogs ran on ahead of us and as we breasted the hill, there he stood
encircled by the "boys" of the village - a Boxer, an Alsatian and a very large Lurcher. My little dog
looked so elegant and small as he remained stock still appraising the situation. Having no form of
defense for him, not even a walking-stick, I decided the only thing to do was to walk on and ignore
the whole situation. A good deal of "eyeing" up and down went on as the group revolved slowly
around and around with my dog the centre-piece. With averted eyes, I was conscious of a hair rais-
ing situation both figuratively and relatively speaking. Motionless and with some supernatural force,
none of the encircling group dared attack. To my enormous relief the tension eased and all but one
moved silently away. That one shortly rejoined us and remained very "top dog" for the rest of the
I can still picture that elegant, deer-like creature looking so very smart and in full possession of
himself. Maybe the village boys were nonplussed by the lack of doggy smell and unique silence? An
hour later they passed us again but made no approach and looked with deep respect as we walked

Reprinted from
The Basenji
Volume VII Number 4 April 1970 p. 9
Copyright © 1970 The Basenji, All Rights Reserved
Used with permission.