The Basenji University

203 Lure Coursing

Kinte Cloth

Timeline: Lure Coursing Field Trials

Early 1970's — Lure coursing is developed by Lyle Gillette and other California sighthound fanciers who hunted jackrabbits in the open field, which risked the harm caused by barbed wire fencing. They invented lure coursing as a safer, more controlled sport for sighthounds that would recreate the physical requirements of open field coursing, allowing them to continue testing the functional abilities of their sighthounds. The hounds chase plastic bags on a course laid out to simulate escaping game.

1972 — The Calfiornia group started the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) and invited other sighthound fanciers from across the nation to join the organization, with its democratic structure and centralized method of keeping hound records.

1979 — Basenjis started competing at ASFA trials.


1979 —On September 3, on the first weekend after Basenjis are recognized to run, Mary DeWhitt's Bubalak's Divine Bette takes a Best in Field. She also becomes the first ASFA Field Champion.

Betsy Ross Flags A Flyin

1980 — First bench champion to earn a ASFA field champsionship: Mary DeWhitt and Cathy Cant's Ch Betsy Ross Flags A Flyin' FCh.  "Fonzie" went from rescue to titles.

1981 — First time a lure coursing event is held at a Basenji national specialty.

Dokhue's Enuf Lovins

1981 — First ASFA Lure Courser of Merit: Dave Sorenson's Dokhue's Enuf Lovins LCM

Pero Forest Flute of SunDiata

1982 — First with lure coursing, obedience and bench championship: Chris Maxka's Am. Can. Ch Pero Forest Flute of SunDiata FCh CD

1984 — Basenjis are a featured breed in ASFA's FAN (Field Advisory News) May/June issue.

1986/1987 — Some segments in ASFA try to have Basenji removed but the motion is successfully defeated.

1990 — Lure coursing field trials become a regular part of the Basenji national specialty events.

1992 — The American Kennel Club starts offering lure coursing events and titles.

DC Dharian's Phantom, LCM

1993 —Anne Ductor and Richard Baker's girl FC Dharian’s Phantom LCM becomes the first AKC field champion.

Select Information     Select Spontaneous  Combusiton

1994 —The first AKC Dual Champion (DC – bench and field championships) was a tie between Jeff and Tracy Leonard's two dogs: DC and Can. Ch. Select Information, CD SC TT FCh and DC Select's Spontaneous Combustion, SC TT who finished their AKC field championships on the same day.

Stillwell's Ben Hur

2002 — ASFA Dog of the Year: Linda and Richard Stilweel's Ch. Stilwell's Ben Hur SC, LCM

2003 — Susan Kamen Marsicano convinces the BCOA to start the Versatility Program to celebrate our intelligent and adaptable breed and the special human-animal bond we have with them. It seeks to create enthusiasm for training and working with Basenjis – show, athletes and pets – as well as recognize outstanding accomplishment. Lure coursing is included in these activities. An Honor Roll is maintained online at BCOA's website and is published once a year in the Bulletin.

2009 —The Performance Stud Dog and Brood Bitch Honor Rolls were initiated by the Basenji Club of America. These honor rolls are based on all performance events including AKC and ASFA lure coursing.

Wes Shainline

2012 — ASFA Person of the Year is Basenji Fanciers: William E. Shainline, Jr. (Wes)

More detailed histories reprinted here:

A letter written by Lyle Gilletre in 1975 and reprinted in the BCOA Bulletin can be read here.

Mary Lou Kenworthy wrote about some of the earliest basenji fanciers involved in lure coursing in this BCOA Bulletin article.

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