The Basenji University

103 Basenji Timeline

Kinte Cloth

Pre History DNA Suggests Beginnings of Basenji Breed

Pre Historic Cave Paintings found in Libya dated between 6000 BC and 100 AD have drawings of pariah-type dogs in some hunting scenes. Click to read a short article about cave paintings which appeared in the May-June 1966 issue of the BCOA Bulletin.Cave Painting


This photo was supplied by Steve Gonto who obtained it from Forrest Bryant Johnson, author of "Basenji, Dog from the Past." It was originally taken from the screen of a tv showing a PBS documentary. It is labeled on the photograph as African hunter with dog, ancient cave painting.



Stone Table





3000 BC This is a photo of a famous game table (Hemaka Game Stone) from the tomb of Hemaka, 1st Egyptian Dynasty noble. This photo was supplied by Steve Gonto who obtained it from Forrest Bryant Johnson, author of "Basenji, Dog from the Past."



2700 BC Mr. Birch in "The Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology" (1875) describes the Khufu dogs shown in the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), IV Dynasty as "Spitz-like dogs, the muzzle is short and pointed and distinctly fox-like, the ears are pointed and held erect. The tail is curled and comes close to and on the side of the back." Mr. Birch also describes a tablet of Pharaoh Antefaa II from 2000 BC showing four dogs of distinct breeds. One of the dogs is described as having more marked stop with muzzle sharply pointed and fox-like, the ears pointed and erect with the tail curled tightly to the side of the back.

1200 BC Detail from Bas-Relief on the Mastaba of Akhuthotep, circa 1200 B.C.

Bas-Relief Detail 1200

18th Century Delft Tiles

1843 A painting of three dogs belonging to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by artist T.M. Joy shows a basenji in the UK. Read more: Glen Dymock explains more about the painting and shares internet links to the book where it appears in these notes prepared in 2017.

1868 While there are earlier writings about dogs in Africa, Dr. Schweinfurth is to the first to mention dogs that really seem to be Basenjis. Schweinfurth traveled and studied flora and fauna in Central Africa. He writes of the Nyan-Nyam tribe: "The only domestic animals are poultry and dogs. The dogs belong to a small breed resembling the wolf-dog, but with short sleek hair, they have ears that are large and always erect, and a short curly tail like that of a young pig. They are usually bright yellowish tan in colour, and very often have a white stripe upon the neck. They are made to wear little wooden bells around the neck so they should not be lost in the long steppe-grass." More from Schweinfurth... In 1971 "The Origin of the Domestic Animals of Africa" by H. Epstein was published. He quotes from Schweinfurth and others who wrote over the years. Here is a bit from that book on pariah dogs.

1880 Congo Terrier Standard and Bosc. The date for Bosc is confusing as sometimes it is given as 1908 but the Congo Terrier Standard is clearly dated 1880.  It has been written in some places that the names of the three dogs exhibited at the Paris Zoo are "Bosc", Dibue" and "Mowa." Other authors report two dogs in Paris.

Pygmy Group

Hunting Group with Basenji1882 From the earliest Europeans in Africa, travelers, adventurers, missionaries, scientists and explorers write of their African experiencesClick here for a small assortment of excerpts from books of African experiences over the years.  There is a listing of books in Course 104 Books to Read, Basenjis in Africa.

1895 First exhibition of Basenjis in Great Britain. They were exhibited as "Lagos Bush Dogs."  Quoting from VTW: "Mr Garrow wrote in Our Dogs: 'It may not be generally known that this variety of dog (the Basenji) was exhibited at Crufts' Show in 1895, and afterwards purchased by the late Mr. W. R. Temple who, along with Mr. H. C. Brooke, was the greatest authority on foreign dogs at that time. They were exhibited as African Bush Dogs or Congo Terriers. Unfortunately soon after the show they contracted distemper and died. At the same time, there were two in the Jadin d'Acclimatation in Paris, but they were not so good-looking as Mr. Temple's brace.'"

1905 Photo of dogs at the Berlin Zoo, exhibited as 'African Bush Dogs', the daughter was born at the Berlin Zoo.

Photo at Berlin Zoo
PARIAHUNDE (Pariah Dogs) - Menzel, R., und Menzel, R. 1960.. Die Neue Brehm - Bucherie; 267. A. Ziemsen Verlag - Wittenberg Lutherstadt. 84 pp. Page 64 has a picture of three Basenjis at the Berlin Zoo. Picture caption "Kongo-Hunde, Zoo Berlin 1905 Aufnahme Dr. O. Heinroth".
VTW comments on these dogs in her blue book: " extract from the "Illustrated Kennel News" of 1908, which gives a photo of 'Native Dogs of the Congo,' depicting a rather poor native bitch, and her daughter bred in the Berlin Zoo, the younger bitch being a very typical Basenji. An accompanying article states: 'the eyes are small and dark and very intelligent, set in a wrinkled face, head broad, the ears are upright, broad at the base, the tail is usually carried high and curled over the back... The height I should estimate at about 17 in. ... These (the dogs exhibited at Crufts in 1895) were, however, considerably smaller dogs than the Berlin specimen.'"

1912 A stuffed Basenji in a pygmy village scene is exhibited at the Museum of Natural History, New York City.

1920 Major George Richards, M.C. keeps Basenjis while living in the Sudan

1920s Postcard from Africa (courtesy of owner Karla Schreiber)

Postcard from Africa


Lady Helen Nutting on shipboard1923 While living in Khartoum Lady Helen Nutting acquires six Basenjis from natives west of Meridid, beyond the Bahr-el-Ghazal region of the Nile and between the rivers Ibba and Sueh. When she returns to Great Britain these dogs come along on board the ship. See photo right....

They arrive in good health in Great Britain and everything is done for their welfare but it ends in tragedy when they all die from the after-effects of distemper injections which were quite new at the time.


1929 C. J. Warrington writes of his visit with Mrs. Burn in Africa while stationed there between 1925 and 1930. This Story appeared in "The Basenji" in May 1972.


Mrs. Burn with Bongo and Bokoto


1929 Begins Mrs. Olivia Burns adventures in collecting and importing Basenjis. The first dogs she imported did not survive to reproduce. She wrote this brief description (appeared in Veronica Tudor-Williams books, "Basenjis: The Barkless Dogs") of some of the trials and tribulations she encountered along the way. To the right is a photo of Mrs. Burn and her young daughter Jennifer with Bongo and Bokoto of Blean (imports 1936).



Old Photo Luba people with Basenjis

Undated photo cut from a book and researched by Jo Thompson who said: "Based on the landscape, ethnicity (facial structure and hair style), dress, weapons (arrows) and bells on the dogs, I can say with complete certainty that these are Luba people. As you can see, the dogs have wooden bells around their loins. That indicates that they are not from forested regions but were probably used for hunting bushbucks and other game in a more open habitat that is peripheral to forest. The rounded bells indicate that they were from the upper Kasai regions where Tshiluba is spoken ... the land of the Baluba (Luba) people. This could also include Bandundu Province (the proximate peripheral area to where Olivia Burn sourced the Blean dogs). There is an elais palm tree also common in Luba country. The men are wearing their hair in the traditional style of the Pende, Kwese, etc. and the long dress looks like a Leele or Kuba dress. Thus it must be in this area between Pende and Kuba. There are necklaces and it looks like some of them have ikhoko (reduction of Pende masks in ivory) but the picture is not sharp enough. The background landscape and the faces and dress also suggest Kasai. The Baluba and the Lulua people together occupy a large area in the Congo extending roughly from the confluence of the Lulua and Kasai Rivers (the Lulua is a tributary of the Kasai) in a general southeasterly direction."

1934 Travel Story... From a 1985 letter from well known author Maxwell Riddle printed in "The Basenji's" 'The Mailbox:'
     "Once in the old Belgian Congo, I asked officials to take me "up country" to visit the tribes having Basenjis. They seemed puzzled. Finally, they said, "Do you mean the dogs which don't bark?" I said yes. So they agreed to fly me to a small landing strip, and then to take me by motor launch further up the river to a village where I would see the dogs. "But don't call them Basenjis," they said. "In our language that means 'savage'. The natives might think you were referring to them, and you could get a spear in the back. We call them 'Saba Dogs' meaning 'dogs of the Queen of Sheba'."
      "Later, in Kenya, Dr. Louis Leakey, the world renowned anthropologist, jumped on me about this use of the term Basenji. The proper name, he said, was 'dog of the forest'. I saw and photographed a Basenji in 1934 in Africa. Her name was Peteedie which meant 'Push Trouble Far Away'. Later, she was run over by the only car in that part of Africa, and was buried. But during the night natives dug her up and ate her."

1936 Mrs. Burns imported the first Basenjis from Africa who became actual foundation stock for the breed. View the sources of all Basenji foundation stock by clicking the image above.

1937 Mrs Olivia Burn exhibits Basenjis at Crufts and writes an article appearing in The American Kennel Gazette: The Barkless Dog of the Congo.

1937 Articles appear in British and American newspapers about the Basenjis at Crufts and shortly after the arrival of Basenjis in the U.S. A...sampling of articles.

1937 Bakuma, Rougie and Basashi of Blean are the first live Basenjis to arrive in the U.S.A.Amatangazig

1938 Nyanabiem of Tonj photos and story are part of Major's Richards story.

1938 Amatangazig is imported and becomes a major player in the breed. Read about her and about early tri-color Basenjis. See Zig's photo right....

1938 Kandi of the Congo is imported but doesn't become foundation stock.

1939 On the 9th of Feburary The Basenji Club of Great Britain became the first club of Basenji enthusiasts formed in the world.

1939 The first BCGB standard was developed but was not actually submitted to the Kennel Club during the war years.  World War II nearly stopped the development of Basenjis in the U.K. Veronica Tudor-Williams later writes of the war years: England and Basenjis in the War Years

1939 Simolo of the Congo, did not produce well enough to become an influence in the breed.

1939 Kowboi and Kokombo of the Congo arrive in Canada on 28 June. Unfortunately they do not live to produce offspring.

1940 Show Photo

1940 English show photo shown above from Dog World Annual 1940.

Early "Of The Congo"  basenjis

1940 This undated photo has handwritten names of five "of the Congo" basenjis. They were born in 1937 and 1939. Several of these dogs are behind the earliest breeding stock. The dogs are labeled by hand in the photo as: (l-r) Kimpi, Kwango, Koodoo, Kasui and Kavirondo.

Can. Ch. Kwillo of the Congo1940 Importation of four Basenjis into Canada from England. They were two males Kwillo and Koodoo of the Congo and two females Kikuyu and Kiteve of the Congo. Can. Ch. Kwillo of the Congo (photo left) became the first champion in the world. See the report below on the Morris and Essex show as well.

1941 Report of Basenjis appearing at Morris and Essex Kennel Club Show as written up in the New Yorker. The event was also reported in the NY Times: "From Congo To Jersey ...The four, nominated by Dr. A. R. B. Richmond of Toronto, are classified in the sporting variety. The English Kennel Club, in granting the Basenjis recognition as an established breed in 1937, published this comment: 'There is no doubt that these dogs are used for hunting purposes by the natives of Africa who breed them.' "

1941 Congo, the stowaway onboard a ship loaded with coffee from Africa.

1941 13 October's "LIFE" magazine announces the arrival of Basenjis with a shipment of baby gorillas on 5 September.  Read: The Story: Kindu and Kasenyi.  Read a 1958 column about their most influential son Am. Ch. Kingolo.

1942 First British Basenji Standard Approved

1942 Barrie Exhibited in Massachusetts. In 1942 Barrie became the first Companion Dog title basenji. Click here for more basenjis obedience and rally history.

Copyrighted press photo1942 Veronica Tudor-Williams writes in "The Basenji" about the story published as a serial in The Saturday Evening Post in 1941 and the Warner Brothers movie in 1956. This James Street story has appeared in book form and in story collections for many years. This story and the movie generated interest in the Basenjis for many years as the story was republished and the movie was often rerun on late night television. (Photo copyright Warner Home Video.)
Read the Goodbye, My Lady Story.

1942 The Basenji Club of America is formed. Learn who the people are who have served as officers and board members over the years.

1943 Crackerjack of the Congo wins best Crackerjack of the Congo in show at an open (non-championship) show in England under judge Leo Wilson. Photo right...

1943 American Kennel Club accepts Basenjis and the Basenji Club of America.  Between 1943 and '45 the set goal was for the registration of one hundred basenjis. The first U.S. Standard is here.

1943 In Spike Milligan's War Diaries "Mussolini: His Part in My Downfall" (Sept 24, 1943) the following exchange takes place:

"...we are bloody lost. Lt. Budden is looking studiously at his map, the wrong way up.
"It's upside down, Sir."
"I know that, I turned it upside down for a reason."
"Sorry, Sir, only trying to help."
"If you want to help, Milligan, act like a basenji."

1944 The first Basenji column appeared in the AKC Gazette in January. Al Phemister was the author.

1944 A few excerpts from letters regarding some of the difficulties about "Shipping Dogs in 1944" ...during the war.

1945 Letter from Africa

1945 From a clipping: "Did you Know? The first point winning Basenjis were shown at the Vancouver, Wash. show on 7/15/1945 by H. N. Francis of How Gert Kennel, Portland, Ore. He had six bitches and six dogs entered. BOB went to Andy of Glen Ho who he had First USA Champ Phemister's Melengoacquired from Homar A. Garland of Spokane. BOS went to Rwanda, who he had acquired through Eloise Gerry. There was a sister of this bitch named Zingili also shown. So the charter member of the B.C.O.A. Eloise Gerry goes the honor of breeding the first Basenji to acquire a 5-pt. major." (From a note by George Gilkey)

1945 Read a little bit about pioneer in the breed Dr. Eloise Gerry.

1945 Andy of Glen Ho becomes the first Basenji to win a Hound Group First at an AKC championship show. Andy's win was at the Vancouver Show in Washington State.

1945 Another first on 10 October when Ch. Phemister's Melengo (Phemister's Bois x Zinnia of the Congo) becomes the first champion in the USA! See photo above...
Dam Zinnia later becomes an American champion and companion dog (CD) as well.

1945 Mrs. Alexander Phemister writes a column in the "AKC's Purebred Dogs". Here is the December 1945 column.

Book Cover1946 "Basenjis, The Barkless Dog" (the red cover edition) by Veronica Tudor-Williams was first published. Additional publications dates are 1954 and 1966 (the blue cover editions). The 1954/66 editions have new photos that were not in the 1946 edition. The final updated edition of this title came out in 1976 (Photo with dust jacket right actually has a brown cover) and VTW was unhappy with the publisher. Here is a list of her corrections to the 1976 edition. These books form the major basis of the information available on the early history of Basenjis outside of Africa.Eng. Ch. Brown Trout of the Cong

1947 First English champion title completed in February: Ch. Brown Trout of the Congo. Photo right....

1947 April the first two tri color puppies born outside Africa in a litter of three males. Read about them in the Amatangazig Story...

1947 Bark or Woof makes news...

1950 In the late 1940s very interesting research began at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine.  It led to the classic 1965 book "Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog".  J. P Scott and J. L. Fuller used five breeds in their 13-year research.  Basenjis were one of the breeds. While giving insights into the genetics of Basenji behavior useful for fanciers, it is also still frequently seen in bibliographies of research papers because of the important basic research done. An article appeared in 1954 based on research in this group see: King, John, 1954, "Closed Social Groups Among Domestic Dogs", Proceedings, American Philosophical Society (vol. 98, no. 5).  Based on research at the Bar Harbor Facility using Basenjis and Cocker Spaniels.

1950 Basenji Club of America holds its first Specialty onFirst Specialty BOB  Sunday, June 11 at Batavia, New York. In an entry of 23 judged by Alva Rosenberg the winners were: Winners Dog: Black Ace of the Congo, Winners Bitch: Black Mist of the Congo, Best of Breed and Group 4th: Ch. Rhosenji's Beau (photo right) and Best Opposite Sex: Ch. Rhosenji's Ginger.

1950 In 1965 Mrs. Alexander wrote a series of columns looking back to the events, people and dogs between 1943 and 1950. Here are the three columns which have now been illustrated with cuttings from old scrapbooks from the 1940s.

1951 27 December issue of "Jet" on page 14... "Dog of the Week. The basenji, a small African dog, never will win any canine beauty contests. It has a tail like a pig and a face like a bloodhound. Yet some American breeders are importing the African dogs and are confident they may one day become a highly-popular U.S. breed. Reason: basenji dogs never bark and a barkless dog is figured as ideal for the small apartment.

Screen from The  African Queen

1951 A Basenji appears very briefly in the opening scenes of "The African Queen," a movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. The Kungdu village and the church in the opening scenes were built on the shore of Lake Albert at Port Butiaba, Uganda. This filming location is near the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo. This screenshot from the movie was captured by M.C. Horng

1952 Sheila Anderson writes "Memories" in 1988 in The Basenji about the 1952 book, “A Many-Splendored Thing," and the movie, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing"

Dog with Bell1952 Wau of the Congo arrives in England from Africa.

1954 In June there is a revised AKC Approved Basenji Standard. The 1954 AKC Standard is here.

1956 Sheila Smith, Tennji Basenjis is approached at Westminster by Stuart Cloete, author of "The African Giant". He and his wife, Rhena, lived in Africa, and he did a lot of hunting with Basenjis. "Tremendous dogs, far superior to their cousins, the Ridgebacks."

Rehna Cloete donated this photo of a dog owned by the Asongo Meno Tribe in the Belgian Congo. Look closely to see that the dog is wearing a native wooden bell around its waist. (Photo appeared in "The Basenji" in 1967 and in their book in 1955)



Purina Advertising 1956

1956 Advertisement for Purina in the "Dog World" magazine is shown above.

1956 "Good-Bye, My Lady" becomes a movie. Extract from a 2004 biography of Sidney Poiter. (Also see 1942 Goodbye, My Lady Story). Another fun article appeared in "The Basenji" in 1991. This one has memories of the filming by Hazel Hall who was a writer on location for the filming.1956Judging

1956 26 August Veronica Tudor-Williams judges in Great Barrington, Massachusetts: Photo right of her with Damara Bolte showing Riviana Jollity of the Congo (later a champion.)

1956 October sees the first championship level AKC Best in Show Basenji — Philo's Blaze of Koko Crater.  See details of all the basenjis who have won an AKC All-Breed Bests in Show.

1957 saw the beginning of the amazing career of Can.
and Am. Ch. Dainty Dancer of Glenairley
. "Dainty" remained the top winner of Bests in Show for many years. Read Sheila Anderson's Dainty Dancer's Story here.

From the New York Times
"Dog That Can't Bark Yodels In"
January 25, 1958, Saturday Page 13, 401 wordsTiki-Tiki
      A Basenji dog that snarls, growls and yodels -- but never barks -- has arrived from the Belgian Congo as part of a plan that fanciers hope will put new blood into his degenerating American cousins..." "...Dr. James P. Chapin of the American Museum of Natural History found him in a forest camp of the Mambuti Pygmies, near Hoyo in the eastern margin of the upper Congo. He named the little hound Tiki-Tiki, which means Pygmy in the dialect of the Uelle District of northeast Congo..."

Read more about Tiki-Tiki (photo right) who does not become part of the Basenji foundation stock as the AKC stud book was closed to foundation stock at that time.



Basenji Gargoyle at the National Cathedral1958 While construction began on the National Cathedral in Washington, DC in 1907, it wasn't until 1958 that the Cathedral ran a competition for amateur sculptors for designs for the gargoyles. Read the story from Basenji fan Elizabeth Kimball about how she successfully proceeded. See photo of the Basenji gargoyle to the right...


1959 FulaTiger in Africa Fula and Tiger Story (Fula and Tiger photos taken in Africa) are brought to the UK from Africa.

1959-1961 Dr. Leon C. Standifer is in Liberia and involved in the "Basenji Project" there. Read articles about his observations.

1960 Elspet Ford spends 15 years in Africa between 1950 and 1965. She obtained her first Basenji, Zambi there.  On her return to England she brought back 3 Basenjis. Read about Elspet Ford's Basenjis from Africa.Ch. Lepper's Nik Nake second Best in Show Basenji

1961 Kiki of Cryon moved to the USA with Dr. Standifer when he returned. She became the basis for one line of black and whites in the USA and around the world. Read about Kiki and her descendants.

1962 Ch. Lepper's Nik Nak becomes the next Best in Show Basenji on 30 June at Monroe, Michigan under Judge Fred Hunt. She won a second Best under Judge Derek Rayne later in the year. She was owned and bred by Joe and Ralph Lepper. See photo right...

1964 The Chicago Sun-Times writer Jack R. Griffin upsets Chicago basenji fanciers. Quoting: The Sun-Times has aroused the passions of a special interest group. We have offended, for mercy’s sake, the devoted breeders and lovers of a type of dog known as– hold it now–the “basenji.”  Read story researched and prepared by Linda Siekert that appeared in the BCOA Bulletin in the October-November-December 2011 issue "Chicago Sun-Times BCOA Picket History Detective."

Lithographs of basenjis by John Fulton Short 1964 The Basenji: Read Minnie Hill's story about how "The Basenji" got started.

1964 Read about the early John Fulton Short lithographs of basenjis. Photo right...

1964 The New York Times story of Mrs. Jayne Wilson Stringer's (Horsley Basenjis) visit to the USA:
"The Barkless Dog's Praises Are Sung; English Model Says Basenji Is Quiet in Work Rooms Congo Breed Called Clean and Easy to Have Around
October 29, 1964, Thursday Section: FOOD-FASHIONS-FAMILY-FURNISHINGS, Page 45, 556 words
      A HIGH-FASHION model from Kingswood, Surrey, England — Mrs. Jayne Wilson Stringer — was led into becoming a leading adherent of the basenji breed through her job. She left for home last week after devoting a month to studying the barkless dog of the Congo in this country. ..." The photo includes a Basenji but is too poor a quality to reproduce here.

         Tri color Sherwin Note Card       1965 Notecard Advertisement

1965 At this early date people often wrote notes on cards and this advertisement from "The Basenji" is for an early Basenji items everyone wanted to have. Ch. Togotanya's Ujiji posed for this drawing which was around in 1962. The tri-color note card edition was of Am. Ch. Kwilu of Cock's-Crow. The artist was Earl Sherwan for both. See photos above...

1965 Gwen Stanich is involved with two breedings in Africa and then brings black and white Basenjis back to the USA. The Story of the Coptokin Black and Whites

1966 Sam McKee began collecting information on Top Producing Basenjis based on data published in the AKC Gazette.  The first Stud Dog Honor Roll and Brood Bitch Honor Roll appeared in "The Basenji." The number given are AKC champion children produced by the Basenjis listed. The system did not change and was published annually in "The Basenji" for over 40 years. It is now maintained as a part of the Basenji Club of America. To read the story of the Honor here.

Top Five on First Brood Bitch Roll: 
14 Ch. Glenairley Black Munia
13 Ch. My Love of the Congo
13 Ch. Riviana Jollity of the Congo
11 Ch. Bettina’s Bronze Wing
10 Ka and Ba Meryt-Ra, CD
     Read the entire list Click Here

Top Five on First Stud Dog Roll:              
26 Ch. Cambria’s Ti-Mungai
24 Ch. Flageolet of the Congo
19 Ch. Brahme of Syngefield
14 Ch. Lepper’s Mr. Spats
13 Ch. Reveille Recruit
     Read the entire list Click Here

1967 From the New York Times
Ch. Reveille Re-Up Chosen at Maryland Show

November 12, 1967, Sunday Section: Sports, Page 233, 613 words SALISBURY, Md., Nov. 11
     A puppy of an unusual breed, a Basenji, was chosen best in show over 917 other entries today at the 14th annual show of the Salisbury Kennel Club. The dog was Ch. Reveille Re-Up, who will not be a year old for nine more days. He won the top honor in his ninth outing, as a show dog and his first since winning his championship last month..." .
      Uppity's career included a total of 14 all-breed best in show wins and he became the top best in show winner with a record to last many years. See Uppity's photo here.African Photo

1967 Reader Joanne Drerup writes: I recently ran across an old "Maryknoll" magazine and was glancing through it. To my surprise in an article on the poor, underdeveloped peoples of various nations, I ran into this photo (right). Of course, I immediately recognized "our' Breed.


1968 on 13 October Ch. Baronfield's Cyclone, UD becomes first Utility Dog titled Basenji.

First UD Baenjis

1968 From the New York Times
"African Safari Preserves a Breed;
Rise of Basenji Laid to '59 Expedition to the Congo

By WALTER R. FLETCHER July 4, 1968, Thursday Page 25, 584 words
      THE Basenji Club of America is celebrating its 25th anniversary. In that quarter-century, the barkless breed from Africa has made Steady progress. Of the 115 breeds registered by the American Kennel Club, the Basenji, with 2,461 listed, is ranked 39th..." "... - George Richards, who was killed in World War II, had told me he had seen Basenjis where the Sudan adjoins the Belgian Congo," she said. "We decided to go into the bush country to try to learn something about the breed's history and to bring out some dogs. "We sailed to Port Sudan and ..."

1969 The Evergreen Basenji Club held the first local club Basenji Specialty. The August event had an entry of 69 Basenjis.

Basenji and Frog Bronze

1970 The famous Basenji with Frog limited edition bronze is offered by sculptor Damara Bolte.

1971 The first Basenji to come to Germany directly from Africa arrived: Liberias Poldi. This dog was a important foundation for the German Basenji breeders.

First Wessman Winner1971 Ch. Reveille Re-Up wins the first Newtown E. Wessman Memorial Award presented by the Basenji Club of Northern California for defeating the most Basenjis in AKC shows the previous calendar year. A list of the winners from 1971 to 1997 can be seen HERE. See photo right of Uppity and trophy to the right...

1972 The Heart of Minnesota Basenji Club holds Basenji field trial (set up like bird dog field trials) in association with their Specialty.

1972 The breeds first Tracking title is won by Rex Tanaka's Ch. Il-Se-Ott Golden Majorette, CDX TD. Tammy also became also became a UD in 1974 and this was as many titles as a Basenji could win at this time.  Read about Tammy and Rex.

1972 Ch. Reveille Ruffles of Rose-Bay hits the top of the Brood Bitch Honor Roll.

1972 A banner year for Basenji health. A test is found to identify carriers of Hemolytic Anemia, a health problem that had been in the breed for a very long time. Hemolytic Anemia is all but gone from breed today.

Medicine Label


1972 "Just a quick note to send you the enclosed xerox copy of a folder that comes with a new medicine. The breed has made the medical scene." Bruce and Lucille Fifer write in 'The Basenji' Mailbox: "We live in Pima County, named after the Pima Indians, and we had a Basenji named Pima. And how would an outfit in Saint Louis, Missouri come up with a name like that!"

1975 Ch. Khajah’s Gay Flambeau of Ed-Jo becomes Number One on the Stud Dog Honor Roll with 51 champion offspring. Shirley Chambers has taken over the impressive file of index cards and starts keeping the records in 1974.

1978 Ch. Reveille Re-Up tops the Stud Dog Honor Roll with 68 champion offspring.

1978 Esenjo is born on 19 June 1978 in Zaire. Margaret Sommer spoke about Esenjo in 2007.  Esenjo was registered as Foundation Stock in 1990 and her progeny by Rameses Tut-Ankhamen became a part of the breed's heritage.

1979 BCOA decides to move from BCOA regional supported specialities to a single annual National Speciality that will rotate around the country. The first National event is held in Texas. To see the results from 1979 to the present click: National Specialty Results.First Basenji Best in Field

1979 ASFA accepts Basenjis for lure coursing. On September 3, on the first weekend after Basenjis are recognized to run, Bubalak's Divine Bette takes a Best in Field...see photo right... She also becomes the first ASFA Field Champion.

1979 Top Brood Bitch becomes Ch. Makila Motane Moke with 22 champion offspring. Now Reva Lawson is keeping the records.

The Years of the American Basenji1980 before the marvels of the internet came along it was difficult to find pedigrees and photos of dogs. Melody Russell and Susan Coe began compiling photos and pedigrees and in 1980 put out the first of the yearly editions of "The Years of the American Basenji" with 535 dogs included.  Each year the volumes grew until there were thousands of Basenjis included and eventually the internet came along.  However, this is still the only source for photos of some dogs from years past.

1980 is the first year the Ch. Reveille Re-Up Award was presented. This handsome trophy sculpted by Damara Bolte goes to the sire who had the largest number of childrenfinish their AKC championship during the previous year. The Re-Up son, Ch. Shadowbye's Mitty won the award the first five years. See a list of all the winners by clicking HERE.First tricolor BIS

1981 Ch. Arabrac's Mountain Mamba began his show career. He topped the history books to become the first AKC tri-color best in show Basenji winner.  He went on to claim a total of 3 all-breed bests in show all breeder-owner handled.  Photo right...

1983 saw the inaugural Diane C. Coleman Memorial Hound Group Award go to Ch. Aleika-Absinthe Rajah's JR. This award goes to the dog defeating the greastest number of dogs in AKC group and best in show competition during the preceding calendar year. Read more about it and see the past recipients.

Springs CC of Takuvik TDX Fch.1983 Springs CC of Takuvik, TDX, FCh became the breeds first ever Tracking Dog Excellent. Photo Left...

1984 is the beginning of the show career for the next top best in show Basenji.  Ch. Music City Serengeti Jazzman's career included 20 bests in show.

1984 Ch. Shadowbye's Mitty, the son of previous Number One on the Stud Dog Honor Roll Uppity, overtakes dad to become Number One with 88 champion offspring. Shirley Chambers is keeping the tallies again.

1985 Specialty Essay Contest Winners

1987 Imports in 1987 who became registered foundation stock: Avongara Bazingbi, Avongara Gangura, Avongara Goldi and Avongara Zamee.

1987 Jon Curby writes Notes from Africa about the 1987 trip in "The Basenji" and Jon Curby Answers Your Questions in the BCOA Bulletin. See also a Photo Essay of photos by Michael Work and Damara Bolte. Jon Curby's video presentation is availableAfrica 1987 from Jon.

1988 Imports who became registered foundation stock: Avongara Diagba, Avongara Elly, Avongara K'Posi, Avongara M'Bliki, Avongara Nabodio, Avongara N'Gola, Avongara N'Gondi, Avongara Renzi and Avongara Wele.

1988 Damara Bolte writes of her experience on the 1988 trip to Africa: A Basenji Safari

1990 "Good-bye, My Lady" Video Release

1990 A revised AKC Basenji Standard is approved and becomes effective.

1990 Registration of Foundation Stock: The dogs imported in 1987 and 1988 plus Esenjo are registered with the American Kennel Club. Learn more about these dogs who became Foundation Stock and their offspring and all other Basenji foundation by visiting the Basenji Club of America's website section for the African Stock Project. This collage shows all the Foundation Stock registered in 1990.

1991 From the 29 December "Chicago Sun-Times" book review:
From A to Z in Sophisticated Ways
Author: Deborah Abbott
     "...The author narrates the probable history of 26 patchwork patterns, one for each letter of the alphabet. ... Arnold's choices include B for Basenji (the barkless dog), F for Fern, K for Kiwi, L for Ladybug (of which there are 4000 varieties), M for Mammal-like Reptiles of prehistory, ..."

1991 The popular “Cut Buttons” were first presented to basenjis that made the cut but did not place in the large classes at the BCOA National Specialty in North Carolina. Click to see photos of all the cut button designs.

1992 Avongara Renzi is the sire of the first champion Avongara first-generation descendant when Ch. Akuaba On The Wild Side completes the requirements for her title on May 8.

DC Dharian's Phantom, LCM

1993 Anne Ductor and Richard Baker's girl FC Dharian’s Phantom, LCM (photo above) became the first ever AKC field champion. Within 14 months of her first coursing trial, Phantom completed her AKC JC, SC, and FC and her ASFA F. Ch. and LCM, with 2 BIFs and a Turkey Run Continuum along the way, and had the further distinction of being undefeated by any hound over her first 7 coursing trials. She finished her bench championship in September 1994 to become the third dual champion. Click here to read more of the history of basenjis in lure coursing.

1993 Records the first basenji winning an agility title with UKC followed in 1995 by titles won by basenjis from USDAA and AKC. Read more about Basenjis in agility by Clicking Here.Label for Basenji Bitters

1994 The label to the right appeared in the "The Basenji" in a letter from Margaret Hoff. She wrote: "One little rescue even served as a model on a home brew beer label."

1994 the BCOA organized the first African Exhibition to showcase the newest foundation stock and their descendants in association with the BCOA National Specialty events in Pennsylvania in September.  The event becomes a regular fixture at National Specialties. Jane Williams writes a report of the event which can be read here. The results from the African Exhibitions from 1994 to the present are included in the National Specialty Results.

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

1994 Ch. Changa's Dan Patch became the first brindle and white all-breed best in show winner....See Dan's photo to the right....

1994 AKC votes to sanction agility events and award titles. The first Basenji Agility title holder is UCD Quietus Bonga, CDX, F. Ch. AG1.  Since this time the number of titles available in agility and rally as well as lure coursing has greatly expanded as many people enjoy these events with their dogs. To recognize the multiple performance possibilities for the breed, BCOA began keeping track of the top Performance Stud Dogs and Brood Bitches in 2009.

1994 from "Weekly World News," November 29: "Who says, "it's a dog's life?'  This crazy mutt is convinced he's living the life of a turtle! Wrinkles is a basenji, a breed of dog from Africa. But don't tell him that. He's the family pet of England's Southport Zoo owner Doug Petrie and the wacky pup has spent so much time and around the tortoisecompound he's convinced he's a turtle himself. Wrinkles even "moved into" the shell of a Giant Saychellyan Tortoise that died and he spends his entire day there living life in the slow lane with his turtle pals."  Photo below...

Wrinkles with tortoise                Ch. Calaz Executive of Em Basi                          

1996 Ch. Calaz Executive of Em-Basi topped AKC best in show record with 38 all-breed best in show wins. See Boss' photo above...

1996 was the year that BCOA arrived in cyberspace. George Woodard set up the first BCOA website.

Steiff Basenji family            Ch. Zindika's Johnny Come Greatly 

1998 A stuffed toy Basenji by the outstanding German toy company "Steiff" is new on the market. Ulla Clemens-Pesch worked with the company to make this possible.

1998 Ch. Zindika's Johnny Come Greatly, JC topped the AKC all-breed best in show count.   This brindle and white dog compiled a record of 59 best-in-show wins in his career. This record still stands. See Johnny's photo above...

1998 A new Number One on the Stud Dog Honor Roll when Ch. Akuaba's Tornado, JC, arrives at the top with 114 champions. Jan Bruner has taken over as tallier.


1999 What next? John Crocco is the owner of "Kosmo" who posed for the pattern on the cloth of these boxer shorts from J. Crew. Kosmo also did some work as a doggy model around New York City.

Honas Studio Grpi[

1999 Thanks to the efforts of Rita Ross wildlife sculptors at the Jonas Studio do a limited edition sculpture of a duiker and two Basenjis.  The dogs in each order are painted to match the photos provided.

2000 Ch. Bluestone's Wild Buckwheat is the first black and white to win an AKC all-breed Best in Show in the United States.

Basenji in sculpture2000 Bill Duffy had a Basenji named Carey when he was a child.  As an adult he installs a Basenji as part of a sculpture in White Marsh, Maryland. See photo right which was taken by Laura Gilchrist..

2001 Ch. Jethard Cidevant becomes the first Basenji to win Best in Show at Crufts in the U.K.

2003 BCOA starts 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. An Honor Roll is maintained online at BCOA's website and is published once a year in the Club's Bulletin.

2004 Sally Wallis went online with her tremendous pedigree database. She had started collecting pedigrees in 1984 and waited until she had about 70,000 pedigrees collected to go online. Read about this great free resource for Basenjis breeders.

2006 The true story of a Basenji was featured in the episode "The Cat Came Back" on the radio program This American Life.  The segment tells the story of a family who chose a basenji because they do not shed or slobber, but became frustrated with his aloofness and destructiveness. They eventually bring him to live on a farm 30 miles away, but within a few days the tenacious dog found its way all the way back home. The series’ director, Mark Risley, owns several basenjis and producer Alex Blumberg had a stubborn and destructive Basenji when he was a kid.  No matter how many times his family tried to find it a place elsewhere it, it always found its way home.Spark is first UDX2 Basenji

2007 Basenji Wine story...

2007 Aljor's Back to Sonbar, AKC UDX2, CGC, CANADIAN CDX, TDIRVA in November Sparky becomes the first AKC UDX2 Basenji. In twenty trials she passed both Open and Utility Obedience (40 passing scores) to achieve this title. "TDIRVA" represents 350 or more hospital therapy dog visit. Sparky was trained and handled by Mary Langula.

2007 14 July the DNA Marker Test for Fanconi Syndrome became available. Another leap forward for the health of Basenjis around the world!  OFA takes on this testing and record keeping on their website.DC Klassic's Ms Mata Hauri

2008 AKC allows the Basenji Stud Book to open for five years for new foundation stock from Africa.  BCOA puts in place a procedure for evaluation of potential new foundation stock. Additional information on the procedures organized by the Native Stock Committee can be found elsewhere on the BCOA website.

2008 DC Klassic's Ms Mata Hauri, SC (photo right...) becomes the top AKC best in show winning bitch for the breed with 7 BIS wins surpassing Am. Can. Ch. Dainty Dancer of Glenairley's very old record. Dainty also won 7 bests in show but some were in the USA and some in Canada.

2009 The photos as they appeared in applications for imports registered in 2009: Avongara Angali, Avongara Asuma, Avongara Bernadette, Avongara Kitoko, Avongara Luka, Avongara Ojo, Avongara Rikita, Avongara Tambura, Avongara Zibiliand Lukuru Amisi. Read more about these dogs, their origins and their lives at the African Stock Project at the BCOA website.  Click HERE to see the details of their applications.

2009 The Performance Stud Dog and Brood Bitch Honor Rolls were initiated by the Basenji Club of America. Susan Kamen Marsicano is keeping the records.  Performance Honor Rolls are updated regularly.

2010 The photos as they appeared in applications for imports registered in 2010: Avongara Ziki, Lukuru Lema and Lukuru na Liboso Mopaya. Read more about these dogs, their origins and their lives at the African Stock Project at the BCOA website. Click HERE to see details of their applications.Clean Run Cover

2010 Susan Marscicano's "M" or Ch. Apu Little Red Lentil, RE, AX, MXJ, NF, OAP, NJP, NFP, GRC, CGC, TDIA, MVB has the honor of appearing on the cover of "Clean Run," a magazine for agility enthusiasts. See photo right....


Grand Champion Jasiri-Sukari Burking the Trind


2010 AKC announces a new title: Grand Champion with competition for the title beginning on 12 May.  On 6 June the first is GCH Jasiri-Sukari Bucking The Trind, a black, brindle and white male bred and owned by Julie and Kathy Jones.  Bronco also became the first all-breed AKC Best in Show winning trindle-color Basenji on 30 October 2010!  See photo left...

The rest of the first 10 Grand Champions, who will receive special recognition from AKC are: GCH Ahmahr Nahr's Harlequin Cassanova Jack At White Wa, GCH Meisterhaus Dazzle 'N' Daze, GCH Tazamisha's Critical Mass, GCH Eldorado's Akuaba One More Time, GCH Emerant's The Navigator, GCH Ab-Rafiki The Icon Of Cool, GCH 'Tis-A Arubmec's Circle Of Life, GCH Taji's Klassic Lil Black Dress SC and GCH Wakili Signet Dooney. East Basenji Street Meridian Idaho

2010 The Basenji University is established.

2010 Found by Rhoda Johnson-Byrne in Meridian, Idaho, just off Interstate 84: "East Basenji Street."  It is set in a suburb of streets named after dog breeds. A Google search uncovered these additional streets named for our breed: Basenji Curve, Shakopee, MN, Basenji Lane, North Fort Myers, FL, and Basenji St, Pretoria, South Africa.

2010 Warner Brothers has released Good-bye, My Lady, the movie from 1956, on DVD: Original Black & White, Original recording remastered, Widescreen, NTSC

2011 Both Ntomba Lokoso and Ntomba Mosika imported from Africa received the approval of the BCOA membership and are registered with AKC as Foundation Stock. Click their names to see details of their applications.

2011 Andrew Sawler interviews Michael Work about the five trips to Africa he has taken part in to help import Basenji foundation stock. Click to read "Out of the Congo."

2011 In September BCOA and BHE were pleased to announce Dr. Gary Johnson has identified the mutation responsible for recessive basenji Fanconi Syndrome. A new test, a direct Fanconi gene test is now available through the OFA. Another great step forward for the health of the Basenji breed!  Read the article prepared by Lisa Auerbach "Updates Fanconi Syndrome" which appeared in the October/November/December 2011 Bulletin.

2011 The Illustrated Stud Dog Honor Roll and Brood Bitch Honor Rolls have been completely reworked by new talllier Julie Jones. After 31 years a new Brood Bitch will top the official Honor Roll.  Am. & Can. Ch. Klassic's Rooty Toot Toot's 24th MAH and PACH Firstschampion completed her title on 1 August 2010.

2012 The first Basenji Master Agility Champion is Feigh, MACH/ FC Eldorado's Y's African Sinbaje CDX, RE, SC, FCH, GRC, NAC, WV-O, TN-N, HP-N who completed the requirements on March 2.  The first Basenji Preferred Agility Champion is Drew, PACH/ CH/ FC Sinbaje's Picture Perfect CDX, RE, SC, FCH, OA, OAJ, MXP6, MJP6, PAX, NCC, NJC, OAC, TG-N, WV-O, HP-N, TN-O who completed the requirements on March 4.  Photo right >>>>
See a bigger photo and more details HERE. Want to get involved with Agility visit HERE to learn more.

2012 African imports Avongara Akua, Avongara Makala Avongara Naziki and Avongara Nilli received the approval of the BCOA membership and are registered with AKC as Foundation Stock. Click their names to see details of their applications.

2012 Long time Basenji fancier Wes Shainline, Jr is honored as the ASFA Person of the Year.

2013 African imports Avongara Maha Gany and Avongara Nguba received the approval of the BCOA membership and are registered with AKC as Foundation Stock. Click their names to see details of their applications.

2013 Stud Dog Honor Roll and Brood Bitch Honor Roll updated for 2013.

2013 Basenjis received some good coverage in the dog press with articles in Best in Show Daily: "Breeder Buzzwords – The Basenji" by Dan Sayers and Dog News: "African Stock Exhibition at the Basenji National" by Ranny Green.

Bond "Pound Puppy" cartoon

2013 “Pound Puppies” animated cartoons with "a visit from Bondo, just Bondo. The Basenji secret agent on an upcoming episode of Pound Puppies cartoon." Video clip appeared on the net: Click Here to see the short.

2014 Avongara Naziki, an import from Africa and registered as Foundation Stock, wins her AKC Field Championship. The first championship of any kind for an Avongara import.

2014 Stud Dog Honor Roll and Brood Bitch Honor Roll updated for 2014.

2014 NFC FC Taji’s hAfrican Chief is the first basenji to win best-in-field at an AKC National Lure Coursing Championship. The Seattle Kennel Club has an online article about the event.

2014 Sally Wallis adds a comprehensive list of affixes used in naming basenjis to her Zande Pedigree website. The list is international with information on breeders and countries the affixes have been used in.Little Dog Brewery

2014 "Little Dog Brewing Company, which officially opened Nov. 22, may be the only basenji-inspired brewery in America, if not the world. That would be fitting, since Quincy is surely one of a kind. Rescued from a shelter in Newark, he crows like a rooster, rotates his head darn near 360 degrees, and loves rubbing his face on beer-soaked bar towels." from

2015 Stud Dog Honor Roll and Brood Bitch Honor Roll updated for 2015. The new leader among the Brood Bitches is Ch. Eldorado's Akuaba With One Look, JC with 27 champion offspring.

2015 An interesting article appeared in "Showsight." Author Sandra Murray takes a look at how the foundation stock registered after 1990 has been used by breeders and its impact in "Essential Elements After Africa."

2016 African Import Avongara Kiri received the approval of the BCOA membership and is registered with AKC as Foundation Stock.

2016 Feigh made breed history again. She earned her Master Agility Championship (MACH) 3 title on 11 March. She is 12.5 years of age. Her full name with titles is: spHIT/mBIF FC, MACH3 Eldorado's Y's African Sinbaje CDX, RAE, SC, GRC, FCH, RATS, NAC, WV-O, TN-N, HP-N.

2017 The current and kept up to date Stud Dog Honor Roll and Brood Bitch Honor Roll can be found here. The Rolls are updated each and every year.

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